We told you earlier about Roy Cooper’s burgeoning reputation as the ‘mismanagement’ governor. Here’s one more doozy to add to the ever-expanding list of supporting evidence demonstrating the appropriateness of that nickname:
On March 25, North Carolina officials announced that they were suspending the prison work release program. And they made it clear why: They wanted to prevent inmates from being exposed to the coronavirus.
Despite that announcement, officials continued to send inmates from at least one prison — the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh — to work in government buildings outside the prison until mid-April, the Charlotte Observer has learned.
Prisoner Natasha Purvis told the Observer that she and other inmates would load into crowded prison vans that took them to state Department of Public Safety office buildings in Raleigh.
For a dollar a day, they would clean and disinfect bathrooms, door handles, phones, light switches and elevator buttons. They would also clean and disinfect the offices of top DPS officials, including state prisons director Todd Ishee and DPS Secretary Erik Hooks.
Now, Purvis is among at least 90 inmates at the women’s prison who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. She said last week that she was suffering from body aches, sweats and “a nasty cough.”[…]
Ladies and gentlemen, Team Cooper at its finest. We can’t go to church, but they can send sick inmates to “sanitize” state government offices.
[…] Purvis and three other inmates on the cleaning crew told the Observer they weren’t issued masks until April 15. State employees were working in most of the buildings they cleaned, and “there were times when you got a lot closer than 6 feet” from other people said Purvis, who is scheduled to finish her six-year drug trafficking sentence in 2022.
“I feel like they put us out there for a dollar a day to keep them safe,” the 42-year-old inmate said. “But they weren’t thinking about us at all.”
It’s unclear how the coronavirus entered the women’s prison. State prison officials say that at the DPS buildings that were cleaned, they’re not aware of any employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.
John Bull, a spokesman for the state prisons, said in a statement that the cleaning assignments “were deemed to be essential to the continued effective operations of the Department of Public Safety during the response to this pandemic.”[…]
A spokesman named “Bull.” You’ve got to love it.