COVID Prison Testimonies: Laderic McDonald in Missouri, August 2020

August 31, 2020
Laderic McDonald
Potosi Correctional Center, Missouri

This is Laderic McDonald and I am writing you to ask you to advocate on the behalf of me and other offenders at PCC.

We currently do not have any Dial soap or any anti-bacterial soap at canteen when we placed our Ad-Seg canteen orders. We are only allowed 2 bars per month per policy, so if you attempted to order Dial soap, you may not have gotten any soap at all. How can we keep our hands clean? How can we sanitize our cells? They do not allow us to clean our cells, a Big Health Hazard! We have no soap and COVID-19 is still pummeling America. Please call Potosi Deputy Warden of Ops, Jody Glore and advocate on our behalf. Tell him we need to be afforded access to cleaning/hygiene supplies that will keep us CORONA FREE.

Guards are not wearing a mask in Ad-Seg. They have to feed us, escort us to medical, showers, rec cages, phones and etc, but they are not wearing a mask, and they cannot practice social distancing.

It would be nice if they released offenders with no conduct violations out of Ad-Seg so we can take care of ourselves. Ad-Seg is unsafe and has offenders at risk for COVID-19. Not a good situation!

Please do something. We need your help.

With all due respect,


Editor’s note: Ad-Seg is a term for solitary confinement. Prison Health News did respond to this letter when we received it, and we sent some information about how to advocate for oneself using grievances, lawsuits and other means.

I Encourage You to Get Your COVID Vaccine

By Comrade Angel Unique

From PHN Issue 47, Fall 2021

As a fellow prisoner and comrade, I encourage you to get your COVID-19 vaccine when you are allowed to do so. I did—two doses of Moderna. The way I see it, our captors shamelessly made no realistic attempts to protect us. None. But, now they are offering us a chance to protect ourselves, the communities our prisons are located in, our potential visitors … on the streets. The luxury of the option to get vaxxed or not is there, but for those of us inside, we each know our own conditions. There is simply no way—zero—we can ever hope to go somewhat back to normal programming without the benefit these vaccines guarantee!

About 90% to 95% effective at preventing hospitalization or death! Wow! Serious side effects are extremely rare … so, please. Get vaccinated. It’s the only way for prisoners. I send my love and solidarity by the stars above.

—Comrade Angel Unique 🙂 xoxo

Hand Arthritis Tips

By Edwin Rivera

From PHN Issue 47, Fall 2021

This idea stemmed from the arthritis I’ve now had for several years. I have it on different parts of my body, but I am focusing on the arthritis on my hands, which causes my fingers to lock. And believe you me, it hurts when I have to pry them back into place! Anyone with this condition knows all too well what I’m talking about. It’s mainly my ring finger and my right pinky. I started to do light finger curls every day and washing my hands with hot water.

Continue reading

Increasing Self-Compassion

By Lorin Jackson and Lucy Gleysteen

From PHN Issue 45, Winter 2021

Many people are not fully aware of the ways in which their negative thoughts impact them throughout their day and in their lives. One of the reasons we experience negative thoughts are our past (or current) experiences with trauma. In other words, trauma can impact the way that we see and understand ourselves.

Some people who have experienced trauma, oppression, and/or abuse at a young age develop what is called a “negative internal voice.” This voice (or these internal “tapes”) might reveal themselves in the form of feelings of worthlessness, self-hatred, or hopelessness. Examples of negative thoughts can include recurring thoughts like, “I’m stupid,” “I’m a horrible person,” or, “No one will ever want to be close to me.”

Continue reading

Helping Others Helped Me

By John W. Dunn

From PHN Issue 45, Winter 2021

I walked into a unit and saw an inmate/patient that was being ignored. His name was Michael. He was paralyzed and refusing treatment and meals. Officer Threat-Johnson allowed me to feed him, and give him company. Michael became my friend. He started eating, gaining weight, and got better. He has since been sent to an outside institution.

That was my beginning. Now I only care for paralyzed, extremely ill, and mentally challenged inmates/patients.

This service of caring for others has a two-fold reward. I, too, receive healing in my spirit. I never knew I possessed this ability, and am happy to be of service. I have been trained in all areas of healing this prison has to offer.

I have always had a problem writing about myself. But I’d be nothing without the ability to assist the men here at CHCF.

This has to be the most rewarding experience in my life. If I should ever get out, I want to work with our wounded warriors. I personally believe I would be awesome at it.

Elevate Your Inmate Game: Building Habits to Help You Seize the Day

By Leo Cardez

From PHN Issue 45, Winter 2021

There’s a note on my planner that I update each year on my birthday with annual increasing numbers. On my 40th birthday, eight. On my 41st birthday, nine. And so forth. That number is how many healthy habits I live by. I add one new habit each year. This goal I set each year is a gift I give to myself. I might be getting older, but I am doing something that can help me live longer and makes me a better and happier person overall. My good habits have increased each year, often replacing old, bad habits. I love the idea of becoming a better version of myself. There may come a day when I won’t be able to adopt a new healthy habit. That felt all the more real this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. But I try to take this in
stride, realize it is about the journey, take a deep breath and try again… and then again. Sticking with new habits can be difficult, but it is all about taking one small step at a time and understanding that it is okay to fail, as long as you try again.

Continue reading

How Other Health Conditions Interact with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

By Lily H-A

From PHN Issue 44, Fall 2020

Researchers have found that there are certain factors, including having other health conditions, that make it more likely you will have a severe illness if you catch COVID-19.

Here are some of the factors that seem to go along with more complications from COVID-19. Of course, having these health conditions doesn’t guarantee you’ll definitely get severely ill if you catch COVID-19. And people who are otherwise healthy can still get very ill if they catch COVID-19. The best way to prevent getting severe complications from COVID-19 is to not get it at all, so it’s important to keep practicing social distancing when possible, wearing a face covering, and practicing hand hygiene.

Some of these you can do more about than others. For the ones you can do something about, we’ve included some tips. Eating healthy, being physically active, and quitting smoking can improve or lower your risk of a lot of these health conditions. If you take medications, take them regularly and make sure you have enough refills.

Continue reading

Self-Care Tips From Contributors

From PHN Issue 43, Fall 2020

My Daily Health and Fitness Program
By Aging Graciously

My daily health and fitness program is simple, easy, and doable. I borrowed it from a Loma Linda University health article and would like to share it with you. It’s the acronym “NEW START”:

N is for NUTRITION: Eat your vegetables, fruits, and hot cereals on your food tray, along with your healthy snacks in your lunch box such as almonds and dried fruit

E is for EXERCISE, ENERGIZE: Walk, stretch, jog, move around

W — drink your required amount of WATER: This is mandatory

S — get your 30 minutes of SUNSHINE: Get outdoors

T — be TEMPERATE: Don’t overdo anything; use moderation

A — get fresh AIR: Early morning is best

R — get your REST: Sleep your 8 hours

TTAKE TIME for prayer and meditation

Every day is a brand new day—a new start.

Continue reading

Spiritual Health Resources for Solitary Confinement

By Joshua O’Connor AKA “Apache”

From PHN Issue 43, Summer 2020

Spiritual Health is just as important—if not more important—than your physical health. It’s what gives you the willpower to wake up and thank the Creator for all you have. It’s also what gives you the willpower to work out and better yourself.

I know it’s hard to do when you’re in solitary confinement. In solitary, there is no access to the sweat lodge and Pow Wow, for all my Native brothers and sisters. I hope that changes soon, because Native Americans should have access to their spiritual practices like everyone else in the general population.

Here are some things I recommend you do while you’re in solitary confinement if you want to continue your spiritual practices:

Continue reading

My Experience with PTSD

By Bernard Lee Starks Jr.

From PHN Issue 43, Summer 2020

Hi, my name is Bernard Lee Starks Jr. I am a 30-year-old African-American male who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Contrary to the belief that PTSD only happens in people who have experienced war, my PTSD comes from getting sucker-punched over an intense three-year span in a juvenile correctional facility. The degree to which I was affected was unknown until I became an advocate against sexual violence and began reading about rape trauma syndrome.

Being in confinement is very difficult, especially while fighting symptoms of PTSD. It’s always noise from people or machinery which adds difficulty to maintaining assertiveness. After speaking with a trusted psychologist at 20 years old, I was told I likely had PTSD.

Continue reading