February 8, 2021
Negligence, n. 1. The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation any conduct that falls below the legal standard established to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm. 2. A tort grounded in this failure, usu. expressed in terms of the following elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
As most incarcerated persons are aware, DOC, which includes WSRU, has a legal duty to protect them, i.e., ensure their safety. But WSRU has been negligent in fulfilling this duty, and I’ll explain how by comparing WSRU’s mismanagement of its current COVID-19 outbreak to mismanagement of a business, which would most certainly result in job terminations.
The Negligent GM
Let’s say you owned a business and assigned a general manager (GM) to run it, and the business began hemorrhaging money. What would you expect the GM to do? Personally, I’d expect the GM to investigate the crisis and implement a plan with solutions to slow my company’s financial losses.
Now say the GM decided to implement some minor adjustments to isolate the losses to an area of the business. Nonetheless, the company continued losing money at staggering rates, and the whole time the GM, hoping to ride the crisis out, sat on his hands.
The GM was contacted by a reasonably prudent company employee who detailed multiple viable solutions that could have saved the company, but the GM disregarded them. First, he denied receiving the solutions, and then failed to answer the employee’s second letter with solutions. So, the employee filed an official complaint against the GM in an effort to save the owner’s company and assets.
Still, the GM continued to sit on his hands, didn’t investigate the viability of the employee’s commonsense solutions, and eventually the other half of the owner’s company also went under.
Company Owner: Governor Jay Inslee
Company GM: Superintendent Eric Jackson
Company Employee: Offender Jacob Gamet
Here at WSRU, a COVID-19 outbreak happened (and is currently happening on the other half of the prison, A/B units) that resulted in nearly half of WSRU’s offender population (C/D units) being infected.
Notably, before the outbreak there were about 10 bags of hand disinfectant dispersed around D-unit for offender use. All were removed prior to the outbreak!
Despite WSRU admin implementing modified (limited movement) lockdowns, offenders continued catching COVID-19 at steadily rising rates. It got so bad that offenders were being hauled out in groups of 60-plus at a time! Even though lives were being endangered, WSRU admin never investigated why positive cases continued rising if offenders were supposedly wearing masks. They sat on their hands and did nothing.
Then, I caught COVID-19 and was escorted with a group of offenders to ad-seg (the “hole”). I was befuddled as to how I caught the virus because I was hyper-vigilant in wearing my mask, washing my hands, and social distancing as best I could in WSRU’s congregate, communal environment where social distancing is impossible.
So, I sat back and thought about how I caught the virus, which didn’t take long. I discovered multiple points that I may have caught it. One, the tier showers where three stalls are situated next to each other and the two other offenders who showered in stalls next to me around the time of testing were hauled to the hole with me.
MY SUGGESTION: one person shower per tier during outbreaks.
Two, there are unit wall vents by the phones that blow strong gusts of air out of their sides and carry phone conversations well beyond the CDC’s 6-foot distance rule. There’s no plastic barriers installed between many of the phones situated next to each other.
MY SUGGESTION: prison unit staff regularly enforce the unit mask-wearing policy on offenders who pull their masks off or down while talking on phones.
Three, neither are prison unit staff regularly enforcing the unit’s mask-wearing policy on offenders who don’t wear their masks during TTY and Jpay kiosk video visits, which are situated in communal areas where other offenders congregate. There’s also wall vents in those areas which push offender saliva beyond the established 6-foot distance.
MY SUGGESTION: same as previous.
And four, WSRU has open bar cells, at which offenders stand at and yell from cell to cell, spreading their saliva into neighboring cells of unmasked offenders.
MY SUGGESTION: flame retardant plastic be used to cover cells bars around cell bunks.
I sent multiple letters to WSRU admin informing them of these unit breach points and suggested solutions (above) to them. They replied to my first kite, alleging it did not have the sealed and addressed envelope (w/ letter inside) I attached to it with Scotch tape. I sent a second with rubber bands attaching the envelope to the kite but received no response.
Finally, I sent an official grievance and am waiting for a response. But I’m concerned because A/B units have a nearly identical unit setup as C/D units, and so the offenders over there are now testing positive at similar rates that C/D units did. I’m concerned about their lives, and I wish WSRU admin shared my concern.
Is WSRU Enacting Herd Immunity?
After offenders caught COVID-19, WSRU medical staff told me and other offenders that we now have a 90-day immunity. Was this WSRU’s plan all along, to sit back, do nothing meaningful, and let us catch the virus?
Of course, a 90-immunity would seem more convenient than dealing with one outbreak after another. But such a decision would demonstrate a reckless disregard for offender lives.
While WSRU admin won’t admit to practicing “herd immunity,” their inaction begs to question whether offender lives were LESS important to them than a business losing ALL of its money.