This story was told by a person incarcerated at Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility.
UCI: How has the COVID situation been like at your facility?
Caller: Well, it’s been sputtering along. They just recently stated that they would force those who are going to take the COVID test, and that prompted some of the people who were reluctant to, you know, take the test. But, there’s still quite a few persons who refuse.
UCI: And how has the vaccination situation been like at your facility?
Caller: How has it been like?
UCI: Yeah, like, the vaccination process?
Caller: It’s been going slowly. But, you know, as I was saying earlier, they, you know, offered to us. And I just recently completed mine. And so, there is quite a few who refused to take it for some reason or another.
[Unintelligible], you know, it’s due in part because they feel that they don’t take the test while being here then, you know, they’ll stay in the County that much longer and, you know, that state, you know, more hesitant about infecting them.
But, like my celly, my celly hasn’t taken his test. And, you know, that really concerns considering that, you know, I’ve taken mine.
UCI: Oh, okay. So, you’ve had both vaccines?
Caller: Yes, taken – did you say did I take both tests?
UCI: No, the vaccination, like the vaccine, the shot?
Caller: Yes, I’ve taken both of mine. Both Pfizer.
UCI: Oh, okay, good. That’s good. And how has that situation been like at the facility where you’re currently at? How’s the process?
Caller: Say that question again for me, please?
UCI: So, how’s the vaccination process being handled at your facility? Like, the vaccine?
Caller: The process going?
Caller: It’s going. More of the individuals who were hesitant about taking the test, one, they had got word from staff from one of the nurses they would be forced to take the test if they went up state and for them to go ahead and start taking it. But, again, you know, there’s quite a few individuals who are still reluctant to get it such as my celly. My celly hasn’t taken it either.
And, you know, he [unintelligible] himself, you know, like 23 hours a day. And so, you know, that concerns me a little bit.
UCI: Yeah. No, yeah, absolutely. And how has the COVID situation at your facility affected your loved ones?
Caller: How’s it – my who?
UCI: Your loved ones, like, as far as, like, visitations?
Caller: Visitation, I don’t think that they’re having visits right now. And if they are I’m pretty sure that they’re by video or, you know, something to that effect. I haven’t received any visits. You know, I have two family members I’m being provided for. Both of them are handicapped so there are no visits.
UCI: Oh, wow.
Caller: Yeah, my brother had been shot twice, and my mother is ambulatory. Well, she’s not able to go ahead and walk around because of bad knees. So, you know, she’s not able to. And so, you know, visits are out of the question.
UCI: Yeah, I can understand that could be a little bit difficult, you know.
Caller: Very, very much so. Especially considering the fact that I’m incarcerated for 30 months. And for some reason or other the court tried taking me as being incompetent because they violated my due process.
And, you know, this whole mess is unjustifiable because I exercise my [unintelligible] at a care provider are taking two clients, my handicap brother and mother, to their appointment. And my next door neighbor who is 51 and on medication, constantly smoking, he attacked me in my backyard.
And so, for some reason or another the District Attorney’s office decided that they would create and charge me. And, you know, I’ve been denied process for two months now. I’ve been pretty much a prisoner, held against my will for the last 20 months.
UCI: Oh, goodness.
Caller: Yeah, so, it’s been pretty rough.
Caller: God is the guy that’s in control, Jesus, still on the throne. So, I do have – hopes are still there that, you know, they’ll give me my day in court. As a matter of fact, I had took the motion to the court in my own behalf because my state appointed attorney, she’s complicit with the District Attorney and denying me my court and trying to portray me as being incompetent.
So, I had to send a couple of motions to the court and asking for [unintelligible] hearing, and that’s for her to be relieved of job duties. And I requested – well, I demanded – I sent the motion demanding my day in court, a speedy trial, a speedy jury [unintelligible] go to court [unintelligible]. So, [unintelligible], you know what I mean. Man held against his will against his – I mean by being denied of his due process for the last three-nine months.
UCI: Yeah, and so, how have you been coping with the whole situation, especially with the crisis?
Caller: A lot of prayer, you know, reading the Bible. You know, all my concerns is on the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, like I was saying, he’s on the throne and he’s still king, lord of lords. And I just put everything on him. And my [unintelligible], you know, [unintelligible] only you got Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
UCI: Yeah, I mean, it must be pretty tough, you know, trying to cope with the situation especially when you have, like, reduced visitations. And, you know, do they still have, like, programming?
Caller: Yeah, we have a program. You know, they give us roughly an hour through the tiers. You know, like, what they would go is one if one tier an hour of day room. And then, like, two out of the five days of the week – yes, maybe it’s two out of the five week day we have a little [unintelligible] yard where we can go, get a little sun tan, little fresh air and do some pull ups or some [unintelligible], and pushups and things of that nature, you know, to blow off steam.
And, you know, [unintelligible], you know, where at in the rooms, you know, for an hour. For, you know, [unintelligible] and it comes back and forth.
You know, like, goes an hour for the fifth tier or for the bottom tier, you know, and we’re able to go in and sit around and watch television, make phone calls and, you know, the commissary and chit chat and things of that nature.
UCI: Okay, and what do you think would make the situation better at your facility regarding as with COVID?
Caller: Ask me again.
UCI: Like, what do you think would make the situation better at your facility regarding, like, COVID? Like, do you guys have to wear your masks? Or, how is that process going?
Caller: Yeah. Well, yeah, we’re still in the mask mandate. But, various individuals wear masks in here. You know, very few [unintelligible]. I’m one who frequently wear his mask. But, there’s very few, other persons in here, who wear mask. It might be one out of four, you know, who wear the mask. So, you know, it’s pretty bad, you know, concerning.
UCI: Yeah, interesting. Okay, and so what else do you want people to know about your experience regarding COVID-19?
Caller: Just want to go ahead and, you know, reiterate that, you know, I’m under the impression that, you know, a lot of the guys who are reluctant, the shot, is due in part because they’re [unintelligible] stall tactics. You know, going up state, you know. Because one, eventually, you know, like, if they’re convicted, you know, it’s just a matter of the months it’s over for them. Their number, time is up, time to go up state. And so, I’m thinking that a whole lot of them think, you know, they’re not taking the shot, you know, or reason for them not to be selected to go up state.
But, you know, they just recently said that those stall tactics aren’t going to work because they were going to be compelled to take the shots up state if they want to take them up state. So, the guys recognize, you know, after hearing that, you know, there’s still quite a – who are reluctant to take the shots.
Caller: Such as my celly. And one minute left.
UCI: No, yeah, I heard. Yeah, I mean, we really do appreciate you calling and telling your story regarding PrisonPandemic. We just want you to know that we’re thinking about you, we’re thinking about all of y’all, and you’re not alone.
And we just want to thank you very much for participating in PrisonPandemic. Please consider telling your friends about us and seeing if they would like to call in, as well.
Caller: Yes, and Jesus love you. Take care of yourself.
UCI: Same. Thank you, sir. You have yourself a great night.