Between August 16 and August 29, 2020, Marcus tracked how many trays he received that were dirty (remnants of leftover food bits from previous meals still stuck to trays). After reviewing this information, I found that out of 28 meals that came on trays during this time period (14 breakfasts and dinners), 10 meals came on dirty trays (around 36 percent).
If what the women inmate kitchen workers state is true, that trays which fall on the ground are simply picked up and placed back on tables for filing, or that upon finding rodent feces or cockroaches, the Aramark workers will merely pick off the feces or bugs and then serve the food, this is unacceptable and unsanitary practices, and must be curtailed immediately.
When we filed grievances, the response is “resolved” because they have put sticky traps under the oven and vending machines. But, it doesn’t fix the reason the mice are here. The jail has not repaired the holes in the walls where the mice live.
Last week, for some reason, I got a stomach illness. I was throwing up, I was constipated, my stomach burned, and I could not eat for two days. I think it was related to something I ate. It’s hard to know if my stomach illness came from eating burnt food, or if it came from eating food that was contaminated.
In June, I missed 22 meals. In July, I missed 14 meals. Despite me submitting that grievance regarding missed meals back in mid-March 2020, the jail still often does not provide me with my meals, and does not provide me with replacement gluten free meals when my meal is missing.
After the incident, I was afraid to eat the food, particularly since the guards and the sergeant didn’t seem to care. It is not just about getting a new lunch, because any meal, or every meal could have feces in it. It just happened that I caught it that one time, so getting a new lunch does not change the fact that the kitchen has mice.
Around January or February of 2020, when Aramark started changing the menu, reducing the food portions more, and leaving out more of the meal elements, and I started losing weight. I have lost almost 70 pounds between January and August 2020 (eight months). In August 2020, I weighed 180 pounds, which I haven’t weighed since I was 16 years old.
Later that day, I submitted a grievance about the metal in my oatmeal, but the response came back as “Resolved”, because I was “offered another tray.”
I was stirring my rice when I saw a cockroach in the rice. Its body was partially translucent and I could see its skeleton, it had cooked into the rice, but I could see the legs and the wings. Finding the cockroach in my rice made me feel sick. I threw up from eating that cockroach.
Especially now that we are getting our food on disposable trays, I see many unopened or barely touched trays going straight into the trash can. This speaks to the food’s safety issues and terrible quality because we are so hungry all the time – we wouldn’t just throw anything out without it being truly disgusting or threatening to our health.
When the trays aren’t cleaned properly, the food remnants that stick to the trays just keep getting cooked into the plastic of the trays more and more. When there are food remnants on the bottom or sides of the trays, this means my food is contaminated, which feels unsanitary and not safe to eat.
I have seen our Aramark supervisor, Margarita, pull unused trays out of the garbage to be used on the line again. This concerns me because I try to keep things as clean and sanitary as possible. Margarita sometimes sees rat poop sitting on top of the trays. I have seen her dust off rat poop with her bare hands. I have also seen Margarita pull bugs out of the food, with her hands.
For example, yesterday the vegetables were old and inedible. They have turned brown and black and become soggy, like when vegetables are forgotten in the fridge and turn into brown mush. Lately, the tuna fish has smelled bad, and I’m afraid to eat it. I don’t want to get food poisoning.
The food at Santa Rita Jail is frequently spoiled and inedible. On the week of October 5, 2020, when I was still in HU 22, beans were served with maggots in them. The maggots were cooked with the beans. When we told the deputy, his response is “this is all you get”, “eat it or throw it away”.
I have found rat poop on top of the meal trays that are going out to the housing units. When I brought this issue up with Margarita, she picked off the rat poop with her bare hands and threw it away.... I reported this to a kitchen deputy and asked for the trays to be remade. We have to fight to get Aramark to throw away food that is not fit to serve. Rather than make all new trays, they try to...
I believe that I contracted COVID-19 while in the OPHU of Santa Rita Jail, as that is the only source where I had contact with individuals who had COVID-19, and that the sheriff failed to take the necessary steps to protect me from contracting COVID-19, failed to do the required testing, and failed to take action, well within the sheriff's power and control, to even refer me to emergency housing...
The next day, they gave me the COVID test, and on April 30, 2020, I tested positive. In solitary confinement, I got nothing. No cough drops, no extra blanket, no Tylenol, no hot drink, nothing. Just be in that room and suffer. Truly, I thought I was going to die.
If you have trouble breathing other times, there’s no sick call and there’s no inhaler, and you have to push the button. But the technician who answers the button talks to you in such a way, as to make you feel really bad, so these last few weeks, although I had chest pains, I didn’t push the button.
The jail didn’t tell me anything, but I knew that everyone in C had tested positive for the corona virus. I am essentially in solitary confinement, with nothing for comfort, and no medical treatment. I have had no shower. I have no soap. I have none of my property. I have not been given any clean clothes. I received nothing for my cough. I received nothing for my body pains.
...I got Tylenol only twice. I was running a high fever, over 100 degrees and I had really bad headaches. I asked them for Tylenol and the nurse said to me, “The doctor said no Tylenol. We want your body to fight it off by itself.” And then the nurse closed the door slot and walked off. I never got any cough drops or anything for my cough. I asked for an extra blanket and the jail refused to give...