Filed under: Central, Editorials, Health Care, Incarceration
Anarchist prisoner Noah “Kado” Coffin offers some observations about the conditions that allow the spread of Hepatitis C behind bars, and the Texas prison system’s indifference to the disease. Check out more of Noah’s work at the SF Bay View here.
by Noah “Comrade Kado” Coffin
Did you know that using CF2 gas on an enemy force is considered a war crime? Or even an aviator shooting a downed pilot or medic? This is counted along with torture and various other unconscionable things – but allow me to welcome you to how the land of “liberty” – “the home of the brave”, “land of the free!” – Prison Nation deals with those who oppose them, be that on the field of battle or as unruly citizens.
There is a rule of thumb here in America – it is conform or be conformed. I can merely relate to you what I’ve studied or heard in reference to ugly wartime happening or political tyranny – however, I can be the one to give you personal accounts of Prison Nation “behind the scenes”, here behind the wall…
Here of late, my work has been primarily about the Hepatitis C epidemic (HCV). Hard to leave that subject well enough alone due to the fact that it appears to be the number one threat to the life and longevity to all those who find themselves behind the wall. It also appears intentional, if not deliberately disregarded.
Be the judge, and following this exposé I’m sure to leave you in question. In this vast and growing nation, a mere 1% of the population has been estimated to have this deadly yet curable virus. As this is Prison Nation – America boasts a staggering 1.3 million state prisoners (not including jails or prisoners awaiting conviction)! – an alarming percentage of those prisoners have the virus, and that is the ones who have been tested. Roughly 20%, or 1/5, of the prison population has this deadly virus.1 The cure exists, and though the constitution and written laws guarantee prisoners have the “right” to receive it, the oppressive corporate system continues to refuse the drugs! I have exposed the cross-contaminating breeding grounds under the “care and custody” of TDCJ in recent exposés. The concentration camp buzzcut leaving prisoners’ ears nicked, run-over moles bleeding, then on to the next “offender” who has no choice but to submit to the “policy”. And roll the dice…
Then of course I brought to mind in the very same article how sharing razors and nail clippers too can transmit the virus from one person to another. With identical nail clippers and razors, a “shake down” could leave cell mates scratching their heads while separating those items in general pop. In Ad Seg, though, all “offenders” share the same nail clippers! If you’re not too careful, you’ll unwittingly share your razor too… on level 2 or 3, that still exists as a problem, though those on level 1 now receive razors in their cell.
Before my expose in “A Ticking Time Bomb”, all levels and housing had “razor boxes” down by the shower, and there you risking receiving the wrong razor. Now all must still use community nail clippers and must relinquish your Offender ID card in order to use them.
The exposé you’re reading now is to shed light on how that isn’t just a risk but a spread of the virus and TDCJ refuses to acknowledge it! I am now housed with John Arce #2090686. He has HCV. Upon request he gave up his ID card to use the community nail clippers. When Officer Pymm came to retrieve the clippers, John told him “Hey man, I got Hep-C, and look, my nails got cut too short and I’m bleeding. You need to sterilize ’em before they get passed to anyone else.” The CO, Pymm, told him “Not my problem, and besides – they don’t give us anything to sterilize them with.” The CO just took them and he gave them to – who the hell knows!
Now I present documented evidence that TDCJ not only allows this, but condones it!
John put in a grievance to investigator Terri Hall, Grievance #2018047193, dated November 28th, and related all of the above-mentioned. Terri Hall denied that as “non-grievable!”
By the time John received this response, he resubmitted to the only other Grievance Investigator, Delores Washington, who also denied the grievance due to John “submitting a grievance in excess of 7 days”. That was Grievance #2018650994, December 5th.
I can no longer say that TDCJ simply turns a blind eye to the spread of Hepatitis C, or that they are ignorant – the truth is right there! If you are on TDCJ’s person of interest list – you go to seg. Don’t submit, and you go to level 2, or 3. Each step down the ladder leaves you not just exposed, but subjected to infection! Not just Texas, but all over Prison Nation, you can find such reports.
Take a look at Prison Legal News’ December 2017 issue. On pg 48-49, in an article by David M Reutter, TDOC, Tennessee State Prisoners (of which, half that were tested were positive!), Graham and Davis state that TDOC denies treatment to prisoners as a result of placement, actions concerning disciplinary, or how much time they have left… I can’t speak for how the virus is getting around in Tennessee, but here in Texas it’s being spread by policy!
Revolutionaries! The investigative journalism from here behind the wall brings with it retaliation, repression, and even harm to the point of death in some cases. If you want to fight toxic prisons, if you want to fight the power – stay in touch, monitor the activists, and call and file complaints.
In love & rage,
Email at: www.jpay.com (Noah Jack Coffin #1795167)
Noah Coffin #1795167
2665 Prison Rd #1
Lovelady, TX. 75851
1 Typist’s note: According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control, the total jail and prison population is 2.2 million people, and 1 in 3 of those people have Hepatitis C.