This letter was written by a person incarcerated at CMC (California Men’s Colony).
In April, I received a ducat pass to appear down at the clinic. Around this time American healthcare professionals were screaming about the lack of PPE in the hospitals and clinics where they worked. Despite that, when I stepped into the clinic at Soledad the only PPE anyone was wearing were gloves. That’s it!
I pulled up short just inside the door and watched as nurses and doctors flitted from here to there without a professional care. I turned left, gave my ducat to the officer at the desk, and said, “I’m not staying here.” “You have to stay to sign the refusal form,” the correctional officer says to me.
In seconds I scan the room. Poor ventilation, crowds of prisoners stuck close together, officers and medical staff just walkin’ around like the pandemic doesn’t exist. “Nope,” I say, “Not gonna do it.”
These words and any others like them are erythema to an officer’s sense of absolute authority. I knew this, but I couldn’t walk into and then stay in that room. The female officer (who wasn’t sitting down) walked up to me and with an attitude way too big for her britches loudly said, “You need to sit down and wait here until we can get a refusal slip for you to sign.”
Instead of answering her, I began to point out the various things that were wrong with the scene to all of the prisoners who were in the room. The last thing that I pointed out was how these two officers spend close to eight hours in close proximity. They command us to socially distance, but that is not scientifically sound. Because they would be the ones to introduce the virus to us and not the other way around.
Sometimes when you make too much sense some people don’t like it too much.
As the inmates began to murmur, the male officer comes around the desk and approaches me. I raise my hands and back away into the hallway. All nine buildings annex off of this corridor, thus it is reasonably full of people. This is the only reasonably safe place that exists for me. They follow me out faces full of anger at my audacity to stand up for myself.
They argue and I discuss. They’re loud and I am level in my tone and this seems to make them hotter. The male officer pulls out his handcuffs, the woman reaches for her baton. If he attempts to cuff me I won’t resist but that doesn’t mean much.
If they want to get rough I’ll just have to take it. If I resist then I’ll wind up with an ‘assault’ charge. I wound up getting such a charge anyway, but that’s another story.
Anyway, a sergeant comes out of one of these buildings, sees what’s going on, and steps over to where we were. He’s level headed and sees my point. Tells me to head on back to my housing unit building, and that was that.