This story was told by a person incarcerated at Tracy.
UCI: Tell me about what it’s been like during the pandemic.
Caller: Initially, it was a shock. Because I knew that the pandemic was worldwide. I had never anticipated or even expected the pandemic to hit the prison system.
And in three months, during the initial or statewide initialization of the pandemic, I became a little more concerned. Not for me or fellow prisoners, but for family members, the community at large, and the general public.
And then, when the numbers started finalizing in states. Particularly here in California, and I see the numbers continue to gravitate toward unprecedented amounts. I became really concerned. So, the graduation of concern, and intrigue, and [unintelligible].
And the president, Donald Trump, didn’t help a lot because he discounted a lot of the things. And seemed to basically set a precedent which I didn’t understand. But then when it started hitting the- infecting the prisons, I learned about that particular aspect or source of information from the San Quentin News, which is a prisoner-generated publication.
And the numbers was really frightening, because- also I’m in here on a three-strikes, property crime. I became concerned about my public- my personal safety because also I’m doing a life sentence, I didn’t wanna be, I don’t wanna die in prison.
Particularly knowing that the prison officials, the correction officials, and even administrators, they do not have a high standard of PPEs and other cleaning agents that the public at large is using. Such as sanitizing, masks were just given, initially we were given cloth masks. Now we’re finally given N95 masks, or what they’re calling KN95 masks, but it still left me with a great amount of concern. Particularly because the prison officials warn that the facility is scheduled to be shut down.
So what they seem to be doing is creating a crisis situation by withholding more PPEs and cleaning agents. So it’s become perpetually disconcerting that public servants, who are paid by the taxpayers, are perpetuating a mass pandemic in the midst of a pandemic.
So I’m really concerned about my personal safety, and the safety of others, of course. But mine personally because I don’t know if the same fellow inmates have the same amount of reservation and the level of concern that I’m exhibiting.
I’ve been filing grievances with the prison officials, and they’re discounting them, of course. There’s no real social distancing in prison because now they’re making us take on double-cells in a massive size cell, and we’re in there 23 hours a day. And we’ve got poor ventilation, and this prison that I’m in, it was built in the 1940s.