This letter was written by a person incarcerated at CIW (California Institution for Women).
Thank you for writing me during this low time in my life. I needed to hear from someone from the outside.
During this pandemic, being in this prison is hell. We have 70% of the general population in here as COVID positive. I’m pissed off because I took a total of 18 tests and they all came back negative, all of a sudden.
The unit that I reside in now, I have ‘round the clock medical care while I’m waiting to have surgery. This nurse calls up here and tells the staff to test me and two other inmates that she escorted to the shower because she tested positive for COVID-19. I said, “Are you kidding me?”
So, I had to quarantine for another 14 days, which sucked, when this woman had tested positive once before. I thought this was bullshit. Apparently she knew there could’ve been a chance it could’ve came back when she never vaccinated.
I said, “This is a fearful Christmas. What would I tell my family back in New Jersey that hasn’t seen me in 11 years?” And they know I have underlying conditions. I have a son who is waiting for me to walk out this gate in 2024. Thank God my test came back negative, but being exposed, me and my family members who died this year from COVID-19, I won’t see their faces no more when I get home.
I lost eight family members, all on the East Coast in New Jersey, New York, and Florida.
And one friend in this prison, an inmate, she passed away from COVID in June. I’m in an outpatient medical unit and we are single-celled. That is the only reason I’m safe out here.
All the general population have cellmates still, and the staff used to crowd up in their offices without masks on. They basically brought it in the prison to the inmates and they are still doing it today. That’s why our warden resigned and one of our correction officers walked off.
It’s terrible here. So all the inmates are quarantined, and that means no food, no laundry, barely any canteen. And we are three months behind on our quarterly packages that we get from outside vendors, because they have no help to pull the orders from the warehouse to the property room.
And then they are opening people’s packages illegally, and then they are trying to tape it back together, and we have no warden to complain to. And the governor is too busy to hear what the hell is going on. So I’m glad you don’t mind. I’m stressed out, and I really needed that.