This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Solano.
By now all visiting had been cancelled and recreational activities had been sealed back to almost nothing. We were confined to our cells 23 hours a day. Inmates housed in lock up units were getting more activities than general population inmates. There was certain segments of correctional staff that didn’t want to comply with wearing mask, but that changed as infections and death rates skyrocketed.
As unbelievable as it may sound, there are still some who don’t believe this virus is real. After 40 years of incarceration, nothing prepared me for this crisis. I’ve witnessed horrible acts of violence over the years but this virus was the only thing that made me question whether I would live long enough to complete my sentence.
Whenever you call home, you’re praying that you won’t be told a family member has contracted the virus. My mother, who is 76 years old, had been putting off neck surgery for almost eight months due to the pandemic. She was rescheduled for it in November 2020.
During her recovery, one of my nephews, that resided with her, ended up contracting the virus and exposing her to it. She tested negative, but my anger and anxiety was all that time high. My anger stemmed from his carelessness. He wasn’t constantly wearing a mask and stayed hanging out in crowds. She eventually told him to move.
My mother is a very social person and the isolation was wearing on her. Whenever I would call her or other family members they would ask me how I was able to deal with the isolation for as long as I have. I would chuckle at these questions because we weren’t even a year into the pandemic and it was wearing folks out.
Vaccines and ventilators don’t cure or guard against the mental and emotional toll that this pandemic takes on a person. I’ve gained a new respect for health care workers and first responders. It takes a special kind of person to put themselves in the line of fire of this virus.
There seems to be a light flashing at the end of this pandemic tunnel but I’m still cautious. It’s times like these when you get to see what people are really about. I’ve been both surprised and disappointed, throughout this crisis, and at the actions of people. It’s been an eye opening experience, to say the least.
I’m looking forward to the next chapter of this story. What would you say has had the most impact on society; crack cocaine, AIDS, Trump, or COVID-19? Stay tuned.