A prison guard in Heilongjiang province, China, revealed that to curb the epidemic from entering the prison, the local area has been adopting an overloaded duty mode for three years. This stressful workload has led to the death of many prison guards.

Wang Liang, a prison guard from Yinong Prison in Heilongjiang province, have shared his story with Chinese language media Xin Tang Ren.

He said that the last time he went to work, it lasted for 42 days long. Even during the epidemic, the work has not stopped. There are two prisons in the county, and the local GDP depends entirely on these prisons. Without these prisons, both small counties can become poor ones.

Wang Liang said that, since the outbreak began in 2020, to make sure that the epidemic does not spread to prisons, China Ministry of Justice has required prisons across the country to strictly implement “three shifts of quarantine and three shifts on duty.”

He continued that there would be 14 days for quarantine, 14 days for duty, and 14 days off for rest. However, with 14 days on duty, it would be on duty for 24 hours a day. And night shifts are required.

With this so-called “three shifts of quarantine and three shifts on duty” work mode, prison guards must first isolate themselves at the outer edge of the prison for 14 days before they can start working. As a result, prison guards could not see their family members for at least 28 days after taking the job.

Wang Liang added that during the quarantine period, the prison guards have to watch the monitor during the quarantine time. Fu Zhenghua is the former Chinese Minister of Justice, who is currently on trial for corruption charges. Fu once ordered all the prison guards to watch the monitoring when they were on night shift. 

Wang said that he feels that if he keeps doing this, his body will collapse. Wang Liang said that this long chain of work made his body exhausted and unbearable. He can only survive now because he’s still young.

According to incomplete date from mainland media, for the past three years, at least 61 prison guards have died in quarantine and closed duty work. 

He commented:

“This epidemic quarantine policy is too extreme. It is one-size-fits-all. No matter whether the epidemic is severe or not, all are closed. There is no end, and no hope.”

In the eyes of the prison guards, this work load was absurd and ridiculous.

And there’s also the issue of different treatment in terms of epidemic prevention. 

Wang Liang said that construction workers build dozens of new tankers everyday, but these workers do not have to go into quarantine. The inspectors of these buildings do not even wear protective clothes. And this all happens while Wang and his prison guard colleagues are treated differently, on long dreadful quarantine. 

The prison guard from Heilongjiang said that he wanted to change the situation by reporting the problem to his boss, but no one took over. His bosses are pushing the matter over and shirking their responsibilities. To this end, many prison guards are now trying their best to transfer to another post. 

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