This story was told by a person incarcerated at Chuckawalla.
UCI: How has the situation at your facility with COVID-19 affected your loved ones?
Caller: Oh they’re devastated. They don’t know if I’m going to live or not because I’m over a certain age, where, and I have a pre-existing condition. And you know my family wrote the governor, wrote the secretary of the state, wrote the attorney general letting them know I have a pre-existing condition. That “why can’t I be put on a certain list in order to be removed from the prison and taken home like others have,” but due to the fact they say that hypertension and things aren’t as severe as other things, is not right.
So they, of course they fear for, my safety. In a way, where it comes to my health and dealing with COVID-19.
UCI: And what has it been like for you to have reduced visitation and programming?
Caller: It is so emotional not being able to see, touch, feel, talk to in a way where you used to, dealing with your loved ones. It puts you in a situation here, where sometimes you just don’t know which way to turn, you know, you don’t know who to turn to. Because everybody is dealing with the same situation, so we’re all in the same boat. You know, you’re dealing with 200 people in this building with attitudes, different characteristics and, it’s just not a good- it’s not a good scene, it’s not a good feel.
I don’t know how, I don’t what word to use to help you understand, but it’s just not good.
UCI: How have you been coping with the crisis so far?
Caller: A lot of reading, a lot of journaling. Using, you know, as healthy coping skills as possible, trying to exercise. You know, all of our sports have been taken away, all of our activity has been taken away due, you know, I guess the governor’s order. I try to you know, meditate, pray, talk to my people on the phone as much as possible.
They’re starting the video conference visits, as of tomorrow. For example, I have an actual visit with one of my family members tomorrow for the first time. So I’ll be able to see somebody at least, in the last you know eight, seven, eight months. And that’s the only way we can cope with it. And talk about, you know, the things that we’re feeling.