Correctional officers file complaint about coronavirus at federal prison in Tallahassee
Candace Hudson, a prisoner rights advocate, got this video from an inmate at Marion Correctional Institution she says is James Ellis. Marion Star
Correctional officers at the federal women's prison in Tallahassee have filed a complaint about the lack of masks and other personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
2020欧洲杯正规平台The officers filed what's called an "Imminent Danger Report" with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that enforces workplace safety.
The April 14 complaint says actions by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons are proliferating the spread of the potentially deadly contagion.
One officer at the minimum-security prison, at the corner of Capital Circle and Conner Boulevard, has tested positive for the coronavirus and three others are quarantined. Also, one inmate is awaiting test results as of Friday evening.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Weeks of requests from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a labor union, for a supply of protective equipment like masks and gloves boiled over when officers were supplied with what they call counterfeit .
N95 is the standard set by OSHA for use in federal institutions, meaning it blocks at least 95 percent of very small particles, including viruses.
Ray Coleman, an FCI correctional officer, said he became suspicious of the mask he was given to wear to transport a prisoner because it lacked the label and design that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a legitimate mask should have.
“None of the labels, logos, the lot number, the inspection number ... none of that stuff was on there,” said Coleman, who is also president of AFGE Local 1570, which represents 200 officers and staff at the prison.
2020欧洲杯正规平台“It makes no sense," Coleman added. "We spent thousands of dollars ordering masks and nobody checked the legitimacy of them to make sure they were real or came from a credible vendor. From what I found out, they came from some Chinese company.”
The Bureau of Prisons said it has responded to several inquiries from OSHA concerning COVID-19.
2020欧洲杯正规平台"Working with OSHA and the union are two important opportunities the BOP has to evaluate efforts to keep staff safe and to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19," said spokesman Justin Long.
Long explained the BOP maintains a national supply of approved equipment and that field sites may also purchase supplies locally if needed.
"Based on the information we are aware of, no counterfeit masks have been issued for use by staff at FCI Tallahassee," said Long in an email exchange from the BOP's Washington office. Inquiries to officials at the Tallahassee facility went unanswered as of late Friday.
In the OSHA complaint, Coleman alleges the BOP has failed to "mitigate or prevent exposure or further exposure" to the virus by not providing the proper N95 masks to staff when transporting or in the presence of inmates.
2020欧洲杯正规平台The FCI also includes a Federal Detention Center for men, which holds people before or during court proceedings. This past week an officer there became ill while serving breakfast to quarantined inmates – currently there are about 70, according to Coleman and another source.
2020欧洲杯正规平台In an email to a friend shared with the Democrat, an inmate said the officer collapsed and was carried out of the isolation area by other staff. Coleman said the officer later tested positive for the coronavirus.
As of Friday, 465 federal inmates and 296 Bureau of Prison staff members had tested positive for the virus nationwide. Eighteen infected inmates have died at federal prisons across the U.S. since late March.
2020欧洲杯正规平台“All guards are now supposed to be wearing masks and gloves but some just wear their masks around their chin," the inmate wrote in his email. "I guess they are not concerned about our safety."
James Call is a member of the USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on him Twitter: @CallTallahassee
Never miss a story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat.