Hamilton: 27 cases in Covid outbreak at Barton Jail

From the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project

Since an outbreak at Barton Jail was declared 5 days ago, almost no information has gotten out from the people locked up inside. They have been on 24 hour lockdown for over 5 days as of the writing of this. According to the city’s covid outbreak website there are 27 cases at Barton, including both inmates locked up inside and staff.
Folks inside have been cut off from the outside because of this extreme, panicked, and unplanned lockdown. They have not been able to make phone calls and have not been able to send out any mail correspondence because of the guards’ refusal to handle it. This means no contact with lawyers, loved ones, or other important community supports. 24 hour lockdown also means no access to showers, making keeping themselves clean and healthy even more difficult.

During this outbreak folks in Barton have been receiving frozen meals on disposable cardboard trays, creating a buildup of waste which the guards are refusing to remove from the cells. These are the type of sub-par meal trays that folks inside have refused before. These stacks of partially eaten food trays and other waste are piling up in the cells and attracting insects.

Since the lockdown, the guards have been using clean laundry (towels and clothes) to clean the ranges so prisoners are left with nothing clean to wear or use, again making it extremly difficult for folks to keep clean and stay healthy.

Our neighbours in Barton Jail including many who are there on remand (meaning they have not been convicted of a crime) are being treated with such indignity. The jail, the guards, the administration, and the province do not know how to mange in a time of crisis like this, even though they have had months if not an entire year to prepare. Although folks inside are being tested for covid this is not how to keep them safe from the virus. Again we are calling for all prisoners in Barton Jail to be set free, for the safety of themselves and our communities.

Join us on Wednesday, February 24 at 3:30pm on the east side of the jail to show the folks locked up insde that they are not forgotten. Wear a mask and bring a sign.