This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Kern Valley.
So how has the pandemic affected me? Yes and deeply. When the prison program was shut down, it was awful. No visits, no phone calls, watching the news, seeing bodies stored in semi-truck trailers, hearing the death count.
All I wanted was to hear from my family. I went months without knowing their wellbeing. I stopped watching the news when people stories started to be told. Both parents passing and leaving young children, heartbreaking.
While I had no word from family, I kicked my studies into overdrive to keep my mind occupied. My family is my support system. They order me all the teen books I take interest in and they want me to come home and be successful just like they are.
I have years studying K-9 behavior and training diesel mechanics (Duramax and Cummins), ATV mechanics. Vocations I will put into practice once I regain my freedom. Oh and self help books that has helped me tremendously spiritually. To uncover the complex and heal the conflict, remove mental blocks, cognitive dissonance, etc.
I really did lack a conscience. I was lost, my hope was lost, my appeals were all exhausted and I believed I was going to die in this place of old age. I had nothing to live for “so I thought.” I once hear that some people must learn how to die first, to learn how to live.
That’s so true, only then do some learn how to set and establish their goals, morals, principles.
My family is my life line, my pillar, my anchor. They pick me up out of this dark, sad place I’m in. I know the great, beautiful impact family could have. That’s why I would be very effected when I would watch the news.
Everyone losing family, young children. So I finally received news from my love ones. Everyone was OK, even the ones who did get COVID.
But then on January 10th, 2021, my grandfather passed due to COVID, he was 85 but very healthy working his farm. My parents named me after him. We were very close, he would always visit me. I cried for weeks, I didn’t care if other inmates saw me crying.
He was one of many reasons why I keep pushing forward to come home, what drives me now is to be able to visit his grave some day. My empathy and sympathy is with the world. I pray for society of the post impact effect that this pandemic is going to have.
Well the measures that this prison yard has taken have been very good. I do feel safe. They do testing every two weeks. I’m fully vaccinated now. The staff wear their mask and we can’t step out our cell without it. They are strict, and that’s good.
Not having visits and not being able to hug my love ones has been very hard. Visits have been my escape route from this cruel reality that I’m living. Their hugs recharge my spirits. But I understand that it’s for everyone’s own good.
They now run phone calls and I’m able to call my family. That makes me really happy, to hear they are okay and taking care of themselves. Little by little, the program here is going back to normal.