I’m not safe

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Tehachapi.

December 2020

Hello UCI student, PrisonPandemic,

My name is [redacted], age 31, male, and Hispanic inmate in a level 4 [redacted] in Tehachapi prison. I would not want to be anonymous. I would like my full name with my CDC number [redacted], please!

What has it been like to be inside during this time? I feel like I really can’t do anything while I’m serving my prison sentence, but I also feel hurt and worry ’cause I got to worry about my loved ones and my son that I love deeply. How we say it in prison, all we can do is stress out about it and not do anything about it. Pray about it and let our Father in Heaven and let him take control and take care of it.

How do you feel about your safety inside? Well, honestly, we have to be honest with ourselves here. No one in life wants to do time in this moment of times. ‘Cause the truth is I just came out of a 21-day quarantining. So, I’m not safe. We inmates can’t leave this prison and wander the streets, so how else is it getting into the prison? You put the puzzles together and you have the answer. I live in a cell and two people live inside. We can’t be six feet apart and a mask will only help you 20% if I have to eat. I have to take a bird bath, I got to sleep, I got to keep good hygiene- can’t always have a mask on.

What has it been like to have reduced visitation from family and loved ones? It’s crazy we have done without our family and loves ones. We don’t know when this coronavirus will hit our loves ones, one or two or three of our family members’ last breath and we could not hug them or give a last kiss or a few words of life. We got to hear it from a correction officer the bad news. That’s how a lot of inmates kill themselves cause can’t take it and can’t cry cause we’re prisoners. By crying, shows weakness. Let me tell you something, my sisters [redacted] and [redacted] got approved and were going to bring my seven-year-old boy to see me the following week. My son and I are like two superheroes together. I was happy and my son [redacted] was happy. Then the pandemic hit and all visits got cancelled. It’s been over two years since I saw him. It hurt me deeply, but I teared up ’cause only a real man shows tears!

How have you been coping with this crisis? I pray every morning, thank God for another day alive and letting my spirit come back into my body, ’cause God still wants me alive and needs me in this world. Then I read the Bible at least three to five chapters a day. And I draw little books for my son, easy for him to read, and do something positive and keep a good vibe. And listen to some oldies of love songs. To keep relaxed and watch TV and read books. Oh yeah, I write my son a little- at least one to two a week.

I picked this little paper off the floor and read it and here I am. Any more questions, please ask and you shall receive. Thank you. If you like to use my stories in your own words if you like. If you have a newsletter, please send me one please. Please remember I would not like to be anonymous.