This story was told by a person incarcerated at Corcoran.
UCI: Please give your testimonial about any aspects you think are important for people to know about the situation of people incarcerated.
Caller: Okay, well. The situation is critical in here. There’s only so much care that we get around here.
UCI: Sorry, what was that? Hello?
UCI: Hello? Can you hear me okay?
UCI: Oh, okay. Go ahead.
Caller: So, you’re asking me about the stuff that’s happening right here right with a pandemic and how I am coping with it?
Caller: Okay, well, the coping it’s not as great as one thinks out there it is. There’s only so much stuff that we can get. If we say that we’re sick, for instance, there’s like a timeframe that we have to wait in order to get seen.
So, the stress levels get high. And we have inmates that are placed in our cells and there’s only so much, there’s only so much that we can do.
UCI: Can I just ask, which facility are you housed at?
Caller: In Corcoran.
UCI: Okay. All right. So, like what has the COVID-19 situation been like at your facility? Like is there anything troubling or concerning to you?
Caller: Everything it’s totally wrong here. Everybody here pretty much caught the pandemic. We were all quarantined for a long time but there were a lot of people popping up sick.
So, everything is troubling and causes mental distress to everyone. So, everyone’s walking around here on their toes and everything all stressed out because they’re saying that we’re gonna be getting used to it, but they’re not doing nothing but just giving us masks, like once a week, if that, like new masks.
UCI: So, like if you guys have any side effects, for example, like a headache or a fever they’re not doing anything about that?
Caller: No, you have to send an email request, which can take up to two weeks.
UCI: Do they quarantine you guys, do they move you to like a different unit?
Caller: Yes, they do move you to a different yard, but that’s after you get seen, which like I said it can take up to 10 to 14 days to be seen.
UCI: Okay. How has COVID been handled at your facility? So, could you do like a quick rundown of this, like for example if you tested positive, what happens to you after that?
Caller: When you test positive, they send you to B yard, which is the quarantine yard. And you do stay over there for like, seven to 14 days, which you then will be returned back over here. But it seems like these COs aren’t doing their job because they’re not giving us the right cleaning utility that we’re supposed to be having for this COVID stuff.
Because at first they were giving us all of this cleaning stuff. But I’m actually a worker and I will be the one doing national cleaning. But lately, they haven’t given us the right cleaning stuff to work. Everything’s pretty much germed up.
And the masks, I know we’re supposed to be getting new masks, like every day because we’re workers and each mask gets dirty and sweaty. And we’re pretty much getting, I’m telling you, from like four to five days if that.
UCI: Wow, okay. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
UCI: What do you think could make the situation at your facility better? So, what would you like to see them do to help you guys?
Caller: For them to send the right cleaning stuff which was in one of those barrels that will come from CDC from that hospital, every time they will come in here like daily. And we will clean the walls, and clean the windows and where we sit at, like our living quarters. But we haven’t been cleaning this like, for a while.
So, that I would like to see that happen and like for these masks for us to get them on a daily use. And when someone shows symptoms of being sick and they’re saying they’re sick, to be seen right away and not have to wait two weeks.
UCI: So, how have you been coping with the crisis?
Caller: I’ve been coping with the crisis talking to my wife. And letting her know what I’m going through. Keeping myself busy with my Bible and my art. And just staying at my cell working out. Staying away from everybody.
UCI: Right. What’s it been like for your loved ones to have to go through this as well? Just to like know that you’re going through this on the inside?
Caller: It’s mental stress for them. It’s emotional because they can’t hug us, they can’t spend time with us, and they can barely see us through this video conferencing. Video visiting going on. So, it’s just mental stress for them.
UCI: Right. And also, how has it been to have reduced programming?
Caller: The programming is not, they’ve been taking like a lot of our programming. But they recently started handing out programming, but I think we were safer when we didn’t have programming cause we were more in our cells and away from everybody that we don’t have the right to share cells over here and the right stuff to clean or living by our living quarters.
UCI: Right. So, they started up the programming again?
Caller: Yes, they started up the programming. So, everybody is coming out together again, just like more of a crowd. But, like, a lot of people, a lot of these guys don’t wear their masks. So, I personally just stay at my cell and I just come out to do my phone calls, do my job and go back to my cell.
That’s why these people are starting to get sick because they don’t really care about the mask. But these cops don’t really pass out masks like that. They’ll give them to you once a week.
UCI: What else would you like people to know about your experience? Is there anything that’s happened like since COVID started almost a year ago that, like, stands out to you that you’d want to share?
Caller: No, that’s pretty much it.
UCI: Okay. Well, thank you so much for participating. It’s now 7:51. Is there anything else you want to add?
Caller: No, thank you.