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Home / Health / After the COVID-19 outbreak in the Oregon prison, 2 people died and nearly 400 inmates became ill

After the COVID-19 outbreak in the Oregon prison, 2 people died and nearly 400 inmates became ill



UMATILLA-Brandon Baker felt unwell when the officials of the Two Rivers Correctional Institution took a sick prisoner from two cells.

Another prisoner (close to the four cells) said that he saw the same prisoner lying in bed sick for nearly two weeks, but was barely cared for.

The prisoner said, “He looks like death,” said the person who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation. “I walked by and told him,̵

7;Better brother,’ he didn’t even move. It was like sleepy.”

According to an unnamed press release, the sick prisoner is between 50 and 60 years old and is serving his sentence in TRCI. According to reports, he died on Saturday, January 2 after testing positive for COVID-19. According to data from the Oregon Department of Corrections, he is one of the two inmates in Oregon prisons who have endured the largest surge of COVID-19 cases. As of Wednesday, January 6, there were 235 active cases in this case.

Baker told prison staff: “They didn’t actually do anything.” Baker said that he tested positive for COVID-19 around the first year of this year. “Now, someone may be dying in a cell. They don’t know anything about it because they are locked in the cell, not under surveillance, and there is nothing. They are just locked in the cell.”

According to data from the Correction Department, Baker is one of TRCI’s 393 prisoners who have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 since December 10, 2020. Since December 2020, 50 TRCI employees have also tested.

Interviews with four prisoners, eight people with relatives in prison, and two lawyers with more than 20 clients in TRCI, shed light on the situation faced by adults in custody when the prison is shaken by the peak of cases. They described to Eastern Oregon that prison staff wear masks inconsistently, fail to maintain social distancing and quarantine quarantined and unquarantined prisoners, insufficient and expired food supplies, and an environment at risk of infection since prisoners and prison staff by 2020 On December 16, a power outage left most of the east side of the institution in darkness.

According to officials, the power was restored on December 24, 2020. But since then, the infection has rapidly increased, with 281 prisoners and 40 staff members reportedly testing positive.

“Just because they are a prisoner does not mean that they have no one who loves them,” Erica Scherland said. His husband, a prisoner of TRCI, was taken to the hospital on Thursday, January 7. A few days after the outbreak was positive.

Sjolander’s husband claims to have asthma, diabetes, and has received chemotherapy to treat cancer. Her husband said he would be released from prison in 27 days. She worried that he would not succeed.

“He called me (Wednesday, January 6) and he could barely speak.” She cried. “He said,’Tell my children that I love them. I may not go home. It makes me sad to hear that.”

Both Baker and the anonymous prisoner said that since the virus began to spread in the prison in mid-December, infecting hundreds of people and isolating their units, prison staff only conduct brief temperature and symptom checks every day.

Prisoner Troy Marin said that they would be released from the cell once a day due to the shortage of personnel caused by the epidemic.

In an email sent to the EO newsroom, officials from the disciplinary department did not answer multiple questions about the source’s allegations of minimal medical care, but stated: “The DOC employees are making decisions based on medical and operational expertise.” “Institutional design” and statewide limits on the number of hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients.

Officials say that those inmates who need medical services outside the prison will be transferred to the hospital. The officials did not answer questions about the conditions surrounding the sick prisoners in the deceased cell near Baker.

Statewide surge

According to ODOC, the state’s prison system has endured a surge in the number of cases when TRCI surged. As of January 6, there were 545 cases among adults in custody. Of the 15 prisons in the state, only 3 have no ongoing cases.

According to ODOC, it is reported that a total of 2,690 adults in custody and 679 staff in Oregon have tested positive, and 26 prisoners infected with COVID-19 have died.

“It seems that (the correction department) is really responsive,” said Tara Herivel, a Portland-based attorney who has more than 20 clients at TRCI. “Regardless of the predictability of the problem, they wait until the problem is solved. Then, when the pressure is high enough, they will take action, whether it is enough. They wait in a reactive posture, which in this case Is fatal.”

Some TRCI prisoners said that they believe the infection originated in the prison workplace, such as the laundry room or kitchen, and they said that prisoners from the quarantine area are mixing with prisoners in the non-quarantine area.

“Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, I like work,” said Troy Marin, a TRCI prisoner who works in a laundry. “But I don’t want my life to be in danger.”

The prisoners said that if they refused to go to work, they would be placed in “small holes” and be retaliated against. “Small Kong” is an isolated unit. When a violation occurs, the prisoner will be sent to prison.

ODOC officials said: “It is impossible to say exactly what caused or exacerbated the TRCI epidemic.” They said that health and safety measures such as disinfection, wearing masks and staying away from social interactions are playing their “best capabilities”.

In response to a series of questions from the EO newsroom, the officials said: “ODC cannot comment on specific allegations because in some cases they will be affected by pending litigation.”

However, prison officials pointed out that earlier this week, the Umatilla County Circuit Court held a two-day trial against similar allegations, which resulted in the judge’s ruling that the state “is not intentionally indifferent to TRCI’s COVID-19 conditions. Instead, ODOC A lot of resources and energy have been invested to combat and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the organization.”

When to start

According to the Oregon Public Broadcasting Corporation’s first report, on December 10, after two prison staff tested positive a week ago, corrections officers transferred 10 COVID-19-positive prisoners from the Deer Ridge Correctional Facility in Madras. Arriving at the medical quarantine of two rivers, the Oregon Public Broadcasting Corporation first reported. At the time of the transfer, Luling had active cases with more than 130 adults in custody.

Between December 10 and December 18, 2020, 47 other prisoners and 6 staff of TRCI tested positive.

Herivel stated that there is a policy of the correctional department that prohibits sending prisoners into and out of four-level prisons-according to individual prison cases, the quarantine level is the highest. She said she believed that the transfer was done when the prison’s medical space was used up and the spread of the disease overcame the institution, “It seems to have happened at TRCI,” she said.

“If you transfer people from a four-level prison to another prison, and these people are untested, but it turns out that they are positive, then you will cause a large group of people to suffer pain, torture and even death,” Herewell Say.

Officials said in an email that they are following the transfer agreement.

According to officials and sources, after 20 years of degradation, a power outage caused by the short-circuit of two wires and an explosion in an underground pipeline caused the residents of the area to leave more than 600 prisoners. A few days later, the infection in the prison became more and more rampant. Inmates were provided with small battery-powered lights to illuminate their cells.

For more than a week, prisoners have to be released for about an hour a day to use the phone and shower. Beyond that-darkness.

One prisoner, Frank Roof, said: “It’s very strange because you are unconscious of what is happening.” He added that he was thinking about causing trouble and putting himself in the “hole” just In order to get it into a cell with light. “You can’t read, or you can’t do anything. You just lie there. Our cell is not big enough for two people to get up and walk around at the same time.”

The 64-year-old type 2 diabetes patient, 64, said that the prisoners around him were receiving frozen, rotten meat. Their diet mainly consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, biscuits and some fruits. Eventually, after a few days of power outage, they began to receive warm food in the form of 3 ounces of oatmeal. The roof said that the food and the inability to leave his cell made his blood sugar “out of control”.

The roof added that conditions during the power outage caused the tension to rise. The roof told officials that the officer told him that fighting was breaking out and that two staff members were attacked due to the anger caused by the power outage.

Oregon attorney Meghan Bishop (Meghan Bishop) works at the Raneyy Center in Washington, DC and has clients at TRCI. She said that the power outage has exacerbated the COVID-19 epidemic. Her client Craig Dawson filed a claim against the former TRCI director Tyler Blewett, claiming that the prison did not comply with CDC guidelines.

After holding this position for one year, Blewett resigned from his position as Director of Prisons on December 15, 2020. The prison refused to provide any information about the reason for Brevitt’s resignation.

“There is no reason to treat them like they are treated”

Bishop Bishop said that her client told her that the flow of prisoners to the shower and the phone calls were chaotic and overcrowded, making the virus easier to spread. She said that when Dawson sent her emails about correctional officers not wearing personal protective equipment during body searches, he was trapped in a “hole.”

Bishop said that due to multiple heart attacks, pneumonia, lung damage and high blood pressure, Dawson is medically susceptible to COVID-19. She said he told her that he had eaten expired food during the outbreak and caused food poisoning.

She said: “What happens in prisons across the state is the result of choices.” “The prison system chose not to implement the CDC guidelines. They chose not to wear masks and not succumbed to (correction officers). They chose not to conduct large-scale testing.”

The bishop said that the way prisons in Oregon deal with the epidemic may have long-term effects.

“By not treating people with dignity, not feeding them expired food, locking them up 23 hours a day, and retaliating against them because they see the injustice inside the prison wall. Once they die, we will Prepare for their failure. Re-release,” she said. “Because of the COVID, what we (Oregon prisons) see is that people are now seeing the reality of imprisonment. This has been going on for decades.”

In almost every interview with Eastern Oregonians, sources said that they blamed prison staff for bringing the virus into TRCI and emphasized the fact that it is impossible for prisoners to go out to carry the virus.

Prison officials said: “All personnel entering the DOC facility have been screened for COVID-19,” he added, adding that the staff will inquire about symptoms related to the coronavirus based on the temperature of the staff.

The official said: “The DOC has brought the institutional outbreaks in other prisons under control. Thanks to the hard work and hard work of the staff and AIC, we will do this again.”

The prisoner’s friends and family felt suspicious and frustrated, and called on the prison to implement stricter guidelines to ensure the safety of their loved ones.

“I am angry. I was worried in the past. I was angry,” said Cheryl Baker, the mother of Brandon Baker. She said that because of the virus, she had not seen her son in person for nearly a year. “There is no reason for them to be treated like that. They are not animals. One of them is my son.”


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