Alone-together

Jacobsen, William T.

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Transcript

"Alone-Together" My thoughts and prayers go out to the world as we all try and deal with the deadly coronavirus. It does my heart well to see everyone come together and help one another. I only wish it didn't take events, tragedy such as this or a September 11th for most to go out and help or in this case stay in and help one another. It shouldn't take tragedy to show every day that you care. As I sit in my Texas prison cell and listen to the radio. I hear all the good and the bad going on in the world. It deeply saddens me that in times like these, well any time, but more so in times like these that people will hurt and try to take advantage of others. I know that seems useless coming from a man in prison. But I'm still human, a man who can love hurt and feel more than you would think. One of the things I love the most is also one of the things that hurts me the most. That is "Alone Together." It's so wonderful for the people stuck at home 80% of the day or longer to know others are suffering as well but there still with them. We, who are in prison in Texas, more likely all of the prisoners in America understand the most how lonely, depressed, alone and unhappy you are. For we have been "Alone Together" for sometime. Me, I'm going on 12 years being "Alone Together. Yes most of the people in prison a crime and by doing so put themselves here. Still no one should have to feel they are "Alone Together" all the time. It's my hope no one will ever feel alone or "Alone Together" ever again. I'm sure you all feel the same way, yes? With the coronavirus the feeling for us in prison of being "Alone Together" has increased one hundred times over again. Seeing as we have been confined to our eight by ten cells. (Note: I could be of a foot or so either way.) As Texas does not sell T.V.s, books, play stations, iPads, tablets, well they don't sell anything to help occupy our time except chess set and Dominos. The loneliness, the horrible feeling of being "Alone Together" is devastating. (Note: To my knowledge every other state sells the thing list above plus lots more.) If one in prison is lucky enough to still have family or friends out there, in what we call the "free world", then they can ask them to send some reading or educational book, magazines and for comic books. Aside from that there is some free books to prisoners organizations that will sent us a few books. This takes four to six months but we are very thankful. Other then that we are left to our thoughts. This only fuels or depression and loneliness. Like all of you we are supposed to be quarantining for fourteen days. And it did start out that way. The Texas prison guards come and go on an hourly and daily basis. Also the prisoners who work here with in the unit they live on still go to work every day. Jobs such as kitchen, laundry, maintenance and many others. So this means the work all over the unit and interact with almost everyone. This help spread the virus even further amongst us. With every new case of Coronavirus believed to appear amongst us or the staff the prison officials start our fourteen day quarantine over again. They did this three times before Texas prisons placed our unit on permanent lockdown. Still guards and inmate workers still come and go. (Note: I believe all 120 odd units in Texas are on permanent lockdown.) Testing for the coronavirus in Texas prisons as far as we know is nonexistent. I have yet to speak or hear of one person tested. This does not mean they are not testing. But it doesn't mean they are either. As far as getting sick, Texas prison officials tell us to take care of ourselves. Only if breathing becomes extremely difficult send a request through the sick call to see medical staff. This is not an ideal solution for it takes seven to ten days on average, sometimes longer, to see medical. Another difficult for some of us, those who live on my building, have been with out heat in our cells for well over a month. And only a few days ago we had four inches of snow on the ground. As well as night temperatures in the 20's and 30's. And only a little warmer during the day. As of this writing nights are 40's and days about 70. To add insult to injury, only the first six people to shower each day get hot water. After that the water is more cold then warm. So you can't even use a shower to warm up. But I'll talk a little more on showers later. We've had no PPE until the 15th of April. Then we were given masks made by our very own laundry workers. In March for two weeks they gave up bleach ray or small bottles of bleach water to clean our cells with. They no longer do this. They will come by and spray bleach water in our dayrooms like they are spraying for roaches. It crazy to me seeing as we are on lockdown and no one is allowed to go to the dayroom. It would be better to let us use that bleach water to clean the cells we are stuck in 24-7. (Note: In my 12 years in Texis prison this is the ONLY time they have given us anything to clean our cells with!) Being on lockdown means we only get to shower every other day. They limit shower time to 15 minutes. More often then not it's only 5 minutes. There is one or to guards who will give you a little more time. But as I said before there is no hot water. It's not even warm very often. And when you shower 144 men the water gets very cold. Texas does have a commissary where anyone with money on there account can by coffee, dry food stuff, stamps, hygiene, etc. Sadly there is no commissary while we are lockdown. So not only can we not clean, we can't even buy coffee, or stamps to write home. (Note: Texas does not pay their prisoners.) I will admit that Texas has given each of us two free 15 minute call home every week. So we may check on our families. This is important to all of us. My father is a city bus driver in Hartford, CT. and they are still working. Yes, I'm glad he is still working and I'm deeply sorry for those who can't go to work. Still he is more at risk of getting the Coronavirus. So every day I worry about him. And my stepmom his wife is a cancer survivor. You can tell how at risk they are. Yes, if something was to happen to them someone could write and tell me. But the mail at this time here is taking 2 to 6 weeks to get to us. And yes someone could call here and ask them to tell us if anything bad has happened. But this also takes weeks. Still the free phone are useless because on lockdown you cannot use the phone. It's hard for me to hear people on the radio complaine about being "Alone Together" and how they are stuck not being able to do the things they miss. What your feeling, what your going through, we go through every day. Once again I know I put me here. I'm not trying, nor will I try to convince anyone of my innocents in this crime. However I've done other things I should be in prison for. The way I see it I'm paying those times. That does not change the absolute loneliness I feel in me everyday. The loneliness is... There is no word for how or what loneliness is. Still most of you now know a touch of how loneliness feels. Think if you had five, ten, fifty years worth of this loneliness, this "Alone Together!" I don't write this for people to overlook our crimes or the punishment that comes with what we did. I only want to show we are still human, still your brothers, sons, fathers, friends. As well as sisters, mothers, daughters and so on. Regardless of our crimes, we still feel, we still hurt and we still love. Do you know men and women in prison spend more money on tring to find a penpal then anything else. They do this to find a friend to help keep the loneliness, the emptiness away. You see to get mail in here is like winning the Megamillions twice over again. For a week one letter can make you feel loved, cared for, wanted, and so much much more. Many a prisoner has taken their own life because of "Alone Together". Most of you are starting to understand this feeling. One letter, one note saying your not alone could save a life. I know it did for me. I, by my own doing, hadn't really seen or spoken to my dad for years. Then one day he wrote to me and has come back into my life. I was two days away from finishing the last of my things to do before I die in prison list and then I was going to take my own life. That letter from my dad changed everything. (Note: Thank you dad and Rosemary for saving me.) You may ask "why would you even think these things." Because day in and day out we are "Alone Together" in here. Yes we have others around us. Some of us even become friends and few become even closer. But Texas prisons, when they see us becoming friends they move you somewhere else. Over time most of us lose the want to even try to make friends. Why try when they will only move you again and again. It all only causes more pain and loneliness in the end. I want to tell you about our meals in the great state of Texas during our Coronavirus quarantine as well as anytime we are on biannual lockdown or any time they want to lock us down. I know many out there are having trouble getting food. So I'm very sorry to complaine about this. But I feel it's important to tell you about our meals. I must tell you we only get Johnny sacks on lockdown. Texas prison policy states they must, when feeding in cell meals, bring milk and coffee or coffee and orange drink for breakfast, tea or juice for lunch and dinner. All servings are standard size. Like corn dogs are standard child size. Having said this I'll give you a list of our meals from April 9th until today April 18th. I'll also include the times they feed us. I'm sure Texas will call me a liar. And it's true some will lie to try and cause difficultes for Texas prisons. Lieing is a waste of my time, more importantly a waste of yours. But you don't have to take my word for it. There are cameras to prove what I'm saying is true. (Note: All times are on a 24 hour clock.) Meals April 9th B= 1 PB:J sandwich, 1 hard boiled egg, no drink, 08:00 L= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 pack rasins 24 count, 1 hotdog 2 slices of bread, no drink, 17:17 D= this mean actually came on April 10th 1 PB:J, 1 chickenpatty sandwich, no drink, 01:50 April 10th B=1 PB:J, 1 egg, 1 1oz cereal, no drink 04:40 L= 1 PB:J, 6 purnes, 1 frozen burrito, no drink 11:28 D= 1 PB:J, 2 corn dogs, no drink 16:09 April 11th B= 1 PB:J, 1 1oz cereal, 32 raisins no drink 03:18 L= 1 PB:J, 1 soy hamburger patty with cheese no drink 10:17 D= 1 PB:J, 1 chicken patty sandwich, 28 raisins no drink 15:20 April 12th Easter B= 1 PB:J on a hambruger bun, 1 1oz cereal, 37 raisins no drink 03:50 L= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 frozen burrito no drink 11:35 D= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 2 corn dogs no drink 18:00 (Note: This is the first hamburger bun I've seen in 12 years) April 13th B= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 1oz cereal milk come at 04:30 chow came at 03:45 L= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 chicken patty pancake sandwich, no drink 14:09 D= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 Bologna on a biscuit no drink this meal came on April 14th at 24:40 April 14th B= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 1oz cereal, 1 egg no drink 09:48 L= 1 PB:J, 1 soy hamburger on cornbread no drink 14:26 D= 1 PB:J, 1 soy hamburger no drink 22:00 (Note: They often give us the same meal twice in a day.) April 15th B= 1 PB:J, 1 1oz cereal, 27 raisins milk 03:43 L= 1 PB:J, 1 salami cheese sandwich no 12:35 D= 1 PB:J, 1 frozen burrito no 15:30 April 16th (my very unhappy birthday) B= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 egg no 04:26 L= 1 PB:J pancake sandwich, 1 soy hamburger on cornbread no 12:29 D= 1 PB:J, 1 frozen fish square sandwich no 16:46 April 17th B= 1 PB:J, 1 1oz cereal, 25 raisins no ? L= 1 PB:J, 1 burrito no 12:46 D= 1 PB:J, 1 salami:cheese no 17:33 April 18th B= 1 PB:J, egg, 1 1oz cereal no 03:20 L= 1 PB:J, 1 salami:cheese no 14:55 D= 1 PB:J, 1 soy hamburger no 17:26 Keep in mind the raisin count is different in every bag. I'm sure you noticed the biscuit, cornbread and pancake sandwiches. This is what they do when they don't have bread or wish to save money. In my 12 years I've been through many, many lockdowns and it's always the same. I have life without parole so I'll go through many, many more lockdowns. (Note: I'm trying to get transferred to Connecticut so I can be by my dad. I know it can be done on the state level, just not sure how. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.) With any luck I'll get my transfer and I'll never have to do another Texas lockdown. I'm not sure if I've done this essay justice. But I hope you all see what I was trying to get across. One was to show I understand your pain and what your going through. Even if I don't know what your going through. Second its to show how little Texas does for us even more so since the Coronavirus lockdown. And to show how little they do to help us stay safe, healthy, sane and to not feel "Alone Together." Thank you all for reading my essays. William T Jacobsen

Author: Jacobsen, William T.

Author Location: Texas

Date: May 18, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 5 pages

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