This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Orange County Theo Lacy Jail.
April 18, 2021
Greetings and salutations! My English is not so great but I’ve been dying to write you. First and foremost: Thank you for your letter, I felt so honored and to a some point I saw it as a good sign that my name was chosen at random!
God is with us, people need to hear what goes on in jail, so without preamble here is my story:
I have been confined to OC jails for over 10 plus years! I’m not proud of saying it, but so you know my background. Also I’m classified and housed LGBTQ (gay). I’m gay!
COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise for us inmates. Two days after your letter I got the visit of an attorney who was part of a movement for LGBTQ rights in jail, plus I got a letter from ACLU. COVID-19 has proven how poor our system is.
When the pandemic exploded March 2020, I had just gotten released from jail. As a homeless individual, throughout 2020, I kept getting tickets and infractions, but when approached by an officer my warrants were ignored (until now!). Many people that I know on the streets would tell me: “I was in jail but I got released 40, 60, 90, 120 days early!” Unbelievable.
Of course I got arrested in Feb, sent to jail and no such love for me. I’m still here doing three months. My release day is May but I still hope for an early “kick.”
The process of county jail due to COVID-19 is evolved, a tad bit better but a lot worse too. Orange PD brought me here to IRC mail jail. I waited outside, a mask was provided for me, vitals, nurse interview, etc. All this takes place outdoors.
Once in “the loop” the process is the same, same inhumane treatment, same poor conditions, same lack of professionalism or/and ethics. But all this done with a mask, and six feet apart.
I got first housed in what they call “quarantine.” I wish someone could come and see what I’m saying! To give you an idea: Theo Lacy, one person per cell, dirty/filthy conditions, but a table in the dayroom full of soaps, sanitizers, and napkins. It was horrible/terrible, not even the deputies would do a walk in quarantine housing. So sad, so inhumane.
It was the most depressing experience I have at Theo Lacy quarantine. Dayrooms are 30 minutes so you are in a small cell, all alone for 23:30 hour lockdowns. No books, no outdoor recreation, nothing at all for two weeks!
Here is the inhumane, sad, unfair fact: how is it that people in this country are treated like this. Because of COVID-19 jails closed their kitchens. How would you like two baloney sandwich, one cookie, one apple, one milk, one mini-bag of baby carrots served at 40 to 35 degrees (I was a cook) cold. These are called sack lunch or sack nasty.
Well you get three of those seven days a week. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. I’ve been here since Feb and I’m half going insane; this sack nasty diet is been for over a year now! And no one does anything, no one knows this, this is not even mentioned.
On a side note, I never mentioned that we all humans need a hot meal. I always took it for granted. But, to be honest, inmates that had been here longer than me have this sort of depression. Like dust going through the motions. Like they don’t have nothing to look forward to. It’s so weird. Eerie.
Unfortunately, I’m not limited to write you at length but there’s so much injustice that comes with justice here in America. The OC jails time is 50 percent which means if you get sentences to one year, you do six months in custody. That’s so wrong! LA County does 10 percent, San Diego and IE 30 percent.
So why is OC the highest custody time county? Because conservative, but that needs to change.