System failed

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Donovan.

On December 9th we here at RJD experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. It started in unit 1 and 2 on facility A level III-SNY. The administration took the steps necessary at first to try to contain the situation.

They quarantined all those infected in the units 1 and 2, but then free staff in the main kitchen brought in more infections to the inmate workers in units 3, 4, and 5. On December 15th, in my unit alone approximately 30 tested, myself included. By December 17th, the test results return showing that four of the kitchen workers in my unit tested positive!! Along with several others located in units 5 and 3.

At this point the system FAILED. The CDCR did NOTHING WITH THESE INMATES – nor did they rehouse them. They slapped a “red tag” on their doors, and that was it! They were still allowed to come out of their cells, USE THE PHONES, share THE SHOWERS, and TOUCH THE RAILS!!

By 12-17-20 the ENTIRE HOUSING UNIT(S) WERE INFECTED. 3, 4, and 5. The units EXPLODED with COVID-19. Over 500 inmates EXPERIENCED COVID infections (not to mention the pre-existing infections mentioned in units and 2. In my unit 4, I was infected with COVID just two days AFTER TESTING NEGATIVE!!!

The CDCR is lying to the media!! They are releasing numbers that are missing the force of truth, and statistical numbers – because THEY NEVER ACTUALLY CAME BACK TO TEST DURING the OUTBREAK!! What commenced straight after the outbreak WAS THE SINGLE GREATEST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS I WITNESSED IN 30 YEARS OF INCARCERATION.

After the COVID-19 exploded, we witnessed many officers get stricken with COVID (while many others failed to report). Normally there’s approximately 28 to 30 officers per WATCH on every yard – during 12-17-20 and 12-29-20, there WAS NOT MORE than 10 officers in this facility on any watch (that’s five officers to man the gun towers and five officers for 900+ inmates). This prison WAS A GHOST TOWN !

In my unit alone, we lost five inmates, DEAD!! With three more still hospitalized with serious medical concerns. The last three weeks, this prison TOTAL lost over 20+ inmates and the SAME EXPLOSION OCCURRED ON EVERY YARD!! Literally thousands were infected!!!

Now the collapse and failure to PROTECT. On 12-20-20 I personally went man down. I’m 49 years old with chronic asthma and bronchitis. I reported chills, fever, shortness of breath, and vomiting, this occurred at 7:45 p.m.

When the nurse arrived, she did my vitals and mentioned that my oxygen levels were “acceptable” – then shockingly spoke these words: “Mr, we have a packed infirmary, we are overwhelmed, and we can’t do anything for you. They’re not gonna give you medications. I’m suggesting you go back to your cell, lay down, and rest”.

She handed me a BLANK medical refusal form and asked me to sign it – and said she would report it as “food poisoning”!!! And guess what? THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED!! Now this repeated itself with numerous other inmates. As medical alarm after alarm sounded throughout the yards. They knowingly returned me back COVID positive.