How I'm Weathering COVID-19 (4:22) Dontie Mitchell

4/29/20

 It's stressful because, uh, you know, trying to get in contact with family members and being worried about them is not the easiest thing in light of the phone situation, the fact that the superintendent Chris Familia here doesn't allow for us to use the phones or kiosk during the daytime. And currently they had me isolated on the reception gallery.

I'm the only person in the back half, along with one other guy who was kept up maybe five cells away from me. But when I first got there, my nearest neighbor was 17 cells away. And when I asked acting Captain Vladiko, you know, are they trying to isolate me? He said, yeah, we're going to keep you isolated. We're going to move you somewhere else, bury you, if you can keep up, you know, your bullshit. And I'm like, you know, I'm not doing much of anything, but just bringing light to the situations that are going on and they seem not to like it. 

No, we're not getting any type of information. Um, as you know, I was an inmate liaison committee member, which is basically a committee of prisoners that meet with, uh, the facility administration every month.

Um, you know, when I got out of solitary confinement, um, last Monday on the 21st, they had called me to an ILC meeting with Pat Frazier and two OSI investigators to talk about this COVID thing, I guess they're supposed to be the ones that come every week to ask what's going on. And honestly they're not- it's just, it's just the facade.

It's just, you know, something they’re doing for show, but you know, they're just going through the motions because all the things that are being told to them, they're not doing nothing about it. Like overcrowding on the bleachers or overcrowding on the phone, you know, what's so sad is that, you know, guys in solitary confinement, get to use a phone app on a tablet ‘cause they have wifi but guys in, uh, in the prison population, you know, have to vie for only 35 phones. Sometimes these phones break. So, you know, what are we to do? And, and no one seems to be saying anything about this.

Well organizers on the inside should be, uh, writing letters to outside organizations like the prisoners legal services or to the commissioner's office, or, uh, to the governor's office and other prison advocacy groups to  inform them about what's going on. They should be, uh, encouraging, um, guys had their family members also get in contact with various prison organizations, media outlets, et cetera, to expose the fact what's going on at this particular facility, because it's extremely corrupt. 

And what people on the outside should be doing is when they hear radio commentaries, like my prison Phone War One and Phone War Two, et cetera, you know, they should be emailing these to various officials to expose the fact that this is going on, and that no one in the facility administration is doing anything about it. They’re just allowing it to happen. Like I literally was sitting no more than three feet away when a guy got slashed across the face on these crowded bleachers.

So not only am I putting my physical wellbeing in danger because you know, guys have to, you know, they skip each other to get on the phone, you know, and it causes conflict. But I'm also putting my health at risk because if any, one of these guys is maybe asymptomatic with the COVID, uh, COVID-19 virus, we're all going to get it.

I mean, we are literally that close. There's no social distancing on these bleachers nor in the phone line. What’s crazy is that on, um, I believe it was this week with Joe stepping off of it, they were talking at like maybe three, four weeks ago. They had a segment about, uh, the prison conditions down there, I’m thinking Angola, I believe it was?

And you know, they were talking about, you know, the situation going on in various facilities. Then the second it was probably like, two or three minutes long and it didn't even get no real airplay, but people out there have this misconception that we're all safe in here and that, you know, there, there aren't cases.

But yet there are people getting sick. One individual who I personally knew had died and they had him resuscitated him in the outside hospital. And then they have, uh, like, uh, the isolation units and the, uh, infirmary and also on A-3 gallery here, great metal that, uh, they put guys who are suspected to have the virus. But other than that, there's really no other precautions being taken to ensure that the prisoners in general are safe.