This story was told by a person incarcerated at Fresno County Jail.
Caller: Okay, during this COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of things been happening. I haven’t been able to see my family lately because of the COVID-19. There’s situations in my family where they cannot bring little ones, and in order to see my family, they have to bring my little ones because my family members are the ones that are taking care of a certain person.
While we’re in here, we’re supposed to be receiving soap, extra toilet paper, and medical attention. The medical attention takes a while. But we have not been receiving soap lately. We’re supposed to be getting new masks; we haven’t been receiving those lately, either.
Certain correctional officers are getting sick, but they’re on sick leave. And the money that we’re using in here to provide for ourselves is excruciating. It’s really, really bad. In a month and a half, I have already spent $600 for certain things, like medical stuff, hygiene. There are a few people in here that haven’t seen their families either.
We were getting six free calls; they have turned those down and only getting five minutes a day, five minutes every Monday in order to call our families, which is not efficient.
UCI: What about this one? What about this call?
Caller: Excuse me? This call is a, well, you say you take collect calls. That’s the only reason we can. Like I said, I spent $600 in a month and a half. Frustrated.
UCI: That’s a lot.
Caller: Yes, it’s extreme. You know, and that’s just mostly hygiene stuff. When we do ask the correctional officers for certain things, sometimes they give it to us, sometimes they don’t. It depends on how they’re feeling about it.
UCI: So, you’re paying for the things they are supposed to give you free?
UCI: Okay. Go ahead. Keep going.
Caller: In the beginning of the pandemic, they were giving us once a month a new mask, an extra, a bar of soap, and an extra roll of toilet paper. Now they’re not doing that.