San Quentin: Greatest Concentration of COVID-19 after Guards Refuse Masks and Put Hands in Prisoners' Food
15 May 2020 - During the 2 weeks that came and went since my last report, I’ve encountered quite a bit of backlash. Another prisoner and myself are always reminding these so-called “essential employees” here at San Quentin to wear a face covering. On 14 May 2020 during second watch food service we observed two “essential employees” NOT wearing masks. Upon pointing out the obvious, one (Alwhart) approached the prisoner’s cell who spoke up. Alwhart then threatened the prisoner, saying “Shut up and mind your own business if you know what’s good for you, PC piece of shit.” Alwhart mumbled something else (unintelligible) as he walked away to be confronted by another prisoner about the same thing.
Later, when yard release program was called, Alwhart arrived at the cell of the prisoner he threatened earlier and began the process. The prisoners are required to hand the “essential employee” the items they are bringing with to their assigned yards. The prisoner passed Alwhart a clear plastic ziplock bag containing lunch fruit, bread slices, antiseptic scrub (within its own clear ziplock labelled KOP) and a small ziplock containing a small amount of dry beverage. The first thing Alwhart did was open the clear ziplock, then he began stirring the contents with his gloved hand. As he stirred, Alwhart said to the prisoner he was clearly harassing: “I’m going to search the shit out of your cell too when you go to the yard because you need to learn to shut up.” The prisoner he just threatened for a second time said: “I figured you might go that route so I left you a note with copies of Title 15 3084(g) and 3287(a)(2).” The prisoner continued, “Your threats of violence don’t sway me a bit and you need to wear a mask or I’m writing you up for violating 15CCR 3271 and Marin County’s mandate that all”essential employees wear a mask at their place of employment at all times." Alwhart then threw the prisoner’s searched property back into the cell and falsely reported to the assigned tier officer (Costa) that the prisoner refused yard program. True to form, Costa packed Alwhart’s play and feigned ignorance about the arbitrary yard denial. Sgt. Guitierrez (who also does NOT wear a mask) tactically avoided paying any attention to the unbecoming conduct of the essential employees under his supervision. That’s to be expected. That Sgt. also refuses to respond to a CDCR Form 22 attempting to resolve the issue of the other disrespectful sows in his pen NOT wearing masks.
Some other prisoners in Reception and the death row tier are beginning to understand how the insolence and pig-headedness of these so-called “essential employees” is going to adversely affect the entire prison population. We (death row) are already on an unbalanced yard rotation schedule. There are no visits and no mental health yard program. Once any death row prisoner is tested positive for COVID-19, contact tracing would not require Dr. Bright to shine light on the obvious.
MIM(Prisons) adds: San Quentin has been making lots of news around the epidemic staff have brought there. This began when prisoners were transferred from the California Institute for Men (CIM) in an attempt to protect them from COVID-19. It turned out some were already infected and brought it to San Quentin. And as this comrade reported in April staff have continued to intentionally put prisoners at risk, even after it was clear that the disease had arrived at the prison, violating federal, state and local mandates.
As of 27 June 2020, San Quentin has the most COVID-19 cases within CDCR (614) and CIM is second with 514.