D.C. Department of Corrections officers made a public statement on April 1, saying that they are afraid of potential exposure to coronavirus, as they claim they have very few personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, even though several inmates were diagnosed with COVID-19.
The officers also alleged that the department’s leaders were hiding the real number of COVID-19 cases at D.C. jail and inmates exposed to the coronavirus were not properly quarantined.
“Our management is not keeping us safe,” said Benjamin Olubasusi, who has been with D.C. Department of Corrections for 10 years. “CDC guidelines have not been followed at all.”
He added that sufficient personal protection equipment (PPE) has not been provided to the staff and social distancing is actively discouraged.
Olubasusi also said that he talked to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on the phone about the issue and he was threatened by her with criminal prosecution if he left the jail.
The D.C. Department of Corrections was recently sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of D.C. and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia on behalf of the over 1,600 inmates staying in D.C.’s jails for failing to adequately screening inmates for the coronavirus.
Now the lawyers representing D.C. corrections officers are asking the federal court to recognize them as a “friend” in the class-action lawsuit.