Solano

CALIFORNIA STATE PRISON, SOLANO IS LOCATED IN VACAVILLE, CA,
HOUSING 4,306 PEOPLE.

Since March 2020, there have been 1,243 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6 deaths, at this facility.

Stories from Solano

01/21
Moving too much
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Moving too much

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano.

Caller: Okay. Well, at first, Solano, they had been doing a good job as far as keeping the numbers down, as far as the positive tests. It was very few at first, but then they started transferring people back in from places that had the COVID real bad, and they started mixing them up with us, and next thing you know, it’s gotten real bad around here to where you got like, I think it’s 24 buildings in this institution, and I think about like, more than 10 are quarantined right now.

And they’ve been moving a lot of people around. And a person will test positive for COVID and they’ll go up to 10 to 14 days, and then they’ll bring them out of the gym—that’s where they put a lot of people that test positive—then they’ll put us in buildings, where us people that haven’t tested positive, so next thing you know, then now they’re moving those guys out and moving them around.

They got a few isolated buildings as far as cell living goes, and uh, guys will move out of those cells, and they don’t even clean the cells before they move the next people in. You know, and I’d end up testing positive, I think December 22nd. And uh, my symptoms were just I lost my taste and my smell, but physically I didn’t feel anything as far as any aches or anything.

But, like right now they got us in a building where the social distancing is not that good. We’re in a dorm where the bunks are like four feet apart from each other. And some buildings like this they got like, 190 people in it when they shouldn’t have because there’s no social distancing. And then the COs, they come and go, you know, I think a lot of them have already tested positive, so they don’t really care about as far as, if they have their mask on. They don’t social distance between each other, you know.

So I just think at first, like I said, they did a good job around here, but once it hit I don’t think really, they understand how to deal with it, it’s just, that the way they’re moving people around, it’s—that should be pretty easy for them to figure out. If you have a building where guys have tested negative, you shouldn’t move people that have tested positive in that building. But uh, that’s about the gist of as far as how it’s going around here.

You know, a lot of us you know, not really anybody knows how really to deal with it, but the simple things that they could be doing, like I say, is not put people in the building where, if I tested positive, don’t put me in there with somebody that’s tested negative, you know, you’re putting them at risk now, with them doing that a lot around here. That seems like the worst part of it, they just don’t understand how to move people around, and that seems like the most simplest part, you know, to not put positive with negative.

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

UCI: Yes please, just tell me about the current conditions, and how everything’s going. Feel free to talk about your own experience with COVID as well.

Caller: Okay. Well, at first, Solano, they had been doing a good job as far as keeping the numbers down, as far as the positive tests. It was very few at first, but then they started transferring people back in from places that had the COVID real bad, and they started mixing them up with us, and next thing you know, it’s gotten real bad around here to where you got like, I think it’s 24 buildings in this institution, and I think about like, more than 10 are quarantined right now.

And they’ve been moving a lot of people around. And a person will test positive for COVID and they’ll go up to 10 to 14 days, and then they’ll bring them out of the gym—that’s where they put a lot of people that test positive—then they’ll put us in buildings, where us people that haven’t tested positive, so next thing you know, then now they’re moving those guys out and moving them around.

They got a few isolated buildings as far as cell living goes, and uh, guys will move out of those cells, and they don’t even clean the cells before they move the next people in. You know, and I’d end up testing positive, I think December 22nd. And uh, my symptoms were just I lost my taste and my smell, but physically I didn’t feel anything as far as any aches or anything.

But, like right now they got us in a building where the social distancing is not that good. We’re in a dorm where the bunks are like four feet apart from each other. And some buildings like this they got like, 190 people in it when they shouldn’t have because there’s no social distancing. And then the COs, they come and go, you know, I think a lot of people have already tested positive, so they don’t really care about as far as, if they have their mask on. They don’t social distance between each other, you know.

So I just think at first, like I said, they did a good job around here, but once it hit I don’t think really, they understand how to deal with it, it’s just, that the way they’re moving people around, it’s—that should be pretty easy for them to figure out. If you have a building where guys have tested negative, you shouldn’t move people that have tested positive in that building. But uh, that’s about the gist of as far as how it’s going around here.

You know, a lot of us you know, not really anybody knows how really to deal with it, but the simple things that they could be doing, like I say, is not put people in the building where, if I tested positive, don’t put me in there with somebody that’s tested negative, you know, you’re putting them at risk now, with them doing that a lot around here. That seems like the worst part of it, they just don’t understand how to move people around, and that seems like the most simplest part, you know, to not put positive with negative. That’s uh, that’s about it.

UCI: And how has it been affecting you? How have you been coping with everything?

Caller: Well, it’s kinda, you know, there’s stress part of it, because when you see on the news, you see people out there dying of this stuff, you know, and then, you know, we’re in here with, I mean there’s no type of medical, as far as like, you know, I was laying in the bunk the other day, I’m like, “Wow, I tested positive for this, you know, I could die in here you know?”

UCI: Mmhm.

Caller: You know, you got people out there on the streets that are on machines, ICU, and everything, and they’re dying. We’re just in here, you know, I’m just on my bunk, I’m not, you know, there’s, I don’t know what type of treatment they get on the streets as far as medication or whatever they can do, but you know, there’s nothing here. They come through and check our blood pressure through a temperature check, but that’s it, you know?

And you know, you have a lot of guys, like older guys in here, that like, they have a lot of underlying conditions you know, and you see the effects of that, it’s you know, it’s hurting a lot of these older guys, you know, 65, 70 years old in here, it affects them real bad. You know, they’re barely moving around, some are in wheelchairs, you know, and then they call themselves like, when you come out of the gym from testing positive, they take our property from us and keep it so they say in isolation for three days, so then they just give us a bed roll and really nothing else and just send us into a building.

You know, well, they just started letting us bring hygienes when you come out the gym, but at first they wasn’t even doing that, you just end up dealing. You don’t have any toothpaste, deodorant, shower stuff, nothing, you know. And then, the only thing they provide you with is toilet paper and a bar of soap.

You don’t have any change of clothes. When they brought me out the gym I just had some shorts and a long sleeve shirt, and I put the jumpsuit over that, so I can at least have something on under it, because they were just giving us a paper jumpsuit, a pair of boxers, t-shirt, not even a t-shirt, and a pair of socks. And the room that I’m in is real cold, I for like, two days I couldn’t even wash the shirt I had on because I didn’t have nothing else to put on outside of that, you know.

UCI: Yeah.

Caller: So, it was real frustrating, just the way they do it, because then they call themselves isolating our property. And they got all our stuff like in the chapel, or in the kitchen. It’s like a warehouse just full of everybody’s stuff, and then the stuff is just in there you know, and guys would come up with this stuff, basically because then some guys go in there, they grab stuff that they shouldn’t be grabbing but they don’t even keep track of who’s grabbing what, you know, so you might go in there looking for your TV, and you look up, your TVs lost because somebody done took it, you know?

UCI: Wow, that must be so frustrating, with just how valuable all those things are to you while you’re inside.

Caller: Oh, it is. And, see, I have a board date coming up, you know, I’ve been moving around and like paperwork, mail that I’m supposed to be getting, like from different self-help groups that I’m doing, it’s slow to catch up with me because I done been in 14 building’s, 16 building’s gym, and now I’m in 18 building. So my mail, it’s like two-three weeks behind, you know?

UCI: Mmhm.

Caller: And then I have a board date coming up in April, so you know, I’m just trying to get settled in, and you know, get settled down and ready to study for that. It’s kinda hard, you know.

UCI: Yeah, that lack of control over your environment, even more so than before, must be really difficult, just to be kind of moved around, and not have things working the way you would hope they would normally work.

Caller: Yeah. Yeah, just any type of normalcy would be good. But like right now, the building that we’re in, like the building I was in, 14, they started uh, they empty, they started putting guys in the building that were positive so now, I’m in another different building now. But now I might move again because once they fumigate that building, they might move us back in there, you know? So, that’ll be another move, you know, just to pack it up and all that stuff, you just, you know, it’s kind of frustrating. Last time I was moving, I ended up breaking my TV, fell off the cart, I ended up breaking my TV.

So, it’s, that’s the frustrating, it just seems like, I mean, I know the COVID part is out of their control, but the way, just like I said, the way they’re moving people around and stuff that’s something they can control and its not really hard to understand that, hey, like I said, you don’t put positive people with negative people, you know? And, uh, they’ve been doing that a lot, you know?

UCI: Yeah, and that must have been scary yourself. I mean, even if you don’t have a lot of underlying conditions, just testing positive is a scary thing, I’m sure.

Caller: Yeah, oh yeah. That’s what it is. Oh, that was a scary, I was telling my sister about that, you know, and then like, I was under the impression like, they say we don’t have to test—you test positive, we ain’t gonna do no more testing until 90 days, but, and then my buddy of mine I was talking to, he actually said, “Hey, did you test negative yet?” And I was like, “Negative yet?” And I thought about it, I mean, I know, I hear on the streets, like NFL players, if they test positive like Monday, they test them throughout the week where, you can test negative after a certain period of time, you know? But, they’re steady bringing, I don’t know how, as far as how that works, if I test positive, then if I turn around and then test negative, can I catch it again you know?

UCI: Mmhm.

Caller: And uh, that’s what I don’t understand, why we have to wait 90 days before we you know, test again. You know, so that’s if you’re coming up negative, and then they move guys in there again that are positive, you know, I don’t know the risk of me catching it again, or can I catch it again, you know.

UCI: Yeah, science doesn’t seem to really be solid on that. Either way, yeah.

Caller: Yeah, yeah. That’s, see I understand that part of about as far as they’re not understanding that, but just like I said, the moving around and that seems like some of the easiest stuff that they can be able to deal with, that’s in their control to be able to understand, but they don’t even understand that.

UCI: Oh completely. How, as you said you were talking to your sister, how is your family coping with this? It must be hard on them knowing that you’re in there?

Caller: Yeah, yeah, well you know my sister, she’s, like when I told her about it, she, it kind of tripped her out, you know, especially she knows, you know, being in these places how it could be, you know, as far as you know, when I tell her about the clothes.

I mean, to me, okay, if it gets around, it’s kind of hard not to catch because we’re in the same environment, we use the same bathrooms, you know. You can wipe stuff down and all that, but we’re breathing the same air, so I mean, it’s like, once it’s in there, it’s kind of hard not to catch it, you know. At least, you know, out there you can kind of distance yourself from people, you know, but in here it’s not really, I’m looking around like right now guys are like two feet apart, you know.

UCI: Yeah.

Caller: It’s like, some stuff you can control, you know like, as far as just in here, as far as you can distance yourself, but once you go lay down, you know, I’m in my bunk, the guy that sleeps right across from me, he’s like four feet from me, you know? And the air is like, recycled air so, and you know, they say it’s airborne, so, I mean, that’s like, that’s a no-brainer on if you’re gonna catch it or not, if you’re in somewhere where people are positive at, you know?

12/20
Filthy gym
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Filthy gym

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano.

Caller: Well, the current situation is we had an outbreak about two weeks ago because they brought in a busload of people from Old Folsom, which had an outbreak there. And we didn’t have no cases. We maybe had one or two in and out here and there. But once they brought these guys to our building – and some of them told us straight out of their mouths that they weren’t even quarantined.

And all of the buildings that they put these guys in, there was an outbreak. And now they have all these guys testing positive. We’re over 100 cases now here at Solano. So, we’re being placed in a gymnasium that’s filthy. The stucco from the roof is falling down. There’s dust everywhere. There’s dirt all on the floor. We’re not six feet apart. It’s just filthy, and it’s not even ventilated properly.

And they’ve got mice running around in here. We’ve got roaches up in here. It’s terrible.

UCI: I’m really sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah. And I lost my smell. I lost my taste. It’s freezing in here.

UCI: When did you find out you were positive with COVID?

Caller: So, they’ve been – we’ve been testing multiple times, and we have a bunch of negatives.

And then I guess we supposedly have a positive, but nobody actually came out and told us. The officers had to tell us before the medical staff even told us, and we still haven’t gotten papers that actually say that we are positive. But we got all the negative papers, but they wouldn’t give us the positive papers for some reason.

UCI: Hmm.

Caller: So, how we found out actually was they – the police came to my cell because they moved me over to the quarantine because somebody in my dorm had tested positive.

And so then what they did was they rolled up our whole dorm and took us over to the level three side and threw us in a cell. From my understanding, when you’re in those cells, we don’t have the proper ventilation for the virus to escape through the vents. There is no ventilation system. The air just circulates in there. So, everybody that they’re sending to this cell situation are coming up positive. And then they’re taking us and they’re moving us to the gymnasium.

So, the officer comes to my door, and he says, “Hey, man, pack up.”

And I’m like, “Where am I going?”

He says, “You’re going over here because you’ve got a positive.” And that’s just one positive supposedly. So, nobody has come around and did a double test.

Now, I heard something about an influenza test that would give us a false positive where they just do the rim of our nose, and then I heard – and they did the one before where they went all the way up our nose, all the way up in our cranium, so far up there. Have you heard anything about that?

UCI: I unfortunately haven’t. I’m sorry.

Caller: The two tests are different. You know how they do the rim of your nose and then they go further up your nose?

UCI: Mm-hmm.

Caller: Yeah. So, once they started doing the rim of our nose, all of these people started coming back positive. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a correlation or some type of connection. But this is what we’re experiencing right now.

The full story

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Caller: Well, the current situation is we had an outbreak about two weeks ago because they brought in a busload of people from Old Folsom, which had an outbreak there. And we didn’t have no cases. We maybe had one or two in and out here and there. But once they brought these guys to our building – and some of them told us straight out of their mouths that they weren’t even quarantined.

And all of the buildings that they put these guys in, there was an outbreak. And now they have all these guys testing positive. We’re over 100 cases now here at Solano. So, we’re being placed in a gymnasium that’s filthy. The stucco from the roof is falling down. There’s dust everywhere. There’s dirt all on the floor. We’re not six feet apart. It’s just filthy, and it’s not even ventilated properly.

And they’ve got mice running around in here. We’ve got roaches up in here. It’s terrible.

UCI: I’m really sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah. And I lost my smell. I lost my taste. It’s freezing in here.

UCI: When did you find out you were positive with COVID?

Caller: So, they’ve been – we’ve been testing multiple times, and we have a bunch of negatives.

And then I guess we supposedly have a positive, but nobody actually came out and told us. The officers had to tell us before the medical staff even told us, and we still haven’t gotten papers that actually say that we are positive. But we got all the negative papers, but they wouldn’t give us the positive papers for some reason.

UCI: Hmm.

Caller: So, how we found out actually was they – the police came to my cell because they moved me over to the quarantine because somebody in my dorm had tested positive.

And so then what they did was they rolled up our whole dorm and took us over to the level three side and threw us in a cell. From my understanding, when you’re in those cells, we don’t have the proper ventilation for the virus to escape through the vents. There is no ventilation system. The air just circulates in there. So, everybody that they’re sending to this cell situation are coming up positive. And then they’re taking us and they’re moving us to the gymnasium.

So, the officer comes to my door, and he says, “Hey, man, pack up.”

And I’m like, “Where am I going?”

He says, “You’re going over here because you’ve got a positive.” And that’s just one positive supposedly. So, nobody has come around and did a double test.

Now, I heard something about an influenza test that would give us a false positive where they just do the rim of our nose, and then I heard – and they did the one before where they went all the way up our nose, all the way up in our cranium, so far up there. Have you heard anything about that?

UCI: I unfortunately haven’t. I’m sorry.

Caller: The two tests are different. You know how they do the rim of your nose and then they go further up your nose?

UCI: Mm-hmm.

Caller: Yeah. So, once they started doing the rim of our nose, all of these people started coming back positive. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a correlation or some type of connection. But this is what we’re experiencing right now.

UCI: And how have you been coping with all of this? How have you been handling it?

Caller: Well, I just read, and I meditate. I’m lucky I’m able to call my family and share with them what’s going on and kind of get it off my chest like that. Otherwise, you can’t do too much. You don’t want to do too much.

UCI: And then if you wouldn’t mind maybe just walk me back in time. When did the outbreak begin?

Is it different now than it was maybe at the beginning of COVID back in March?

Caller: Well, the difference from now, Solano, for a long time we didn’t have outbreaks and we didn’t have too many cases until they started transferring people in from New – Old Folsom around, let me see, maybe three weeks ago or maybe a little longer.

And then that’s when we started having cases. And then last week we had our first case in our building. But before that, another building, the 24 building, had an outbreak just in that building, and they isolated that whole building, took all of those guys out and put them in quarantine, and then rotated them back to the yard and back to the other building.

And once they rotated them back, then that’s when the outbreak happened in the 23 building and then isolated in the other buildings. But there’s maybe 40 guys left over in the 23 building right now. So, all this happened last week.

UCI: That sounds like quite a crazy, stressful situation. I’m sorry. How has this been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Say it again?

UCI: How has the COVID situation at your facility and with you, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Sorry, one more time?

UCI: How has what’s going on with you in Solano, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Oh, it’s terrible. Of course, they fear for my life, and they fear for my safety. And of course my wife misses me terribly and wants to visit me, and friends and family can’t do that.

So, everybody, they’re afraid because they know there’s so many people. It’s so overcrowded in here that when an outbreak happens in a prison, there’s no way they can isolate the person or the people that they come in contact with, especially in an open dorm with ten or 12 people in a small dorm. It’s not possible. So, they worry about me a lot.

UCI: Yeah, it must have been very hard to not have visitation all this time.

Caller: Yes, and I’ve been going to – I’ve been married now. I just had my tenth anniversary, and I’ve been going to visitation for ten years consistently almost every weekend. And then all of a sudden just nothing. In the beginning, they started to – they had a pilot program where they were going to do the video camera thing, and I guess the video cameras didn’t work. They had some technical difficulties.

So, they scrubbed that, and now – they’re just now bringing it back. My wife was going to get a visit for next weekend, but she can’t because now I’m on quarantine. So, I haven’t seen her except through pictures and stuff.

UCI: I’m so sorry. And congratulations on the ten years.

Caller: Thank you. And thank you for hearing my story and hearing what’s going on in here. Yeah, I had seen the number, and I was just like, “I’ve got to say something.” It’s just not right.

UCI: We really appreciate you calling. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?

Caller: I think I covered it all. It’s just the fact that it seems like they’re not taking every precaution, especially physically. They could at least clean this place up. They’ve got the backboard. It’s so much dirt and just old gunk stuck to all the lights and everything, and the floor is filthy.

They could take a lot more precautions in making this place a little bit more cleaner and safer, especially with the outbreak.

12/20
Get it off my chest
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Get it off my chest

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano.

Caller: Well, I just read, and I meditate. I’m lucky I’m able to call my family and share with them what’s going on and kind of get it off my chest like that. Otherwise, you can’t do too much. You don’t want to do too much.

The full story

Go Back

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Caller: Well, the current situation is we had an outbreak about two weeks ago because they brought in a busload of people from Old Folsom, which had an outbreak there. And we didn’t have no cases. We maybe had one or two in and out here and there. But once they brought these guys to our building – and some of them told us straight out of their mouths that they weren’t even quarantined.

And all of the buildings that they put these guys in, there was an outbreak. And now they have all these guys testing positive. We’re over 100 cases now here at Solano. So, we’re being placed in a gymnasium that’s filthy. The stucco from the roof is falling down. There’s dust everywhere. There’s dirt all on the floor. We’re not six feet apart. It’s just filthy, and it’s not even ventilated properly.

And they’ve got mice running around in here. We’ve got roaches up in here. It’s terrible.

UCI: I’m really sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah. And I lost my smell. I lost my taste. It’s freezing in here.

UCI: When did you find out you were positive with COVID?

Caller: So, they’ve been – we’ve been testing multiple times, and we have a bunch of negatives.

And then I guess we supposedly have a positive, but nobody actually came out and told us. The officers had to tell us before the medical staff even told us, and we still haven’t gotten papers that actually say that we are positive. But we got all the negative papers, but they wouldn’t give us the positive papers for some reason.

UCI: Hmm.

Caller: So, how we found out actually was they – the police came to my cell because they moved me over to the quarantine because somebody in my dorm had tested positive.

And so then what they did was they rolled up our whole dorm and took us over to the level three side and threw us in a cell. From my understanding, when you’re in those cells, we don’t have the proper ventilation for the virus to escape through the vents. There is no ventilation system. The air just circulates in there. So, everybody that they’re sending to this cell situation are coming up positive. And then they’re taking us and they’re moving us to the gymnasium.

So, the officer comes to my door, and he says, “Hey, man, pack up.”

And I’m like, “Where am I going?”

He says, “You’re going over here because you’ve got a positive.” And that’s just one positive supposedly. So, nobody has come around and did a double test.

Now, I heard something about an influenza test that would give us a false positive where they just do the rim of our nose, and then I heard – and they did the one before where they went all the way up our nose, all the way up in our cranium, so far up there. Have you heard anything about that?

UCI: I unfortunately haven’t. I’m sorry.

Caller: The two tests are different. You know how they do the rim of your nose and then they go further up your nose?

UCI: Mm-hmm.

Caller: Yeah. So, once they started doing the rim of our nose, all of these people started coming back positive. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a correlation or some type of connection. But this is what we’re experiencing right now.

UCI: And how have you been coping with all of this? How have you been handling it?

Caller: Well, I just read, and I meditate. I’m lucky I’m able to call my family and share with them what’s going on and kind of get it off my chest like that. Otherwise, you can’t do too much. You don’t want to do too much.

UCI: And then if you wouldn’t mind maybe just walk me back in time. When did the outbreak begin?

Is it different now than it was maybe at the beginning of COVID back in March?

Caller: Well, the difference from now, Solano, for a long time we didn’t have outbreaks and we didn’t have too many cases until they started transferring people in from New – Old Folsom around, let me see, maybe three weeks ago or maybe a little longer.

And then that’s when we started having cases. And then last week we had our first case in our building. But before that, another building, the 24 building, had an outbreak just in that building, and they isolated that whole building, took all of those guys out and put them in quarantine, and then rotated them back to the yard and back to the other building.

And once they rotated them back, then that’s when the outbreak happened in the 23 building and then isolated in the other buildings. But there’s maybe 40 guys left over in the 23 building right now. So, all this happened last week.

UCI: That sounds like quite a crazy, stressful situation. I’m sorry. How has this been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Say it again?

UCI: How has the COVID situation at your facility and with you, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Sorry, one more time?

UCI: How has what’s going on with you in Solano, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Oh, it’s terrible. Of course, they fear for my life, and they fear for my safety. And of course my wife misses me terribly and wants to visit me, and friends and family can’t do that.

So, everybody, they’re afraid because they know there’s so many people. It’s so overcrowded in here that when an outbreak happens in a prison, there’s no way they can isolate the person or the people that they come in contact with, especially in an open dorm with ten or 12 people in a small dorm. It’s not possible. So, they worry about me a lot.

UCI: Yeah, it must have been very hard to not have visitation all this time.

Caller: Yes, and I’ve been going to – I’ve been married now. I just had my tenth anniversary, and I’ve been going to visitation for ten years consistently almost every weekend. And then all of a sudden just nothing. In the beginning, they started to – they had a pilot program where they were going to do the video camera thing, and I guess the video cameras didn’t work. They had some technical difficulties.

So, they scrubbed that, and now – they’re just now bringing it back. My wife was going to get a visit for next weekend, but she can’t because now I’m on quarantine. So, I haven’t seen her except through pictures and stuff.

UCI: I’m so sorry. And congratulations on the ten years.

Caller: Thank you. And thank you for hearing my story and hearing what’s going on in here. Yeah, I had seen the number, and I was just like, “I’ve got to say something.” It’s just not right.

UCI: We really appreciate you calling. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?

Caller: I think I covered it all. It’s just the fact that it seems like they’re not taking every precaution, especially physically. They could at least clean this place up. They’ve got the backboard. It’s so much dirt and just old gunk stuck to all the lights and everything, and the floor is filthy.

They could take a lot more precautions in making this place a little bit more cleaner and safer, especially with the outbreak.

12/20
Fear for my safety
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0:00
0:00

Fear for my safety

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano.

UCI: How has what’s going on with you in Solano, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Oh, it’s terrible. Of course, they fear for my life, and they fear for my safety. And of course my wife misses me terribly and wants to visit me, and friends and family can’t do that.

So, everybody, they’re afraid because they know there’s so many people. It’s so overcrowded in here that when an outbreak happens in a prison, there’s no way they can isolate the person or the people that they come in contact with, especially in an open dorm with ten or 12 people in a small dorm. It’s not possible. So, they worry about me a lot.

UCI: Yeah, it must have been very hard to not have visitation all this time.

Caller: Yes, and I’ve been going to – I’ve been married now. I just had my tenth anniversary, and I’ve been going to visitation for ten years consistently almost every weekend. And then all of a sudden just nothing. In the beginning, they started to – they had a pilot program where they were going to do the video camera thing, and I guess the video cameras didn’t work. They had some technical difficulties.

So, they scrubbed that, and now – they’re just now bringing it back. My wife was going to get a visit for next weekend, but she can’t because now I’m on quarantine. So, I haven’t seen her except through pictures and stuff.

The full story

Go Back

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Caller: Well, the current situation is we had an outbreak about two weeks ago because they brought in a busload of people from Old Folsom, which had an outbreak there. And we didn’t have no cases. We maybe had one or two in and out here and there. But once they brought these guys to our building – and some of them told us straight out of their mouths that they weren’t even quarantined.

And all of the buildings that they put these guys in, there was an outbreak. And now they have all these guys testing positive. We’re over 100 cases now here at Solano. So, we’re being placed in a gymnasium that’s filthy. The stucco from the roof is falling down. There’s dust everywhere. There’s dirt all on the floor. We’re not six feet apart. It’s just filthy, and it’s not even ventilated properly.

And they’ve got mice running around in here. We’ve got roaches up in here. It’s terrible.

UCI: I’m really sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah. And I lost my smell. I lost my taste. It’s freezing in here.

UCI: When did you find out you were positive with COVID?

Caller: So, they’ve been – we’ve been testing multiple times, and we have a bunch of negatives.

And then I guess we supposedly have a positive, but nobody actually came out and told us. The officers had to tell us before the medical staff even told us, and we still haven’t gotten papers that actually say that we are positive. But we got all the negative papers, but they wouldn’t give us the positive papers for some reason.

UCI: Hmm.

Caller: So, how we found out actually was they – the police came to my cell because they moved me over to the quarantine because somebody in my dorm had tested positive.

And so then what they did was they rolled up our whole dorm and took us over to the level three side and threw us in a cell. From my understanding, when you’re in those cells, we don’t have the proper ventilation for the virus to escape through the vents. There is no ventilation system. The air just circulates in there. So, everybody that they’re sending to this cell situation are coming up positive. And then they’re taking us and they’re moving us to the gymnasium.

So, the officer comes to my door, and he says, “Hey, man, pack up.”

And I’m like, “Where am I going?”

He says, “You’re going over here because you’ve got a positive.” And that’s just one positive supposedly. So, nobody has come around and did a double test.

Now, I heard something about an influenza test that would give us a false positive where they just do the rim of our nose, and then I heard – and they did the one before where they went all the way up our nose, all the way up in our cranium, so far up there. Have you heard anything about that?

UCI: I unfortunately haven’t. I’m sorry.

Caller: The two tests are different. You know how they do the rim of your nose and then they go further up your nose?

UCI: Mm-hmm.

Caller: Yeah. So, once they started doing the rim of our nose, all of these people started coming back positive. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a correlation or some type of connection. But this is what we’re experiencing right now.

UCI: And how have you been coping with all of this? How have you been handling it?

Caller: Well, I just read, and I meditate. I’m lucky I’m able to call my family and share with them what’s going on and kind of get it off my chest like that. Otherwise, you can’t do too much. You don’t want to do too much.

UCI: And then if you wouldn’t mind maybe just walk me back in time. When did the outbreak begin?

Is it different now than it was maybe at the beginning of COVID back in March?

Caller: Well, the difference from now, Solano, for a long time we didn’t have outbreaks and we didn’t have too many cases until they started transferring people in from New – Old Folsom around, let me see, maybe three weeks ago or maybe a little longer.

And then that’s when we started having cases. And then last week we had our first case in our building. But before that, another building, the 24 building, had an outbreak just in that building, and they isolated that whole building, took all of those guys out and put them in quarantine, and then rotated them back to the yard and back to the other building.

And once they rotated them back, then that’s when the outbreak happened in the 23 building and then isolated in the other buildings. But there’s maybe 40 guys left over in the 23 building right now. So, all this happened last week.

UCI: That sounds like quite a crazy, stressful situation. I’m sorry. How has this been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Say it again?

UCI: How has the COVID situation at your facility and with you, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Sorry, one more time?

UCI: How has what’s going on with you in Solano, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Oh, it’s terrible. Of course, they fear for my life, and they fear for my safety. And of course my wife misses me terribly and wants to visit me, and friends and family can’t do that.

So, everybody, they’re afraid because they know there’s so many people. It’s so overcrowded in here that when an outbreak happens in a prison, there’s no way they can isolate the person or the people that they come in contact with, especially in an open dorm with ten or 12 people in a small dorm. It’s not possible. So, they worry about me a lot.

UCI: Yeah, it must have been very hard to not have visitation all this time.

Caller: Yes, and I’ve been going to – I’ve been married now. I just had my tenth anniversary, and I’ve been going to visitation for ten years consistently almost every weekend. And then all of a sudden just nothing. In the beginning, they started to – they had a pilot program where they were going to do the video camera thing, and I guess the video cameras didn’t work. They had some technical difficulties.

So, they scrubbed that, and now – they’re just now bringing it back. My wife was going to get a visit for next weekend, but she can’t because now I’m on quarantine. So, I haven’t seen her except through pictures and stuff.

UCI: I’m so sorry. And congratulations on the ten years.

Caller: Thank you. And thank you for hearing my story and hearing what’s going on in here. Yeah, I had seen the number, and I was just like, “I’ve got to say something.” It’s just not right.

UCI: We really appreciate you calling. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?

Caller: I think I covered it all. It’s just the fact that it seems like they’re not taking every precaution, especially physically. They could at least clean this place up. They’ve got the backboard. It’s so much dirt and just old gunk stuck to all the lights and everything, and the floor is filthy.

They could take a lot more precautions in making this place a little bit more cleaner and safer, especially with the outbreak.

12/20
No precautions
LISTEN
0:00
0:00

No precautions

HEAR THE FULL STORY

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano.

Caller: I think I covered it all. It’s just the fact that it seems like they’re not taking every precaution, especially physically. They could at least clean this place up. They’ve got the backboard. It’s so much dirt and just old gunk stuck to all the lights and everything, and the floor is filthy.

They could take a lot more precautions in making this place a little bit more cleaner and safer, especially with the outbreak.

The full story

Go Back

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Solano. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Caller: Well, the current situation is we had an outbreak about two weeks ago because they brought in a busload of people from Old Folsom, which had an outbreak there. And we didn’t have no cases. We maybe had one or two in and out here and there. But once they brought these guys to our building – and some of them told us straight out of their mouths that they weren’t even quarantined.

And all of the buildings that they put these guys in, there was an outbreak. And now they have all these guys testing positive. We’re over 100 cases now here at Solano. So, we’re being placed in a gymnasium that’s filthy. The stucco from the roof is falling down. There’s dust everywhere. There’s dirt all on the floor. We’re not six feet apart. It’s just filthy, and it’s not even ventilated properly.

And they’ve got mice running around in here. We’ve got roaches up in here. It’s terrible.

UCI: I’m really sorry to hear that.

Caller: Yeah. And I lost my smell. I lost my taste. It’s freezing in here.

UCI: When did you find out you were positive with COVID?

Caller: So, they’ve been – we’ve been testing multiple times, and we have a bunch of negatives.

And then I guess we supposedly have a positive, but nobody actually came out and told us. The officers had to tell us before the medical staff even told us, and we still haven’t gotten papers that actually say that we are positive. But we got all the negative papers, but they wouldn’t give us the positive papers for some reason.

UCI: Hmm.

Caller: So, how we found out actually was they – the police came to my cell because they moved me over to the quarantine because somebody in my dorm had tested positive.

And so then what they did was they rolled up our whole dorm and took us over to the level three side and threw us in a cell. From my understanding, when you’re in those cells, we don’t have the proper ventilation for the virus to escape through the vents. There is no ventilation system. The air just circulates in there. So, everybody that they’re sending to this cell situation are coming up positive. And then they’re taking us and they’re moving us to the gymnasium.

So, the officer comes to my door, and he says, “Hey, man, pack up.”

And I’m like, “Where am I going?”

He says, “You’re going over here because you’ve got a positive.” And that’s just one positive supposedly. So, nobody has come around and did a double test.

Now, I heard something about an influenza test that would give us a false positive where they just do the rim of our nose, and then I heard – and they did the one before where they went all the way up our nose, all the way up in our cranium, so far up there. Have you heard anything about that?

UCI: I unfortunately haven’t. I’m sorry.

Caller: The two tests are different. You know how they do the rim of your nose and then they go further up your nose?

UCI: Mm-hmm.

Caller: Yeah. So, once they started doing the rim of our nose, all of these people started coming back positive. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a correlation or some type of connection. But this is what we’re experiencing right now.

UCI: And how have you been coping with all of this? How have you been handling it?

Caller: Well, I just read, and I meditate. I’m lucky I’m able to call my family and share with them what’s going on and kind of get it off my chest like that. Otherwise, you can’t do too much. You don’t want to do too much.

UCI: And then if you wouldn’t mind maybe just walk me back in time. When did the outbreak begin?

Is it different now than it was maybe at the beginning of COVID back in March?

Caller: Well, the difference from now, Solano, for a long time we didn’t have outbreaks and we didn’t have too many cases until they started transferring people in from New – Old Folsom around, let me see, maybe three weeks ago or maybe a little longer.

And then that’s when we started having cases. And then last week we had our first case in our building. But before that, another building, the 24 building, had an outbreak just in that building, and they isolated that whole building, took all of those guys out and put them in quarantine, and then rotated them back to the yard and back to the other building.

And once they rotated them back, then that’s when the outbreak happened in the 23 building and then isolated in the other buildings. But there’s maybe 40 guys left over in the 23 building right now. So, all this happened last week.

UCI: That sounds like quite a crazy, stressful situation. I’m sorry. How has this been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Say it again?

UCI: How has the COVID situation at your facility and with you, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Sorry, one more time?

UCI: How has what’s going on with you in Solano, how has it been affecting your loved ones?

Caller: Oh, it’s terrible. Of course, they fear for my life, and they fear for my safety. And of course my wife misses me terribly and wants to visit me, and friends and family can’t do that.

So, everybody, they’re afraid because they know there’s so many people. It’s so overcrowded in here that when an outbreak happens in a prison, there’s no way they can isolate the person or the people that they come in contact with, especially in an open dorm with ten or 12 people in a small dorm. It’s not possible. So, they worry about me a lot.

UCI: Yeah, it must have been very hard to not have visitation all this time.

Caller: Yes, and I’ve been going to – I’ve been married now. I just had my tenth anniversary, and I’ve been going to visitation for ten years consistently almost every weekend. And then all of a sudden just nothing. In the beginning, they started to – they had a pilot program where they were going to do the video camera thing, and I guess the video cameras didn’t work. They had some technical difficulties.

So, they scrubbed that, and now – they’re just now bringing it back. My wife was going to get a visit for next weekend, but she can’t because now I’m on quarantine. So, I haven’t seen her except through pictures and stuff.

UCI: I’m so sorry. And congratulations on the ten years.

Caller: Thank you. And thank you for hearing my story and hearing what’s going on in here. Yeah, I had seen the number, and I was just like, “I’ve got to say something.” It’s just not right.

UCI: We really appreciate you calling. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?

Caller: I think I covered it all. It’s just the fact that it seems like they’re not taking every precaution, especially physically. They could at least clean this place up. They’ve got the backboard. It’s so much dirt and just old gunk stuck to all the lights and everything, and the floor is filthy.

They could take a lot more precautions in making this place a little bit more cleaner and safer, especially with the outbreak.

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