This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Chowchilla.
Since COVID-19, inmates who have a C-Pap machine are now housed in the TCU in single cells. However, we have women here that are 65 and older with respiratory heart conditions and other issues who are housed in cells with seven other women with no room for social distancing. These women are at high risk for COVID-19 but are not treated as such.
There was a woman who was housed here that paroled in October of 2O2O, who was 89 years old. When COVID-19 became an issue in the world and our prison went on modified program on March 18, 2020, this woman had seven months left on her sentence. However, the powers that be refused to let this woman go home early. This woman is 89 years old and is high risk for COVID-19. Why couldn’t they let her go home early so that she would be safe?
There are other women here that are older who have a short time left on their sentence, and are at high risk for COVID-19. However, there has not been any arrangements made to let these women go back home early, why? Most of these women have release dates. If they are going back out into society anyway, what difference does it makes if they go out early so that they can protect themselves from COVID-19.
This is just one example of how CDCR is not trying to bring the population down to protect the health of the inmates. Currently, we are on a modified program per Governor Gavin Newsom. But even with a modified program there is no social distancing because the prison is still overcrowded. When you house eight inmates in a cell that was originally made for four inmates, there is no way to social distance.
The inmates in this and other prisons will never be safe until the prison population is brought down to a manageable level.