Prison inmates don’t expect fine dining when they head to their meals, but they shouldn’t expect to deal with vermin like mice and maggots when eating. Yet that is what’s happening at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, and elsewhere throughout the country as maintenance is deferred in the facilities.
An inmate recently filed a lawsuit documenting the conditions at the Corcoran prison. The inmate claims bird feces “paint” the dining room hall, aggravating his allergies.
Holes in the Roof
Due to holes in the roof, inmates have experienced mice and maggots dropping into their food as they eat in the dining hall. When a maggot dropped directly onto one inmate’s meal, a guard advised him to sit at another table. The situation at Corcoran has deteriorated to the point that the prison no longer replaces interior ceiling tiles, as constant rainwater leaks destroy them quickly.
Pigeons congregate on the roof, and their droppings wash into the building during rainstorms. When pigeons die on the roof, their decomposing bodies might also wash into the dining hall.
A judge will decide in May whether the Corcoran prison dining hall should close, leaving prisoners to eat in their cells. That’s not an idea officials support, as they say, this temporary measure would lead to prison program interference and other complications. The judge said it was likely the problem was not going to be fixed “in our lifetime,” which may or may not have been a joke.
Other Roof Leaks Dangers
While pests in food raise the disgusting factor considerably, they are actually on the lesser scale of roof leak dangers. Damp conditions increase mold development exponentially, and leaks cause electrical systems to short out. That means that prisons are not only left with no or limited lighting, but fire alarms and fire suppression systems are also not working. It’s just a matter of time before such shorts cause a major disaster.
Prisons Blame Inmates
While the inmates certainly aren’t responsible for the state’s lack of roof repair, prison officials blame them for exacerbating the pest problem. Authorities say inmates toss food and garbage into the ventilation system through the ceiling holes, attracting rodents and flies – the latter then producing maggots. Inmates are also accused of using the ventilation ducts to make an illegal alcoholic beverage known as pruno from bread and leftover fruit.
Four Year, $260 Million Commitment
California plans to spend $260 million over the next four years for prison roof repair and mold remediation. This year’s budget includes repairs for two prisons, which means 18 of the state’s prisons still need such work done. The state has a total of 34 prisons, and repairs have taken place at eight so far. There is no word on when the Corcoran facility should expect repairs to take place.
The inmate lawsuit asks for faster action at Corcoran. At a hearing, the inmate stated that he is aware prison is not supposed to be comfortable. However, he told the judge he should not have to eat inches away from bird poop.
Inmates have the right not to be abused. If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment in jail or prison, you have legal options and may be entitled to compensation. CALL US at 866.836.4684 or Connect Online to learn how we can help you file a federal civil rights lawsuit.