This story was told by a person incarcerated at Ventura County Main Jail.
UCI: What has the COVID situation been like at your facility?
Caller: I think that it only affects – well I only get an hour of program and it’s called day room program. It’s been affected because the courts have to wear their masks so it’s every two weeks, about average. And so everything just kind of gets kicked along.
And there was – I don’t know. I would just say it’s kind of normal. This is my first time in here, there’s less contact info.
And you cannot eat with other people. And the air, it kind of takes time. Only one thing can be done at a time. But it doesn’t – there’s not – you put on masks but there’s kind of like a lot of leeway. I wouldn’t say that it’s too too bad or too – I don’t know the difference.
I think it’s extra safe. It’s just a little bit more slower. And I was killing over a 100 flies in this one – there’s [redacted] which has like special – which is program on like steroids. [Redacted] is really, really nice.
I’m in [redacted] right now. In [redacted] you get to do whatever you want and you only shut down for two hours a day, three times a day. So it’s kind of unequal. They have like different quads, like different privileges.
Like different sort of like ways that it gets ran. But the same sheriff deals with everything. So I mean there’s a guy that stays in there for the entire time. But I got kicked out because I was next to somebody who wanted to fight somebody else.
Named [redacted], punched in the nose. And then like five days or 10 days later, this guy – he came out, he wanted to fight me. And I got in a fight with somebody else. So apparently – like, just a fight of words so I got kicked out of [redacted].
And that was a really big bummer. And you basically get to make phone calls all the time and I want to make phone calls. That’s the only thing I want to do.
But with 11 other people walking around it gets kind of like schizophrenic-y kind of. Cause someone kind of pushed me into the wall cause – I don’t know. But a very nice reform I’ve received is seven cents a minute rather than 25 cents a minute.
So I’d like to continue with the next question.
UCI: Okay. Awesome. I know you mentioned that this is your first time and you just recently got in.
Would you say that there are – you’re able to take a similar amount of precautions inside of prison as you would have when you were not incarcerated?
Caller: I was never afraid of COVID. I kind of play a lot of games. I was just hanging out and I would clean up a lot of trash and go pick up a donut. And I would bring my mask – or I’d like bring a dog along and just kind of – I didn’t have my thing together.
But what happened is I got in a fight with – or I got in, I got charges pressed on me from the person across the street. It’s very bizarre. I don’t wanna say like evil spirits – they were into evil spirits.
And like they were acting like they had played with a ouija board or like they watched like a scary movie and they were taking their aggression out on me. And so I’m facing charges so I think it’s very, very important that nobody fights with anybody.
Or like you know, I’m learning about the Bible in jail right now. And I was facing a lot of difficulties with health. But my body has seemed to be able to come over with it. I’m able to talk more better and breathe more better.
And I was blowing up bloody boogers. I don’t know why – couldn’t tell my parents why. But it was just happening and I was like getting stuffed up. But I’m much better now.
But still it stands that you don’t wanna be vandalizing anything. You don’t wanna be doing anything stupid. But I was cleaning up trash and I was cleaning up the same trash. And so you don’t even really wanna be littering.
I was thinking “Hey, I could take advantage of this COVID situation and clean up a park”. But it kind of seems futile. COVID is the same. I mean I’ve been cleaning up trash in 2018, 2019 hit and there was a park sign.
So I mean I don’t know what peoples’ problems are. Why they have to throw their Modelo caps on the grass, but it’s not really pandemic related. But it might be – maybe they know a homie in jail or something and they’re drinking over him at the park.
I don’t know why. But I was picking up knives and markers too for graffiti. And I’ve never done any of that stuff. It doesn’t affect me and my neighbors knew. I don’t know why they decided to toss me into jail.
I think they’re like because – they’re like crying and whining about it. And they lost their daycare. But I feel like I’m describing myself so I’ll stop.
UCI: No worries, a little background information is always helpful. But I can ask you the next question.
What has it been for you to have – what has it been like for you to have reduced visitation and programming? Because you said you guys only have one hour a day.
Caller: Oh, I get 30 minutes per day. So I visit my mom and I visit my dad. And I’ve been 100 percent calling them, 100 percent visitatiting them and they’ve been to 100 percent of my trials. So for me, I’m like the one person – I’m the sore thumb out of the group.
For me, it’s to kill time. It was for me – for them to evaluate me. I don’t think I have schizophrenic or schizoaffective disorder but I might have to go to a hospital to get charges suspended. And then I might go to another program to get charges dropped.
There’s a mental health diversion program after this mental – 90 day return to competency. Even if I was found competent I think they would declare me incompetent to stand trial even if I was found competent. Then I was in [redacted] then and I still failed.
It might’ve been because I was scared I was gonna get pushed in by these new people I didn’t know. Cause I went from in a cell by myself to in a cell with 11 other people and it was like open and there was chairs.
So you really – it’s really – everybody’s laid back I’d say. There’s some scary, weird, horrendous things like people shooting themselves and like people going nuts. We had one guy go nuts. His name was [redacted].
Anyways, he told me he had to go to jail and then the day passed – he didn’t go to jail. We had this one guy that said they’d let him out but it sounds like he’s gonna get let out.
So I don’t know but he’s – I’m the only one who wants to talk about things just because I was picked up and I kind of felt abducted. But sorry I’m getting off the thing – my visitation is very good.
And they switch around the visitation rooms and I’ve gotten about 30 minutes extra time. So let me go to the next question because I’m gonna have to shut down soon.
UCI: Okay. What about with reduced programming?
Caller: Say what again?
UCI: What has it been like for you to have reduced programming?
Caller: I’ve been on the roof. I feel like with the end of COVID everything’s getting better but I only get an hour out a day and it’s random. I like to do it in the morning but I’m waiting till like five o’clock to call you.
It’s been very helpful that you reached out to me, it’s been something to hold onto emotionally. I’m always standing at the door or trying to fall asleep. I had like just problems being stuck in a cell.
It’s really crazy because I could be found innocent. And I don’t know how the heck it works. Ventura Police Department was not helpful with me.
So it feels like – it doesn’t matter. But I wouldn’t have – I never had a story told to me about jail. I don’t think I’ve ever put anybody in jail and I don’t know – I don’t particularly have any jail friends. I have a stepbrother who’s been to jail but he’s nuts. He’s not welcome at my house anymore. So.
I really don’t have any comparison. I just wanted to kind of call. You have points – there’s programs. We ate candy yesterday, you can get teeth brushing. You can get bars of soap – there’s two showers. So everything you need to get done is in one hour.
But you can’t eat with other people except for your cellmate. So that’s how program is. And there’s also roof time. I went on the roof about three times out of the whole month.
Because there’s a guy named [redacted]. Or there’s like a – which is like a program leader – team integrated – something – I don’t know something like that. And he calls all the shots on a special day. Probably Monday, Tuesdays are your best bet.
And they have tablets. I forgot to say there’s tablets in [redacted]. And one person did a grieving in [redacted] and he got a tablet from [redacted] for one day. But he can’t shut his mouth and so he was the guinea pig and so I think he failed his evaluation.
So. Tablets are nice because they have podcasts. I’ve learned a little bit of German. Ich bin nicht bose – I’m not bad.
UCI: That’s awesome. Okay, and then you said time was running out so I’ll ask you two more questions hopefully. How have you been coping with the crisis?
Caller: Visiting my parents, looking at the sun. Catching a glimpse of the shine. Reading the Bible, of course. It’s been cool. We have a whole Bible with traditionals or like traditional speculations on it
And working out on the ground. Accepting everything – complying. Comply, comply, comply, comply. Speak. You know, lunches – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve done the vegan. They have high protein, there’s regular – I don’t know why anybody would try and stay on regular. High proteins the way to go.
Because you get double servings of some proteins. The breads really good in here – they have sourdough they have like pastry dough and then they have nine grain bread. So just enjoying things.
There’s commissary but commissary’s kind of a rip off, but I threw up in here. I got stomach flu. So that was kind of fun, I kind of threw up and it kind of released a lot of pressure I had on my neck. And I had the runs and that was not fun. But the shower helps – hot shower – there’s hot showers in the morning.
You just gotta kind of get lucky. So just choosing your days. Like it helps you appreciate things once you figure it out. But in the beginning you – if you have a large spectrum, if you’re competent – because I am kind of competent. I know how court might be.
And I would want to participate but given that I’m kind of innocent in my four charges I wouldn’t really want to. So I’m going the long route, the long safe route.
And I have a nice – the only thing I would say is [redacted] is the way to reach your lawyer. You only get about three – I’d assume that you’d only get three calls. And then you change your pin number and you can get three more calls with a new pin number.
So if you really wanted to cope with what was going on, you would call, you would sit around and wait to think what you said – get a pencil and jot down objectives and call your – to call your public defender and try and beat your attorney at law – sorry I forget, I don’t even know. Public defender versus the prosecuting attorney.
UCI: Awesome. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?
Caller: I was hoping to shout out my Twitter but I can’t. I was hoping I could get a message but I can’t. But I’ll definitely try to look at some stories when I get out. What’s really fun is sending out envelopes and postcards and there’s fun – there’s TV in jail.
And it can get kind of loud. You can also set it really low – but it’s still fun. It’s fun counting hours – you really need to appreciate 24 hours in a day if you’re not in jail. And that’s it.
UCI: Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your story. And you also mentioned in the beginning you gave your mom our information so thank you so much for that as well.
Caller: No problem. She’s kind of busy, I don’t think she’s [unintelligible] around to it yet.
UCI: That’s okay. She doesn’t have to call now, she can call in the future or also write us a letter. You can also write us a letter. Because you mentioned passing the time. You can also write a letter sharing more parts of your story.
Caller: With that said – my mom has told me more information. When you’re in jail, you’re really cut off from everything. You really need to be bailed out if you wanted to defend yourself. Even if you’re found competent, it’s like a bad thing to be found competent.
Unless you were really are like a lawyer– you need someone on the outside to tell you what the heck is going on. And yeah. So my mother was telling me alleged things that I did – and it’s total complete BS in my opinion. BS is the word that comes to mind – I hope you don’t mind if I cuss a little bit.
UCI: No you’re fine.
Caller: Thank you. Anyways, is that good?
UCI: Yeah, that was perfect. Thank you so much for your time.
Caller: You’re welcome. I hope you’re a student, I hope you’re doing well. Thank you.
UCI: Thank you, have a good night. Bye-bye.