This is my personal observation of the covid-19 epidemic and the department’s inept reaction to it

Townsend, Maurice



Maurice Townsend The American Prison Writing Archive c/o Hamilton College 198 College Hill Road Clinton, NY. 13323-1218 This is my personal observation of the covid-19 epidemic and the department's inept reaction to it. This is from someone who experienced it & continue to as I write now. I've been in prison now since 1993 for the senseless murder of another brother and the attempted murder of three other people. Theres no justification for it and I make absolutely no excuses for my behavior nor for the harm that I caused many many people. I was a committed gang member -as well as my victims- and I believed in an altered state of reality. So yes, I deserved the life sentence the judge handed down, but I've also made very good use of my time through deep self-analsis and really understanding how I became so callous. Sure, I'm different now because I know where my anger and resentment stem from and I've changed how I see myself and my impact on others. So now after 29 years in prison, a multitude of violent acts, several narrow escapes from death's claws I'm witnessing an epidemic of historical dimensions that has Swept over our country. With little concern from our President beyond what his pobls say covid has killed over 300,000.00 Americans to date. Vaccines have just started rolling out but one thing is for certain, prisoners will be the last to es injected. In the meantime, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitations (CDCR) is twirling it's thumbs waiting for that day. It has shown an ineffective, unscientific, haphazard method of attacking the issue. From its original failures in stopping inmate transfers which infected San Quentin 1,513 & 28 deaths to it's staff accepting the Trumpian belief that the virus will just one day disappear. Today all 35 prisons have reported positive cases and SATF-Corcoran -the State's largest prison- is in the midst of a full outbreak. I've witnessed the administration go from threatening inmates for wearing face coverings with a Rule Violation Report to threatening inmates for the failure to wear face coverings. I've witnessed the State guidlines remain solid but adherence to those guidlines swing from one extreme pendulum to the total opposite depending on which senior staff is on duty and his/her belief in science. Covid fatique lessening of attention to safe guards, bravado about susceptability and just plain denial has made the trasmission of covid possible. We are on an extended quarantine where over 600 positive covid test resulted because the adminitration on G Facility continue to move inmates around. The rumors run high and inmates talk of population control, intentional infections to save money and every other conceivable theory. When asked staff all respond with the same rehearsed blank stare and the noncommittal "I don't know." The thing is back when infections first started to hit here the administration would remove the positive tested inmate from the dorm of 8, but also quarantine the remaining 7 inmates because they were exposed. I guess the power to be felt that approach was a bit too tilted towards a scientific method, too liberal. So what did these geniuses in charge choose to do? Maybe because Trump said so, they stopped quarantining the seven inmates who had not tested positive and now we have a outbreak that they can't seem to handle nor slow. Of course I can't leave out our super smart, ultra intelligent, suave inmates who still behave like its 2019. Still have a need to press flesh, shake hands, give dap, hugs & kisses. Some still share cups, spoons and other items that can pass covid but I learned years ago when the flu, hep-c, HIV, TB, and other communicable illnesses were flowing like water through the population that I couldn't act like it was'nt. Heres an example of a inmate that didn't take our present situation seriously: Just prior to this quarantine I was sitting in the chow hall eatting my breakfast and this guy who I've known now for two years and had a pretty solid association with made his way to my table He sat down across from me, pulled off his face mask, dipped his spoon into his food am stuffed it in his mouth. He chewwed, swollowed then nonchalantly said "Man, I feel sick! Every part of me wanted to jump over that table and crash my fist into that same gravy smeared mouth, repeatedly. But sense prevailed and that impulsive thought quickly subsided knowing that I go up for parole board in 2023 and there is no man alive that I would trade that date for. So I wisely stood up and told the guy "Don't ever say another word to as long as we live!" then I walked out the chow hall. He was later diagnosed with covid-19. Our family members have become regular fixtures out in front of the prison in their attempt to protest the inhuman conditions the administration & covid have combined to put us in. Visiting was stopped pretty early in the process and although there are discussions about allowing inmates to have video visits, nothing has come forth. So I sit here confined in a dorm with individuals who could really careless about covid, wearing a face mask or any real basic personal hygiene measures because of mental issues In closing, as the saying goes, mistakes were made, that some of us will be paying for long into the future and some lost of life itself. I suggést that others follow my example because I do whats best for me. I do what will keep my personal exposure to covid at a minimum and I could careless what the inmates in my dorm think, what the administration on Facility G, the Trupian folks who feel the covid virus will pass or how long I have to sit in quarantine because my main abjective is to come out of this healthy as I went into it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Author: Townsend, Maurice

Author Location: California

Date: December 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 2 pages

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