by Hannah Bolotin
On Jan. 14, 2021, the Office of the Corrections Ombuds (OCO) published a report summarizing numerous cases of delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment by the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), highlighting the ways in which DOC’s negligence has led to several preventable prisoner deaths.
In yet another example of DOC’s negligence, the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCC-W) has been rebuffing a prisoner’s requests for treatment for rapid development of potentially cancerous tumors for years. Several years ago, Patricia Teafatiller noticed a mass on her neck. A year and a half ago, a second lump developed along her spine. Patricia sought medical care and was told it was just a knot in her neck. She was subsequently informed she had degenerative disk disease to explain away the mass on her spine, saying nothing of her symptoms and masses in other locations. The lumps have continued to grow, more masses have appeared, and none have diminished. Her neck has grown increasingly stiff; she describes it as feeling like it is in a vice, with a grinding, popping sensation whenever she moves her chin towards her chest. The results of the ultrasound that was eventually ordered were inconclusive, warranting an MRI and/or biopsy to confirm whether the masses are benign or malignant — the standard of care in any medical practice.
Continue reading OPINION: DOC’s Medical Negligence and Dehumanization of Prisoners Must End
by Bunthay Cheam
In 1997, Many Uch first walked into what was the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) building in the International District after being transferred directly from the Department of Corrections (DOC) custody after serving a three-year prison sentence. He faced an indefinite detention in an INS facility.
On Friday, Jan. 22, Uch walked out of the Department of Homeland Security building in Tukwila, WA to the applause of a dozen supporters and organizers. This time, with a Certificate of Citizenship in hand after being sworn-in as a naturalized citizen.
“This is one of the three achievements in my life that I’m proud of,” Uch said upon his release.
Continue reading Khmer Organizer Many Uch Becomes U.S. Citizen After Two-Decade Journey
by Billy Gumabon
I remember when the global pandemic was declared and the nation went into lockdown. This ultimately trickled down into the prison system, and they immediately suspended all visitations and programming in prison. With no family and loved ones coming in to visit and no physical contact with the outside world, I was left in a spirit of uncertainty, worry, and fear. I just sat in my cell and watched the news helplessly for hours to see the latest updates from President Trump addressing the nation, hoping to catch a glimmer of hope I could hold on to. However, I kept seeing the number of positive cases and the death toll rise due to the coronavirus, and the president acting like a child during his debriefing sessions. That didn’t help my anxiety.
Continue reading OPINION: The Pandemic From the Eyes of a Prisoner