Sunday, April 5, 2020

Governor Stitt Failing Oklahoma



Covid-19 and Prison




     Oklahoma's response to COVID-19 has been slow. Our Governor is afraid to act for some reason. Healthcare workers are at risk of being exposed to infected patients in hospitals. Hospitals are in a short supply of masks and protective gear, having to reuse safety equipment such as masks and gowns. I realize many people, in the beginning, were claiming we don't have that many cases, and this will pass like the Flu. First, the danger needs to be made clear. Coronavirus infection is not the primary concern. Coronavirus is more contagious than the Flu and will infect more people. Most people can recover but may need to be in the hospital and require a ventilator. Second, the hospitals do not have the number of masks, gowns, and respirators for a mass amount of infect patients. We should have shut the state down much sooner so we could get back to business as usual, but the Governor was afraid to act.
Prisons are a hotbed for infectious disease. During my incarceration, many people had Hepatitis, HIV, and the Flu was a real concern. The prisons should have been making masks long before they started or quarantined shifts of guards in the facility. Advocates called wardens to donate masks made by the public and turned down. It sounds extreme, but look where we are now. I made several posts about masks when people were calling for release because I know Governor Stitt is a do-nothing Legislator. He created a reform task force, and we released some inmates to reduce a number, and well, that is it: small changes, but nothing substantial to change the system or help people. Everyone, if we want real change, we have to change the legislators, we keep voting the same people in. We can only hope it will not be someone we know in prison that will pay the price because our leader was more worried about re-election than lives. Inmates are going to be infected by the staff; they are the outside variable. What the Governor needs to be working on now is how fast he can get rapid tests or evaluate who has a stable household that can be released to home confinement to mitigate the death toll. Perhaps he should start with the elderly and non-violent inmates, people with less than six months left. It is time for the Governor to grow up. Oklahoma is in a real crisis, and lives are on the line. Just my opinion

Shad Hagan

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