COVID Prison Testimonies: Clifford Smith in California, July 2020

July 8, 2020
Clifford Smith
Avenal State Prison, California

Hello there! : )

Greetings “again” from the inside society in central California … the forgotten society! 

Hope and pray all is OK and your day going well! : )  

Isn’t this virus something as it spreads across the world, states, cities, towns, prisons, etc. 

They moved a group of us over 60 to this building, so please note, new updated address : )  

Kind-of a “useless” move as we are still mixed in with the under 60 and not all over 60 moved, so they also mixed in with the under 60! 

The whole IDEA of move was to keep us over 60 safe from this virus! Not a whole lot of thought put into it … 

Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Clifford Smith in California, July 2020”

COVID Prison Testimonies: Randy Wynn in federal prison, May 2020

May 7, 2020
Randy Wynn
United States Penitentiary Lompoc, California

As you can see, I am writing from USP Lompoc, CA. Because of the coronavirus, we have been in lockdown over six weeks. The first four weeks we were allowed a 10-minute shower, and the next day 20-minute phone calls. Then came the 24/7 lockdown with no showers or phone calls. We went 17 days without a shower. This week, one day 15-minute shower and the next day 15-minute phone calls. By 11 a.m. we have received all three meals. The cells are very very small, and I do have a celly [cellmate]. I can almost touch both walls at the same time. No room to walk or exercise. The food is not enough. Have not seen the sunshine in over six weeks. To top it off, I was very sick from March 24 to April 4, 2020. And when I said sick, I mean sick. Did not think I was going to make it. I am 60 years old. I see no end in sight. So my question to you is, how healthy is this for a 60 year old? I look forward to hearing from you ASAP please. Thank you for your time. Stay safe.

Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Randy Wynn in federal prison, May 2020”

COVID Prison Testimonies: Scotty in California, June 2020

June 23, 2020

I am a “high risk” medical lifer (LWOP [life sentence without possibility of parole]) out here in the Central Valley of California at a joint called CSATF-SP at Corcoran. We have been on a modified lockdown since March 15, 2020, with “masks reusable” cloth types given on April 12, 2020. Most convicts comply with wearing them. However, when the staff (CO’s) refuse, it has caused issues, to say the least, with COVID-19 getting behind the prison walls. We all know the potential deadly link comes from the outside world. We (convicts) are threatened with RVR’s [rules violation reports] if we don’t comply with mandatory masks. The prison website is telling the world that hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies are available, and that is not factual at all. Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Scotty in California, June 2020”

Aging Black Liberation Political Prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, Bedridden with COVID-19 and Cancer, Shows Us Why PA Must #FreeEmAll

by Suzy Subways

As COVID-19 surges through the state and tears through its prisons, loved ones of incarcerated people are driving to Harrisburg today, calling for Gov. Tom Wolf to use his reprieve power to immediately release all elderly and medically vulnerable people in prison. Loved ones are also asking the Department of Corrections to require prison staff to wear face masks and be tested for COVID-19. As part of a national caravan for health and social justice, the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign worked with local anti-prison groups like the Human Rights Coalition and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI) to center the survival of people in prison on this day. The car caravan will circle the state capitol and proceed to the governor’s mansion.

Amid the horror that is the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections right now, Black liberation movement political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz may be one of the best examples of how that horror is playing out for elderly prisoners and their families. Maroon is 77 years old and has been fighting stage 4 colon cancer for over a year. After testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 11, Maroon was held in a gymnasium with 29 other men—and only one toilet to share between them. Meanwhile, he has had blood in his stool, and his urgent surgery for the cancer is now being denied. 

Continue reading “Aging Black Liberation Political Prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, Bedridden with COVID-19 and Cancer, Shows Us Why PA Must #FreeEmAll”

When There’s a Pandemic and Your Loved One Is in Prison

Ideas for support and advocacy during the COVID-19 crisis 

By Evelyne Kane and Suzy Subways

It’s challenging enough for loved ones of people in prison: paying for expensive phone calls, trying to advocate for your loved one’s health, keeping your head up through it all. And now we have to deal with this new virus. Here are what we hope will be some helpful ideas and suggestions, which we’ve gathered from people in prison, their loved ones on the outside, and other activists:

Coronavirus Info to Share with Your Loved One in Prison:

COVID-19 is the name for the new disease spread by the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is very easy to spread from person to person, and transmission can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • From close contact with another person who has the virus (being within 6 feet of them)
  • Through contaminated surfaces or objects (the virus can live on many surfaces for hours or even days)
  • Through contaminated particles in the air (for instance, when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes)

Continue reading “When There’s a Pandemic and Your Loved One Is in Prison”

Second issue of Turn It Up! prison health magazine now available

Our sister publication, Turn It Up! Staying Strong Inside, has just released its second issue! This is a beautiful, detailed and comprehensive resource for people in prison about how to survive, thrive and advocate for their health. Turn It Up! is published by the SERO Project.

You can read it online here and order a copy for your loved one in prison here.

Visit TheBody for a wonderful interview with the editors.

Advocating for Yourself in a Medical Setting

By Teresa Sullivan

From PHN Issue 38, Fall 2018

Principles:

  • You have a right to information.
  • You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • You are entitled to a good relationship with your doctor or health care provider.
  • You have a right to make decisions that affect your health care and your life.
  • You have a responsibility to be effective.
  • You will be more effective if you have a strategy and a plan. Continue reading “Advocating for Yourself in a Medical Setting”

Quick Tips for Common Ailments

By Timothy Hinkhouse

From PHN Issue 38, Fall 2018

Migraines:

Don’t you just hate it when your day hits a brick wall because you feel a blinding migraine coming on? Some people, it practically debilitates them and leaves them curled up in the fetal position in a dark room on their bed with a cool wet cloth on their forehead while wishing for any immediate relief. Continue reading “Quick Tips for Common Ailments”

Colorectal Cancer Occurring Earlier

by Darrell L. Taylor

From PHN Issue 34, Fall 2017

In the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), inmates are not screened for colorectal cancer until the age of 50, regardless of what ethnic group one may belong to. It has been established that people of African origin are at higher risk than other ethnic groups and therefore should be screened at an earlier age, especially if there is a family history. Finding and removing polyps on the inner wall of the colon or rectum can prevent colorectal cancer. Continue reading “Colorectal Cancer Occurring Earlier”

Breast Health and Screening Mammograms

by Erin Tully and PHN staff

From PHN Issue 34, Fall 2017

            Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While breast cancer is most likely to affect cisgender women, it affects people of all genders. (Cisgender means people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.) Mammograms are recommended for people over the age of 40 who have breasts. Continue reading “Breast Health and Screening Mammograms”