COVID Testimonials From Comrades at Monroe Corrections Complex

February 8, 2022 

As we continue to report on COVID conditions across the state, we are staggered by the extreme medical negligence that takes place throughout every facility operated by Washington State Department of Corrections. The following testimonies, dated January 25th, 2022, were submitted to us by comrades incarcerated at Monroe Corrections Complex. These testimonies reflect only a small glimpse into the daily realties of DOC's abysmal management of the COVID pandemic.

Walter says: "I have been in isolation on three different occasions, due to Covid, and I've never even tested positive. The first time was because I went to the dentist and the dental assistant had tested positive. I spent ten days in there because of that. The last two times I was in there, I was only out for a day and a half in between. My cellie tested positive the day before Thanksgiving. After he left that morning, they came and got me later that night for my 'safety.' I was in there for 16 days, got out, and was only out for a day and a half when I went back for another 16 days. The reason: Staff brought someone positive over with me and the other 13 individuals that had just gotten out the day before. While in isolation, I was subjected to all kinds of punishment that they say wasn't punishment. We weren't getting clothes or changing our linen like we were supposed to. We're supposed to get shower rolls 3 times a week and change our linen once a week. I only got shower rolls like 4 times each time that I was in there and the only time I received clean linen was when I arrived the day before Thanksgiving and when I went back after being out for only a day and a half. Their reason: Twin Rivers is on quarantine and that's where our laundry is done at. Therefore, we were subjected to being forced to wear the same clothes for days on end. Other things we were subjected to was we were being froze out because the HVAC system was broke. Our room felt like an icebox. Our food was always arriving cold because it was never put in warmers. It was just put on a cart and pushed over out in the cold to where we were at. We were taken away from communication with our people via Jpay. E-mail and video visits are some of the only means of communication some of us have with our people. Plus, if we don't sync our players every 30 days, they lock up. Then, after getting out of isolation, we were housed at WSR because of TRU being on breakout status. While there, our mail wasn't going out or coming in regularly like it was supposed to and mail was getting lost. Another thing I can't understand is that we're only allowed to cohort with our own unit but staff can work anywhere. They're the ones that bring it in. We know the majority of them don't wear masks outside of their job, they congregate with everybody, yet they can come and go freely while we have to stay with our own unit. A lot of staff don't even wear their masks properly in here."

Stacey says: "I didn't have Covid until I got here. They didn't protect my health. I was tested 5 times in Shelton then got here and caught it. Staff is bringing it in. There has to be a way to stop it but they only give us cheap cleaning supplies. Lysol might help but they don't provide it here. Also, there are no religious activities here because of this. They don't attend to our medical needs here either. Toothache, vision, and such are not issues they will see you for. You must have Covid symptoms or they won't see you. Seems to me they use Covid as an excuse for everything in here."

Donovan says: "This Covid status is causing me mental distress a lot. We get limited access to yard and gym and religious activities such as Sweat Lodge and church."

Justin says: "I have serious heart problems, elevated cancer markers, and COPD. Despite all of my medical issues, I was exposed to Covid due to staff not being tested every day before coming into work. DOC puts memos up reminding "us" the inmates to be patient and kind to staff during this trying time in this pandemic. Because staff is the only thing that matters to them. We are just numbers to bring funding to DOC. The Administration Board at DOC has no humanity. They do not care whether we live or die. I am like many others on non violent crimes. Sentenced to but a few years, NOT LIFE OR DEATH. Yet, I have already died 5 times in the negligent hands of DOC. I have a 5 year old daughter and a family. Where is their humanity? We are human beings with hopes and dreams. With goals and a beating heart. Yet, we are being snuffed out by the hundreds by DOC's greedy hands. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from Covid. We are human beings."

Ryan says: "On November 24th I was taken to isolation because my cellie tested positive for Covid. I was fully vaccinated and tested negative and I still went to isolation for 16 days. While in isolation I was denied clean laundry for up to 5 days at a time. Medical attention was scarce and I was in a cold cell 23 hours a day. After I cleared isolation, I went to B unit at WSR for 1 day. DOC put Covid positive inmates into B unit so they came and got me and put me back in isolation for another 16 days, making my total isolation time over a month. During my second isolation, I was again denied meaningful mental health/medical care as well as clean clothes/sheets for 4 days at a time. I was then moved back to B unit in WSR for another 2 weeks without clothes, property, or a T.V. The unit was dirty, loud, and over crowded. I finally returned to my housing assignment at TRU. I returned to an empty cell. Staff had taken all of my personal property and put it in storage. They also took all my clothing along with 2 shirts I paid for personally. They still haven't given me the proper required amount of clothing I need.. I also want to point out some other things that are currently bothering me. I am being denied work despite being fully vaccinated and not sick. We haven't had library in almost 2 years. Mental health, Dental, and Medical are scarce. You can't even be seen by Health Services unless you have Covid symptoms. Also, we are being denied Law Library. We can't even get in there unless we have a time deadline."