This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.
Our program has such a likening to the hole. First solitary confinement. As a trans person, it is certainly the safest housing a male’s prison could offer me, but everyone gets lonely. Twenty-three and a half hour lockdown, half hour given to us daily for a 15-minute phone call and 15-minute shower. No doctor visits, no psych visits. I’ve already been in the hole for seven months, so I’m kind of used to it. My fellow prisoners aren’t. They resort to yelling out of rooms for social interaction and joking about suicide to cope with their depression.
No lie, as I write this, I heard one man say “Man I’m going crazy. I’m going to hang myself.” And another man said “If you do, let me know. I’ll do it with you.” Sadly even though these men aren’t seriously suicidal, if they’d ask to speak with the mental health professional, the best they’d get is a psych tech yelling at them and their unit to ask how they are. Quarantine remember. And no one wants to talk to a psych on the TIAA where everyone else can hear.