This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Mule Creek.
Dear PrisonPandemic project,
This letter is response to you asking for stories for your archive. The following is my COVID-19 experience in 2020.
I tested positive for COVID-19 on December 8, 2020 while I was living on B-yard Mule Creek State Prison. I had to pack my belongings and move into the gym for quarantine with other prisoners who had COVID-19. I had to live in the gym two weeks and the conditions were filthy. The floors, bathroom, and shower were filthy.
Water leaked from the ceiling and dripped on some of the beds. There were about fifty bunk beds in the gym. Protocol was violated because prisoners of various security levels were all housed together. I’m level three and level four and level two prisoners were housed with me. This is a safety risk.
My cell was supposed to be held for me while I was in quarantine, but it was not. I ended up having to move in with a random person in another cell. The person I was living with wanted to move into their old cell and was trying to force me to let someone move in with me so he could get his old cell back.
I didn’t want to let someone I wasn’t compatible with move into the cell with me, so I ended up getting into a fight. The officers sprayed me with pepper spray and didn’t let me rinse off for ten minutes. The pain was excruciating. I refused to sign a peace chrono with the person I fought, so I was moved into the hole.
The hole was filthy and I wasn’t given any cleaning supplies to clean my cell. I was given two sets of clothes that were too big. I was kept in the hole ten days while they decided where to move me. I was moved to C-yard, and I was out of the hole on New Year’s Day.
The officers who packed my belongings after the fight didn’t care when I told them some of my stuff was missing. My electric razor, extension cord, and headphones had been stolen. The prison makes you wait an entire year to reorder any items that were lost or stolen. It’s especially problematic to not have hair clippers in prison because staph infection, Hep C, and other skin conditions are rampant in prison.
When I caught COVID-19 in December the officers and free staff weren’t social distancing or wearing masks. That’s the main reason my prison had a massive outbreak. The outbreak is over but many free staff, officers, and medical staff refuse to be vaccinated.
I work in the main kitchen bakery and my boss refuses to be vaccinated, he doesn’t wear a mask, and he doesn’t wear gloves. This makes me fear for my safety that we may get another outbreak. It’s also frustrating because I’m tired of being locked down. Also, it’s ridiculous since prisoners get “write-ups” if we don’t have on a mask, even if we are outdoors.
I have not had a contact visit with my family since March 7, 2020. I have a two year old daughter and I miss her so much. I was able to have one video visit in March of this year, but it’s just not the same.
My family has tried to set-up another visit with me, but they say the process is complicated and frustrating. There also is limited times to have visits, and limited times to sign-up for visits. The prison also does respond right away, or they give vague and confusing responses.
Another major issue I’m having is that the prison takes 30 days to give me my mail. This is true even with legal mail.
It’s hard to cope with all this stress when access to groups is extremely limited. They just now started groups again, but I’ll only get to go one day per month.