COVID-19 Prison Updates NWDC Resistance Prison

Washington Prisoner Updates 4-7-2020

submitted by Puget Sound Prisoner Support

Let’s start with some sobering words from our comrade and friend inside. “In prisons, we are very limited in our ability to totally social distance from each other to slow or halt the momentum of Covid-19, but you out there are in a far better position to weather this storm. Now hundreds of millions of people around the world have a taste of what it’s like to be in a prison with stay at home orders. The difference is one day this lock-down will end for most of you,but for some of us it is a life experience.”

*Currently, the DOC is reporting these staff positive Covid-19 cases:
1 at Community Corrections Section 6 (still waiting to hear which spot this is)
2 at Peninsula Work Release
2 at Washington Corrections Center (Up 1 from last time update)
3 at Monroe Correctional Complex
1 at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center
1 at “Headquarters”

These numbers are clearly low based on the amount of people we are communicating with who are witnessing guards come to work sick, and the amount of isolation and quarantine cells filling up.

*WA DOC admits first case of Covid19 inside a prison facility. 1 person in Monroe has tested positive.
“The housing unit where the individual was previously housed was placed on quarantine with no movements in or out of the unit. There are approximately 119 in the housing unit where the individual was previously housed. There are a total of 420 individuals in the Minimum Security Unit. All Minimum Security Unit staff have been directed to mandatorily wear issued N95 respirators.”

*Airway Heights Updates

-Meals are still proving to be a difficult thing for the DOC to figure out how to handle. As of April 3rd, people were at meal pick-up time and were still all bunched in a line waiting together. By dinner the DOC seems to have snapped into the 6 foot understanding and placed red tape on the floor to separate out those waiting for their meals.

-On April 4th, DOC slid a memo under the door of people in N-Unit with a memo stating that
“the wearing of N95 respirators is for general use and is voluntary to staff at this time” which seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom amid the Center For Disease  Control’s recommendation that people in close quarters with others wear fabric masks to protect others.

-T-Unit continues to be a concern from the people inside as to what is actually happening in there. “T-Unit is still on lock-down, and I just watched the staff call a code(4-3-2020 after noon)and run over to T-Unit. They came out with nurses and a gurney with a masked inmate on it who fell off,the they put him back on, and wheeled him away. He didn’t look old(30 maybe?)”

From a comrade still working in the kitchen:
-40 prison IK workers, 10 staff crammed into small kitchen unmasked,with open top pans for long duration.
-Intercom calls for workers to wash hands while on call
-Large bag and box containers of bulk food are not being wiped before being used or placed on clean counters or rested on top of clean dishes because of their size
-Workers are concerned about the crowding in tight quarters.

*Resistance is continuing inside the NWDC. Here are some words from those locked up and it was announced that 60 women in the facility have gone on hunger strike demanding “the immediate release of vulnerable people, humanitarian visas to detainees, and a moratorium on deportations and transfers” Continue to check back with La Resistencia for more info and updates.

*You would never know it based on it not making the news, but the amount of people in juvenile detention that are testing positive for COVID-19 continues to rise. Since our last update at least one more person in the Juvenile Rehab facility in Yakima has tested positive. These cases will continue to grow long after Washington has “flattened the curve”.

Keep checking back to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Instagram for more updates on actions and words from people inside.

PSPS has continued our bi-monthly letter writing nights online until gathering in person is safe again.