From pod 4B (work pod) comes this report:
The Sheriff has started coming to the kitchen nearly once a week. J—says this definitely has to do with all the struggle against conditions and the complaints cited against the food, and with the sheriff trying to appear like a man of the people and getting called out for being unaccountable or a tourist at his own jail. He’s been eating a couple of bites and trying to talk to guys in the kitchen. Guys on the pod asked him point blank: ‘Why can’t we have salt or pepper to put on our food, to season it a little?’ He gave no answer. “We wonder if he puts salt on his own food,” says J–. As it is, inmates who work in the kitchen (and those who get the food) often use soup packets bought through canteen to get any kind of seasoning for their food. Nothing has improved nutritionally or flavor-wise. Nor has much changed with the cleaning regimen for food trays. There is still food and other substances clinging to them on a regular basis.
J– also reports Inmates would like to have a wide group of inmates sit down with the sheriff and officers and people from the outside and tell them what’s on their mind, and what kind of troubles they face and what can be done about it. “Nobody is listening to what we have to say,” says one man on 4B. “These need to be people who have been in here a while, or who have been in and out several times but know about how things are in the jail. It can’t just be new people. We know how things are in here, and we have a good idea of how things can be better.”
J– says for one it’s no surprise about officers paying no mind to Matthew McCain’s dire situation. They routinely see officers watching movies together, reading, and gossiping—things they are not supposed to be doing when they’re on the job, and supposed to be making rounds.
We also have reports of two diabetics not having their blood sugar checked often enough. With a high-starch diet, it is really important for their sugar to be monitored. These inmates wrote to newspapers. We haven’t spotted any reports about this.
Another medical issue is the denial of dental care to an inmate in severe pain. An inmate reports this man’s tooth was hurting so bad he was crying uncontrollably.
In discussing the relative freedom (more time out of cell) that pod 4B has contrasted with others, the inmate commented on the much-hyped STARR (alcohol and drug treatment) program, saying “they act like it’s a privilege; it’s a punishment. They actually start off looking for people to kick out, to belittle you, or to embarrass to try to provoke you to make you quit.