Voices From The Inside (4:46) Kerry Shakaboona Marshall


Greetings everyone. This is your brother Shakaboona. Thank you all for participating in this special event. To waste no time, let me get right into it. One of the things I've learned about the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is they are mostly drunk with power and only know their way of doing things, regardless of how impractical. They've been claiming to have taken many precautionary safety measures for COVID-19.  Yet, it's all smoke and mirrors to hide the truth of what's happening inside the prison, which is a flawed strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in prison. Contradictions and no supervision of prison staff, but to see the truth? You must break their mirrors.

Please keep in mind that prisons are already isolated in quarantine by the nature of the institution itself. So actually, prisons could be another safe place from COVID-19 so long as prison staff aren't allowed to come inside and infect anyone. The DOC strategy and tactics to prevent COVID-9 from entering into prisons were flawed from the start because they should not have used COVID-19 as a custody and control crisis but as a health and safety crisis. Had they choosed health and safety viewpoint, they would have saw the need to reduce the number of prison staff allowed to work and restrict guards' contact with prisoners, as guards have excessive physical contact with prisoners. Their primary focus with preventing the spread of COVID-19, it should have been to limit guards' physical contact with prisoners, and then to provide a COVID-19 safety measures among prisoners. Basically, the DOC treated a health crisis as a custody and control crisis, which is why several prisons are now bursting asunder with COVID-19 outbreaks. Nonetheless, the DOC chose and maintained a flawed strategy of custody and control to prevent COVID-19 because it's the DOC's coaches that do so. It's all they know.

So instead of a strategy to isolate and restrict guards from prisoners, they are focused at isolating and restricting persons from each other. If the clear and present danger is guards transmitting COVID-19 to prisoners, then there's the DOC's contradictions and no supervision of the rank-and-file prison staff in regard to COVID-19 so-called safety measures. The contradiction is that while the DOC claimed to be taking precautionary safety measures to a prevent COVID-19 from entering the prison, they are conducting totally ineffective temperature checks with prison staff entering the prison and are turning a blind eye to the many guards that are not wearing their face masks within prison, which in turn exposes the DOC's failure to  supervise its employees during a health crisis. The majors, captains, and lieutenants are not supervising the many lower-rank sergeants and guards to force them to wear their mask while working inside the prison.

Prisoners have filed grievances about this issue, but prison video footage is the best and only evidence that is needed. Several actions can be taken about the DOC snafu of this COVID-19 response. State agencies like the Department of Health and the Human Rights Commission can be made to critically review the DOC for violations of health and human rights. Pressure can be placed on the state legislature to conduct committee hearings of inquiry on the DOC’s handling of this COVID-19 response. Law firms can file a class action civil lawsuit against the prison officials on behalf of all the COVID-19 incarcerated people who died and were infected. Community groups can organize a people's investigation and report into the DOC's mishandling of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And further demands can be made against the courts and the parole board to release more incarcerated persons in response to COVID-19. Let us critically analyze the DOC's decisions and actions and hold them accountable before this COVID-19 reality becomes the new normal.

From the belly of the beast at Prison Radio, I am Shakaboona. Thank you for listening.