This story was told by a person incarcerated at Merced County Jail.
UCI: I’m so sorry. Has your family been able to get any information about visitation from the facility?
Caller: So, whenever, like, my daughter is in the military. So, whenever she calls, they can’t be given any information because it’s not pertinent to them.
UCI: Wow. So, if she were to go and try and set up a video visitation like you described –
Caller: She can’t because she hasn’t got the approval yet, even though she was approved to come for my family visit. She’s not approved for video visits and I don’t know what the difference is. Like, a video visit is through a monitor. She’s not even coming on grounds, where she’s approved to come on grounds but it’s not good enough to have a video visit.
UCI: Do you know anyone that’s had family members approved for a video visit?
Caller: Yeah, I have, but it’s taken them like four to six months to get approved. Because in prison, everything runs slower. Like, a week in prison is like a month on the outside.
UCI: So, what about letters, then? How is that working out?
Caller: So, the last letter I got was yesterday and it was postmarked August 2nd.
UCI: So, over a month it took to get to you.
Caller: Yes, ma’am.
UCI: And –
Caller: And again, they say this is the reason why, is because short of staff due to COVID. Everything that happens is short of staff due to COVID. Either they’re taking care of their family members that have, or they have it, or whatever.
UCI: But it’s always, there’s always something that –
Caller: Always something.