More than a number

This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Tehachapi.

First and foremost I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share my experience during this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not easy to cope with being incarcerated and not knowing the wellbeing of immediate family. As far as the institutional dedication to our safety, as normal our instructions are contradictory and counter-productive. One day we’re locked down, which means no movement outside of our cells, and the next day people are outside socializing without masks or social distancing.

The thing is, the staff themselves don’t wear masks and the transmission rate is higher among them. What I mean is – inmates have tested negative and then contracted the virus from the staff. Another issue would be our correspondence with our loved ones.

Mail has been slowed down dramatically, visits are on and off, and with the high rates of the phone companies it’s difficult for families to feed themselves and pay for us to be able to call home.

Overall, to not understand a virus, and be forced to live in an environment where it’s not properly secured and monitored, is terrifying. Without outside enforcement, CDC will continue to report whatever is necessary to keep its gates open regardless of truth.

Last but not least, the rehabilitation process has become unable due to lack of material and staff. As we continue to pray and hope it’s nice to know that someone somewhere out there thinks of us as more than a number.