I’m helpless

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Tehachapi.

The two people I love more than anything in this world are my grandparents who are in their 80s. Now that there is a pandemic, it puts their lives in jeopardy and I’m helpless. I can’t do anything because of the decisions I’ve made. My celly lost his grandmother to COVID-19. My brother had it and recovered. It seems like it’s getting closer and closer. It’s the most stressful time for me since I’ve been incarcerated.

On top of all that, the conditions inside are getting worse and worse. I hope I’m not offending you or anyone when I say this, but some people are so selfish when they choose not to wear a mask or social distance. It’s so stupid how they try and justify why they don’t. Only until they themselves experience this horrible disease. But I still pray they won’t have to, and realize the coronavirus is serious.

A few inmates in here have caught it, and so have a few of the correctional officers. The effect of this pandemic is reaching everything. A few days out of the week we have gotten a peanut butter packet as a substitution for our main course. It has also affected the food items we are allowed to purchase in the canteen. There’s practically a limit on everything. We can only order 24 soups each month. On top of that we stay on two-week coronavirus lockdown/modified program. We go on one, get off for a few days, they go right back on for two weeks. So because of that we are not allowed to shop at the canteen or receive packages.

My celly finally received a package that was sitting in R&R (receiving and release) where they store our packages, for almost a month after it got here. And when we started to eat some items out of that package, we realized, halfway through a honey bun, that it was rotten! It was extremely upsetting because my celly had ordered a lot of pastries, and almost all were rotten.

The biggest thing I’m afraid of is what would happen if I caught the virus. Well, more like what wouldn’t happen. Even when there wasn’t a pandemic, the most common remedy we receive for health problems, ranging from a cold to a full blown unknown sickness that causes you to vomit every 25 minutes, is an ibuprofen and to drink a lot of water.

I mean I’ve had those spells a few times in the last month where I wake up with a severe migraine, cold sweats, and vomit every 25 minutes. I thought it was my fault the first time, because I had been drinking. But the following two times it happened, I didn’t drink. I went to medical two out of there three times, but all they gave me was some Gatorade.

I’m not the type to complain and go to medical, but it was getting scary. The medical inside these prisons are a joke. They don’t care about us. Now that there’s a disease going around, with a vaccine still in its early stages, there’s really nothing they will do. Just quarantine us in our cell. Inmates have it the worst.

I do understand nobody is to blame, for why we are here, but ourselves. But it doesn’t give the people who are supposed to watch over us the right to treat us like animals. I don’t know, I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because I can do this. Unfortunately I’ve been living like this, in institutions like this since I was 13. I feel for those who haven’t.

Once again I really appreciate you for reaching out. There are no visits, for I don’t know how long. So it gets really lonely/ I had just started getting visits too, now I can’t see my family. It’s a horrible feeling. I pray the get this vaccine mass produced sooner than later. I can’t wait until everything’s back to normal, if normal is even possible.