Isolation and Excuses in COVID-Era Prison


12/28/20

COVID sucks massive donkey balls.

This is the third scare that’s happened at TRU which may or may not be an outbreak. All three times it was a DOC staff member working in the kitchen who tested positive which resulted in all the kitchen workers being put on quarantine. So far we’ve gotten lucky. That’s what it is. Even with all the screening and all the testing and the masks and such, it still makes it in. We’re just biding our time until our luck runs out, which is scary.

But let’s set that aside for a minute. COVID-19 has given the DOC the perfect excuse for destroying all the programs and visiting that they’ve always hated, which has made things in here even tougher.

I haven’t had a visit in a long time, but I see the way it wears on the people who normally do. Especially those with kids. I like to do my time by being involved with classes and clubs. Not having that makes it much more difficult to stay connected to other incarcerated people who are also on a positive wavelength, which in turn makes it more difficult to stay out of trouble myself. Also due to COVID-19 is a massive reduction in the amount of time we can go outside because the yard schedule has been divided up between the four units for social distancing purposes. This impacts me quite a bit because normally I go to yard and surround myself with other people who won’t try and hit on me or proposition me. But most of those people are in other units, so if I go to yard I end up having to dodge people I normally stay in my cell on the unit to avoid. Which is fine if I’m planning on power walking for the entire hour of yard, but what I want to do is lay down on the grass and just soak up some calm earth energy and get a sun.

And here’s the real kicker. Even with them having shut down all these programs and visiting which the DOC have been blaming for the prison’s drug problems for years, there’s still hella drugs making it into the facility which means it’s not visiting or volunteers.

It’s the cops.

And this is why COVID-19 sucks massive donkey balls. Because the cops are desperately scrambling to find anything and anyone to blame other than their fellow officers. So much so that they are dropping the ball on keeping us and themselves safe from COVID-19.

Interview with a Fellow Inmate

Today, July 1st, 2020, I sat down for a conversion with JM about his experience in the Washington Correctional Center (WCC) in Shelton Washington. Shelton is the Washington Department of Corrections (WA DOC) receiving facility and thus lacks in many of the privileges and services available in other prisons such as visitation, television, education, and employment.

JM is from Snohomish county and has been out on bail for the last two and a half years fighting his case. He’s served five months on his sentence so far and, assuming he doesn’t lose any good time, has 15 months to go. This is his first incarceration.

On February 3rd he returned to county jail and left for Shelton on February 11th. He arrived at Monroe Correctional Complex Twin Rivers Unit (MCC-TRU) on June 29th, 2020. This is what he had to say.

AK: Tell me about your experience.

JM: I just spent 5 months waiting for transfer. It was rough. It was ‘normal Shelton’ til the Monroe riot happened [2020-4-8]. At that point I was transferred from R3 to R2 because they made R3 and R5 into quarantine units.
I spent 2-3 months there. I saw a lot of fights. A lot of fights. Three dudes beat up another guy because he was dropping out. They got pepper sprayed by the cops. The power went out at one point. There were drug dogs brought in too.
There was three people to a cell. There’s only two beds so one of us had to sleep on a rug on the floor. There was no proper accommodations for human living. Showers two to three times a week. 45 minutes of rec a day if we’re lucky. No heat. No A/C.

AK: When did you start getting things for covid-19?

JM: We started getting things for COVID when I was in R2, about 2 months ago.

AK: What were things like at that point?

JM: They shut down all movements. We ate in our cells. We could only use half the phones in the gym.
My cellie had a rotten tooth and he just had to sit there in pain because there was no dentist.

AK: How were things with the staff?

JM: There were a lot of lies by c/o’s [Correctional Officer] and counselors. We would ask “When’s the chain bus?” and they would say “Next week. Next week.” There was 2 months of that. I would ask to use the phone in the dayroom to call my kid. First the counselors and c/o’s would say “yes.” Then not let me use the phone.
One counselor told me I would be in Shelton my entire sentence. I was about to freak out then. [long pause]

AK: What are you thinking about right now?

JM: I am so happy to be out of Shelton. It was so bad.
I miss my family. I want to see my kids and my wife.

AK: How are things for you now?

JM: I’m just waiting to see what work release next year will look like.

AK: What really landed for you during this experience?

JM: The fights and sexual assaults I saw were eye opening to me. Is this what I want for my life? Just… The disregard for human respect.

AK: Before you got on the chain bus, did the DOC put you through any special preparations?

JM: They took us out at 4 am. Stripped us out and put us in chains.

AK: Were you given COVID-19 tests?

JM: No.

AK: Were you put in isolation or quarantine specific to the chain?

JM: No.

AK: Was there any COVID-19 testing or preventative quarantining?

JM: After the Monroe riot happened, people coming into Shelton from county got put in quarantine and temperature checks. I don’t know if they got tested for covid.
I overheard conversation about doing the same with people coming from Coyote Ridge [Correctional Center – CRCC] but I don’t know.

AK: How did you learn about the Monroe riot?

JM: The news on the radio. Talking to my wife on the phone. She was all freaked out. The c/o’s and counselors wouldn’t talk about it.

AK: And with you coming to Monroe?

JM: Yeah. I was worried too.

AK: Last question. Were you ever tested for COVID-19?

JM: No.

COVID-19 Update 11/6

11/6/20

Coming soon to a prison near you, COVID-19!

The WA DOC is proving yet again that they truly do not care about the health and welfare of incarcerated people. Today they just posted on the units that they will be resuming random and routine cell, pat, and strip searches on November 9th. They claim that PPE will be used in accordance with CDC guidelines. Translation: Officers will be issued PPE to protect them from possibly getting COVID-19 from an incarcerated person. This makes zero sense. The only way for incarcerated people to catch COVID-19 is if a staff member brings it into the facility.

For the last six months the DOC has suspended random and routine searches and instead have only done suspicion searches in order to limit close contact between staff and incarcerated people. The reversal of this policy comes at the worst possible time as covid-19 cases soar out in the community and it is only a matter of time until covid-19 once more sentences hundreds, and possibly thousands, of incarcerated people to death.

COVID-19 Update 6/12-6/29/20

6/12/20

Today the DOC is wanting us to go back to eating in the chow hall. This is a terrible idea. Currently there are massive COVID-19 outbreaks at Coyote Ridge and Airway Heights. This has happened because the DOC as a whole, and about a quarter of us inmates, aren’t taking things seriously.

When we eat in the chow hall there are two precautions. The first is a two people to a table limit. The second is who has to eat in the chow hall alternates between B unit (us), and A unit. We can’t wear masks while eating (duh), and the layout of the chow hall makes certain seats dangerous because they are in high traffic areas, like next to the door, by the water fountain, and in front of the tray up window. If someone is an asymptomatic carrier and in one of these seats they can easily infect every person who passes by.

We don’t have a choice about eating in the chow hall, at 40 cents an hour, we are not paid enough to be able to buy all our own groceries and the only other alternative is starve.

They need to invest in a sustainable means of feeding all of us in our cells. Currently they use disposable paper and Styrofoam “clamshells” of the sort I’m used to seeing at mom and pop burger joints. Instead, they need to use the plastic IMU trays for our food which can be collected in the unit and returned to the kitchen to be washed and disinfected. Which would be both more cost effective and green friendly.

In short, I’m tired of the DOC doing whatever is easiest for them instead of doing what’s right for those of us under their boot heel and for the community at large.

6/29/20

We are receiving over two dozen people from Coyote Ridge Correctional Center (CRCC) on the chain today. CRCC is currently in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak and this is the first incoming chain TRU has received in months.

The WA DOC claims the people who are being transferred spent two weeks in quarantine and have been tested for COVID-19 and have two negative tests.
This in no way makes any one here feel safer.

I understand the reason why this is happening, and I agree with the logic. CRCC needs to reduce its population so that the people there can practice social distancing. The problem is they should be letting people out of prison not just shuffling people around. CRCC is having an outbreak because of overcrowding. The DOC’s solution is to reduce over crowding there by increasing overcrowding elsewhere. I don’t know if other facilities are also receiving people from CRCC, but I expect they are.

This has a lot of people here freaked out on a whole ‘nother level as well. TRU has the sex offender treatment program and ex-gang member “step down” programs here. CRCC is a highly political (meaning prison politics) facility. So many of the ex-gang members and sex offenders here are worried that the people coming in on the chain are still active gang members. If they are, this will most likely result in a lot of violence.

Interestingly, since we’ve reached the “new normal” violence here has gone way down. I attribute this to c/o’s having been instructed to not do random pat searches and cell searches. They now only do these things when they suspect someone of having contraband. The DOC has always claimed that they have to be super invasive in the way they police incarcerated people for the safety and security of the facility. Yet, it seems the opposite is true. COVID-19 has forced them to rule with a lighter touch and the result has been a safer living environment for us, and a safer working environment for them.

But I digress.

Having a large number of new people come in all at once is bound to upset the apple cart, whether it is through interpersonal conflict as they settle into TRU or, that which we all fear, the introduction of COVID-19 to this facility.

COVID-19 Update 5/17-5/29/20

Prison Plague Log

2020-5-17

Today I happened to see what the “mandatory temperature checks” look like on B pod of my unit.

Two c/o’s and a nurse go into the pod. They line everyone up down the tier, shoulder to shoulder. Then hold a gun-shaped non-contact thermometer to their temple, clearing each person in turn.

It is a mechanical impersonal process which makes me think of people being lined up to be shot.

2020-5-18

B wing of B unit (my unit) is now off quarantine after one week. Allegedly it was a false alarm.

2020-5-19

Today I just learned of the first COVID-19 related death in the Washington DOC. A c/o who normally worked at MSU tested positive for the virus and is now dead. I don’t know what their name was. I don’t know if they were an alright person who happened to pick up a DOC paycheck, or a mean sort with a drop on their shoulder. I don’t know anything about them.
All I know is that their friends and family are in pain. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s where the buck stops. This should not have happened.

We, as a nation should have taken COVID-19 far more seriously than we did. I specifically include myself in this. I thought it would be like another nasty flu season like we’ve been seeing the last couple years, but when it became clear that this is something different, when it became clear that this could not be business as usual, and it became clear that the powers that be were going to do little to nothing, I knew then this was going to be different. I knew that millions would die.

This is not okay. The same mistake is being made again. Please, do not let the deaths of those who have died of COVID-19 thus far be in vain. A vaccine is being developed by many nations and multinational corporations in record time. We have to keep the curve as low as possible until these vaccines can be developed and distributed. No amount of money, no economy, no “sense of normalcy” is worth the price of peoples lives.

I offer the friends and family of the c/o who died of COVID-19 my condolences.

2020-5-22

I think I’m just about done doing a (more or less) daily log. Yesterday someone got taken from B pod to isolation but B pod is not on quarantine, so I don’t know what’s going on with that. The DOC has been releasing people. Our unit now has 10 empty beds, none of which are on my pod.

More people are being released, no chains in, we are still picking up our meals from the chow hall (though, there are rumblings of among admin to have us eat in the chow hall again, terrible idea), and basically everyone who normally get visits but currently can’t are 18 kinds of insufferable. In short, we are no longer dealing with daily adjustments, we have a new normal.

2020-5-29

We’ve been issued another bar of soap today.

COVID-19 Update 5/7-5/15/20

Prison Plague Log

2020-5-7
We had a stop movement this afternoon with four people taken from our unit to medical to be tested for COVID-19.

2020-5-8
This evening the c/o’s had a good idea. Let the six people on quarantine in our unit go out on the unit’s front porch of while all of us were at yard. However, they then left the quarantine people out there while we were coming back from yard so literally everyone on the unit walked by them as we came back. So ten out of ten for good thinking, but minus several billion for execution.

2020-11-5
The DOC is trying to find a way to reopen education. Their idea is to make a sign up for students who need help then we sit 2 meters (6 feet) apart and do tutoring.

2020-12-5
B unit C wing is now on quarantine lockdown. This is the unit I live on, but a different wing. Each near miss is ever so slightly closer and closer. As if COVID-19 is calibrating its rifle scope and I’m the target.

2020-5-13
The way that the DOC is doing quarantine makes no sense. They place a wing on quarantine at a time, then let everyone on that wing crowd together in the day room of that wing. The reason a whole wing is quarantined at a time is because contact tracing is impossible in a prison setting. By letting everyone out they create a situation where the people on that wing will all give each other whatever disease while still in the stage where they are infectious, but not yet sick. (In DnD this is called the incubation stage of the disease, I’m gonna go ahead and use this term because I can nether pronounce nor spell the more accurate medical term) While there is no reason to keep people locked in their cells for the entire 14 day quarantine period, people should be locked down for the first 4 to 5 days of incubation period so medical can see who is sick and who is not. Then the people without symptoms can be let people out to mingle within their unit with a much lower risk of spreading disease.

2020-5-14
I am very frightened by the various states which are coming off lockdown. This will result in massive deaths. I like to read post-apocalyptic fiction. I do not want to live in a post-apocalyptic world. If we take this course no one will be safe from COVID-19 until herd immunity is achieved, that is 80% of people have had it. This is not worth it; supporting capitalism is not worth this. If there ever was a time for us to come together and create a thriving gift economic system, now is the time.

2020-5-15
We were just issued another bar of soap by the DOC. This one is a “deodorant soap.” It is not antibacterial, which does not help.

The 900 people the DOC was supposed to release, have been released. I can’t tell. TRU is as crowded as ever. All the cells are full. B unit has only 3 bunks out of 180 filled.

We haven’t had an incoming chain in over a month. The people who were released had their beds filled by people coming over from MSU and coming out of the IMU.

E unit is now closed. The IMU has three wings being used for isolation.

COVID-19 Update 4/28-5/6/20

2020-4-28
We were given a bar of antibacterial soap today. This brings us to three bars total.

2020-4-29
C/o’s are finally enforcing social distancing by sending people to their cells if they fail to maintain social distance. The upper dayroom was shut down because a group of people were all crowding around one table playing cards. The same group of people who have been ignoring social distancing for the past month.

2020-4-30
The DOC is now allowing people who go to E unit isolation to take their JPay player with them. There is no word on if people who were already in E unit before the change was enacted have been given access to their JPay players.

There is nearly a dozen kitchen workers from TRU currently in E unit isolation and an unknown number on quarantine in their cells.

2020-5-1
JPay has put forward a number of things to help incarcerated people stay in touch with our families and not be so bored during the lockdown.

Our people can schedule a free video visit once a week. They’ve added movie rentals and are giving us one free movie each week. They’ve given away three free app games. And now they’ve added a catalog of free ebooks. While I still maintain that JPay is evil and a terrible service provider, at least in this they are actually trying to do the right thing.

Just watched the governor’s address. I am glad the state is putting forward such a cautious plan. Without a vaccine, social distancing and herd immunity are the only ways to interrupt the spread of disease. His plan takes this into account. I hope it works.

2020-5-2
I didn’t notice any codes or stop movements today, which I thought was weird. So I asked my cellie. Apparently we had four codes today and I have gotten so used to them calling “Stop all movement! Clear the breeze way! Staff remain in place!” on the PA that I didn’t even notice.

2020-5-4
May the Fourth be with you!

While watching all the Star Wars movies I feel acutely the ways I am disconnected from my friends and my family of choice. All the ways I need others, but don’t have them in my life.
I have not received an email from anyone since the 30th and my next most recent message is from the 26th.

I make three phone calls a week. One to Megan (The Awesome) and one to DRW as a part of my trans activism. The third is a “dumb luck” call. We get two fee phone calls a week and I use them to try and call people I haven’t spoken to in a while because they don’t put money on the phone. Usually I can’t get ahold of anyone and end up returning to my cell feeling defeated and discouraged.

It’s been over five years since I had a in person visit and I just had my first ever video visit last month because it was free and Megan (The Awesome) happened to get on my visiting list last year.

The outside world has been social distancing for the last two months. My life has been socially distanced for over a decade.

2020-5-6
Sixteen inmates are currently confirmed cases of COVID-19, one in the past week.

More and more people on my unit are applauding at 7 PM each evening at the prompting of the TV. They didn’t understand that the prompt to applaud is for healthcare workers. Now that they know this, people are getting into it. Nothing too loud that may upset the c/o’s, just a little subdued show of thanks for the work they do to keep our friends and families out there safe.

COVID-19 Update 4/22-4/27/20

2020-4-22
Today we in B unit learned that people in C unit put forward a proposal which would severely cut our ability to stay in contact with our friends and families by imposing a limit of only allowing a third of us out of our cells for a third of day on a rotating basis. Their proposal still completely ignores many of the major risk factors for us in prison. So there was then a rush to write a counter proposal which would accomplish what theirs does not. Tomorrow both proposals are to be presented to administration tomorrow.

This evening we were given a info pamphlet about COVID-19. Much of the information was the same as what we have been seeing on TV and in other DOC memos. The only real difference is this contains DOC propaganda and comes with a side of production value. It claims if we are sent to isolation we get to take our Jpay players, as well as a few other items onto isolation. This is false.

2020-4-23
“X” marks the spots where we are allowed to stand in the dayroom 2 meters from everyone else. These “X”s are more to keep the c/o’s from yelling at us for standing in the dayroom than anything else.

2020-4-24
Our unit CUS has accepted the proposal for COVID-19 safety which was submitted from our wing and says he will be looking into how to implement it.

2020-4-25
Just learned that D unit has a wing on quarantine again. This means we had a total of 4 days with no wings on quarantine.

2020-4-26
First time in three weeks with no new COVID-19 developments. Just the new normal playing itself out. Multiple stop movements throughout the day for people to be taken to E unit. A fire truck responded to the prison at around 2:30 pm for unknown reasons. We were locked down once due to a COVID-19 scare. And a fight happened over in A unit. Ya know, normal stuff that wouldn’t make the papers.

2020-4-27
The kitchen at TRU has been closed. One of the staff that work there had a high fever. Thus the incarcerated workers who worked closely with her have been placed on quarantine.This may or may not have been avoided if the DOC was still taking the temperature of incarcerated kitchen workers when they report for work.
Our meals are now being prepared for us by the kitchen at WSR, driven over here in a truck, reheated, and served to us in cardboard and styrofoam boxes. The one up side is we take the boxes back to our cells to eat after we pick them up in the chow hall.

COVID-19 Update 4/16-4/21/20

2020-4-16
Today the DOC began releasing people due to COVID-19. Most of the people being let out are a week or two from getting out anyway which does not actually help all that much. However, a few have a couple months and anytime someone with a couple months gets out early that has an actual effect on making room in the prison so we can create greater social distance.

2020-4-17
Today the tables in the dayroom have been ordered “two to a table.” Incarcerated people who would observe it are already self-isolating. The people who are not self-isolating don’t care. The signs and tape announcing the restriction have been torn down by the handful of incarcerated people who don’t care. Normally I am opposed to increasing regulation; however, in this case c/o’s need to start infracting people who don’t observe social distance. This is a danger to everyone.

Tonight just before lockdown the c/o’s passed out 2 bandanas, 4 coffee filters, 4 hair ties and a memo stating that wearing a mask constructed from these materials is mandatory. On the one hand this is exactly the thing we’ve been begging for and demanding happen. However, coffee filters? Really? I’ll need to see the science on this one before I’m going to believe that strapping a coffee filter to my face is going to provide a greater level of protection than a folded piece of cloth. Masks are necessary for our collective safety and well being because they primarily reduce the risk of someone that is asymptomatic from spreading the virus unknowingly. A mask will not prevent a healthy person from getting infected unless it is specially designed to do so (like those oh so famous N95 masks). Anything a couple of rednecks can jerry-rig with random crap found at the local greasy spoon is not going to cut it.

I am glad that bandanas have been issued and that wearing them is mandatory. This will help keep a lot of people from getting sick. I am upset that the DOC is trying to pretend that a bandana is somehow going to protect us from infection when it is not quite enough to keep one from infecting others.

Mostly I am worried that by misunderstanding the purpose of having everyone wear a mask the DOC will continue to work under false assumptions and put us at greater risk.

2020-4-18
Out of the dozens of incarcerated people I saw at morning pill line there was only one person not wearing a mask. And he was getting a fairly large amount of harassment pressuring him into wearing a mask.

However, an hour later I saw a more representative chunk of the population outside my cell window during movement to the yard. Out of about 150 people roughly half were wearing masks.

At lunch everyone was wearing mask and we have not had any codes called for fighting this morning. This means the people who were reluctant to wear one were convinced to do so without violence (I was expecting a least a couple fights over it).

C/o’s have stopped enforcing the rule of only 2 to a table in the dayroom. There is a small core group of people who are disregarding COVID-19. They are the ones who will eventually spread the virus to everyone else once c/o’s bring it to TRU.

2020-4-19
I received a copy of a news article from the Huffington Post by Jessica Schulberg about the protests at MCC.

She did something special that, as far as I know, no other reporter has done. She used incarcerated people as sources for her article and thus successfully gave an accurate report. Most journalists simply repeat the lies the DOC tells and might, maybe, talk to the family of someone in prison.

I am seeing all these news stories about protesters who are demanding an end to isolation and social distancing orders. At the same time I am seeing these news stories, I am also watching DOC vans and cars driving people to E unit to be isolated and just this morning I watched an ambulance take someone out of E unit to the hospital because of COVID-19.

Remember that news story about the pastor who had church services despite the stay home orders in place? Over half his flock got sick and he died.

Please, for the sake of our healthcare workers, for the sake of people with compromised immune systems, with respiratory issues, who are homeless or incarcerated and can’t protect ourselves from the virus, please stay home.

2020-4-20
The DOC has finally issued us actual masks in addition to our coffee-filter-bandanas. These masks were not, however, made, purchased, or otherwise acquired by the DOC. They were sewn by incarcerated volunteers using donated fabric. The only thing the DOC did was print out a list and have an officer make sure each individual person received one and only one mask. Most of the masks have been sewn from materials which can be easily described “feminine”. Pinks, pastels, and flowers. Lots and lots of floral print. I am more than happy about this. Other incarcerated people, the “manly-men” types, are complaining. Many of them are continuing to wear their white bandanas.

C/o’s are sending people back to their cell for not wearing a mask when they are going to yard, pill line, or a callout. There is still no enforcement of social distancing in the dayroom.

2020-4-21
The enforcement of wearing a mask now extends to the unit day room. This is causing the people who have thus far been ignoring social distancing to retreat to their cells because they don’t want to wear mask. This shift will slow the spread of disease and makes us safer.

At 5:30pm a sheriff’s department helicopter flew over the prison at extremely low altitude in the airspace above the tarmac between the chow hall and the units. Between 20 and 30 meters up (75 to 100 feet). I have never before seen anything like this.

An Account from the Quarantine Unit

Editor’s Note: this is an “interview” that Amber did with a fellow inmate that was in Unit E, which is acting as the quarantine unit at TRU. 

I had an unrelated medical issue and went to the clinic to have it taken care of. While there they took my vitals. I didn’t have a fever. They asked me if I’d had a cough. I said yes, I was just getting over a dry cough and shortness of breath. They then started their isolation protocol.

They gave me three different tests. One for COVID-19, one for flu, and one for something I don’t remember. They also took a chest x-ray.

They then walked me to E-unit and stripped me out in the showers. I was given boxers, T-shirt, socks, sandals, and orange coveralls. The same clothes as IMU. They then put me in a cell. When I first got there I was told I would be there for 14 days. Then I was told my 14 days don’t start until symptoms go away. So that gives you a date for when you’re getting out. Every morning at 8 AM the nurse comes around and does vitals. Temp, blood pressure, blood O2, and ask about symptoms. Every other day a provider came with the nurse.

After I had been there for seven days they wrote in my file that I’d coughed. So they reset my time without telling me.

I had no showers and no clean clothes my first week there. We had phones.

Then, after that first week, I got to shower and got clean clothes which lasted a week. But then the COVID-19 positive people came in from MSU and they took away our showers and phones. They put all of us without symptoms on one tier and the positive people on another. There is only one phone on a wheeled cart and they don’t want us to cross contaminate it. So nobody gets to use the phone.

The last three or four days I was there they brought people from the camp who were sick with fevers and coughs and waiting on their tests. They put them on the same tier as us. E unit has sliding doors like in the IMU. There are massive air gaps about two inches (5 cm) all around the door. So we are all breathing the same air.

There is no light switch, no electrical outlet, and no emergency button. We have to ask the c/o to turn the light on or off when they do their walkthrough which is supposed to happen every hour. They come through every two to two and a half hours instead.

There were spiders everywhere. There was no hot water. I had intermittent access to the phone. I didn’t have access to stamped envelopes. I had access to pen and paper. We got puzzles, coloring book pages, color crayons, and children’s games to pass the time. There was a book cart and once we got done reading them they were contaminated and hot trashed. Once per week there was mail, and the mail I received in E unit had to stay in E unit when I left.

Cops brought us drinking water four times a day because the water was not safe to drink. All our food was delivered in styrofoam trays and boats. The food always arrived cold.
It was hard to get lights turned on or off because the light switch is on the tier outside the cell.

I was cold until the weather warmed up because there’s no heat.

About halfway through my stay we finally got sweats and shortly before I left we got new balance shoes to wear in the cell.

A couple of the staff were good about taking care of us, the rest were useless. All the time if I asked for something the c/o would say “sure, I’ll go get it” then not come back for two hours and claim ignorance.

When I first got there the big wigs would walk through two to three times a week. Captains, lieutenants, people in suits. By the time I left the sergeant who worked there wouldn’t even walk the tier except maybe one a week.

The only way to get out is to tell them you don’t have symptoms even if you still don’t feel 100% because your 14 days don’t start until you have no symptoms. So feeling cruddy from no sunlight and no showers and no communication with your people can keep you there longer.

No yard. No fresh air.