Prisons Use Covid to Enhance Punishment

Prisons Use Covid to Enhance Punishment

We’ve heard a few stories about how prisons use Covid as an excuse to enhance punishment of their charges. We received this letter from the mother of a person incarcerated at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Washington Department of Corrections. We have reported this to the Office of the Corrections Ombuds, Washington State Representative Roger Goodman, and Washington State Senator Jeannie Darneille.

My son is an inmate at this facility. When they had their first deaths, my son’s pod was completely free of any known Covid patients. There are about 200 inmates in a pod. Gradually there were some positives and they were moved out to a different location .


They gave them a phone schedule for those times allowed out so I was still able to talk to him. As some of the inmates returned to the pod, there started to be some confusion. Soon they were taken back out of the pod and put to work cleaning the areas where those who tested positive were kept. They were still using the same pod as where they returned. Then the numbers started rising, the guards continued as though they, the guards, were not quarantined.


If you have IBS you are in pain the whole wait. If you can’t hold it then you have to go for a shower. My son had been given permission for at least a urinal bottle but was later told he did not qualify. They are now allowed only 25 minutes out of the cell a day and he can only call every other day.

It is completely inhuman to deny them access to water and toilets. These cells were not designed for a completely locked down situation. The facility does not return calls. I have no idea how to help him other than to try to at least maintain contact as much as possible. Thanks for listening.


<Name redacted>’s mom

The Pod he is in is a minimum security pod where bathrooms and showers are located in the day room. In a pod such as his, the doors to the cells are typically not locked, since access to a toilet is not possible otherwise. But Washington State prison officials apparently think that Covid is a good excuse to deny inmates access to showers and toilets, basic necessities that are their responsibility to provide, not when it is convenient for them, but all the time even if it is not convenient for them.

Three Hots and a Cot

Three Hots and a Cot

“You’ve got three hots and a cot, the state provides everything you need!” I’ve heard people say that on TV, and I’ve received letters in which people have told me that. But that’s a delusional belief. Let me show you. Number one, the state of Florida doesn’t provide deodorant, which is an absolute necessity! They don’t provide shampoo, Q-tips to clean your ears, nor dental floss. I saw the dentist last week, and he said “Your teeth aren’t getting clean, what kind of toothpaste are you using?” I said” AMERFRESH, the state toothpaste.” He replied “That’s garbage, you need to buy some Colgate.” So if we’ve got a dentist telling us that the toothpaste isn’t working, you can’t argue that the state is providing us adequate hygiene items. The bar of soap that the state provides is about one third the size of a normal bar, and this soap doesn’t have a good scent. It’ll work, but it’s not something you would choose to use, and you only get one bar a week.
Three hots … well about 70% of the time, the food’s going to arrive cold, and is either under-cooked, or over-cooked. Very seldom is it prepared in the manner it should be. If you read the menu, you would be like, Sweet! But then the tray arrives and you’re looking at something that doesn’t resemble at all what you read on the menu. For instance, “Fresh Fruit.” You get an orange, but it’s nothing like a fresh orange that you would get on the street. Our orange is shriveled up, bruised with brown spots on it. It’s rare to have a nice piece of fresh fruit. The apples are horse apples, or cooking apples. We haven’t seen a banana in forever! That’s the only fruit that we get back here. Now vegetables are all canned, and most of the time overcooked. Meats — well a chicken leg quarter is the only real meat we get. We get that once a week, and I’m always highly disappointed when it comes back here raw. This week we were fortunate, it was cooked perfect! The prior two weeks it was raw. Even raw, it’s better than the soy patties, which are really bland. If you closed your eyes and ate it, it’s got no taste. And the the off-gray color is nauseating. They’ve got something called “Southern BBQ,” which sounds good, huh? Well you see, it’s ground up mystery meat that resembles hamburger, but doesn’t taste like it. And the BBQ sauce smells rancid! If you put that in front of most animals, they wouldn’t eat it. The sloppy Joe is the same. It doesn’t look like something you would see in your mom’s kitchen. Its an orange-ish color that looks like a baby messed its diaper. These meals are not healthy at all!
To really be able to eat well, you’ve got to be able to supplement the meals with canteen. And the items are overpriced. You get a $50 – $100 bag, and you’re standing there wondering where the money went! We pay 65¢ for a Ramen noodle soup that cost 19¢ or less on the street. Oh there’s some serious price-gouging going on. And if you don’t have family and friends to financially support you, then you go without. There’s no paying jobs for us. They ban us from selling our paintings, poetry etc., for financial gain. So they’re ripping off our family and friends who help us.
Your cot… I’ve slept outdoors on the ground, and been more comfortable. Seriously! The mattress is no more than an inch and a half thick, if that! Oh if you’ve got a new one, it’s nice for about six months. After laying on it every day, probably 20 hours a day, for 180 days, it gets flat and hard. The steel platform this thin mattress lays on is slanted in a manner which results in back, hip, and shoulder problems. There’s nothing comfortable about this mattress.
Yes.. three hots and a cot, you’re surviving. They’re giving you enough to keep you alive, but that’s about it. And most people will say that’s enough. Just wanted to give you a little bit of insight into our world, and the delusion that the state provides everything we need.
God bless you.