This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.
PrisonPandemic, hello to you and the members of your group, thank you for this opportunity. It’s nice to see people such as yourself reaching out to those behind these walls of darkness, who are subjected to this draconian life we must live. What is to follow is my own thoughts and feelings, nothing more. What I see and what I’ve seen from my incarceration.
I fully get the fact that this project, which sounds great, wants to collect stories about the pandemic. Again, I will do my best to share the plight of this institution as I see it, but after 26 plus years in this darkness, it has all been a pandemic in my eyes.
Early on in 2020, the CMF staff begun taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring inmate to wear face coverings, themselves not so much. Unfortunately the virus found its way inside the institution. Towards the end of 2020 the quarantines began, which were a good thing, but in many ways not at all.
For the most part my portion of the institution is single celled, yet it became very questionable why many of us were taken from our single and isolated cells and put in dorms where known cases of infections were. Myself, I was tested twice, not sure of the outcome of the first test. A week later I was given a second nose swab, despite having no symptoms, I tested positive.
Like three in the morning I was moved out of my single cell and into a large 150 man dorm. A few weeks later many of us were rotated into tents outside on the yard, each tent held 10 to 12 people, mind you it was freezing cold outside at this time of the year. A few weeks later I was moved yet again, this time to a much smaller dorm, another 10 man dorm.
This was just a short way to say, but here’s the kicker, once I made it back to my single man cell, maybe a week later I get the results of my second nose swab, turns out it was negative. I was not an isolated case, many inmates tested negative, but wouldn’t find this out until months later. For now I will move on, I will return to this issue shortly.
Since you found me in a database, you may know I am a third striker, another subject you be writing about. Like myself, just about every third striker has been incarcerated for decades for nonviolent crimes, being subjected to crimes ourselves on a daily basis, from radical laws, unsafe prison conditions, to underground rules passed off as regulations institutional staff enforce on us.
Briefly, since 2021 California voters has passed three major prison reform acts geared toward nonviolent inmates, yet all CDCR has done is use ambiguous language, backed by the courts, to keep us from regaining our freedom. Over the years I have seen prison conditions go from bad to worse, but only for the inmate population, whereas nothing but improvements for the [redacted].
Yeah they may say otherwise, but how do you explain new equipment each year? New vehicles every few years, all the overtime they can stand. They’re around here working multiple shifts weeks on end, despite laws that say they can’t. CDCR seems to be unchecked by anyone and have carte blanche on anything they wish to do.