This story was told by a person incarcerated at Todd Road Jail.
Caller: Yes, well I don’t get visits because it’s too far for my mom, especially her not having a vehicle, and she has to depend on my sisters, which they all work, you know? And I know we just got the visitations back because they had stopped them, you know what I mean? And when they do that, it creates a problem in here because they’re not allowing us to reach out to our loved ones or to even see them.
So it starts a conflict in here among us and also amongst the jail staff, but now that they gave us – now that they gave us back the visitation, you know what I mean, they just limited the amount of people that could come in at one time, but we also have access to – to like the video Zoom, you know what I mean, right here through the phone. If a family purchases, you know what I mean, like for a video Zoom visit, you know what I mean, I think it’s like six dollars for 30 minutes, they could see us through the screen. So I think that – that helps out as well too.
UCI: All right, that’s good. Did they introduce the video visits during COVID, or was that something that was already going on?
Caller: No, this was during COVID.
UCI: Yeah? Okay. What about programming? What has it been like to have reduced programming?
Caller: There is no programs right here whatsoever. They stopped all that. No – no movement. No nothing.
They have it for the other population but not for our population, and I don’t think that’s being fair for our population due to the fact that we are all supposed to be treated equal, just like any other human being. But they belittle us right here due to our classification.
When most of us are trying to do – do substance abuse programs, they don’t give it to us, but they give it to other people in other housing units. They don’t allow us to work.
But yet they let the females and the rest of the general population to work, you know what I mean, but just not our population, you know, and I don’t think that’s fair. We can’t even do GED. We can’t do nothing.
There’s no resources. They even took our law library away, our books, and I don’t think that’s right just due to the fact that they gave us some tablets, you know what I mean? And even then, the tablets, you know what I mean, it’s limited on what you can read and see on the tablet because they block everything else, and it’s only for English.
So for all of those Spanish speaking, they don’t even understand like what’s on the tablet because they don’t know how to use it, and there’s no instructions, or it doesn’t give you the option to – to change it from English to Spanish, you know what I mean? And then in order so you can get those options, you have to buy the tablet, which is five dollars, and most people are indigent.
They don’t have money in here, you know? And I don’t think that’s right for them to take away our little bit that we have, you know what I mean? Because that – that’s what creates problems. They don’t give us nothing to occupy our minds with, you know what I mean?
Most of us, you know what I mean, that comes from broken homes, all we know is one thing is violence, you know? And we’re trying to avoid that, but everything they – everything positive that we had before, they took away because of the COVID-19.
UCI: I see. Is there anything else you want people to know about your experience?
Caller: I know that – I know that they can make it better if they really wanted to and everything, but they don’t, you know what I mean. I know Inmate Services could give us like games in here, you know what I mean, which they do and everything, but when the games are incomplete, they don’t give us nothing.
They like – they do group punishments when they are not supposed to, you know what I mean. If they would give us back our resources, you know what I mean, like our books, our games, you know what I mean, our programs, like something to occupy ourselves, I know it could be better.
UCI: Definitely. Especially right now is an extra tough time and then to take away all those resources.
Caller: Yeah, and that is all we ask for, you know what I mean, just to give us what we have coming, like something to occupy ourselves because we even submit kites to the deputies, you know what I mean, or Inmate Services and they tell us if you guys have any requests on what you guys want to do to avoid conflict or anything to let them know, but it goes unanswered. So, why even give us the opportunity to submit them if they’re not gonna do nothing?