This story was told by a person incarcerated at Chuckawalla.
UCI: Wow. Is there, is there anything that you, you haven’t said that you, want people, you know, who might be listening to this, to know about what’s going on inside right now?
Caller: Basically the main part is that the CDCR is lying to the public. They say we have social distancing. They say we have space. In Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, we live in a dorm environment. It’s basically a warehouse.
It’s not really a, housing unit as they call it. It’s more of a warehouse. Like I mentioned before, the buildings really designed to only hold 130 people. They have 192. It’s impossible to be six feet apart.
You have eight people living in a 300 square foot area, for the most part, in most of these cubes. They’re 24 cubes total with eight people apiece. And it’s impossible to basically keep your distance, to stay away. And of course, since COVID-19 is an aerosol-based disease, there’s nothing you can do to stop the spread.
Unless you actually release people from the prison and decompress the population for the most part.
UCI: Do you feel like that would be, you know, what you would do if you were in charge?
Caller: Yeah. But I mean the, really the only solution, most of the prisons that have had the worst outbreaks are dorm environments, like this or Avenal. And really, they need to decompress, especially the dorms. The prisons that have cells haven’t been as bad, like next door we have Ironwood which are all cells, but they didn’t really have any outbreaks because it’s only two people per cells.
Caller: Here it’s open so you can’t avoid it. It’s just impossible.
UCI: Have they provided any like precautions like masks or any like or, you know, sanitizing wipes? Anything like that to help you?
Caller: Yes, they did, but it was after the fact basically. So over time, over the last six months, they slowly, “Oh here is a disinfecting liquid. Here is-.” Only about a month ago they installed soap dispensers in the bathrooms.
But do they freely give us chemicals to clean? No. That, that doesn’t happen.
Caller: You know, all the things they have posted on the CDCR website, were all just lies. They’re saying that we had all this stuff, that was not the case. All that stuff came waaaay after the fact. After the prison had been infected and we had over 1,000 cases, when they started actually, doing that kind of stuff.
Caller: All they did was, they wanted to avoid lawsuits and liabil- was install lines on the floor that say social distancing. Put little pieces of paper on benches and tables saying, “Oh, remember to be socially distant.” And put up little plexiglass screens between the phones so that we would be quote on quote “socially distant” when we use the phones. And that’s about it.
UCI: Yeah. But it sounds like you literally can’t be social distant, right? Given the like the space you’re in.
Caller: That’s correct. That’s correct. Yes. It’s just too many people for the amount of square footage so social distancing is an impossibility here.
UCI: Wow okay. Can I ask, do you feel safe inside right now or what’s- do other people feel safe at all, at any point in this process?
Caller: I mean it, it’s unfortunately, we’ve all recognized the truth that, you know, let’s say our immunity lasts for three months and three months later it can hit us again. For example, not really. I mean honestly, we don’t feel safe because Bravo yard already had it once a couple months ago.
And it’s about three months later and they’re having a second wave hit that same yard again. So, I wouldn’t say we’re safe at all, in any way shape or form.
UCI: Okay, thanks. It looks like we’re coming pretty close to the end- oh yeah perfect okay.
UCI: I wanted to, if there is anything else I want you to give you a chance to say that. And also I wanted to invite you to, you know, make sure if anyone else has a story, feels like calling in, that they get the number and what not. Is there anything else?
Caller: No that pretty much covers everything. Yes.
UCI: I can’t thank you enough for calling in and sharing your story. I really appreciate it.
Caller: Yes. Thank you for your time. I’m glad you guys can do this and get the word out of the truth of what’s happening, instead of the lies that they try to put out to the public.
UCI: Alright. I really appreciate it. Stay safe and have a good night.
Caller: Yes, likewise. Thank you so much. Bye-bye.
UCI: Thank you. Bye.