This story was told by a person incarcerated at Fresno County Jail.
UCI: So what has COVID been like for you? Or what do you, anything?
Caller: In the beginning, it was kind of nerve-wracking because we didn’t have good information because of where we were. Then all of our programs got shut down. Some of us had things like milestones that we could complete to get good time credits and get out early and what not, and all of that was just completely shut down, so it was pretty rough at the beginning of it. That’s my negative experience, you know, with it at the very beginning.
Then recently, I’ve been incarcerated again at this phase. I was put on a floor that’s six out of five dorm rooms had this new strain. I was not asked whether I’ve had it, this strain, or any kind of vaccinations or if I’ve been exposed or anything. I was just put on this floor, and then, sure enough, my pod tested positive.
So, somebody in here was, and we were put on quarantine for about three weeks. I have a really serious and stressful case, and that was just put on hold. I wasn’t able to see a lawyer. It was really stressful.
I mean, I don’t really blame anyone or anything. It’s just the way it is. That’s my experience if that helps you.
UCI: How have you been coping with all of this?
Caller: Coping skills is eating whatever I can and working out. You know, it’s been really stressful.
UCI: What do you think your facility could have done to make the situation better?
Caller: I think the prior screening, putting people where they should and shouldn’t go, as far as this term is concerned. Then at the very beginning, I think that some important programs like education could have ran by people masking up and maybe coming dorm to dorm or something like that. Some things could have been addressed. Better information could be given to the actual inmates.
We just didn’t know anything at that time. We’re pretty nervous just hearing that people are dying on the outside and stuff. We didn’t really know what the virus is about, you know, how serious it was. We didn’t have any information.
That was at the beginning. Those are the differences I can think of.