This story was told by a person incarcerated at San Joaquin County Jail.
UCI: Absolutely. And have you been able to find any coping mechanisms during your quarantine of, you know, those 20 days?
Caller: You know, really the only thing that keeps me going is the phone, because I have a tablet. But here’s the thing. I’m kind of like, my family gives me money, obviously. And I pretty much burn it up on this dang phone all day.
I wouldn’t even, it’s stressful. It’s stressful. I want to talk to my mom because she’s older. I want to talk to my dad. I want to talk to my biological dad that’s in Arizona.
And he’s telling me they’re hit with COVID really hard. My sister lives in Florida, and she caught COVID, her and her son, my nephew. So, COVID has impacted my life a lot, actually. It’s like everywhere.
Because I’ve got family scattered out through everywhere.
So, it’s like not only am I wasting money. I wouldn’t really even call it wasting because I’m talking to my family, but I’m burning up money trying to see if my mom’s okay, to see if my sister’s okay, see if my nephew’s okay, see if my dad’s okay. That’s the only way.
It’s almost more stressful to make calls, actually. But that’s what I do all day every day, is make phone calls and pretty much read. That’s about it.
UCI: Yeah. I mean especially with, you know, not being able to physically see your mom or your girlfriend, I imagine the phone is the only way to feel comfortable and to hear their voice. Are you able to write letters or anything of that sort?
Caller: You know what’s crazy? I’m old school when it comes to writing. I do like to write, but here’s the thing. A lot of people don’t like to write back.
So, I send a couple letters to my pops in Arizona, and he’ll write me. But it’s just so much easier just to make a phone call. I could get what I need to say to him, check up on him, check up on his wife. You know, it’s just easier. But I do like to send letters.
UCI: Yeah, good. And have you noticed any issues with getting mail out or receiving mail because of the pandemic? Not just you but maybe other individuals as well?
Caller: Well, getting out mail is actually, is crazy because it gets to the people a lot faster than it ever has. At least for me it has. But receiving mail?
They stopped giving us physical mail months ago, stopped giving us actual letters to open up. My favorite thing to do was to get a letter. And I wouldn’t read it in the daytime. I’d set it up on my desk, get a cup of coffee and have something sweet, and sit there, open up my letter, take my time reading it.
It’d take about a good hour for me to read the – not read the letter but read the letter, write a letter. And I enjoyed that. And they took away the physical aspect of that by taking it and scanning it on a computer. So, it gets sent to a tablet, and now I have to look at it like that.
I just, I don’t like it. It really hurt me because I’m old school when it comes to writing. I could write paragraphs.