Inmates say food spiked at Wasco prison
Last updated 10/31/2023 at 5:30am | View PDF
Prisoners at the Wasco State Prison are charging that razor blades, laxatives – and even rat feces – are appearing in their food, and prison officials are denying the problem and not helping the inmates.
Jakiya Abrams, who lives in northern California, said her husband, Sonny Granados, an inmate at the prison, called her to tell her of the incidents.
"It was their turn to eat. He is in Pod C, and as he was eating, he found a razor in his hot dog. Also, it was unknown that they were putting laxatives in their food until everyone was rushing to the bathroom," she said.
"They reported it to the officers, but the officers told them to be quiet and go to their pod, letting them know if they complained about it, they would come and raid their pod or send them to solitary."
Abrams said Sonny Granados called her on Oct. 21 to share the complaints.
"He got in touch with me today [Oct. 24] with an update. And he let me know what was happening and told me they were refusing toilet paper to them. He told me that one prisoner swallowed a razor and was bleeding. They refused him medical attention for two days."
She said Granados had given her the phone numbers of different prisoner family members so they could also make complaints.
"The prisoners are afraid to call us directly because the phone calls get cut off. During our conversation today [with Granados], the phone call was disconnected," she said.
Prison officials say they are investigating the allegations. Terri Hardy, a spokeswoman for the the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued a statement Wednesday afternoon:
"CDCR's top priority is ensuring the health and safety of the people who live and work in our institutions. Wasco State Prison continues to follow all food handling protocols, which includes having sworn peace officers oversee the process. We are actively investigating these reports and as such we cannot provide further comment at this time."
Granados said her husband told her that officers inside the prison have rejected the charges, too.
"A sergeant reached out to me today [Wednesday] and made it seem like it was nothing, saying they have samples of the food and supervise how the food is prepared as if it couldn't get tampered with. He said he has people watching over the inmates preparing the food."
She said she is deeply concerned for her husband's safety because the Wasco prison is currently being investigated for a couple of murders that happened earlier this year.
In a call with Granados, he said, "The other day, everyone had massive diarrhea, and I found a razor blade in my hot dog for lunch. Other prisoners were also finding blades. One of the prisoners got an x-ray, and they found a razor."
"The medical team said they thought he did it to himself. Everyone is afraid to say anything because the officers told us that if we make a big deal, they'll start to take away our privileges."
He added that he saw prisoners from the dorm next door who found wires, razor blades and rat feces in their food.
"He hasn't eaten the food in four days," Abrams said.
"Officer Hernandez told us to just look through the food and be careful instead of giving us a substitute like packaged lunches," Granados said.
He said that another prisoner, Jesse Ramirez, found blood in his feces. "They waited a couple of days for him to be seen by medical. They took him and said not to worry about it but took it seriously when they took an X-ray and found the razor."
A relative of Ramirez, who lives in Riverside and wishes to remain anonymous, said, "It's not right what they are doing. They need to be more careful with their food. It's dangerous; a prisoner could die."
"I spoke with him today, and he said he has been vomiting blood and is waiting for them to do something to take it [razor] out. They said he did it to himself. He's afraid to eat and hasn't eaten."
Abrams said she has tried to reach out to Warden Heather Shirley, "But she is going around me and instead has had the sergeant call me who told me they are looking into it. I've called the receptionist, who told me they were in a meeting talking about it. I called the warden again, but it goes straight to voicemail, and her voicemail is full, and I can't leave a message."
She added, "The prisoners are scared because they don't want to get beat up or sent to solitary."
Granados' sister, Lucy Granados, said the prisoners are being refused more toilet paper and have to use their bedding or clothes in the bathroom.
"He was supposed to have called me an hour ago but never called."
Lucy, who lives in Chico, said she reached out to the state inspector general's office. "I left them a message. It's a hotline; you have to leave your information, and they will get back to you. I'm still waiting. They said if there was immediate danger to call 911, but I don't know how that would work because I live in Chico."