On Monday, March 30 the ADCRR (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry) released their 5th COVID-19 Management Strategy Update. You can get the latest updates here: https://corrections.az.gov/. They stated “Currently, there are no known COVID-19 cases at any of ADCRR’s 16 prison complexes which house more than 42,000 inmates.”
But what are they doing to keep it that way? (If indeed there really are no cases.) There are a significant number of at-risk, and elderly women in Perryville. Other than taking the temperature of every woman over 50, what “slow the spread” strategies are being implemented?
Social distancing? Nope. Not happening. Yes, it would be difficult, but with planning, logistics, and commitment I’m betting something could be worked out. Better now than once the virus rampages through the population (not if, when!)
Masks? Nope. Not available. One creative at-risk inmate discovered that Tucks Pads contain some alcohol so she’s been using them as masks. Slightly better than nothing and far from adequate. Fortunately for her, she can afford to buy items like this. Many can’t.
Sanitizer? Nope. The smokers might accidentally set themselves on fire. And don’t get me started on the whole smoking thing and the blatant disregard for national and state law, prison regulations, and common courtesy. If those were enforced the likelihood of accidental sanitizer induced self-immolation would be significantly reduced.
Soap? Well, maybe a little. “Until such time as the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration has expired, ADCRR will provide free hand soap to all inmates UPON REQUEST.” (Emphasis mine.) If you’ve been reading these posts you should have a good idea of how well staff responds to requests for hygiene supplies. Why would we expect them to be any more responsive about soap than they are about menstrual products and toilet paper?
Isolation for at-risk populations? Not happening – see social distancing above. There is no sign that Perryville is doing anything to plan for isolating diagnosed cases, let alone at-risk women. When inmates sick with the virus start showing up it’s too late to start figuring out what to do.