This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Jamestown.
I hope that my letter finds you in great spirit and that all that evolves around you meaning family and friends, because we are definitely in a time where support from any direction is needed while this crazy pandemic is in existence.
I received your open invitation to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 that we’ve all had to, face but I want to minimize the fact that any environment is better than one when it has to go through something so tragic as that particular virus.
Let me first start by saying that I am a life term inmate that has spent the last now moving towards 36 years of incarceration inside of this system. I was the 12th juvenile in California to be trialed as an adult which is basically grown up and matured as well as educated myself completely.
Here I find myself beyond imagination in Jamestown which is a level one camp reception institution which I will never be afforded to go to camp but I’m here for the purpose of having the opportunity to be released home. While being here in Jamestown I would have to rate this place at a low three in the form of being placed in some inhumane condition. Starting with the housing units which occupy 32 inmates with a space between ACH of approximately three feet during this six feet social distance requirement.
You ask the question on how do we compare to the society norms of dealing with this pandemic. We don’t compare because the whole situation is contradictory to what is required based on the needs of the individuals that dictate the movement of the system. It’s sort of the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, so what the public and Sacramento don’t see doesn’t hurt.
There is no possible way to social distance inside of any prison when you have overcrowding at an alarming rate. There is no possible social distancing in any institution that has dorm living such as Jamestown being at the top of the worst list as well as other prisons like Solano, Avenal, SATF, etc.
The question of my safety in regards to the virus is at a continued high because of how the housing conditions are set-up. And although I personally can take all of the necessary precautions, the fact of the matter is we’re not equipped to deal with such a virus that has the ability to be transmitted the way it does. Each individual’s close proximity jeopardizes the next person no matter what and it has been proven. Once I caught COVID but because of my strong regime and physical fitness I didn’t even realize I had the virus.
And to be honest it’s still in question for me because they have not given me any form of proof that I caught COVID, just their word of mouth.
The other thing that puts people at risk is the fact that there is so much intake inside of the prison. That all it takes is someone else’s negligence to not quarantine the right inmate and allow that person to be placed into the population. And there the outbreak begins which has also occurred here in Jamestown. Creating a massive problem such as San Quentin had in the middle of last year.
The circumstances of anyone safety can never be secured inside of prison unless there are some changes within the system in how they house individuals. And according to the administration that controls CDCR custody factors, inmate population control will never be set in a safe and realistic manner based on the reasoning of overcrowding even at the lowest levels. So all forms of viruses and diseases are possible to catch no matter what the severity of its transmission.
PrisonPandemic, you must keep in mind that safety is determined on conditions. So if the conditions of how the system houses people and the factors of that housing are poop, such as the ability to maintain reasonable space, the ability to clean, the right to be housed, without mold infested dorms, cells, bathrooms, or showers such as this place has.
Being placed in dorms where plumbing is tremendously bad especially for 32 people housed in a closet holding one urinal, two toilets, three sinks, and one shower with the closet space room for sitting in a TV room or dayroom with no tables. So there you have a visual of how it is so high in possibilities to get sick here because of constant use of the same common areas by so many people in the small but limited space. Sardines in a can is the best description.