This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.
Yard is offered three times a week but two issues prevented me from using the dog kennel CDCR calls a yard, safely. First to go to yard, one must submit to an unclothed body search, before and after, and be made to walk half naked in their boxers or in my case, a bra and panties, in front of all the inmates, staff and females. I refused to participate in their strip-show and prayed. So I was denied yard for 220 days.
Second, and most importantly, staff amongst many other failures, failed to sanitize the handcuffs and yard cages in between inmate use, even after a positive inmate uses them. You see, Chino like most prisons resort to the horrible practice of using the hole, solitary confinement, as quarantine for COVID-positive inmates. I’m sure one can imagine how such a practice only hinders testing as many inmates would rather tough it out than to go to the hole. No TV, no personal property, 24/7 lockdown, lack of social stimuli. Just you and your boxers, one book, and four walls.
Chino has military-style ISO person dorms, so that some activists and advocates such as myself took to calling Newsom’s COVID death camps. So of course coronavirus had its run of the facility. The day I left Chino, it felt like I was escaping a death camp. Just me, myself, all alone on a state bus, Greyhound style, and a 10-hour drive north to Sacramento.