This story was told by a person incarcerated at an ICE/Private-Contractor facility.
UCI: So, what has, oh –
Caller: You can go first.
UCI: Oh, I was just going to ask how was COVID like on your facility? What’s it been like?
Caller: Right now it’s at its highs. It’s, we’re currently housed in a different location than we usually are. There has been plenty of peers that are around me that have acquired and contracted the COVID-19 virus and had to go back on a 14 day quarantine away from our population and segregation.
And then, and now, they’re making it back into, integrating them back into our segregated areas. And it’s at its highest right now, so it’s pretty crazy. You know, people are under the weather still, they’re still trying to gain their weight back.
You know, they’ve been pretty sick. They’re still trying to gain energy as far as the virus. It’s taken a toll on them pretty heavy, on a few of my fellow peers. It’s crazy.
UCI: Has it been stressful to adapt to it and to rebound back?
Caller: Yeah, it’s been pretty stressful for the most part, you know, considering that I couldn’t even [unintelligible] and what not. And other people around us.
And they’re constantly, every couple of days, they’re taking a swab sample and then coming back within the hour and pulling two people out of our tank it seems like every time they do a swab session every couple of days. So, that’s how it’s been. It’s crazy.
UCI: Has your facility done a good job in dealing with COVID, or do you think they could have done better?
Caller: They could do a lot better. Considering I got not that much time left in this facility until my release date. And they do a 14 day quarantine, but they’re not honoring 14 days out to the house so we can reunite with our loved ones without contracting COVID before we come out of this facility. So, I don’t know, it’s sort of biased.
UCI: Have you been able to contact loved ones at all since quarantine?
Caller: As far as over the telephone and that’s it, and letters. Letters, and telephone, and mail.
UCI: Do you wish you could have maybe seen your family behind maybe a screen?
Caller: Yeah, it would help out a lot, you know. But, we’ve got to make with what we’ve got. And, but, for the most part, you know, it’s been life changing. You know, this thing, it’s taken a toll on a lot of people. So, it’s crazy.
UCI: Well, what about for you, how have you been coping with it?
Caller: Me, every day, every day I just cross my fingers and hope I don’t contract it because I’m one day closer to the house. And I just don’t want to get out and bring my kids and my family the COVID-19 strain.
UCI: Yeah, I totally understand.
Caller: Yeah, it’s crazy. But, other than that, yeah, it’s been pretty much a crisis, you know. And it’s spread through the facilities pretty widely.
So, and I just don’t understand it, you know, considering the unequalness and what not. And four deaths in this county, I believe, so far, in this jail, in this jail because of COVID. So, it’s pretty crazy.
UCI: That is horrible. And how did the facility react to that? How do they do with testing and keeping everyone quarantined?
Caller: It’s pretty much luck of the draw, and they just move people about randomly however according to their schedules and whatever fits their protocols. I’m not for sure with all of that. But, it don’t seem right that the masks that they provide us with, they’re not top of the line, they’re just little junk masks.
There’s no ultraviolet or UV ray machines that purify the air. There’s nothing in here. It’s all outdated. It’s pretty crazy, you know. It really is.
UCI: Yeah, I totally understand. I feel you on that one. Did they provide testing at all?
Caller: Yeah, they’ve been coming by as far as every couple days and every three days and swabbing all the inmates that I’m housed with in this tank. And then, usually they’ve been pulling two head out, two people out, every three days for COVID, so.
UCI: Wow, and what about the vaccine situation?
Caller: The vaccines, they are currently offering $50 on the inmate’s funds if they agree to take the COVID-19 Janssen vaccine. It’s I guess the Janssen. It’s not the Johnson and Johnson, it says Janssen. And they’re giving us $50 for being vaccinated if we so choose to be vaccinated.
UCI: Oh, okay, I see. Well, do you think you’ll be taking the vaccine?
Caller: I’ve already had been administered the vaccine, and other fellow peers that have had the vaccine administered as well have contracted COVID. So, this vaccine is not sufficient to everybody and what not. It’s not going to make it to where you can’t contract COVID.
UCI: Oh, I understand, I understand. Is there anything else you want to share about your experience?
Caller: Yeah, yeah, I don’t know, I guess, you know, if anybody can bring this to higher grounds as far as, you know, health and safety and what not and just have them overlook this facility and what not and see if they’re in regulations and all of that due to the unequalness and unfairness of other people’s health and safety. And we’re not getting no visits, we’re not getting anything, and it’s pretty crazy.
UCI: So, your facility isn’t doing a good job in keeping you guys sanitary, it sounds like.
Caller: Yeah, not so much. This COVID virus is going around – this whole jail’s pretty much almost got it. It’s an outbreak, it’s huge.
UCI: Wow. That’s horrible.
Caller: So, but, yeah, I guess that sums it up, huh.
UCI: Yeah, thank you so much for sharing and calling to tell us about this.
Caller: Yeah, not a problem.
UCI: Are there, anything else you want to share or do you have any questions?
Caller: No, not so much. I read the cover letter and it pretty much informed me on what you guys wanted. So, I just figured I’d give you guys a brief moment of my time and let you guys know exactly what’s going on in Yuba County Jail.
UCI: Thank you so much. We are so grateful for this.
Caller: You’re welcome. You have a wonderful evening.
UCI: I hope you have a wonderful evening, too. Thank you so much.
Caller: Will do. You’re welcome. Bye.