Makeshift dorms

This story was told by a person incarcerated at Soledad.

Dear UCI,

Thank you for giving me a voice about my prison experiences with COVID-19.

I’m a 66-year-old white male battling Parkinson’s Disease, high blood pressure, and aches and pains associated with being an elderly inmate. I have been incarcerated for the past 46 years of my 66 years of life. Three times the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) found me suitable for parole and gave me a parole grant. The three times, the governor’s office reversed the parole grant. I qualify for parole based on the elderly parole program and the youthful offender program. The BPH panel acknowledged this upon finding me suitable for parole. However, the governor’s office dismissed these factors. I qualify for parole based on being classified as a medical high-risk by medical staff. Supposedly, LA prisoners were to be given parole to safeguard us from catching COVID-19 and succumbing to the health issues associated with the virus.

I have watched caravans of ambulances carrying out inmates stricken by COVID-19. The prison infirmary is limited to what care they can give inmates. Thus, they are shipped off to outside hospitals such as Natividad Medical Center, Salinas Valley Hospital (not sure if I have the complete names). I was dedicated to come to dental for exam. The RDA did everything she could to discourage the four of us inmates from being seen, saying we have to wait hours just to have a COVID-19 test. She also stated seeing the dentist could lead to our coming down with COVID-19 [redacted information].

CTF Soledad Central, North, and South is reporting 419 cases of COVID-19. Those testing positive are being held in a makeshift dorms, which used to be two chapels. Others are being housed in Y wing, a housing wing that was converted into a quarantine wing. The visiting room has also been converted into a quarantine dorm. At CTF South, only dorm four has been quarantined with a possible COVID-19 case. The other dorms: two, three, five, six, and seven have no cases of COVID at this time. Each dorm has one hour of yard, separately from the other dorms. We are still fed the morning and evening meals inside the dining hall, again one dorm at a time.