This morning (3-24-21) at Twins Rivers Unit in Washington state, an incarcerated individual approached C.U.S Collins with a complaint about the imposition of a new DOC policy that required incarcerated individuals to cohort. This man asked why is it that we are being subject to punishment if we don’t cohort, but the staff (Corrections Officers and Administration) walk from unit to unit and potentially pass Covid. This man was told that staff is doing what they can.
Then when asked “How come we are not allowed to sit at a table that has 4 seats with 3 other men, or a table with six seats with 5 other men?” When all Washington counties are in phase 3. We have 3 wings per unit and it’s basically bedrooms (cells) with a living room (day room) but with each wing having 75+ men we are only allowed about 23 men in the day room and we have to be six feet away with our masks on. Now when we get caught with our mask down on a phone or talking to another person we are subject to punishment. We are basically in our house’s living room – why do we have to wear a mask at home? Staff go home and remove their masks and relax. Staff can only bring Covid into us so they should be the only ones wearing mask as you would if you had company come over.
Furthermore we should have the governor give guidelines for the prisons if they are not to follow the phase for the county they reside. The whole state is in phase 3, DOC is in sec.1 of phase 1. As communities move forward, DOC moved back. After expressing all this to C.U.S Collins this man was told to make a complaint. His response was “I am making a complaint.” Then he was told to yard in as they were gonna have a “Play Safety Muster.” Which is where they talk about safety in the units. When they should be talking about how punishing us for not following a unwritten rule doesn’t coincide with state policy. State employees will not be fined or punished for not wearing a mask but can impose punishment for a choice.
Our families need to know we’re being taken care of by knowing DOC is following all the phasing that is taking place in the state. And that we’re not being punished for asking why.