This story was told by a person incarcerated at Avenal.
UCI: And how has COVID-19 situation at your facility affected your loved ones?
Caller: It’s – it’s affected them really – I mean, this whole last – I haven’t seen my kids and my wife for – since November of last year.
So about a year now I have not seen them. You know, my kids are suffering. You know, they want to see their dad. My mom, I’ve lost family members since this pandemic has started. Haven’t got to see them. And, you know, it – it’s rough for us, too; you know? We’re on good behavior, we’re trying to do whatever we can to go home to our families and we can’t even see them; you know?
No virtual – like it would be nice if we could see them virtually even like, you know, on a Skype or like a FaceTime or something that they could provide for us to do that to say hello to our kids and stuff. Like I feel that my kids maybe even feel like I abandoned them because, you know, they – they’re – how am I going to explain to the 5- and 6-year-old that they can’t see me? When they ask to see me, how can – that’s not right to tell your kids that they – that they can’t.
Caller: They’re probably like, well, why can’t I see my dad; you know?
UCI: And what has it been like for you to have reduced visitations and programming? I know you’ve told me a little bit about the programs and stuff, but, you know, how – how has that been like for you?
Caller: It’s – it’s been a struggle.
Like I said, it hasn’t been as bad for me. I feel because like I said, I’m –
Caller: I go home soon. I go home in about a week. So I feel that it’s not as bad for me, but some people that live very far from their families aren’t going home for several years, it takes a bigger toll on them. But I know it’s for a good reason to try to keep it out as much as possible, but it’s not going to stay out as long as the – I feel like the officers and free staff and nurses, they have to go in and out of this prison every day.
So that’s not going to keep it out. Not giving us visits.