#CagingCOVID: Stopping the Spread Behind Bars

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Prison Guards Aren't Wearing PPE, And They Aren't Held Accountable

Dec 24, 2020 | by Laura Bratton

A schoolteacher in Texas talks about her fiancee’s experience inside the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, Texas during the pandemic. She discusses how he was treated when he got COVID-19 and the lack of COVID safety among guards.

Audio Submission by, Anonymous

Amended Transcription of Audio:

My fiancee is at the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, Texas. Our numbers were very, very high at the beginning. Well, then once the mass testing and the people went through quarantine and this and that, then the numbers went down really, really low. Almost nil. And now all of a sudden they’re skyrocketed back up.

The biggest thing is, ever since this all started, even way back in April, is the officers were not wearing their PPE or not wearing their masks.

And he said and the ones that are choosing not to do it – nothing’s happening to them.

My fiancee, he did get Covid. And I kept saying, well, what are they doing for you? What do they do for you? And he said, nothing. He said, if you can breathe, they won’t do anything for you. Other people that have other health issues and underlying health issues, they weren’t getting the medical care that they needed. They would just be like, oh, well, if you can breathe.

And then it got to the point where they knew basically that inmates, which my fiancee was doing, he was basically recording who was not wearing their PPE, who was not wearing their masks and the times and dates. And it was even on video camera. And the officers, they were taking off their name tags so that they couldn’t get their names. And he, at one time, had like over one hundred incidents written down. But if the inmates didn’t wear theirs, they’d get yelled at and they’d get threatened to get written up and thrown into lockup and get a major case.

He even sent a letter to the warden with a copy of all the incidences. And basically nothing happened.

The cleaning and the work crew, they wouldn’t have sufficient cleaning supplies. They would have to share gloves and all this stuff.

TDC was saying, oh, we have adequate, we have adequate, we have adequate. Correctional officers are all wearing their masks and the correctional officers are all wearing their PPE and all wearing their gloves and everything. And my fiancee is like, they’re not. They’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re not cleaning like they’re supposed to be doing.

You know, the thing about it is, is that it’s not just his unit. Because I have other friends whose husbands are in other units in Texas and around the area. And it’s kind of like we’re getting the same information.

I’ve emailed Governor Abbott from Texas, our governor, about issues. I’ve contacted and I’ve emailed to DCG executive director. Nothing.

I think the thing that I’m seeing is that our prisons are overcrowded as it is, there’s so many geriatric patients, like there’s so many older people who are not a threat to society that are crammed in these prisons and that are dying. And they’re not doing anything for them. That’s what I feel.

I think that people just need to know that what they’re saying is happening is not really happening.

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