This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Soledad.
Of course the prison itself doesn’t give prisoners much information so I’ve cobbled together some facts from local TV news, daily program status reports (PSR).
In late March of 2020 to mid-April all programs, education, and visiting were stopped. All the N95 masks used in vocation spaces, plant operations, institutional support, and PIA were confiscated for staff who were short of PPE. We never saw them on the prison guards or supervisors. Guess the N95 masks went to medical staff.
PIA textiles started making masks out of jumpsuit material with elastic to pull around our ears.
Throughout summer and early fall wings would go on and off quarantine. Due to if a prisoner tested positive. The gym and both chapels were made into isolation units with bunks. Up until November 2020 we lost three or four prisoners and one staff.
On November 9th we went on total lockdown (quarantine). Testing has gone up by 12/23/20 according to KION news, channel 5/46 at 11 p.m., there are 829 infected prisoners, with seven dead, and 80 staff infected with two dead.
Within Z wing, we shower every five to seven days. We have 60 to 70 minutes on the rec yard. Currently there are over 400 cases at Central Facility, with G-wing, gym dorm (as SNY Sensitive Needs Yard, i.e. Protective Custody), both chapels one and two. The yard now has 12 eight-man tents on yard with half dozen porta-potties and two shower trucks.
At North Facility all 12 tents are full (96 men with COVID-19). Z-wing has gone to rec yard twice a month and those prisoners who have continually tested negative (“Sofia 2” SARS antigen F1D test not a PCR) don’t go to work. Only those who have tested positive and/or recovered from the disease.
Those assigned to PIA who’ve tested positive cannot test again for another 90-120 days. Since the staff, who up to last month have been wearing home-made masks, bandanas, and scarves, now everyone must wear foreign made N95 masks. Essentially, the staff and prison guards have infected over 1500 men, 12 are dead, and the hospital is full.