This testimony was a declaration from the May 7, 2020 filing of a new class action lawsuit over jail conditions related to COVID-19 on behalf of prisoners at Santa Rita Jail against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
I am currently a pretrial detainee in Santa Rita Jail, the County Jail for Alameda County. My preliminary hearing has been continued, again, for another two months. I am currently housed in Housing Unit (HU) 21, which is all women.
On April 7, 2020, my cellmate was tested for corona virus, and the test came back positive, so both of us were moved into the medical ward, the Outpatient Housing Unit or “OPHU.” The OPHU was very crowded with many inmates, most due to the corona virus, so while normally inmates are housed singly, my cell mate and I shared one cell.
The cell was very dirty, with what looked like boogers on the wall, wet splotches that smelled like urine on the floor, and dirt everywhere. The jail put two cots into the room. The cot I was given had black mold on the cot and the mattress was stained and smelled of urine. I asked for something to clean with, and I was not given anything, so I ended up using a menstrual pad to wipe the mattress and the cot. We were both given another corona virus test.
The cot I was given had black mold on the cot and the mattress was stained and smelled of urine. I asked for something to clean with, and I was not given anything, so I ended up using a menstrual pad to wipe the mattress and the cot.
From April 7, 2020, through April 9, 2020, we were in the OPHU. We were locked up in that cell the entire time. We were not offered a shower. Finally, the test results came back, and both of us were negative, so we were placed back into HU21.
In HU21, we are now on split tier pod time, which means that everyone gets half the amount of pod time. Before we were able to have pod time together. This split tier does not make us safer because we still all do pill call together, or go to the clinic together, or when there is court, the girls from the top tier and bottom tier, line up and go to court together. What the actual result is, is that we are locked up more, and now, all programs, including Chapel have been canceled.
In HU21, we have not had access to any sanitizer wipes for over two weeks. I have filed a grievance about the conditions in the OPHU.