By: Christopher Clark
On January 22, 2021, I was infected with the Covid 19 virus for the second time.
This has been very depressing, dangerous, and inconvenient for not just me, but every other inmate as well.
I cannot speak for other facilities, but Thumb Correctional has had numerous cases; many of them questionable.
This facility has its own way of dealing with positive inmates. I have been to the isolation unit 3 times, and each time has been progressively. TCF treats quarantine more like punitive solitary confinement rather than isolation.
I’ve contracted Covid twice and had one close-contact, so you can imagine how many times I had to pack up my property going to and fro from unit to unit.
CDC protocol recommends that close-contact inmates be housed in their own cells, but here at TCF, we have cellmates, which, of course, endangers our lives further. What if the close-contact prisoner is someone is being housed with has Covid and infects them? That falls on the administration for being careless.
I am the block rep for my unit, so I speak with the administration often to ensure that our unit is run accordingly.
Recently, one of our unit guards said, in front of several inmates: “I feel kinda sick.” He then grinned, adding: “I can’t taste or smell anything. I might have Covid”.
It is wrong for a guard to ever joke about a virus that has killed several inmates. State employees are supposed to be held to a higher standard. Officers are here to protect us inmates, but when you have guards joking openly about having Covid that is clearly not the case.
This facility test inmates every Thursday and they test the staff earlier in the week. We are currently on outbreak status due to the fact that we had 9 inmates test positive and no staff members. Crazy right?
Bio Reference, the same company that tested the NFL and had all those false positives, is now testing us. Our facility went 3 consecutive weeks without any positives and that fourth week 1 staff member called in and said he was sick but still no positive inmates in that week. Soon as the facility switched labs, that following week we had 9 inmates test positive and no staff.
August 2020 – contamination of the lab which led to numerous false positives with NFL players.
September 2020 – Bio Reference was sued by a hospital for over-billing. Upon completion of the investigation, Bio Reference pled guilty to fraud and kick back, which, of course, the MDOC is notorious for. This is all public record.
Even though the staff are aware of this suspicious company, they’re not allowing inmates to rapid test to see if the results are accurate. They’re not giving us a fighting chance. They’re just dumping us into an isolation cell with a cellmate, putting both our lives at risk.
Are we humans or dogs?
Over 140 prisoners have died and only 4 state employees have died, so who is endangering who? We prisoners cannot leave the facility to catch the virus and bring it back in. Only they can do that.
The TCF facility always blames everything on the inmates, like we’re the ones bringing the virus in. It’s never their fault.
To society, we are at the lowest of the low. Nobody really seems to care about whether we prisoners live or die. It doesn’t affect society until it is their mother, father, brother, or sister that’s incarcerated and fighting for their lives.
When is society going to wake up?
The MDOC should be held accountable for their actions. It’s flat out evil to come to work knowing that you’re infected with Covid, knowing that you’re going to be spreading this deadly virus to America’s most vulnerable population, and knowing that your actions are going to kill people.
Yet, just because they are unwilling to lose their sick time pay, guards do it every day in Michigan prisons.
We have no voice, but our cries deserve to be heard. And not just heard by our families, but to the entire world.
Regardless of what crime prisoners have committed, what race they are, or how long they have left on their sentences, PRISONERS LIVES MATTER!
By: Christopher Clark