From Inside Santa Rita – a prisoner speaks on conditions, priorities and the Sheriffs’ current grab for $106M and 349 more guards

4/24/20

[We received this commentary in the course of conversation with someone imprisoned in Santa Rita Jail. It deserves to be heard. – admin.]

“They want to hire 200 more deputies? North County jail that was downtown [Glen Dyer] just closed. Why do they have to hire more deputies when those deputies were supposed to be transferred to Santa Rita Jail?

This lets you know how the Sheriff thinks about human lives. The Sheriff’s department really doesn’t care about inmates inside, they just care about themselves. And [not offering extra blankets to sick people] is making an excuse. Alameda County is funded pretty well. I don’t know where the money is going because it’s like a jungle in here. We only get one set of clothes for the week, which is crazy…if I was to exercise, that’d be crazy. They don’t even give us shorts.

Where’s the alcohol sanitizing wipes we’re supposed to be getting every day? The stuff we’re supposed to get – we aren’t getting it. And the food they feed us is trash. Same meals, three days in the row – they just put it in the refrigerator and serve it the next day. All the money they’re requesting in these board meetings is absurd – I don’t understand where it’s going.

More deputies – for what? There isn’t anybody on the street. If you need 200 more deputies, that means you aren’t releasing people the way you say you are. [Staffing is usually] 2 deputies per housing unit, with one technician. That’s all they need. So what do they need more deputies for? Some days, there are 4 deputies on the floor here.

ACSO has been running this scam to the Board for decades. The crazy part is that those Board members sit at their desks and podiums, but if they actually walk up in here and see with their own eyes what they see, I’m sure they wouldn’t grant any type of benefits [to ACSO] at all. This funding isn’t to help us out. More programs? My cellie had to laugh at that. That’s B.S.

This is what we get right now: 2 hours in the morning time, and 2 hours at night time. With the normal program, with both tiers running, we get 3-4 hours in the morning and 3-4 hours at night. We aren’t gonna get any more programs.

I wish the Board members would actually interview inmates about changes that need to be made. We’re all coming to the same conclusion in here, and if nothing changes, some inmates 5-10 years down the road are going to be thinking the same things. I’ve been here my whole life, and this has been going on for decades. We’re being treated like we’re animals. But in the late 90’s to early 2000s, Alameda County used to OR a lot of people. Now, they use the cash bail system to scam people out of their money. If somebody is given high bail, knowing they’re coming from poverty, that is ‘cruel and unusual.’ But I believe that if someone was to walk up in here [for an unannounced inspection], they would shut these buildings down.

In their eyes, we’re guilty until proven innocent. Everybody’s situation is different, but everyone should be treated equally. If that was the case [if ACSO respected people’s constitutional rights] there would be a whole bunch of people out with their families right now. Coronavirus don’t got no problems touching nobody.”

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