This letter was written by a person incarcerated at CMC (California Men’s Colony).
Visitation is a privilege while incarcerated and an opportunity for appropriate physical contact with family members. The visitation privilege provides meaning to an inmate and allows for a bridge of emotions to occur during the setting. The strength of the moment is enough for an inmate to make correct choices during the week, such a focus is necessary in order to re-experience another visit.
The video visit is an unfortunate surrogate, yet I’ll accept it wholeheartedly over abstinence. With so much restriction applied in the process, the experience barely seems worthy. It is clear that specific procedures are applicable but the overview of it appears too mechanical.
Dorm living with respect to the coronavirus plague has compounded my comforts of incarceration into an arrangement that is barely manageable. Disallowment of full yard access with established time allotment, and no opportunity to participate in active self-help groups is regressive, in the sense that an inmate has no choice but to remain stagnant against his efforts. Couple this understanding with social distance, it doesn’t become difficult to see that this interim organizational policy was only to satisfy the thirst of sacramental.
Modified program dorm living to me is degenerative. Simple routines to pass time becomes annoying and very agonizing to the mind, body, and soul. This living experience is dormant and suggest that not much value was given to the course of rehabilitation.
This institution has never faced an administrative paradigm such as the coronavirus plague. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Kathleen Allison once enunciated that all precautions to keep inmates from contraction of the coronavirus would be undertaken. My safety became jeopardized in 2020, when I observed free staff and correctional officers engaged in reassignment to other infectious areas of California Men’s Colony and return to their assigned uninfectious dorm, sometimes not wearing a mask. I did everything correct to evade this pathogen, yet there was a part of me where I felt that I would face the inevitable and it happened.
The impromptuitiveness of California Men’s Colony policy and procedure related to coronavirus lacked forethought and was hastily implemented. My coping mechanism requires me to live one day at a time, wear a mask and regularly wash my hands. It is very hard to cope with this entrapment, as six feet of social distancing is mendacity because of dorm living where confined interaction is defined by limited living space. As variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa encroach upon us, I am not sure of what coping skills are needed for serious infectiousness.