The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported having a new deputy directoron June 5, 2020. Though not said, I suspect the former deputy director exited due to his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the federal prison system. After the BOP Director testified before Congress on June 2, 2020, the appointment of the new Deputy Director was reported three days later. Read the BOP Director’s written statement before Congress here.
On June 28, 2020, the website for the Georgia Department of Public Health reported the top five counties in Georgia for COVID-19 cases as follows. (See the latest update by clicking the link below the chart.)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dekalb County, Georgia had 759,297 residents on July 1, 2019.
Dekalb County, with over 550,000 more people than the UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, staff included, has had 171 deaths due to COVID-19.
On June 28, 2020, 89 inmates and one reported BOP staff member had died due to COVID-19.
“06/28/2020 – The BOP has 131,667 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,436 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 1,422 federal inmates and 137 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 5,114 inmates and 574 staff have recovered. There have been 89 federal inmate deaths and 1 BOP staff member death attributed to COVID-19 disease.” WWW.BOP.GOV
Hopefully, the incoming BOP Director will be proactive about halting the spread of the Coronavirus inside the system. Several inmates have reported to me about the BOP’s continued practice of putting inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 in the same living areas with those who were not infected. This is especially true at the complex in Butner, NC that has had a combined total of twenty-three inmate deaths and the one staff death.
When I posted the original version of this blog, I used statistics from May 7, 2020, for the COVID-19 cases in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and May 8, 2020, for Henry County, Georgia. Numbers from both groups changed, but those from the BOP soared, especially Inmate Deaths. In Part II, I am including updated numbers and dates in bold and in parenthesis behind the original numbers.
In this post, I include correspondence from one inmate, who gave me permission to use because he wants the public to be made aware of the conditions inside that particular institution, which I feel certain is an accurate representation of many institutions inside the BOP because other subscribers have mimicked his statements and concerns.
PART II, COVID-19 Numbers Grow
Numbers used in statistics often do not mean much without other numbers to compare to or may even otherwise be used to distort reality. In this case, the severity of COVID-19 in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) does not seem as severe when looked at in isolation (confined to the statistical data of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons). A comparison to the Henry County, Georgia COVID-19 statistics highlights the severity of the infection rate in the BOP.
In Georgia, the Henry County COVID-19 numbers rank as number Eleven for confirmed cases.
COVID-19 IN THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
“05/07/2020 (05/16/2020) – The BOP has 140,369 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,161 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 2,646 (2,280) federal inmates and 244 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 591 (1,091) inmates and 278 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 44 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”
[UPDATE: Here are the statistics for the BOP for May 8, 2020, which shows substantial growth in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases:
“05/08/2020 – The BOP has 140,119 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,331 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 3,082 (2,280) federal inmates and 248 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 619 (1,091) inmates and 279 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 45 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”]
The reduction in confirmed COVID-19 positive cases may be due to the lack of testing and inmates being kept in private prisons. Private Prison representatives often refuse to provide requested information to journalists and others.
From bop.gov/coronavirus, the BOP reports the following:
“Due to the rapidly evolving nature of this public health crisis, the BOP will update the open COVID-19 confirmed positive test numbers, recoveries, and the number of COVID-19 related deaths daily at 3:00 p.m. The positive test numbers are based on the most recently available confirmed lab results involving open cases from across the agency as reported by the BOP’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety at 11:00 a.m. each day. BOP field sites may report additional updates throughout the day. Data is subject to change based on additional reporting.
“The BOP has begun additional testing of asymptomatic inmates to assist in slowing transmissions within a correctional setting. As such, our data reflects an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive tests reflected in the table below [see the table at bop.gov/coronavirus]. The BOP is able to better utilize this information for the management of an outbreak at the relevant, affected facility.
“The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program or being held in privately managed prisons. Additionally, the reference to the FCI Butner Low below refers to an isolation unit that is physically separated from the rest of the LSCI.”
Many men incarcerated across the nation inside the confines of the BOP have complained about the lack of testing for COVID-19, and some staff’s failure to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); e.g., face masks and gloves.
Straight From the Pen of the Incarcerated
The information below comes from an inmate at one of the federal prisons in Butner, North Carolina, where other inmates in the complex have reported the same situation (lack of testing, CDC recommendations not followed (social distancing and failure to wear PPE), as have inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana, and U.S.P. Victorville in California.
(I’ve reorganized paragraphs for ease of reading. The provided information is posted as provided, other than minor spelling and punctuation corrections. Additional information is included in brackets. Some content isn’t intelligible but is irrelevant for this post. The inmate often uses “jail” instead of “prison” when he is referring to the institution.)
5/14/2020: If I write a blog later in relation to the lack of testing, not following safety protocols, etc., do you want me to post this?
[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] May 15, 2020:
“Yes, it needs to be known what Butner is doing to the inmates and how they aren’t doing anything to fight the infections. Most of the guards don’t even wear mask. The guards are bringing it [COVID-19] in the jail and it seems like a norm to them its two blocks left that has no infection. Out of 8 blocks 6 blocks have been infected and the numbers are going up five more just was quarantined today.”
[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] 5/14/2020:
“Granville a is quarantined and the just had an inmate on Vance [?] a test positive don’t know how many he affected the took him out of here this jail isn’t doing anything for our safety the have me working in the kitchen for 11 hours a day fixing the meals for the rest of the jail there is no social distancing we are all working don’t know who is infected and who ain’t they only check your temperature there has not been one single test administered on this compound and the virus is spreading at a rapid pace and all they do is put you in the shu [Segregated Housing Unit] for 14 days don’t test you and after the 14 days they put you right back in population there is no structure for fighting this virus they are not follow no guidelines and this is sad there is so many people they are deliberately placing in harm’s way and they don’t even care and that’s why is so sad.”
Friday, May 15, 2020: RE: RE: 05/12-13/2020 (Numbers keep growing)
[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy]
“This is all lies there is a total of 58 that are quarantined in the shu as we speak I know because I make the trays for the shu and the still have us working together in the kitchen not social distancing and [UNICOR, Federal Prison Industries, Inc.] is still working without social distancing. This place just doesn’t care.
“There is no 40 that has recovered they are only keeping them in the shu for 14 days and sending them right back to the block to infect other people this jail has no compassion it just doesn’t matter to them we have been locked down since march we are trapped on a block with no ventilation the same air is just blowing the same infected air throughout the jail.”
All you can do is follow the recommendations, and especially about washing your hands before touching your face after being on the computer or phone, which should be done at any time. Here’s what was on the bop.gov website yesterday for Butner institutions (Butner Low has 22 confirmed cases, and 40 who have recovered):
[In the above examples, the BOP still does not acknowledge the death of Ms. Robin Grubbs as being due to COVID-19. In the referenced article about her death reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the inmate stated what mirrors the statements of many inmates who expressed concerns to me through correspondence (staff not wearing personal protective equipment because it isn’t available or otherwise does not wear any).]
The B.O.P. only has a total of 151,530 (150,037) individuals held captive in the prison system (numbers include inmates in Residential Reentry Centers), along with 36,000 staff who work for the BOP, for a total of 187,530 (186,037) people, but the BOP had 44 (56) inmate deaths, and a total of 2,890 (2,280) confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 7, 2020; however, if the number of confirmed cases and those who have recovered are included, the total COVID-19 cases that were in the BOP is 4,800.
As mentioned above, Henry County ranks 11 in Georgia for the COVID-19 case, with Henry County’s 225,508 people, only 559 (700) confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 14 (18) deaths, as reported on May 8, 2020 (May 17, 2020). In the BOP with far fewer people, the death rate is much higher (56/18). The difference in infection rates enormous (4,800/700).
The point being that the BOP COVID-19 pandemic within the system is serious and demands attention, as does the handling of the COVID-19 crisis in all of the many other prison systems across the United States and other parts of the world, many of the latter which are likely worse than the situation in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.
With the substantial increase in BOP COVID-19 deaths and the number of confirmed cases that were within the system (4,800 total), it reveals a more significant issue than the numbers viewed in isolation, buried within the walls, bars, and fences of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The inactions and failure of prison officials to implement processes and to comply with CDC recommendations have killed 56 federal inmates, and most likely, hundreds more in State prisons.
Many other deaths and COVID-19 cases are probably hidden within the privately managed prisons across the United States.
Will the day come when legislatures enact laws to hold prison administrators accountable for actions or inactions when it leads to the deaths of other humans? Unlikely.
[Note: The focus of this blog is not about private prison officials’ refusal to provide information to journalists, so I won’t expound on the topic, but do know that it has always been an issue that is hidden inside BOP contracts with private prison representatives.]
A 39-year old young lady who worked for the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), died due to contracting the Coronavirus; however, to date, the BOP still does not acknowledge her death as an employee, as is shown in the following quotation taken from the BOP website on April 23, 2020:
The BOP has 143,136 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 10,331 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. As of 04/23/2020, there are 620 federal inmates and 357 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 302 inmates and 53 staff have recovered. There have been 24 federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.
Those numbers are updated each day; however, since Ms. Robin Grubbs died earlier this month, who was a case manager at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, died from COVID-19, the BOP website continues to not report her death on their website.
Clients of WonderfulThingsDone and StraightFromthePen.com include incarcerated individuals who receive periodic updates to help them understand why the BOP elected to keep them locked down or otherwise managed under tighter security protocols than normal.
The message posted below was rejected by at least one institution; however, several other institutions do have competent staff who are capable of comprehending legal requirements and have complied with the law and chose not to violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees the Freedom of the Press.
At least two inmates were denied their right to read publicly available information about the world in which they live, which I conclude because I received two of the notifications shown below that will conclude this blog post.
From: email@example.com Date: 4/21/2020 7:51:14 AM Subject: Return To Sender: BOP Silenced Death of BOP Employee
Message: This message informs you that your below electronic message to the above-named Federal prisoner is REJECTED and will not be delivered for the following reason(s): * The content of your message jeopardizes the safety, security, or orderly operation of the correctional facility, or the protection of the public.The prisoner to whom you sent this message is NOT being informed of this rejection.You may appeal this rejection within 15 days of the date of this message by submitting a written request to the warden of the prison where the prisoner is located. You should include a copy of this rejection, an explanation of your appeal request, and any additional documents or information you wish to be considered. See Below for Spanish/Ver abajo para leer en espa?ol
Este mensaje le informa que su mensaje electr?nico al preso federal susodicho FUE RECHAZADO y no ser? entregado por la siguiente raz?n(es):* El contenido de su mensaje compromete la seguridad, o la operaci?n ordenada de la facilidad correccional, o de la protecci?n del p?blico.El preso a quien usted envi? este mensaje NO ser? informado de este mensaje rechazado.Usted puede apelar este rechazo dentro del plazo de 15 d?as de la fecha de este mensaje enviando una petici?n por escrito al guardia de la prisi?n donde se localiza el preso. Usted debe incluir una copia de este rechazo, una explicaci?n de su apelacion, y de documentos o informaci?n adicionales que usted desee ser considerada.
Date: 4/20/2020 9:17:35 PM From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: BOP Silenced Death of BOP Employee
The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons does not report the death of this beautiful young lady who died working for them. Robin Grubbs was a case manager but the following BOP Report and all of those issued since Ms. Grubbs death from Coronavirus, do not mention or list her as a staff member who died from the Coronavirus.
“The BOP has 143,705 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 10,225 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. As of 04/20/2020, there are 497 federal inmates and 319 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 205 inmates and 33 staff have recovered. There have been 22 federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”
“She was promoted a month before her death. Coworkers say she was never moved into her new role, away from sick inmates
“By Cassidy McDonald April 20, 2020 / 6:17 PM / CBS News
“After a 39-year-old federal prison employee died and later tested positive for the new coronavirus, employees are speaking up about what they said are unsafe conditions at the facility where she worked.
“The Bureau of Prisons on Friday confirmed its first staff death potentially due to COVID-19. Robin Grubbs, a caseworker at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, was found dead in her home Tuesday and posthumously tested positive for the virus, a BOP spokesperson said.
“CBS News spoke with four correctional officers at USP Atlanta who complained of insufficient access to protective equipment and inconsistent communication about how many staff and inmates were infected at any given time.
“‘Already, it’s a stressful job. Already, you don’t ever know what you’re walking into, but to add this on, this pandemic, where it could jump on you and just take your life away like that, it’s mind-boggling. It’s terrifying,” said one correctional officer who was a close friend of Grubbs.
“Grubbs’s office, employees said, was located in the “Baker 3” unit, a previously empty area where the facility had begun to house inmates who were sick or exposed to the coronavirus. One friend said Grubbs had talked about not being provided with equipment to stay safe and that she was trying to get out of the unit.
“Grubbs was most recently a case manager and employees remembered her as a hard worker who just last month had scored a promotion to a job helping released inmates transition back into society. The position would have landed her an office in a different building. As the illness spread, she told friends she repeatedly asked to assume her new position and move to her new office but was never able to start her new job.
“Taneka Miller, Grubbs’s colleague and executive secretary of the union representing USP Atlanta employees, said she spoke to Grubbs last week. “She was like, ‘Girl. Oh my God, they won’t let me go for whatever reason. I’m so ready to go. I’m so ready to go,” Miller said.
“Jacquetta Rosemond, union treasurer and paint worker supervisor at USP Atlanta, was surprised that Grubbs hadn’t moved to a different floor. As a case manager for the Baker unit, Grubbs would have been assigned to work with inmates on the first two floors of the building, but not with the sick and isolated inmates in Baker 3, Rosemond said.
“‘She didn’t even get to go to her new job,” Rosemond said. “There was really no reason for her to stay on that unit Those particular inmates in that unit were not on her caseload.”
“‘Everything was on backorder”
“A former colleague said that when the illness first hit the federal prison system, Grubbs tried to purchase her own mask. “All she kept telling me was that she didn’t want to catch the COVID-19. So she personally bought some masks, but, you know, everything was on backorder,” the colleague said.
“Miller said even surgical masks weren’t readily available until last week when the prison began providing them weekly to each staff member. Three employees who ran into Grubbs in other units in the facility the week before she died said they saw her wearing either no mask or a surgical mask, and none said they had seen her with an N-95 mask.
“Employees said that each USP Atlanta staff member would have had access to at least one N-95 mask starting around the end of March, but they needed to be fit-tested first. But Rosemond and Miller said that some officers weren’t tested until April, while others were unwilling to reuse their single N-95 mask day after day..
“When asked about the availability of masks, claims of inconsistent communication and when Grubbs was scheduled to assume her new role, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson on Sunday sent the following statement: “We can acknowledge the death of an employee at USP Atlanta, however, there is no information or evidence relating to a cause of death.” The agency declined to comment on the specific concerns raised by staff.
“Rosemond and Miller told CBS News in March that Atlanta employees many of whom are charged with patting down hundreds of inmates per day could not reliably access gloves. Some staff members would purchase and wear their own gloves, Miller said, but many didn’t own their own gloves and would use bare hands to pat-search inmates.
“Rosemond and Miller said management distributed more PPE this month, but access remains inconsistent and many staff wished it had come sooner. “Word of mouth”
“For weeks, Atlanta employees have told CBS News they wished management would notify them more frequently about the number of staff and inmate cases at the facility.
“‘The communication is horrible. It’s late, it’s last minute, and it’s not full information,” Miller said. “It’s like they’re sitting on the information.”
“Miller said 13 days after she was allegedly exposed to the virus on the job, a member of the medical staff contacted her and informed her that she’d been exposed. Because the incubation period was only 14 days and she hadn’t experienced any symptoms, the staff member told her that she should come back to work for her next shift.
“‘I was highly pissed off,” Miller said. “I come home to a 2-year-old every day who does not have the best immune system.”
“After the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office informed BOP that Grubbs had posthumously tested positive for COVID-19, Woods sent a memo Friday to notify staff.
“A BOP spokesperson said that Grubbs’s official cause of death has not yet been determined, as her autopsy is not yet complete.
“Prior to last week, three staff members told CBS News they were only officially informed of one inmate and two staff cases of COVID-19 at the Atlanta prison. On Thursday, Woods said in an email to staff that the facility had “six staff and 12 inmate positive cases for COVID-19.” On Friday, the BOP publicly reported three staff and eight inmate positive cases.
“Atlanta employees said they were confused by the discrepancy. Other than those two emails, Rosemond said, “everything else was word of mouth.”
“‘I don’t feel safe,” another correctional officer said. “We’re not being informed of how the numbers have changed.”
“When asked about the discrepancy, a BOP spokesperson said, “The positive test numbers are based on the most recently available confirmed lab results involving open cases from across the agency as reported by the BOP’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety. BOP field sites may report additional updates throughout the day. Data on the dashboard is subject to change based on additional reporting by field sites.”
“As of Sunday, the Bureau of Prison said 495 federal inmates and 309 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 nationwide. A total of 155 inmates and 29 staff have recovered from the disease, while 21 inmates have died. Since Attorney General William Barr encouraged the use of home detention on March 21, a total of 1,280 inmates have been sent to home confinement.
“Rosemond said that as a case manager, Grubbs was at level 11 in the federal service pay scale, which would have put her annual salary somewhere between $67,437 and $87,667.
“Earlier this month, the union that represents prison staff, as well as 700,000 other federal employees, filed a class-action lawsuit against the BOP and other agencies for Hazard Pay, which would increase their hourly wage by up to 25%. The BOP declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“The lawsuit alleges a pattern of employee exposure to COVID-19 due to lax safety standards. The complaint highlights the case of one BOP employee at FCI Oakdale who was given only gloves to wear as personal protective equipment while escorting an inmate to a nearby hospital. The employee later learned the inmate was sick with COVID-19.
“Grubb’s final days “Grubbs’s colleagues described her as someone who savored life. She was a passionate Atlanta Falcons fan and loved trying new restaurants, a work friend said, especially if seafood was involved. She traveled often and was constantly looking forward to her next trip, according to the friend, who said they’d recently fantasized about taking a trip to Belize this fall after the pandemic calmed down.
“Grubbs was an Army veteran and leaves behind her brother, parents, two grandmothers, and her beloved Yorkie named Louie.
“On April 10, she posted a video of her parents after they had dropped off a “Corona Care Package” filled with cough medicine, ginger ale and hand sanitizer. She wrote, “Airhugs because Corona is everywhere at this point… How did I get so lucky?'”
WonderfulThingsDone, doing business as WTD4U, provides limited services to predominantly federal prisoners, those held within the walls, bars, and fences of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. One service includes sending periodic blog posts to keep the incarcerated informed about events and activities or topics of concern to the inmate population, such as prison or criminal justice reform.
On April 2, 2020, I sent the following information to many prisoners through Corrlinks.com, a service federal prisoners pay to use for sending and receiving emails:
Coronavirus numbers on the inside and outside continue to grow.
“I hope that each of you is staying safe and sane in the ever-changing situation going on with the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s tough being locked down and feeling helpless over so many aspects of life on the inside and life outside of the prison walls. But we, as humans, will survive and get past this, one day at a time.
“Staff and inmates alike have a significant issue to deal with as the virus continues to spread inside the walls of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, as well as for those of us in the free society. And even though it may be tough to deal with the conditions of a lockdown, especially if having to eat sack lunches and having limited access to showers, cleaning supplies, telephones, Trulincs/Corrlinks, and recreational activities, I feel most will agree that the lockdown is necessary to minimize the damage caused by this virus ravaging the population of the world at large.
“Here are the numbers listed today (April 2, 2020) for the B.O.P. The numbers increased from 57-inmates yesterday to 75 today, and from 37-staff yesterday to 39 today. https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp
COVID-19 Tested Positive Cases
“(Inmate) 4/02/2020 – USP Atlanta (5); FMC Butner (10); USP Canaan; FCI Danbury (15); FCI Elkton (2); FCC Forrest City (2); FCC Lompoc (12); MCC New York (4); FCC Oakdale (12); FCI Otisville; FCC Yazoo City (4); RRC Brooklyn, NY (4); RRC Janesville, WI; RRC Phoenix, AZ; FLM Guam
“(Staff) 4/02/2020 – Atlanta, GA (3); Brooklyn, NY (4); Butner, NC; Chicago, IL (3); Danbury, CT (4); Leavenworth, KS (no inmate contact); Lompoc, CA; Milan, MI; New York, NY (5); Oakdale, LA (4); Otisville, NY; Ray Brook, NY (2); Talladega, AL (2); Tucson, AZ; Yazoo, MS (3); Central Office, Washington, DC; Grand Prairie, TX; Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, GA
“Here are some numbers that show the magnitude of the worldwide effect. The April 2, 2020, updated report issued at 2:35 pm EST, on the spread of the Coronavirus is as follows:
“Total Confirmed Cases: 981,221
“Active cases: 726,386
“Fatal cases: 50,230
“Sample of Select Countries Affected: United States: 235,787; Italy: 115,242; Spain: 110,238; Germany: 84,264; China (mainland): 81,589; France: 56,989; Iran: 50,468; United Kingdom: 33,718; Switzerland: 18,267; Turkey: 18,135; Belgium: 15,348; Netherlands: 14,697; Canada: 11,060; Austria: 10,967; South Korea: 9,976; Portugal: 9,034; Brazil: 7,011; Israel: 6,211; Sweden: 5,568; Australia: 5,136.
“Every day I watch the data grow on reported cases of the Coronavirus, especially in the State of Georgia and local counties therein. The good thing is that most people who contract the coronavirus will survive and live to fight another day, but that doesn’t negate the seriousness of this social problem affecting almost everyone in some way. Each one of us can only control our impact and contribution towards the resolution of the pandemic by doing what we can to minimize the spread of the virus, where possible.
“In the prison setting where needed supplies are limited or prohibited, and disinformation runs rampant about what’s being done to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, each person can only do what is within their control:
“1) Limit close contact with others where possible (impossible when locked in a cell with another person who may not have sanitary habits).
“2) If you cough, cough inside your elbow rather than your hand, since coughing in your hand and touching objects spreads germs.
“3) Take precautions by wash hands frequently, and especially before touching the eyes, nose, or mouth, after having touched a surface or other person.
“4) And what works for me, take additional vitamin C to help the immune system stay strong, and for throat irritation from a cold or allergy or other illness, use a Lemon Squeeze to add one teaspoon of lemon juice into one cup of water as warm as you can stand it to gargle with, two-three times per day.
“5) do regular deep-breathing exercises to increase the oxygen level inside the body (viruses and diseases thrive in low oxygenated environments, including our bodies).
“(If interested in breathing exercises that help reduce stress and improves our health, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request more info.)
“I hope some of the above information provides something you can use to stay safe and to help live with better health. Let me know if you wish to be excluded from this type of email.”
COVID-19 CONTINUES ITS RAMPAGE ACROSS AMERICA
Within a matter of hours after posting the numbers from the COVID-19 TRACKER, by 2:25 am, Eastern Standard Time, the number of those infected topped one million, 245,175 cases in the United States.
Globally, a total of 53,069 known people have died from COVID-19 since health official began tracking the current rampage.
When the United States Bureau of Prisons updates their website at 3:00 pm today (April 3, 2020), I expect those numbers to have also grown.
Statistics cannot show all who have been infected with or died from the Coronavirus, because there is not a way for anyone to know about the devastating effects of a virus that may lay inside a person’s body, undiscovered, infecting those who come near enough to inhale droplets from a cough or sneeze, or who touch an item or surface where the germs cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Information concerning the coronavirus fills the media all throughout the day and night so I won’t waste words explaining what it is or what it does. To learn more about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and what you can do to prevent contracting it, please visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which contains volumes of information on COVID-19 and its status in America and abroad. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prisons
Many Prison administrators across America have taken action to avoid the spread of the coronavirus inside the prisons, and for good reason: it kills and most prison systems do not have the best medical care available. The effect of the virus in such a closed environment would be devastating to staff and inmates (prisoners).
Though I did not at first find any message posted on the national website (www.bop.gov), I discovered what I knew by clicking on the links for various institutions spread across America: the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons suspended visitation privileges for its inmate population. (The link to the federal bureau of prisons contains the plan for dealing with COVID-19.) https://www.bop.gov/resources/news/20200313_covid-19.jsp
Other sources reported that the administration is taking other precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus inside the prison system, such as restricting the access of other individuals into the living units and theoretically, checking staff members for symptoms of the virus who come into the prisons.
Some prisons are on Lockdown Status, which means that prisoners are confined to their cells or immediate living areas. One institution is feeding its inmates cellblock-by-cellblock, and then supposedly sanitizing the food service area before allowing another cellblock to enter, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If a prisoner in one cellblock has the virus, then the virus cannot spread to another living area via the dining hall; however, that is only if the dining areas are actually being sanitized and no worker carries the virus.
Prisons often have policies and procedures on paper that are not adhered to in practice.
All prisons do not have cellblocks and use dormitory-types of living quarters to house its prisoners and that would make controlling an outbreak of COVID-19 more troublesome.
The above ends this blog post in relation to prison, per se. The following comes from my experience and strictly based on my unprofessional opinion.
I walked through the grocery aisles of a Walmart in McDonough, Georgia on March 14, 2020, and was surprised to see so many shelves emptied, even though I had viewed another person’s post on FaceBook that showed the same in another grocery department. Panic in America, I thought.
Not that the Coronavirus isn’t serious and the threat of contracting the virus should be ignored: It is real and kills people. Everyone should take precautions to avoid contracting it, if at all possible.
After corresponding with a friend about going out into society in light of the coronavirus-threat, I mentioned a home remedy I knew worked to help eradicate viruses from the throat. Then I decided to do a post on Facebook to share the information with others with the hope of it helping someone to avoid coming down with the coronavirus or other respiratory illnesses.
This roots from that Facebook post and also contains religious beliefs/views. If you find that offensive, please don’t read any further. Thanks for reading my writings.
(This is not intended to be taken as medical advice: I am not a doctor or health professional. I am an opinionated writer and blogger.)
Based upon all I’ve read on the coronavirus, it is my opinion and nothing more, that I don’t believe everyone should hide in a cave and hope the threat goes away. Use common sense.
I do take the same precautionary measures as I do to avoid or minimize the effects of the flu, common cold, or any other health issue due to the spread of germs (wash my hands after contact with surfaces or possible contaminants before touching my nose, eyes or mouth with unclean hands; take extra vitamin C to keep my immune system strong).
Of most importance, at the first sign of a sore throat, since the coronavirus supposedly starts in our sinuses or mouths to migrate into the lungs through our throats, then I’d do what I KNOW kills any virus in the throat by creating an environment too hostile for the bugs to survive due to acidity:
Gargle with one teaspoonful of lemon juice in a cup of water as hot as you can stand it, two to three times per day to kill the virus before it multiplies and migrates into the lungs.
I learned about that home remedy from a Reader’s Digest book on Home Remedies that Work, and doing as suggested has proven effective EVERY TIME I used it at the onset of throat irritation. The same is true for many others who used that remedy after I shared it with them.
For me on a personal level, I believe that if it is meant for me to contract an illness or to experience an accident or misfortune, then that is in the will of my higher power, whom I chose to call God, and that it will happen regardless of what I do or do not do.
If something like that is not in His will, no need for me to worry. I KNOW and faithfully believe that God has my back and has for a whole lot of years. If not, I’d have died decades ago: I survived many incidents without serious damage that science would claim to be impossible.
For those who read or have read the Bible, doesn’t is say that with God all things are possible? I also think it says something along the lines of a believer not being harmed if bitten by a poisonous snake.
I was the snake bitten by itself but I am here to tell about it.
Anyways, it is wise to use precaution and to avoid high-risk situations. Just don’t worry yourself sick. This too shall pass!
I modified the blog to make it compatable with Corrlinks.com because only text is accepted through Corrlinks. Corrlinks.com provides an email system to federal prisoners at a cost of five-cents per minute, to read, type and send emails. The security system removes all formatting and strips all photos. Text is converted into one font type and style.
I spent hundreds $$$$ to get blogs posted on this website, but … it was only money and the things I am doing are more important than the funds I spent and am spending.
Now I need to find a real job to be able to afford to keep the blogs going, because those of you in the free society have not been charitable, nor were those on the inside.
But ….I will still accomplish my goal of providing valuable content to effect positive social change, even if I do have to find a job flipping hamburgers to do what I feel I am supposed to do, with or without financial support.
Sorry about that:-( I had to get it off my chest!
Here’s the delayed correspondence I intended to post two months ago, but … I got busy and forgot about it until going through old files looking for things to delete and increase storage space.
Corrlinks Correspondence: L.E.A.D.
Well, to answer some of your concerns, guys here have already been actively involved in outside community outreach projects, I made belts for children and guys knitted hats and scarfs as well. I will forward you info so you can see some of those accomplishments, however, it would be extra special to have exclusive outside individuals involved and of course everything is being done according to The First Step Act of 2018 and needs assessments are taking place. This is why most of our class attendance are for the Faith Based Programs L.E.A.D. has to offer because under the First Step Act, those programs reward you 10 days more a year on top of the 7…we always need publicity and our very first graduation will be next month in May and our Unit Manager Mrs. Owens resides over all of this. Thanks for your support. Glad you made it home and some of my other topics from R4R have been posted on a site called The Voice…voicematters2255 —–Dowdy, Wayne on 4/5/2019 3:21 PM wrote:
That is great! I am impressed. In the future, I may see if the staff involved, as well as yourself and others, wants some publicity.
What I have to watch is the fine-lines drawn between Bureau Policy and privacy laws. Anyways, the program sounds great, for real. One thing I suggest is keeping a log if participants to use for recidivism studies and program success rates.
Thanks again for the info. I will send a complimentary copy, Corrlinks’ modified, if I use what you just sent. And I will, of course. I know I’ll update the Quora.com post. Take care and keep up the good work.
M.R. on 4/5/2019 12:53:23 PM wrote This program was a vision by our very own Dr. R. who is on leave of absence right now and who we miss for her leadership abilities and leadership skills and also Warden A. along with the chaplain. The acronyms stand for: L.eading E.ffecting A.chieving D.efeating all odds Our Philosophy statement was created by a staff Sponsor Chaplain Middleton and goes as such: I am not the mistakes of my past. Who I am is a masterpiece in the making. My future is what I dream. Through discipline and dedication our dreams come true. I am leading the way. I am effecting change. I am achieving greatness. I am defeating all odds. Help me learn. Watch me grow. Cheer my victory. This is recited every single morning at our community meetings and must be memorized and learned. I created a few contests and made creative championship belts out of cardboard for those who can recite it on call or for those who have learned every member in our community by last name I make them an achieving greatness belt.
[Modified copy sent into approved correspondents through Corrlinks.com (Inmates must put in a request for correspondence that must then be accepted and approved)].
60-MINUTES’ Correspondent, Bill Whitaker, on March 31, 2019, reported one aspect of prison reform in America.
I shared the words of Bill Whitaker with inmates in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, in case the ones who signed up for the WTD4U newsletter did not watch the 60-MINUTES’ interview, by Bill Whitaker, with staff and prisoners at the ‘Rock’; a term used to describe many maximum-security prisons in America.
The prison on stage in the excellent coverage by Mr. Whitaker is in Connecticut. After posting parts of the Interview for federal prisoners to read, I discovered a similar program implemented in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Williamsburg, South Carolina.
A participant in Project L.E.A.D. provided a submission for me to post online. I loved having something positive to share on activities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
I praised him for doing his part to help create positive change. I will include my response after his submission, “Ready 4 Redemption.”
I’ve included a brief excerpt and the URL to the following interview with Bill Whitaker:
Bill Whitaker, CORRESPONDENT
“German-style program at a Connecticut maximum security prison emphasizes rehab for inmates
“Taking cues from the prison system in Germany, where the main objective is rehabilitation, a program based on therapy for 18 to 25-year-old offenders is taking shape at a prison nicknamed ‘the Rock.’
“One of the more radical attempts at prison reform is taking place in a foreboding Connecticut prison nicknamed the Rock. It’s a two year old program based on therapy for 18-25 year old prisoners, whose brains, science shows, are still developing, and their behavior more likely to change.”
Greetings! Just like the Project T.R.U.E. Williamsburg just opened up a first time Honor program here in S.C. called Project L.E.A.D. a 12-month cognitive behavior therapy (skill-building) program that helps participants in their decision making, problem solving, social skills and other necessary needs to integrate back into society. We are 10 months in as of today and have psycho educational groups, government meetings amongst each other, assigned mentors and staff facilitated and also inmate facilitated curriculums.
I have been incarcerated for 27 years as of July and I have never been in a better environment. Not even the Challenge program could teach us the leaderships skills we have learned and applied so far in this environment. We also have outside guest that come in our unit regularly, victims’ advocates, USPO’s and various other facilitators have visited our unit and we welcome them with open arms. It’s the only L.E.A.D. program on the yard and has 98 inmates on a 1,400 populated yard.
This program would interest those minds who are curious whether a violent man can change. I’m in for violence and since being involved into CBT, my thought process has changed dramatically. My violent acts have declined and I have not had a violent act committed since 2005. It works. They even allowed me to create my very own curriculum which I instruct in our unit and another outside our unit in education and we are effecting change!
Project L.E.A.D. Participant,
M. R., Federal Correctional Institution, Williamsburg, SC
Response to His Submission from WTD4U
That’s great! I’m proud of you for having the courage to change, and happy for you and your new place in life. Having said that, would you like me to post or otherwise use what you have written in this message? If so, I would have to use your name as anonymously written or have a release of information. Maybe using your first name and initial for your last name would work, like the AA Grapevine does.
Let me know. Thanks for sharing. I love good news to mention about the incarcerated. Take care!
On March 8, 2019, I left Dismas Charities, Inc. and went to the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, where I reported with the intent of seeing my probation officer, after my official release from the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Thirty-years of change in a prosperous city like Atlanta, Georgia, makes a Big Difference. I walked in through the swinging glass doors of the massive building, and planned to use the elevator to report to the United States Probation Office, as required by law for those released from prison and starting a term of supervised release. I had plenty of time to report but I wanted to be prompt.
I did not expect the increased security or to have to surrender my cellphone while inside, or to have to clear a metal detector and the other processes I encountered, just to get up to the Ninth Floor to see my probation officer, whom I did not see because his office is in another town.
No one told me that before I appeared at the semi-wrong place. The release paper I held in my hand said I had seventy-two hours to report to 75 Ted Turner Drive, Atlanta, Georgia. I did.
My experience turned out well, though, even if I wasn’t supposed to necessarily be at that address.
Everyone was kind, polite and professional. I walked out of the Richard B. Russell Federal building, after providing a urinalysis and then speaking with the pretty probation officer I mentioned in Electronic Chain, to go take pictures of the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
While I was away, the Georgia Dome was built and tore down before I returned. Something makes me feel that I was gone entirely too long, but the main thing is that I am back and will be one to fight for change and do my part to make life better for others.
These Top Three Posts have the highest number of views on Quora.com, where I’ve had a total of 105 K views (all content) since I began posting answers on December 16, 2018. https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy
Most viewed posts within the last thirty days (01/25/19-02/25/19):
Answered: January 26, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
How are new inmates treated when they first come to prison?
Prison life has a lot of variables. The older cons often keep a new prisoner at a distance until they learn more about them, such as their criminal history and certain characteristics (e.g., depending on the old-timers, most want to know if they’re a rat, sex offender, coward, drug user, rich or poor).
If the new prisoner gets accepted, he will be looked out for and provided things people need walking in the door with nothing but a blanket roll (e.g., in the federal system: sheets, blanket, mini-care packet with a small packet of soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and a tooth brush).
Then there are those who will befriend a new prisoner to use and take advantage of, while others will truly befriend the new arrival by treating him the same way he wants to be treated.
Most new people are greeted by other prisoners, who will ask questions, with the main ones being, “Where you from?” “Who you run with?” or some variants, thereof, and if accepted, will provide the new prisoner with needed items, such as cosmetics, a few soups, maybe even a radio and headphones, if he has impeccable credentials for life inside prison.
If rejected or from the wrong area or gang, he’ll get run off the compound or carried off after suffering more physical abuse than he may deserve.
21 k Views, 39-Upvotes
Can you survive and stay healthy on food provided to you in prison? Is the food clean and nutritious enough, or do you need to order out like the rest of the inmates?
Updated: February 19, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
I can only write about my life while serving time in the Georgia Department of Corrections and in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. This is what I wrote, in part, on December 19, 2016 in “Gratitude and More”:
“12/25/2011: On Christmas Day, I sat in my cell reading my favorite magazine (THE SUN). “Chow time,” the guard shouted.
“I rushed to the chow hall. Inside, I sat at a rectangular table of four with three of my peers. One person stood to leave. Each of us exchanged Christmas greetings, wishing him a Merry Christmas before a 27-year-old youngster sat down to take his place.
“The one who sat to the right of the youngster had just complained how the Cornish game hen was small. I had previously tried to maintain the attitude of gratitude at the table by commenting how it was good, though, it was smaller than those we had had in the past. It was still tasty. I simply agreed with the other guy about it being smaller than usual. I labeled it as a “Cornish Game Chick.”
“That’s when the youngster sat down. “There sure are a lot of complaining people at this prison,” he said.
“His words filled me with guilt. He had once told me that both of his parents were still in state prison. I realized his parents were probably doing worse than all of us at the table.
“The youngster’s comment helped redirect the nature of our conversations toward what we were grateful for.
“I shared my favorite saying by an author whose name I do know to give him or her their credit due (“I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”).
“I continued to express gratitude for the well-prepared meal; knowing we were all fortunate to have what sat before us, as we compared our plight to others incarcerated in state and other federal prisons, who probably wished they could eat as good as we were.
“This is what we had to complain about: a Cornish game hen, black-eyed peas, which were really good; collard greens, rolls or wheat bread (I chose wheat bread); an individually packaged cherry pie, chocolate cup cake, and some other stuff I probably forgot. I ate my fill.
“Each of us walked away feeling more grateful for the meal we had been blessed with because we had stopped for a moment to remember the less fortunate in life.
“Not only do I have two feet and nice shoes, I have a fat belly filled with gratitude. I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas meal and feel fortunate for the freedom you share in a less than perfect world.
“ Along the same theme as above, I wrote this on America’s Turkey Day:
“THANKSGIVING DAY 2016: Happy Thanksgiving Day to each of you. If you feel like you don’t have much to be thankful for because of the hardships life has thrown at you this year, stop to think of all you have to be grateful for; perhaps you have food to eat; two feet, two arms, shoes on your feet, and clothes to warm your body, a place to stay and be safe. Feel fortunate.
“When I find myself disgruntled for having to wait for an hour in the commissary to purchase a few items, I try to stop and remember those who wish they had my problems, financially able to shop for a few items needed to maintain a decent level of living inside this prison. That makes me feel grateful for the opportunity, rather than disgruntled and agitated for having to wait as I listen to loud mouths shouting to the man next to them, disturbing the peace, killing the sound of silence.
“Upon remembrance of the less fortunate, I find myself grateful for the simple things in life I often take for granted. Be thankful for those you have in your life who love and care for you. Happy Thanksgiving!” [End Quote] GRATITUDE AND MORE
[2017–2018]: The recent federal budgets reduced available funds to prison administrators. When a warden saves money by operating under the approved budget, he or she may receive a bonus. At the last federal institution I lived at, the warden received hefty bonuses by reducing the operating cost.
Thousands of dollars saved came from her reducing food service expenditures and by reducing staff, much like private prisons operate to theoretically save taxpayer dollars.
Many times I sat eating and feeling regret for those who could not afford to have food in their locker to supplement the meal; however, overall, the food was well-prepared and most of the staff allowed inmates to go through the line twice, because they knew the meal was less than what the menu required to meet dietary requirements for adequate nutrition.
State prisoners are probably fed less but could survive with what is served. Though they could survive, that does not mean they would not walk away hungry and suffer from health-related issues due to dietary deficiencies.
5.1k Views, 15-Upvotes
When does the day start for inmates in federal prison?
Answered: February 4, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
From my experience, when the day starts for federal inmates varies according to the prison and the employment position held by the prisoner. For most of the prisons I was in, which included four United States Penitentiaries and one Federal Correctional Institution, the doors opened by 6:00 am under normal circumstances.
In the lower-security prisons, certain prisoners assigned to food service (chow hall) may leave the unit for work as early as 4:00 am, whereas the majority who work in the chow hall won’t leave until approximately 6:30-7:00 am.
Those schedules and processes vary according to the security rating of the prisoner and institution. For instance, high-security institutions that house inmates assigned as Max. Custody, may not allow those inmates to work in certain positions where more readily-available weapons or tools may be used to aid in an escape plan, or during high-risk periods (when visibility is reduced, such as when foggy or before sunrise or after sunset).
For thirteen of the thirty-years, I was a maximum custody prisoner which required that I stay in a high-security institution; however, the only consistency in management techniques to control me was inconsistency. The way I was managed because of my custody/security rating, varied according to the Captain of the institution.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ program statement for Inmate Security Designation and Custody Classification (P.5100.08), approved 09/12/2006, and other referenced documentation, establishes security protocols for management of its prisoners.
In the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), where I worked for most of the thirty-years I served, we reported to work at 7:30 am. The cell house doors opened at 6:00 am for the general population to begin their day.
2.8k Views, 11-Upvotes
If I add in the fourth, the previous champ comes in with 18.4 K total views and 84-Upvotes.
How does serving time in a federal prison compare to serving time in a state prison?
(Question Modified) Answered: December 26, 2018, by Wayne T. Dowdy
When I first began my sentence, an old-timer said, “The states control you physically and the feds do it psychologically.”
I found that true. The feds use incentive-mechanisms to control its prisoners (gives prisoners something to lose, recreation privileges, more freedom of movement, better living conditions; something authorities take or restrict access to for misbehavior).
The typical prisoner mentality in the federal system is milder, less violent than many state prisoners. Again, an old-timer gave me a few words of wisdom:
“The federal system lulls people to sleep because it’s more laid-back, and there’s not as much violence every day, so guys forget where they’re at because they get away with so much. And then when one of them does something stupid to the wrong person, he gets stabbed or killed.”
I behaved better in the federal system than when I served time in the State of Georgia, where violence dominates every day activities.
My published writings show the difference between the young knucklehead I was while serving time in Georgia where I didn’t have much to lose, in comparison to the responsible man I become, due in part to the aging process and having programs available to help me change. Read The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy, Midnight Express Books, for an example of the differences in my behaviors in the State versus the Federal system.
Being paid for working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) made a significant difference because it allowed me to take care of myself, rather than to burden my family for support, and that made me feel better as a human being.
The difference in my behavior illustrates the effectiveness of incentive programs, as well as the difference in the life of a prisoner serving time in a federal or state system; however, prisoner experiences vary.
__________________________________________________________ Purchase the latest paperback novel by Wayne T. Dowdy, Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree, $6.95 USD at Amazon.com