Delano

NORTH KERN STATE PRISON IS LOCATED IN DELANO, CA,
HOUSING 4,355 PEOPLE.

Since March 2020, there have been 924 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4 deaths, at this facility.

Stories from Delano

02/21
Don’t hear from them
LISTEN
0:00
0:00

Don’t hear from them

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano.

This rollercoaster has also affected the contact with family. I miss my visits with my parents. It’s been hard not being able to hug them and share that space in visiting with them. On top of that I worry about them because they’re elderly and they have my sisters and grandkids living with them.

The youth think they’re invincible. So it worries me that they will end up getting sick and that my whole immediate family will get sick. Not being able to see them makes it that much harder.

I used to be at another institution where we were able to received 15 second videos from family. Emails, pictures directly into a jpay tablet through a kiosk machine. The correspondence was faster because we could email back and forth with anyone that programmed here.

I believe that if it was available in all prisons that it would help alleviate the stress. I know from experience that it does help with communication with family and friends. Especially the kids that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and write.

An email is just another text to them and I know for me it had opened a line of communication with the new generation in my family. Now I don’t hear from them unless I call.

I also miss my visits with the only friend that used to visit me. I finally got to feel the saying that goes like this, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I miss the warm embrace and kiss of my friend.

I have not been worried about my safety so much as my family’s well-being. Their health is what has me worried. I have been lucky not to get as sick and it’s not because of the measures that this institution has taken.

If anything I think the measures have only been super spreaders and a big disruptor to our lives and program. We could have been quarantine in our own cells without being bounced around and maybe it wouldn’t had spread as fast.

So as of right now I am just not settling in or getting too comfortable in the cell I am in, because I know that sooner or later the bouncing around will start all over again. The COVID-19 pandemic continues.

This is how I have been dealing with this. By keeping in mind that I have no control of what the institution decides to do with us on a daily basis. So instead of being bitter by getting upset, it’s better to go along with it, and make the best of it by thinking positive.

The full story

Go Back

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

February 2021

Hello [redacted]

First of all, I would like to say thank you for your concern. Times are definitely difficult. Being in prison alone is hard. Now with this pandemic things are more stressful.

I can’t speak for others, but I could see the effect that it’s having on many. I think that what you and your team are doing will be helpful to many because it always helps to have a way to vent. And writing one’s experience releases some of the anxiety or frustration.

I wish you and all the people in your team are in good health and that you’re getting through these hard times alongside loved ones. I don’t think many people took COVID-19 seriously until people close to them started getting sick.

Now to share my experience, it’s frustrating when we as inmates have no say as to the best way of preventing the spread or quarantine. We are just directed and can’t say much.

My first bad experience was when I, along with about 20 other inmates that take some form of medication or have a medical appointment with a nurse, came across a medical staff that was infected with COVID-19.

We were all called out at about 7 p.m. to take a rapid COVID-19 test. We were told that sometime during the day we came in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 and to avoid any more spread that we were going to be isolated. Even if we got a negative reading on our test.

We were sent back to our cells to collect all our property and wait to be moved. I have been in the same cell for a little over a year now. Though it’s not home, I was settled and had a daily program. Plus I had my radio that I would wake up to as well a television that kept me informed by watching news or simply entertainment by watching different programs.

Every day I would get time outside of my cell for exercise or to enjoy the fresh air. Now everything is about to change. My test came back negative. Nonetheless, I was moved from A yard to B yard.

All the other 20 inmates were put in the same building in dirty cells, all single cell. All of our property came with us, so we had our appliances. However, we were unable to plug in our appliance because none of our cells had outlets.

They had the wiring for plugs, but they had the covers over the outlets so we couldn’t plug in. Now I’m told that for the next 14 days I will only come out of my cell every three days for a three-minute shower and back in.

I was one of the lucky ones that had some personal books to read that kept me busy. The building had about three cells that did have electrical outlets for those that had medical appliances that needed to plug in.

My stay there was 17 days because on the 14th day there was no doctor to sign my release on a Friday so I was stuck for the weekend. This happened on September of 2020. I was lucky to go back to the cell I was in before I got moved. Dang cellie, he never was moved.

I tried to avoid going to a medical as much as possible to avoid another incident. Giving up on some medical treatment hoping that it was enough to avoid being quarantined again. Wearing a mask was not enough because even if you wear it just coming across someone that’s infected will still put you in quarantine.

Well I found out that it doesn’t matter how much we try to avoid others. Medical has its flaws. Every person that takes medication had to go to medical, take off their mask. take the medicine in front of medical staff, and drink from a fountain that is not being wiped after each patient.

Some touch the fountain with the hand that they use to grab medication that they put in their mouth. January 1, 2021 I got called for another test because I came in contact with another COVID-19 infected person. Either an escort or medical staff. My test came back positive.

I unfortunately put my cellie in a messed up situation because now he is being tested. And even though he came back negative, he was told to pack up because we are both going to separate and be put in quarantine.

The positive were sent to a different yard as the ones that just came in contact with a positive person. Now we are forced to leave the comfort of our cell to a cell without electricity for the next 14 days.

I ended up at the same building as the previous time just two cells away. Still there were no outlets in those cells.

Administration at the institution had told the men’s advisory council to let the general population, that they were going to work on installing the plug as maintenance. Just had to take off the plates that covered the plugs and replace it with one that had the opening on the plugs.

However, we were later informed that the warden decided that it was too expensive. That our comfort was just not worth it. So you could imagine all the prisoners’ frustration. Some spent over 20 or more days there. I spent 14 days.

After that bitter experience I was sent back to general population. This time it was to a different building and cell and new cellie. I was fortunate enough to not get real sick, I had body cramps (body pains).

Medical gave me Tylenol and they would check my blood pressure on a daily basis, twice a day, and make sure my temperature was normal. This looks like it’s the new norm here, not to get comfortable. Because any moment you may be going back to quarantine. Now I brought batteries for my radio, ordered a few books to read for my next trip.

Now besides the way things are being dealt with to prevent spread, which by the way didn’t work because most of this yard has been diagnosed as positive. A few have been lucky enough not to get sick or catch COVID-19.

Nonetheless, went through the quarantine process. Those that have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and most accepted it. Anyone that got COVID-19 had to wait after three months and test negative before receiving it, if they want it.

This rollercoaster has also affected the contact with family. I miss my visits with my parents. It’s been hard not being able to hug them and share that space in visiting with them. On top of that I worry about them because they’re elderly and they have my sisters and grandkids living with them.

The youth think they’re invincible. So it worries me that they will end up getting sick and that my whole immediate family will get sick. Not being able to see them makes it that much harder.

I used to be at another institution where we were able to received 15 second videos from family. Emails, pictures directly into a jpay tablet through a kiosk machine. The correspondence was faster because we could email back and forth with anyone that programmed here.

I believe that if it was available in all prisons that it would help alleviate the stress. I know from experience that it does help with communication with family and friends. Especially the kids that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and write.

An email is just another text to them and I know for me it had opened a line of communication with the new generation in my family. Now I don’t hear from them unless I call.

I also miss my visits with the only friend that used to visit me. I finally got to feel the saying that goes like this, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I miss the warm embrace and kiss of my friend.

I have not been worried about my safety so much as my family’s well-being. Their health is what has me worried. I have been lucky not to get as sick and it’s not because of the measures that this institution has taken.

If anything I think the measures have only been super spreaders and a big disruptor to our lives and program. We could have been quarantine in our own cells without being bounced around and maybe it wouldn’t had spread as fast.

So as of right now I am just not settling in or getting too comfortable in the cell I am in, because I know that sooner or later the bouncing around will start all over again. The COVID-19 pandemic continues.

This is how I have been dealing with this. By keeping in mind that I have no control of what the institution decides to do with us on a daily basis. So instead of being bitter by getting upset, it’s better to go along with it, and make the best of it by thinking positive.

Sooner or later the pandemic will be over and I wish we all survive and that I come out in the other end. Learning patience and understanding for the bitter people that keep trying to make my life more difficult.

I want to thank you [redacted] and team for this outlet and for the good thoughts you send our way. You all are good-hearted people. Best wishes to you and your families.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

02/21
Started getting sick
LISTEN
0:00
0:00

Started getting sick

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano.

I don’t think many people took COVID-19 seriously until people close to them started getting sick.

Now to share my experience, it’s frustrating when we as inmates have no say as to the best way of preventing the spread or quarantine. We are just directed and can’t say much.

My first bad experience was when I, along with about 20 other inmates that take some form of medication or have a medical appointment with a nurse, came across a medical staff that was infected with COVID-19.

We were all called out at about 7 p.m. to take a rapid COVID-19 test. We were told that sometime during the day we came in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 and to avoid any more spread that we were going to be isolated. Even if we got a negative reading on our test.

We were sent back to our cells to collect all our property and wait to be moved. I have been in the same cell for a little over a year now. Though it’s not home, I was settled and had a daily program. Plus I had my radio that I would wake up to as well a television that kept me informed by watching news or simply entertainment by watching different programs.

Every day I would get time outside of my cell for exercise or to enjoy the fresh air. Now everything is about to change. My test came back negative. Nonetheless, I was moved from A yard to B yard.

The full story

Go Back

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

February 2021

Hello [redacted]

First of all, I would like to say thank you for your concern. Times are definitely difficult. Being in prison alone is hard. Now with this pandemic things are more stressful.

I can’t speak for others, but I could see the effect that it’s having on many. I think that what you and your team are doing will be helpful to many because it always helps to have a way to vent. And writing one’s experience releases some of the anxiety or frustration.

I wish you and all the people in your team are in good health and that you’re getting through these hard times alongside loved ones. I don’t think many people took COVID-19 seriously until people close to them started getting sick.

Now to share my experience, it’s frustrating when we as inmates have no say as to the best way of preventing the spread or quarantine. We are just directed and can’t say much.

My first bad experience was when I, along with about 20 other inmates that take some form of medication or have a medical appointment with a nurse, came across a medical staff that was infected with COVID-19.

We were all called out at about 7 p.m. to take a rapid COVID-19 test. We were told that sometime during the day we came in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 and to avoid any more spread that we were going to be isolated. Even if we got a negative reading on our test.

We were sent back to our cells to collect all our property and wait to be moved. I have been in the same cell for a little over a year now. Though it’s not home, I was settled and had a daily program. Plus I had my radio that I would wake up to as well a television that kept me informed by watching news or simply entertainment by watching different programs.

Every day I would get time outside of my cell for exercise or to enjoy the fresh air. Now everything is about to change. My test came back negative. Nonetheless, I was moved from A yard to B yard.

All the other 20 inmates were put in the same building in dirty cells, all single cell. All of our property came with us, so we had our appliances. However, we were unable to plug in our appliance because none of our cells had outlets.

They had the wiring for plugs, but they had the covers over the outlets so we couldn’t plug in. Now I’m told that for the next 14 days I will only come out of my cell every three days for a three-minute shower and back in.

I was one of the lucky ones that had some personal books to read that kept me busy. The building had about three cells that did have electrical outlets for those that had medical appliances that needed to plug in.

My stay there was 17 days because on the 14th day there was no doctor to sign my release on a Friday so I was stuck for the weekend. This happened on September of 2020. I was lucky to go back to the cell I was in before I got moved. Dang cellie, he never was moved.

I tried to avoid going to a medical as much as possible to avoid another incident. Giving up on some medical treatment hoping that it was enough to avoid being quarantined again. Wearing a mask was not enough because even if you wear it just coming across someone that’s infected will still put you in quarantine.

Well I found out that it doesn’t matter how much we try to avoid others. Medical has its flaws. Every person that takes medication had to go to medical, take off their mask. take the medicine in front of medical staff, and drink from a fountain that is not being wiped after each patient.

Some touch the fountain with the hand that they use to grab medication that they put in their mouth. January 1, 2021 I got called for another test because I came in contact with another COVID-19 infected person. Either an escort or medical staff. My test came back positive.

I unfortunately put my cellie in a messed up situation because now he is being tested. And even though he came back negative, he was told to pack up because we are both going to separate and be put in quarantine.

The positive were sent to a different yard as the ones that just came in contact with a positive person. Now we are forced to leave the comfort of our cell to a cell without electricity for the next 14 days.

I ended up at the same building as the previous time just two cells away. Still there were no outlets in those cells.

Administration at the institution had told the men’s advisory council to let the general population, that they were going to work on installing the plug as maintenance. Just had to take off the plates that covered the plugs and replace it with one that had the opening on the plugs.

However, we were later informed that the warden decided that it was too expensive. That our comfort was just not worth it. So you could imagine all the prisoners’ frustration. Some spent over 20 or more days there. I spent 14 days.

After that bitter experience I was sent back to general population. This time it was to a different building and cell and new cellie. I was fortunate enough to not get real sick, I had body cramps (body pains).

Medical gave me Tylenol and they would check my blood pressure on a daily basis, twice a day, and make sure my temperature was normal. This looks like it’s the new norm here, not to get comfortable. Because any moment you may be going back to quarantine. Now I brought batteries for my radio, ordered a few books to read for my next trip.

Now besides the way things are being dealt with to prevent spread, which by the way didn’t work because most of this yard has been diagnosed as positive. A few have been lucky enough not to get sick or catch COVID-19.

Nonetheless, went through the quarantine process. Those that have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and most accepted it. Anyone that got COVID-19 had to wait after three months and test negative before receiving it, if they want it.

This rollercoaster has also affected the contact with family. I miss my visits with my parents. It’s been hard not being able to hug them and share that space in visiting with them. On top of that I worry about them because they’re elderly and they have my sisters and grandkids living with them.

The youth think they’re invincible. So it worries me that they will end up getting sick and that my whole immediate family will get sick. Not being able to see them makes it that much harder.

I used to be at another institution where we were able to received 15 second videos from family. Emails, pictures directly into a jpay tablet through a kiosk machine. The correspondence was faster because we could email back and forth with anyone that programmed here.

I believe that if it was available in all prisons that it would help alleviate the stress. I know from experience that it does help with communication with family and friends. Especially the kids that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and write.

An email is just another text to them and I know for me it had opened a line of communication with the new generation in my family. Now I don’t hear from them unless I call.

I also miss my visits with the only friend that used to visit me. I finally got to feel the saying that goes like this, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I miss the warm embrace and kiss of my friend.

I have not been worried about my safety so much as my family’s well-being. Their health is what has me worried. I have been lucky not to get as sick and it’s not because of the measures that this institution has taken.

If anything I think the measures have only been super spreaders and a big disruptor to our lives and program. We could have been quarantine in our own cells without being bounced around and maybe it wouldn’t had spread as fast.

So as of right now I am just not settling in or getting too comfortable in the cell I am in, because I know that sooner or later the bouncing around will start all over again. The COVID-19 pandemic continues.

This is how I have been dealing with this. By keeping in mind that I have no control of what the institution decides to do with us on a daily basis. So instead of being bitter by getting upset, it’s better to go along with it, and make the best of it by thinking positive.

Sooner or later the pandemic will be over and I wish we all survive and that I come out in the other end. Learning patience and understanding for the bitter people that keep trying to make my life more difficult.

I want to thank you [redacted] and team for this outlet and for the good thoughts you send our way. You all are good-hearted people. Best wishes to you and your families.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

02/21
The new norm
LISTEN
0:00
0:00

The new norm

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano.

Some touch the fountain with the hand that they use to grab medication that they put in their mouth. January 1, 2021 I got called for another test because I came in contact with another COVID-19 infected person. Either an escort or medical staff. My test came back positive.

I unfortunately put my cellie in a messed up situation because now he is being tested. And even though he came back negative, he was told to pack up because we are both going to separate and be put in quarantine.

The positive were sent to a different yard as the ones that just came in contact with a positive person. Now we are forced to leave the comfort of our cell to a cell without electricity for the next 14 days.

I ended up at the same building as the previous time just two cells away. Still there were no outlets in those cells.

Administration at the institution had told the men’s advisory council to let the general population, that they were going to work on installing the plug as maintenance. Just had to take off the plates that covered the plugs and replace it with one that had the opening on the plugs.

However, we were later informed that the warden decided that it was too expensive. That our comfort was just not worth it. So you could imagine all the prisoners’ frustration. Some spent over 20 or more days there. I spent 14 days.

After that bitter experience I was sent back to general population. This time it was to a different building and cell and new cellie. I was fortunate enough to not get real sick, I had body cramps (body pains).

Medical gave me Tylenol and they would check my blood pressure on a daily basis, twice a day, and make sure my temperature was normal. This looks like it’s the new norm here, not to get comfortable. Because any moment you may be going back to quarantine. Now I brought batteries for my radio, ordered a few books to read for my next trip.

Now besides the way things are being dealt with to prevent spread, which by the way didn’t work because most of this yard has been diagnosed as positive. A few have been lucky enough not to get sick or catch COVID-19.

Nonetheless, went through the quarantine process. Those that have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and most accepted it. Anyone that got COVID-19 had to wait after three months and test negative before receiving it, if they want it.

The full story

Go Back

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

February 2021

Hello [redacted]

First of all, I would like to say thank you for your concern. Times are definitely difficult. Being in prison alone is hard. Now with this pandemic things are more stressful.

I can’t speak for others, but I could see the effect that it’s having on many. I think that what you and your team are doing will be helpful to many because it always helps to have a way to vent. And writing one’s experience releases some of the anxiety or frustration.

I wish you and all the people in your team are in good health and that you’re getting through these hard times alongside loved ones. I don’t think many people took COVID-19 seriously until people close to them started getting sick.

Now to share my experience, it’s frustrating when we as inmates have no say as to the best way of preventing the spread or quarantine. We are just directed and can’t say much.

My first bad experience was when I, along with about 20 other inmates that take some form of medication or have a medical appointment with a nurse, came across a medical staff that was infected with COVID-19.

We were all called out at about 7 p.m. to take a rapid COVID-19 test. We were told that sometime during the day we came in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 and to avoid any more spread that we were going to be isolated. Even if we got a negative reading on our test.

We were sent back to our cells to collect all our property and wait to be moved. I have been in the same cell for a little over a year now. Though it’s not home, I was settled and had a daily program. Plus I had my radio that I would wake up to as well a television that kept me informed by watching news or simply entertainment by watching different programs.

Every day I would get time outside of my cell for exercise or to enjoy the fresh air. Now everything is about to change. My test came back negative. Nonetheless, I was moved from A yard to B yard.

All the other 20 inmates were put in the same building in dirty cells, all single cell. All of our property came with us, so we had our appliances. However, we were unable to plug in our appliance because none of our cells had outlets.

They had the wiring for plugs, but they had the covers over the outlets so we couldn’t plug in. Now I’m told that for the next 14 days I will only come out of my cell every three days for a three-minute shower and back in.

I was one of the lucky ones that had some personal books to read that kept me busy. The building had about three cells that did have electrical outlets for those that had medical appliances that needed to plug in.

My stay there was 17 days because on the 14th day there was no doctor to sign my release on a Friday so I was stuck for the weekend. This happened on September of 2020. I was lucky to go back to the cell I was in before I got moved. Dang cellie, he never was moved.

I tried to avoid going to a medical as much as possible to avoid another incident. Giving up on some medical treatment hoping that it was enough to avoid being quarantined again. Wearing a mask was not enough because even if you wear it just coming across someone that’s infected will still put you in quarantine.

Well I found out that it doesn’t matter how much we try to avoid others. Medical has its flaws. Every person that takes medication had to go to medical, take off their mask. take the medicine in front of medical staff, and drink from a fountain that is not being wiped after each patient.

Some touch the fountain with the hand that they use to grab medication that they put in their mouth. January 1, 2021 I got called for another test because I came in contact with another COVID-19 infected person. Either an escort or medical staff. My test came back positive.

I unfortunately put my cellie in a messed up situation because now he is being tested. And even though he came back negative, he was told to pack up because we are both going to separate and be put in quarantine.

The positive were sent to a different yard as the ones that just came in contact with a positive person. Now we are forced to leave the comfort of our cell to a cell without electricity for the next 14 days.

I ended up at the same building as the previous time just two cells away. Still there were no outlets in those cells.

Administration at the institution had told the men’s advisory council to let the general population, that they were going to work on installing the plug as maintenance. Just had to take off the plates that covered the plugs and replace it with one that had the opening on the plugs.

However, we were later informed that the warden decided that it was too expensive. That our comfort was just not worth it. So you could imagine all the prisoners’ frustration. Some spent over 20 or more days there. I spent 14 days.

After that bitter experience I was sent back to general population. This time it was to a different building and cell and new cellie. I was fortunate enough to not get real sick, I had body cramps (body pains).

Medical gave me Tylenol and they would check my blood pressure on a daily basis, twice a day, and make sure my temperature was normal. This looks like it’s the new norm here, not to get comfortable. Because any moment you may be going back to quarantine. Now I brought batteries for my radio, ordered a few books to read for my next trip.

Now besides the way things are being dealt with to prevent spread, which by the way didn’t work because most of this yard has been diagnosed as positive. A few have been lucky enough not to get sick or catch COVID-19.

Nonetheless, went through the quarantine process. Those that have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and most accepted it. Anyone that got COVID-19 had to wait after three months and test negative before receiving it, if they want it.

This rollercoaster has also affected the contact with family. I miss my visits with my parents. It’s been hard not being able to hug them and share that space in visiting with them. On top of that I worry about them because they’re elderly and they have my sisters and grandkids living with them.

The youth think they’re invincible. So it worries me that they will end up getting sick and that my whole immediate family will get sick. Not being able to see them makes it that much harder.

I used to be at another institution where we were able to received 15 second videos from family. Emails, pictures directly into a jpay tablet through a kiosk machine. The correspondence was faster because we could email back and forth with anyone that programmed here.

I believe that if it was available in all prisons that it would help alleviate the stress. I know from experience that it does help with communication with family and friends. Especially the kids that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and write.

An email is just another text to them and I know for me it had opened a line of communication with the new generation in my family. Now I don’t hear from them unless I call.

I also miss my visits with the only friend that used to visit me. I finally got to feel the saying that goes like this, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I miss the warm embrace and kiss of my friend.

I have not been worried about my safety so much as my family’s well-being. Their health is what has me worried. I have been lucky not to get as sick and it’s not because of the measures that this institution has taken.

If anything I think the measures have only been super spreaders and a big disruptor to our lives and program. We could have been quarantine in our own cells without being bounced around and maybe it wouldn’t had spread as fast.

So as of right now I am just not settling in or getting too comfortable in the cell I am in, because I know that sooner or later the bouncing around will start all over again. The COVID-19 pandemic continues.

This is how I have been dealing with this. By keeping in mind that I have no control of what the institution decides to do with us on a daily basis. So instead of being bitter by getting upset, it’s better to go along with it, and make the best of it by thinking positive.

Sooner or later the pandemic will be over and I wish we all survive and that I come out in the other end. Learning patience and understanding for the bitter people that keep trying to make my life more difficult.

I want to thank you [redacted] and team for this outlet and for the good thoughts you send our way. You all are good-hearted people. Best wishes to you and your families.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

02/21
Filed a grievance
LISTEN
0:00
0:00

Filed a grievance

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano.

I recently filed a grievance regarding the neglect handling of the COVID-19 outbreak here.

I was placed on quarantine along with my whole building, A1. As a result of several inmates testing positive on December 2020. Between December 23, 2020 through January 9, 2021, inmates continued to test positive in that building.

I was tested three or four times and each resulted as negative. A total of over 56 guys tested positive and were moved to facility B or D. Ultimately after being quarantined for 21 days without any outside recreation, telephone calls to family, and no packages.

On January 13, 2021, there was approximately 43 guys housed in facility building A1 who have all tested negative several times. No other inmates were housed with us. And then the craziest thing took place, medical or custody decided to move all of us that were negative of COVID-19 to an infected building. That being three or five block.

So I was placed on an extended quarantine of 21 more days with the guys in building five because now they had experienced an outbreak. So I was tested several more times. Luckily, each produced negative results for COVID-19.

I was isolated in my cell for 43 days for 24 hours a day, other than a 10-minute shower every other day. It was frustrating to see out my window, guys who tested positive return back to the fall program and privileges, after 14 days on seven days quarantine, on B or C facility. I felt like I was being penalized for testing negative, cause had I tested positive I’d been returned to general population.

Finally on February 5, 2021, building five was lifted off quarantine.

The full story

Go Back

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

February 2021

[redacted] and [redacted],

Well, I recently received a letter addressed for [redacted] but the envelope was addressed by [redacted]. However, I truly appreciated your interest in how I’m holding up during this pandemic. It is very funny how the timing of your letter inquiring about my experience inside during this challenging time in the world. I recently filed a grievance regarding the neglect handling of the COVID-19 outbreak here.

I was placed on quarantine along with my whole building, A1. As a result of several inmates testing positive on December 2020. Between December 23, 2020 through January 9, 2021, inmates continued to test positive in that building.

I was tested three or four times and each resulted as negative. A total of over 56 guys tested positive and were moved to facility B or D. Ultimately after being quarantined for 21 days without any outside recreation, telephone calls to family, and no packages.

On January 13, 2021, there was approximately 43 guys housed in facility building A1 who have all tested negative several times. No other inmates were housed with us. And then the craziest thing took place, medical or custody decided to move all of us that were negative of COVID-19 to an infected building. That being three or five block.

So I was placed on an extended quarantine of 21 more days with the guys in building five because now they had experienced an outbreak. So I was tested several more times. Luckily, each produced negative results for COVID-19.

I was isolated in my cell for 43 days for 24 hours a day, other than a 10-minute shower every other day. It was frustrating to see out my window, guys who tested positive return back to the fall program and privileges, after 14 days on seven days quarantine, on B or C facility. I felt like I was being penalized for testing negative, cause had I tested positive I’d been returned to general population.

Finally on February 5, 2021, building five was lifted off quarantine.

During this pandemic, I’m sure each and every prisoner in the nation have experienced a level of added depress and stress. Several guys have lost family members to COVID-19. As for me I’ve had my niece, aunt, son, and daughter test positive. It’s definitely added concern for them and myself daily.

But I try to remain positive that this shall pass and things will return to normal. Many guys here have been given the vaccine within the past week, which is a good sign. The news has been reporting that numbers have risen tremendously of people out there being vaccinated.

Though we have a lot more to do, but it’s still progress.

The lack of visits have been really hard on me. Because the human/physical contact from family and loved ones are major stress releases. And I’m able to maintain those connections and family ties through being abreast on what’s going on in their lives.

That I am unable to learn through a 15-minute phone call.

Lately, to cope with this crisis, I’ve been writing and reading a lot. Recently, I began making donations to the LA Food Bank monthly. I figure through my earnings from my job I can afford to make a small donation to help those who are struggling to eat as a result of job losses and etc.

Well, it’s getting late. Hope to hear back from you soon. Feel free to ask any questions.

Take special care.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

02/21
Dirty cells
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Dirty cells

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano.

All the other 20 inmates were put in the same building in dirty cells, all single cell. All of our property came with us, so we had our appliances. However, we were unable to plug in our appliance because none of our cells had outlets.

They had the wiring for plugs, but they had the covers over the outlets so we couldn’t plug in. Now I’m told that for the next 14 days I will only come out of my cell every three days for a three-minute shower and back in.

I was one of the lucky ones that had some personal books to read that kept me busy. The building had about three cells that did have electrical outlets for those that had medical appliances that needed to plug in.

My stay there was 17 days because on the 14th day there was no doctor to sign my release on a Friday so I was stuck for the weekend. This happened on September of 2020. I was lucky to go back to the cell I was in before I got moved. Dang cellie, he never was moved.

I tried to avoid going to a medical as much as possible to avoid another incident. Giving up on some medical treatment hoping that it was enough to avoid being quarantined again. Wearing a mask was not enough because even if you wear it just coming across someone that’s infected will still put you in quarantine.

Well I found out that it doesn’t matter how much we try to avoid others. Medical has its flaws. Every person that takes medication had to go to medical, take off their mask. take the medicine in front of medical staff, and drink from a fountain that is not being wiped after each patient.

The full story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Delano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

February 2021

Hello [redacted]

First of all, I would like to say thank you for your concern. Times are definitely difficult. Being in prison alone is hard. Now with this pandemic things are more stressful.

I can’t speak for others, but I could see the effect that it’s having on many. I think that what you and your team are doing will be helpful to many because it always helps to have a way to vent. And writing one’s experience releases some of the anxiety or frustration.

I wish you and all the people in your team are in good health and that you’re getting through these hard times alongside loved ones. I don’t think many people took COVID-19 seriously until people close to them started getting sick.

Now to share my experience, it’s frustrating when we as inmates have no say as to the best way of preventing the spread or quarantine. We are just directed and can’t say much.

My first bad experience was when I, along with about 20 other inmates that take some form of medication or have a medical appointment with a nurse, came across a medical staff that was infected with COVID-19.

We were all called out at about 7 p.m. to take a rapid COVID-19 test. We were told that sometime during the day we came in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 and to avoid any more spread that we were going to be isolated. Even if we got a negative reading on our test.

We were sent back to our cells to collect all our property and wait to be moved. I have been in the same cell for a little over a year now. Though it’s not home, I was settled and had a daily program. Plus I had my radio that I would wake up to as well a television that kept me informed by watching news or simply entertainment by watching different programs.

Every day I would get time outside of my cell for exercise or to enjoy the fresh air. Now everything is about to change. My test came back negative. Nonetheless, I was moved from A yard to B yard.

All the other 20 inmates were put in the same building in dirty cells, all single cell. All of our property came with us, so we had our appliances. However, we were unable to plug in our appliance because none of our cells had outlets.

They had the wiring for plugs, but they had the covers over the outlets so we couldn’t plug in. Now I’m told that for the next 14 days I will only come out of my cell every three days for a three-minute shower and back in.

I was one of the lucky ones that had some personal books to read that kept me busy. The building had about three cells that did have electrical outlets for those that had medical appliances that needed to plug in.

My stay there was 17 days because on the 14th day there was no doctor to sign my release on a Friday so I was stuck for the weekend. This happened on September of 2020. I was lucky to go back to the cell I was in before I got moved. Dang cellie, he never was moved.

I tried to avoid going to a medical as much as possible to avoid another incident. Giving up on some medical treatment hoping that it was enough to avoid being quarantined again. Wearing a mask was not enough because even if you wear it just coming across someone that’s infected will still put you in quarantine.

Well I found out that it doesn’t matter how much we try to avoid others. Medical has its flaws. Every person that takes medication had to go to medical, take off their mask. take the medicine in front of medical staff, and drink from a fountain that is not being wiped after each patient.

Some touch the fountain with the hand that they use to grab medication that they put in their mouth. January 1, 2021 I got called for another test because I came in contact with another COVID-19 infected person. Either an escort or medical staff. My test came back positive.

I unfortunately put my cellie in a messed up situation because now he is being tested. And even though he came back negative, he was told to pack up because we are both going to separate and be put in quarantine.

The positive were sent to a different yard as the ones that just came in contact with a positive person. Now we are forced to leave the comfort of our cell to a cell without electricity for the next 14 days.

I ended up at the same building as the previous time just two cells away. Still there were no outlets in those cells.

Administration at the institution had told the men’s advisory council to let the general population, that they were going to work on installing the plug as maintenance. Just had to take off the plates that covered the plugs and replace it with one that had the opening on the plugs.

However, we were later informed that the warden decided that it was too expensive. That our comfort was just not worth it. So you could imagine all the prisoners’ frustration. Some spent over 20 or more days there. I spent 14 days.

After that bitter experience I was sent back to general population. This time it was to a different building and cell and new cellie. I was fortunate enough to not get real sick, I had body cramps (body pains).

Medical gave me Tylenol and they would check my blood pressure on a daily basis, twice a day, and make sure my temperature was normal. This looks like it’s the new norm here, not to get comfortable. Because any moment you may be going back to quarantine. Now I brought batteries for my radio, ordered a few books to read for my next trip.

Now besides the way things are being dealt with to prevent spread, which by the way didn’t work because most of this yard has been diagnosed as positive. A few have been lucky enough not to get sick or catch COVID-19.

Nonetheless, went through the quarantine process. Those that have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine and most accepted it. Anyone that got COVID-19 had to wait after three months and test negative before receiving it, if they want it.

This rollercoaster has also affected the contact with family. I miss my visits with my parents. It’s been hard not being able to hug them and share that space in visiting with them. On top of that I worry about them because they’re elderly and they have my sisters and grandkids living with them.

The youth think they’re invincible. So it worries me that they will end up getting sick and that my whole immediate family will get sick. Not being able to see them makes it that much harder.

I used to be at another institution where we were able to received 15 second videos from family. Emails, pictures directly into a jpay tablet through a kiosk machine. The correspondence was faster because we could email back and forth with anyone that programmed here.

I believe that if it was available in all prisons that it would help alleviate the stress. I know from experience that it does help with communication with family and friends. Especially the kids that don’t have the time or patience to sit down and write.

An email is just another text to them and I know for me it had opened a line of communication with the new generation in my family. Now I don’t hear from them unless I call.

I also miss my visits with the only friend that used to visit me. I finally got to feel the saying that goes like this, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I miss the warm embrace and kiss of my friend.

I have not been worried about my safety so much as my family’s well-being. Their health is what has me worried. I have been lucky not to get as sick and it’s not because of the measures that this institution has taken.

If anything I think the measures have only been super spreaders and a big disruptor to our lives and program. We could have been quarantine in our own cells without being bounced around and maybe it wouldn’t had spread as fast.

So as of right now I am just not settling in or getting too comfortable in the cell I am in, because I know that sooner or later the bouncing around will start all over again. The COVID-19 pandemic continues.

This is how I have been dealing with this. By keeping in mind that I have no control of what the institution decides to do with us on a daily basis. So instead of being bitter by getting upset, it’s better to go along with it, and make the best of it by thinking positive.

Sooner or later the pandemic will be over and I wish we all survive and that I come out in the other end. Learning patience and understanding for the bitter people that keep trying to make my life more difficult.

I want to thank you [redacted] and team for this outlet and for the good thoughts you send our way. You all are good-hearted people. Best wishes to you and your families.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

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