This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Kern Valley.
May 11, 2021
Hailsa and merry greetings to you. I am writing to you in regards to your short letter asking for stories, of how this COVID-19 pandemic has affected me and those around me here in prison. I look forward to sharing stories that may or may not help in the future.
You have listed a few topics you would like to discuss, but there are others that I feel would paint a far better picture like corruption, contraband i.e.: cellphones and drugs and other topics. If these are the stories you want to hear about, you’ll have to let me know, just know that these topics are a major factor especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is affected financially.
A little about myself, I grew up in Orange County, California, a small city. I grew up in the foster care system as well as the juvenile hall system Orangewood, OC Juvenile Hall, Youth Guidance Center or YGC, Joplin, Los Pinos, etc. I’ve been in and out of prison since 2001 for a violation of probation. I’ve been locked up on this Sacramento case since 2007.
Prison and the prison system has always been bad but nothing compared to this past year. I can say this past year has been the hardest time I’ve ever done and I’ve done a lot of time in a lot of place including Corcoran and Pelican Bay. I personally lost someone to the COVID-19 virus in fact I lost the only person I had in my corner who believed in me and that I could change.
My grandfather passed away in November after fighting with the COVID-19 virus. This hurt me because I didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye. I kept my emotions pent up inside.
I am not the only person to have lost a family member or friend. I know a guy that lost his pregnant wife, another who lost his daughter. They didn’t keep their emotions pent up. One OD’d on heroin later dying, the other lashed out violently nearly stabbing another inmate to death.
I’m not sure if you’ve lost anyone or not in your life but, for us in here it hits home a lot harder because we look back on our past and blame ourselves for not being there. So to answer your first question as to what it has been like inside during this time. Painful in every sense of the word.
As to the reduced visitation from family and loved ones, I personally don’t know. I haven’t had a visit in 14 years. I can tell you that all the guys that do get visits tell me that it sucks. You only get one hour with your family or loved ones, you can give them one hug at the beginning, one hug at the end, no kiss, no holding hands etc.
Guys tell me that it hurts to because they don’t know if that’s the last time they’ll see their family or loved ones and vice versa.