About 13 inmates of the Tenerife II penitentiary center are in isolation when presenting “compatible symptoms” with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. None of them has been tested to determine whether or not they have this disease, but the prison health personnel act preventively. They are subjected to a control in the mornings and afternoons to find out if there is any relevant change in their condition, which would force their transfer to the Hospital de La Candelaria. For now, her symptoms are not severe.
The nurse Manuel de Prado states that the main objective “is that the coronavirus do not enter the prison. “Those in charge of the compound recommend that the inmates reduce their movements and their presence in the courtyard. That is, that they try to stay in their cells as long as possible. The low temperatures in that enclave of El Rosario during the last few days and an awareness of the magnitude of the problem help this suggestion to be accepted. For example, they are allowed to stay in the cell between nine in the morning and two in the afternoon, as well as after lunch , spend some time abroad.
De Prado acknowledges that “if the coronavirus enters a module it is easy for it to spread. “Approximately half of the population of Tenerife II is in cells for two people and the other, in individual spaces. Guidelines have been established by the Ministries of Health and Interior, which are applied by Penitentiary Institutions. This general guide must be adapted to the architectural, organizational, capacity and characteristics of each prison.
As a result of the alert situation, module 1, with fifty hundred cells and where the most violent inmates were going, was emptied. And its inmates have been distributed among other facilities. 50 percent of your space is intended for those with symptoms compatible with the Covid-19 coronavirus and the rest, those who enter the prison, as well as those who were on leave when the government decreed the quarantine measure. And there, if no symptoms are detected, they must stay until 15 days have passed for safety. This measure can be maintained as long as the capacity is not exceeded in the two weeks.
Health personnel who access module 1 do so with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), safety masks, gloves and sanitary goggles. The doctor takes the temperature of each inmate and asks about his evolution during the last hours. If they admit that they suffer dyspnea (breathing problems), they keep high fevers and headaches, 1-1-2 will be called so that the prisoner can be sent to La Candelaria.
As far as possible, access to prison is restricted to personnel that are not strictly necessary now, such as volunteers from the Spanish Red Cross and other NGOs, teachers, the chaplain or the treatment team, among other professionals. There is also ample time flexibility, and some choose to take homework home. However, teleworking is not possible in Tenerife II. For now, the staff of Penitentiary Institutions and the health workers have gel, gloves and masks. However, until yesterday there was not a large volume of items to cover your mouth, so those who own them must reuse them. Workers expect more boxes of these products to arrive in the coming days. According to Manuel de Prado, “the inmates are doing moderately well; they are concerned and cannot receive visitors.” In fact, “someone is upset,” he clarifies. Sources of the Grouping of the Bodies of the Administration of Penitentiary Institutions (Acaip-UGT) explain that “the hours of the workers have been made more flexible, by means of groups by areas of activity, to try to coincide as little as possible and minimize contacts” .
As communications and visits by families to prisoners have been suspended, the number of calls they can make abroad has increased, from ten to fifteen a week, according to Acaip-UGT. For this union organization, it would be necessary to equip prison officials who deal with isolated inmates with “gowns and goggles”, since they already have gloves and masks.
As for the 15-day quarantine period for those new entrants or those returning from a permit, Acaip-UGT estimates that this is a necessary measure “so that they do not infect the rest of the inmates, since they are a very vulnerable group and the contact between prisoners is inevitable that it takes place with the means that are available in modules of ordinary regime, in spite of the indications that are given to them and the work that the officials carry out “.
Control by phone
Officials who have come into contact with someone around them suffering from symptoms of possible contagion remain at home “so as not to carry the disease inside.” As for the Mercedes Pinto social integration center, according to Acaip-UGT, the release of prisoners has been promoted, “through the application of article 86 of the Penitentiary Regulation and a control is carried out with them through the telephone or some telematic system” .