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Letter From San Quentin

June 28 2020
Hello everyone,
 
I hope you are all well and being safe. Thank you for the work you do and the support shown to me and so many others inside.
 
Before I tell you about the COVID 19 outbreak here, I will share good news first. 
 
On May 5th I was found suitable for parole after 25 years. Still no words to say how I feel.
 
I will be out the first week of Sept. 
 
[...]
 
I am so looking forward to seeing all there, and helping in any way I can. 
 
I’m sure you’ve seen the news from San Quentin.
 
Let me say it is and will remain the most stressful time for me. And I’ve done 25 at every level including the horrible Corcoran level 4 for 10 years.  
 
Up until almost 3 weeks ago we had no cases of inmates with COVID. But we had 6 staff who were positive.
 
Within days as you know a bus came here with impacted incarcerated people.
 
They were put in South Block. Some were put in A/C— Adjustment Center. 
 
Before I go any further—I work in the hospital—on the floor where the actual 52 bed unit is. So what I will tell you is first hand and factual. 
 
During the time COVID people were in the A/C—they were escorted to the lab on the 3rd floor hospital. 
 
As you can guess it became contaminated and had to be cleaned. I saw this for myself.
 
This was one of several mistakes made. The second is all staff had been moving in and out of South Block and A/C not really being protective. And at that time we had a mandating mask rule for all including us. 
 
The first time I saw the number of [those?] in blue it was at 156 and 41 suspected cases. 
 
A side note—2 staff here, one officer and 1 sergeant had COVID—took time off came back and to this day still don’t wear their masks.
 
This goes on a lot! A lot! A lot!
 
On the 16 of June I took a COVID test. This was done [?] the workers only.
 
OnJune 22 testing began in North Block for us. So I again tested. Now mind you during that week and the week before people in blue were becoming sick and being taken out to get checked out. They were placed in Alpine, Carson, Badger or Donner unit in South Block.
 
It got worse. Daily there would be up to maybe 6-10 alarms of man down.
 
I am getting chills telling you this.
 
I was getting a daily update of the positive cases.
 
Now mind you the number was about 180 on the 23rd of June. It wasn't until I went to work and there were 2 men in the hospital 4th floor who were positive. They were the worst cases. 
 
The next day names were being called out—from 20-60 each time up until today June 28th.
 
We are now at 613 cases, but West Bock just got tested [?]. So the tests should be back on 6-29-20.
 
From a reliable source those who came from other prisons with COVID were not screened when they got here and had COVID for at least 2 weeks before they arrived here. 
 
As of now the entire North Block has been dealt with after the 63 people taken out of here yesterday. So all 5 tiers are done.
 
Some cells—both people were positive and some only 1 positive.
 
My other half who I’ve been with for 2 years and live with, came up positive. So he was moved to Badger. 
 
He had no symptoms and I was tested the same day and 1 day before.
 
It’s sad for me. For us because I am going home in Sept and we should be spending time together. 
 
But he will be back once he gives two negative tests. I don’t know how long he will be in Badger.
 
Pretty much—we only come out to get our food. They very seldom give us a shower because of all the [moves?] and breakfast starts at 7 and is done at about 11AM. Dinner starts at 6 and done about 8:30-8:45.
 
I have really [?] to protect myself and my other half. The mask [goes?] on when I go anywhere.
 
Remember I work in the hospital, so I have been trained really well. I really keep my distance from all.
 
I just can’t tell you how I feel. I am scared. I have come so far to get a date and be a good person. It is very scary in here and a lot of the staff [officers?] are not being as sympathetic as they should be. 
 
I hope I make it out—so I can tell what I need to. 
 
I would imagine by the end of the first week of July the number of COVID 19 people will be at least 800.
 
I don’t know what else to say. I just hope nobody dies here and everyone gets better soon.
 
I thank you again. Please tell Noelle hi and I will see her soon.
 
Also I do give you permission to use what I have told you. But I can’t give you permission to use my name.
 
[...]
 
June 28/20
 
[...]
 
Be safe and take care of each other.
 
Please pray for us all! People are protesting outside of the prison for our release. 
 
This text is transcribed from a handwritten letter, and there may be small errors in transcription. Places where the transcriber could not make out the words are bracketed with question marks. Information that Prison Radio did not have permission to share is redacted. Redactions are marked with brackets containing ellipses. No other changes were made. 
 
This letter was sent to Prison Radio by a correspondent of ours in San Quentin. We received the letter at our P.O. Box on July 9 2020. The inside of the letter was dated June 28 2020.