April 5, 2020
Zhi Kai Vanderford
Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee
I am a trans male, been on testosterone about a year here. I am a Minnesota lifer that they sent out of state for 14 years in California, 12 years in Oklahoma, and the rest of the time broken up in Minnesota, so a total of 33 years.
The inmates here are fortunate—we have each been issued a mask and told we will get a new one monthly. But out of all the staff, and they are coming in [from the outside world], I have only ever seen one wear a mask—a foreigner—a nurse, bless his heart. The rest of these jackholes are ignorant young folks that feel fine—of course they do. They are asymptomatic.
Of course, what is the excuse of the 2 old geezer doctors that I saw? They don’t care about our health. They joke it is inmate population control.
And the inmates I spoke with are saving their masks for when they are needed. When people are actually dying. But there are Minnesota prisons that have it [COVID].
Thank you for keeping me in the loop and being a lifeline. If I get more time, I will draw or write. Feel free to print my work. Just give me credit. Maybe I can get things improved here.
A Donkey’s Rock
By Rudy Vandenborre
Everglades Correctional Institution
September 12, 2020
When I went to Washington, D.C. from a small farmer’s town in Belgium, it felt like I entered a whole new unknown world. As a butterfly who morphed, fluttering its wings for the first time, I believed that I was invincible by living a very dangerous lifestyle. “Whatever happens to other people ain’t going to happen to me,” became my motto.
The first time I encountered an unseen enemy was when I took a guy home who insisted on us wearing condoms. AIDS was running rampant all around the world—every country, every city became a hot-zone. However, the mainstream media stayed mum on this HIV pandemic, as it was still branded a gay disease.
There is a saying that even a donkey will not stumble over the same rock twice! So, why did I?
Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Rudy Vandenborre in Florida, September 2020”
September 24, 2020
SCI Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Please print to let people know. The DOC here at Camp Hill had us clean up after they used the decon chemicals in the kitchen and dining hall. We were sent back after 4 hours of cleaning. We were not allowed to get showers for 8 days. We worked on 9/15/2020 from 4:45 am until about 9:30 am cleaning up the decon chemicals they use for decontamination for COVID. I repeatedly asked to get a shower, see MSDA sheet on chemical, was told my skin was not falling off or melting. I was later told it could burn skin by other source. When inmates are around chemicals that are hazardous because staff has respirators and PPE, we are not afforded that or allowed to know hazards of chemicals we come in contact with. They have refused to give me any info on the hazards of chemicals or allow us to get showers after coming into contact with chemicals.
Camp Hill’s Medical Department do not respond to sick calls when you ask for meds to be reordered because order about to run out. In May I had to put 4 sick calls in, grievance in, have family call up. The medicine ran out on May 22. It took over 20 days to start the med back. I was charged $10.00 even after I was told my account will not be charged. My med was due to run out Sept 27. I was forced to put 2 sick calls in 2 request citing policy. We need outside help with oversight concerning medical issues.
Camp Hill, PA DOC
Dakota Rose Austin
Kern Valley State Prison, California
Ms. Dakota Rose, a trans woman incarcerated in California, asks for help to stop the violence against LGBTQ people housed in the Sensitive Needs Yard, a place intended to keep them safe from homophobic and transphobic attacks. Various populations at risk of harm are placed there, not just LGBTQ people. For more information, see this resource written by currently and formerly incarcerated trans activists.
“My Cup of Tea”
To all of my incarcerated trans-sisters/brothers and non-binary identifying individuals, what’s Gucci! I am Dakota Rose, an incarcerated trans-woman, African Am. who was privileged to read my sis-in-solidarity, Fatima M. Shabazz’ submitted article regarding “transgender housing in prison.” Instinctively, I felt a sense of pride, compelled to interject my perspective and push for out (LGBTQ) advocacy, activism and overdue civil recourse.
Currently I am housed at Kern Valley State Prison, a max security level IV (180 design) SNY/NDO (sensitive needs yard/non-designated) in which a vast majority of the population are identified by CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] administration as STGs (security threat group/gang members). CDCR administrators, such as Sec. Scott Kernan in conjunction with C. Pfeiffer, K.V.S.P. warden, have knowingly condoned a perilous homophobic and transphobic culture, which has subsequently led to various hate crime acts of violence, discrimination, sexual harassment and assaults upon the LGBTQ population.
Continue reading “LGBTQ Prison Testimonies: Dakota Rose in California”
July 8, 2020
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”
September 17, 2020
Sussex I State Prison, Virginia
I hope & pray this correspondence reaches and finds each of you experiencing well being, especially in light of these critical times that are hard to deal with.
I am a fairly new subscriber to the “Prison Health News” which I am grateful to be a recipient of. The information contained in each issue is very informative.
I would like to contribute to the cause of keeping the prisons of Virginia population informed on various health news.
As of now Sussex I State Prison has had a major COVID-19 “outbreak.” I believe it started being contracted through the facility’s kitchen supervisors who passed it on to the offenders who work in the kitchen.
Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Mark Kersey in Virginia, September 2020”
May 7, 2020
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”
May 6, 2021
by C.S. Robledo
Colorado Department of Corrections
The Colorado Department of Corrections presents a facade of honesty, integrity, and progressive agenda to the rest of the world, while simultaneously violating prisoner rights. During this pandemic, one prison in particular decided to handle COVID-19 in its own way. Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility (AVCF) is an old prison in Ordway, Colorado. It is essentially in the middle of nowhere. Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: “Coordinated Manslaughter” by C.S. Robledo, paralegal”
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”
May 5, 2020
by Richard S. Gross
SCI Phoenix, Pennsylvania
We have been locked down here at SCI Phoenix since the end of March. Four cell cohorts come out for 40 minutes to shower, use the phone and kiosk, maybe go outside in the concrete courtyard. The time goes fast. For two weeks around Easter, my block was under 24-hour quarantine. We didn’t even get to shower during the first 8 days, then got out one cell at a time every other day for 10 to 15 minute showers. The showers were cleaned after each use.
Continue reading “COVID Prison Testimonies: Richard S. Gross”