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Prison Covid, COVID-19 Information for Prisoners and Staff No. 7, 2020

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As one of the most severe fire seasons attacks the West coast, prisoners across Oregon are
being shuffled into sub-standard conditions and possible COVID-19 exposure as Governor
Brown continues to deny releases.
by Lena Mercer, Perilous Chronicle
he newest disaster inside Oregon
prisons is raging from the outside
in. As one of the most severe fire
seasons attacks the West coast, prisoners across Oregon are being shuffled into
sub-standard conditions and possible COVID-19 exposure as Governor Brown continues to deny releases.
The COVID-19 pandemic is slow moving in comparison to the fires cascading
across the state and threatening several major metro areas. But these two calamities
are joining forces along with a seemingly
steadfast Governor to further endanger the
lives of Oregon Adults in Custody (AIC)


We're Suffering in Here ............1
CDC's Role in Prison Crisis .....3
Corona Virus News Updates....4
Letters ......................................6
What About PC ........................8
Safer in Prison than Home? .....8
Editorial Comments..................9

as they are classified by the Department of
The risk of infection of and death from
COVID-19 has not diminished as other
emergencies have escalated. This is clear in
the 6th prisoner death in the Oregon system at Snake River Correctional Institution
(SRCI) on September 8th. Snake River is
near the Idaho border and has had a major
outbreak of COVID-19, along with allegations that the majority Idaho-based staff
have been flagrantly ignoring quarantine
On the other side of the state, the fires
moving quickly up and down the I-5 corridor have put several prisons in the path
o destruction. On Tuesday September 8,
t ODOC announced on Facebook that it
h evacuated 1,450 prisoners from Mill
Santiam and Oregon State correctional
institutions which were threatened
by the Beachie Creek and Lionshead
res. The prisoners were evacuated to
t Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP), also
i Salem, where they will be housed on
beds throughout the institu“
until the threat has passed.
At the time of that decision, OSP was already
in the throes of its own COVID-19
At least 143 positive cases of
have been reported at the facility.

Bryan MacDonald, one of the prisoners
evacuated from the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) to nearby OSP,
says he thinks the transfer process was both
flawed and an unnecessary move to fulfill
gluttonous budgetary needs. “I personally
believe that if one person from OSCI catches COVID-19 and dies because they came
to OSP and that can be attributed to the fact
that this was done just for a budget, that’s
murder” MacDonald told Perilous.
MacDonald also spoke about the seemingly arbitrary nature of the evacuation
itself, with the smoke conditions in OSP
being equal if not worse than his original facility. “We were evacuated more because of
smoke and air conditions. And that doesn’t
make a lot of sense to us because here over
at OSP, the smoke and the air conditions
are the same. It’s only a couple miles down
the road” he said over the phone. He also
noted the severe lack of space at OSP and
the ways in which housing units at the origin facilities were ignored leading to interpersonal conflicts and a constant state of
“We’re suffering in here,” MacDonald
continued, “and we’re hoping that our suffering can lead to change where people
down the line don’t end up suffering like
this. We hope and beg for somebody to investigate this entire process that’s happened

here because what the Oregon department
of corrections has said makes no sense.”
According to MacDonald, fights are being broken up by corrections officers with
pepper spray, exacerbating already miserable conditions. “If you’re sprayed per the
policy, in the Oregon department of corrections, if you’re sprayed, you’re supposed
to get a shower. I got sprayed and I wasn’t
even a part of the fight. And I wasn’t given
a shower.”
According to MacDonald and others
inside, backpacks full of bleach are being used to hose away blood after violent
attacks in between prisoners. The close
quarters, lack of food and disregard for
protective status is leaving the evacuees
vulnerable as tensions continue to escalate.
As he is shuffled from one place to another without any information from prison
officials as to why, MacDonald says he
feels like a “pawn.” He notes that often the
officers on duty have not even been filled
in as to what the next step may be or what
the current protocol entails. “Just literally
at shift change, like whatever the person in
charge was coming up with in the morning and the person in the afternoon seems
to have a completely different plan,” MacDonald explained. “The officers seem to be
just as frustrated with it as we are.”
Evacuations have also occurred from
other Oregon prisons. On Thursday, September 10, 1300 female prisoners were
evacuated from Coffee Creek Correctional
Facility in Wilsonville to Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras.
Deer Ridge is a mixed security facility
with a 774-bed minimum-security unit and
a 1,228-bed medium-security unit. In order
to accommodate the nearly 1000 women
transferred into Deer Ridge, a minimumsecurity building not used since 2016 was
opened to take in men from the larger me-

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot

I am changing the things I
cannot accept.

dium security unit at Deer Ridge. The units
lacked phones, adequate ventilation and
was infested with mice and mold according
to the prisoners able to get communications
to the outside.
Lawyers for some of the women transferred have detailed harrowing accounts
of neglect and deplorable conditions during the transfer on social media. “Women
were urinating on the bus, others bleeding
through their menstrual products” one account reads.
Prisoners were reportedly zip tied for the
duration of the several hour drive between
the two facilities. Upon entering they found
supplies were spread thin including meals
being offered and that they would not be
given their daily medications, some of
which they are going on two days without.
On Friday September 11, according to
reporting from The Bulletin reporter Garrett Andrews, around 200 prisoners in Deer
Ridge kicked through doors and forced
their way into the yard as smoke conditions
became uninhabitable inside. According to
a Oregon DOC news alert all but 12 of the
people originally staging the mass refusal
had returned inside by 2am. And while the
Crisis Negotiation Team was deployed,
the DOC assures that no force was used to
clear the yard.
Back in Salem, at OSP conditions are
being reported as deplorable at best. A
coalition of community organizations addressing the rising crisis of incarceration
in Oregon including, Lane County Mutual
Aid, Care Not Cops, Critical Resistance
PDX, Lane County Hunger Strike, Black
and Pink Pdx and the Siskiyou Abolition
Project crafted a series of demands of Governor Brown on September 9.
These demands were an attempt to address the multiplicity of issues in Governor
Brown’s refusal to reduce the prison population as the number of emergencies compounded. These demand call-ins or ‘phone
zaps’ have been a consistent tactic used
by outside support organizations to apply
pressure to various public and private institutions involved in a state’s carceral system.
On September 13, Lane County Hunger Strike, the outside support group for
those on hunger strike in the Lane County
Jail released a Twitter thread transcribing
a call with a prisoner in OSP. The voice
from inside the facility echoed many of the
concerns from outside supporters that these
transfers would lead to even higher COVID19 infection rates. “There are no Covid

protections. None. We are sleeping inches
away from each other. There is very little
cleaning, if any, being done. In fact, hygiene has completely been taken away. I’ve
had only one shower in a week and I’m still
wearing the same socks as I was Tuesday”
The situation in OSP continues to deteriorate as air quality in the Salem area grows
worse with Air Quality Indexes (AQI)
reaching unprecedented levels.
MacDonald hopes that this moment of
crisis might lead to systemic changes in
the way the justice system in the country
operates. “This is an extreme circumstance
and this may be a first for the state of Or-

“We were evacuated
more because of smoke
and air conditions. And
that doesn’t make a lot of
sense to us because here
over at OSP, the smoke in
the air conditions are the
same. It’s only a couple
miles down the road”
egon, but as the inmates and the people in
the justice system, we would like you guys
and everybody in the public to recognize
that these kinds of situations are not new
to us. These things happen in the prison
system way too much and had been happening for decades. Justice reform is being
screamed for because of the atrocity with
George Floyd, we would hope that the
public would recognize that justice reform
doesn’t need to just happen on a level of the
police officers who arrest people. It needs
to happen throughout the entire justice process, which means the courts and jails and
all the way up to the prisons that people are
held in.” ♥

Prison Covid News



he Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s revised COVID-19
guidance — that all asymptomatic
people who have been in contact with infected individuals need not get tested —
has alarmed medical experts.
Given the CDC’s estimate that 40 percent of infections are among asymptomatic
individuals, the politics of managing case
counts may be trumping the interruption of
transmission of the novel coronavirus in all
In an April letter, more than 500 medical
experts sought to correct another shortcoming in the CDC’s COVID-19 guidance: the
failure to recommend the depopulation of
prisons, jails and immigration detention
Despite longstanding scientific knowledge that prisons and jails are tinderboxes
for contagion and criminological evidence
that many incarcerated people in the United
States can be safely released, the CDC has
not recommended depopulating correctional facilities to reduce the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic inside these facilities and
its transmission into the larger community.
Consequently, the 15 largest known
coronavirus clusters of transmission in the
United States have occurred in prisons and
Many jurisdictions have limited the admission and accelerated the release of individuals in pre-trial detention or people
convicted of non-violent offenses in jails
and prisons and reduced the population in
immigration detention centers.
Overall, this has brought down the incarcerated and detained population by approximately 11 percent during the pandemic, as
we recently estimated in the journal Lancet
Infectious Diseases.
These decarceration levels are insufficient given the scale of U.S. incarceration.
Even before this pandemic, experts and
policymakers were working to lower the
United States’ unparalleled level of incarceration.
Nationwide crime rates have fallen to
half their level in the 1990s. Following
a nearly 700 percent increase in the U.S.
prison population since the 1970s, the
number of people in prison finally began to
decline in 2010, and prisons downsized by
9 percent over the next nine years.
Volume 1, Number 7

But the U.S. prison and jail incarceration rate remains several times higher (670
people per 100,000 residents) than that of
other industrialized countries (e.g., 94 per
100,000 in Germany).
This pandemic makes it critical to reassess the incarceration of nearly 2 million
people in the United States, particularly
those who are elderly or otherwise at increased risk of serious illness or death from
People of color, who bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19-associated
illness and death, are also overrepresented
in U.S. prisons and jails, making up nearly
two-thirds of the incarcerated population.
The reduction in incarceration levels is
supported by reams of criminological evidence showing that many people need not
be incarcerated to ensure public safety.
Most imprisoned people, including half
of the prison population who have violent
convictions, are serving excessively long
The experiences of Connecticut and New
York illustrates the country’s excessive reliance on incarceration. These states have
reduced their jail and prison populations by
half since reaching their peak levels while
outpacing the nationwide crime drop.
But even as leaders in decarceration,
Connecticut and New York still maintain
unacceptably high levels of incarceration,
especially for Blacks. Moreover, they continue to imprison many elderly people who
have served decades for violent crimes
committed as young adults and who no
longer pose a public safety threat.
Nationwide, people released following long sentences for violent crimes have
what experts have characterized as a “minuscule” recidivism rate — far below that
of most people released from prison. However, the politics surrounding their conviction has trumped medical and criminological evidence supporting their release.
The lives of incarcerated people now depend on the CDC working with, rather than
resisting, the scientific evidence on health
and public safety. ♥

The only way to end slavery
is to stop being a slave.
Chris Hedges

Virus Blurb
As of Sept. 11, 2020, COVID-19 now
has killed at least 1,017 prisoners. And
over 120,000 people behind bars have
tested posi ve for the coronavirus inside federal and state prisons—a 5 percent increase over the past week. Over
26,000 prison employees also have tested posi ve for the virus but there have
been only 75 reported deaths among
prison staff.

Free Electronic Copy
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Have them send a request for a
digital copy to:
Also, back issues can be downloaded or read online under the
Newsletter menu at:
Send article submissions and
letters to:
Prison Covid Newsletter
PO Box 48064
Burien, WA 98148

A Nation's Treaty Ignored
2.2 Million US Slaves

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof
the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within
the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.”
'Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S.
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery …
shall be prohibited in all their
Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, Article 4,
a treaty the US is a signatory to.



Congress must do more to protect
people in prisons and jails and
those re-entering the community
While people are sent to prison to conceivably atone for mistakes, being exposed
to deadly infectious diseases was never part
of their sentence.
COVID-19 outbreaks in Umatilla
County prisons still growing
The two state prisons located within
Umatilla County continue to report additional cases of COVID-19, with a combined total of 357 cases between them as of
Wednesday, Sept. 9.
COVID-19 is spreading in state
prisons. Families say Oklahoma is
not doing enough
A coronavirus outbreak at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center has generated
widespread criticism from inmates, their
families and criminal justice reform advocates, who say the Oklahoma Department
of Corrections isn’t doing enough to slow
the spread of COVID-19 and is ill prepared
to handle surges of the virus.
Inside the COVID explosion at San
San Quentin alone currently has 1,379
people who have tested positive for COVID-19— more than a third of the prison’s
population. That number is likely growing
every day. With 26 dead and at least a third
of the population infected, why isn't medical parole part of the solution?

Virus deaths at 39 in state's
prisons; 11 inmates were eligible
for parole
More than a quarter of the 39 state prisoners who have died after testing positive for the coronavirus had been eligible
for parole, according to a review of those
deaths reported by the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Florida inmate COVID-19 death toll
at 111
Another four Florida prison inmates
have died of COVID-19, bringing the inmate death toll to 111, according to numbers released by the state Department of
Act now or coronavirus will
sentence more prisoners to death,
say experts
Jails and prisons continue to be among
the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the
United States, and experts believe disease
will continue to spread inside them and out
into the surrounding community without
more concerted containment efforts – chief
among them, releasing people from confinement.
Virus writes new chapter in
longtime allegations of poor
medical care in Utah lockups
The spread of COVID-19 throughout
Utah’s prison system and several of its jails
is writing a new chapter in what advocates,
inmates and their families say is a history
of inadequate medical care for those incarcerated. “It’s been a problem for a long
time,” said Sara Wolovick, an attorney
with the ACLU of Utah pushing jailers to
release vulnerable inmates who pose little
risk to the public. “People have died or had
serious and permanent consequences because they haven’t gotten adequate care.”
Broad River Correctional leads

state prisons for number of inmates
with COVID-19
South Carolina Department of Corrections data shows the Broad River Correctional Institution leads all other facilities
with 329 active cases among its inmates
as of Sept. 7. Twenty-eight employees are
also in quarantine.
Oklahoma Department of
Corrections reports inmate’s covidrelated death
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said on September 5, 2020, an inmate
passed away at a hospital where she was
admitted for symptoms associated with
Outbreaks in Prisons, Spread in
College Towns Drive COVID-19
A large coronavirus outbreak in a women’s prison near Muskogee and community
spread in college towns drove the hotspots
for active cases this week in Oklahoma.
Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft,
just outside Muskogee, had 721 inmates
and 16 staff members with positive cases
as of Sept. 3rd, according to the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections. That pushed
the 74463 ZIP code in Taft to the top
hotspot in the state.
Should COVID-19 vaccine testing
be done on prisoners?
As the COVID-19 infection toll inside
United States prisons and jails reaches
100,000, some researchers are wondering if it’s time to reconsider bans on using
prisoners in medical trials, such as the vaccine trials currently underway across the
country. Though often in the center of the
discussion of a contentious topic, prisoners
have had little input into the conversation.
Cumulative number of COVID-19
infected Missouri prisoners nears
Prison Covid News

The number of Missouri prison inmates
who have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic is approaching 1,000, and the number of infected prison staff has topped 300.
Prison inmates are twice as likely
to die of Covid-19 than those on the
outside, new report finds
The Covid-19 infection and mortality rates are significantly higher in prisons
than in the general population, though the
severity differs widely among states, a new
study found. With their crowded conditions
and inadequate resources, jails and prisons
have been the source of some of the country's largest Covid-19 outbreaks.
Prison housing unit 'completely
destroyed' in what union president
calls a riot
Prisoners took control of a housing unit
at Chippewa Correctional Facility for about
five hours on Sept. 13th, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris
Gautz said. Prisoners did extensive damage
to the unit, breaking equipment and glass
and causing minor flooding, but Gautz said
he was not aware of injuries to officers or
Influx of inmates imminent:
McDowell prison guards worry
transfers could spread COVID-19
Federal prison guards in McDowell
County are concerned that a planned influx
of inmates could pose a COVID-19 risk to
the correctional center and the community.
Plans are in place to soon transfer hundreds
of inmates from southern states to the McDowell Federal Correctional Institute in
Welch and facilities in Alderson and Hazelton, said Brian Lucas, president of Local 480, the union representing area federal
correctional employees.
influx-of-inmates-imminent-mcdowellprison-guards-worry-transfers-couldspread-covid-19/article_bcf8b02e-ed8cVolume 1, Number 7

1,144 of the 1,410 inmates at the
South Central Correctional Facility
have tested positive for COVID
As of September 1st, 1,144 of the 1,410
inmates at the facility have tested positive
for COVID-19. The South Central Correctional Facility is a private prison operated
by CoreCivic. To add insult to injury, CoreCivic said "The health and safety of the
individuals entrusted to our care ... is the
top priority for CoreCivic."
Coronavirus in Tennessee: State
reports 1,396 new cases, 27 new
According to the Tennessee Department
of Correction, there are currently 1,206
active cases in state prisons. In total, 12
people incarcerated in state facilities have
died. Three new deaths were reported September 1st.
37 at SeaTac federal detention
center infected with coronavirus
Officials at the Federal Detention Center
in SeaTac say it has a cluster of COVID-19
infections among inmates and staff. The
Seattle Times reports that the Federal Bureau of Prisons said 31 inmates and six staff
members at the facility had tested positive
for the coronavirus.
Head of California state prison
system is retiring
State prisons chief Ralph Diaz, who presided over the final stages of a huge courtordered reduction in inmate population as
well as the system’s sometimes-bungled
response to COVID-19, is retiring in October, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.

COVID-19 outbreak at Virginia jail
infects 124 inmates, 20 staffers:
A COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly
spread through a Virginia jail, infecting at
least 120 inmates and 20 staff members
despite emergency protocols officials say
have been in place since March to prevent
the contagion from infiltrating the facility.
Deaths Inside Venezuelan prisons
doubled during pandemic
Inmate deaths have doubled in Venezuela’s jails during the coronavirus pandemic,
a crisis that underscores how the country’s
anarchic prisons foment violence and
spread disease.
3 inmates at SC prison die in a week
after positive COVID results
Officials said three inmates at a South
Carolina prison have died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the death toll
at the facility up to five.
Eddie Warrior Correctional Center
declared ’hot spot’ after 504
inmates test positive for COVID-19
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is working to contain an outbreak at a
women’s correctional center in Muskogee
County after 504 inmates tested positive
for COVID-19. Out of the 504 positive inmates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center
that have tested positive, only seven inmates have recovered and 262 are in quarantine, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website.
Inmate advocates rally outside
Eddie Warrior Correctional Center
over COVID-19 epidemic
But the epidemic in the facility, which
the DOC has acknowledged is a COVID-19 hot spot, affected upwards of 80% of
the prison population at its worst point. The
Virus News ............. Continued on page 10

[Editors Note: Letters are edited for
length and spelling. Send your letters, articles, or opinions to Prison Covid, PO Box
48064, Burien, WA 98148, or through JPay at]
A Double Standard?
I have a lot of information on some
messed up things they did. I wrote to Professor Michael J. Coyle a couple of months
ago and sent him an excerpt about how this
facility placed four individuals in segregation for alleged Covid quarantine from my
tier in A-Unit A-Wing and placed our tier
on a Fourteen Day quarantine, yet those
placed in segregation were denied access
to cleaning materials, access to the phones,
or writing materials to contact their families, and kept in segregation for 17 days,
and then released back into our same pod
on April 14th 2020. I was helping these
men prepare their grievances, and such
but the grievance coordinator causes so
much interference to cover things up, “Not
Grievable”, “Rewrite” until guys just get so
frustrated they let it go. But to the public it
would seem that they did this out of protecting all of us. Everything they are doing is
for looks, and has no basis in stopping anything, and is more to punish us for what they
are enduring at the hands of our public petitioning outside the prisons walls and gates.
They have just taken our yard time from
us, and made it where one unit goes out at
a time for alleged ‘Social Distancing’ purposes, yet we are forced to live with another
prisoner in closed quarter cells, and crowded day rooms, so their minimizing our outside yard periods where we would have the
most opportunity to distance from others is
without merit, and on top of that we have
entire East Yard which was shut down in
2014 for no apparent reason other than to
restrict us further. I have recently prepared
a petition for that East Yard to be reopened
as it’s closure is without merit. And under
our current circumstances it needs to be
reopened, and I have sent that off to Nick
Allen at the Columbia Legal Services but
have yet to get through to him on the phone.
These officers are blaming us for what is
going on and punishing us, and rather than
release many of us as they should be doing
they are choosing to act as though they are
taking measures which just make our circumstances more trying. We can’t take our

mask off to take a picture for our families
on JPay, or visit them on JPay, but they all
take their masks off while in the unit booths
two to six officers deep. We can’t take our
mask off during our yard times even when
we are social distancing. They are using
many rules which may seem to be for our
protection to actually punish us for the
truth of what you all are pushing for us out
there to “Free Them All”.
Charles Webber, WSP
She Disagrees
My name is Amber Kim #315649 and
I am incarcerated at the TRU in Monroe,
WA. Please print my name, number, and
location if you use my letter. I am writing
in response to the letter to the editor in Vol
1, No. 6, Fall 2020 “Need high-powered
lawyers.” I take issue with your response
to this letter.
I have spent the last 13 years in prison and
during that time I have been a part of every
single opportunity to work collectively toward prison abolition and reform that I can
beg, borrow and weasel my way into. From
Toastmasters to Black Prisoner’s Caucus,
from Coalition for the Trans Prisoners to
HEAL, I have been doing the work. I have
also spent the last decade in and out of that
law library banging my brain against those
books and computers desperate to understand the law even just a little bit. Yes, mass
incarceration is a collective problem, but
we cannot belittle the needs of individuals.
The person who put out this obvious cry for
help may have phrased things poorly due
to their anger and frustration. However, the
point stands. Many of us prisoners who are
doing the work and struggling to live our
values in the midst of terrible conditions
need help to not die in here.
I was sentenced to double LWOP for aggravated first degree murder. I was arrested
at 18 and convicted at 19. I need help to put
in for the brain science thing which could
get me resentenced to not die in prison. I
have to do this before I can put in for clemency because of the requirement that I “exhaust all court remedies” before applying.
So what about people like me? Can we get
a group of lawyers who work to cement the
collective gains that have been hard won?
Are there still juvenile lifers who haven’t
been resentenced? Is there anyone out there
helping incarcerated people write their
prosecutors since the passage of SB 6164?
These “gains “mean nothing if incarcerated
people are not able to access them.

[Ed’s Response: As I said in
issue #6, there are no individual
solutions, only collective ones.
Securing your individual release, while important to you, is
not really a solution in terms of
abolishing slavery or for extending democracy to prisoners.]



From Chino Prison
I am a 27-year-old (transfeminine non-binary) person. I received a copy of your volume 1, number
1 and loved it. I want to see if I can help. I
am incarcerated within the California Department of Corrections at the California
Institute for Men in Chino. I am on 24/7
lockdown because of COVID-19. We have
been locked down for 127 days. As of July
6th our institution had 719 cases of the virus, with 19 prisoner deaths. Now we are
over a thousand infections and 20 deaths.
As of August 6th, the DOC had more than
8,400 positives and at least 51 prisoner
deaths. My institution has the highest death
rate of any institution in California. [As
of Aug. 22, the 21st prisoner at the Chino
prison died from COVID-19.]
I want a section in your newsletter to
be like real Covid stories from the inside.
I like your real-life application of medical advice. Also, Ed’s editorial “Why We
Fight” was great! I want to support you all.
Other inmates want to know how to subscribe. Is it a certain number of stamps for a
year? You should include your subscription
information in the next issue.
Also, send us the latest newsletters. We’ll
pass them around and encourage people to
send stamp donations in exchange for subscriptions. People are hungry for the type
of information you provide for us, our exconvicts friends, and families too. We totally want to know your views on the Thirteenth Amendment and modern-day prison
slavery, slave labor, etc. Please write me
back; We want to help with the cause.
Prisoners at C.I.M. in Chino
From Washington
First things first, there is no visitation.
Many of the men here are struggling mentally without their loved ones. It’s one
thing to be sentenced to spend time away
from your family, but it’s an entirely different thing to remove our visits entirely.
There has been no visiting since March,
and they don’t anticipate visiting reopening
until next year. Originally, they planned rePrison Covid News

opening when we flattened the curve. That
quickly changed to reopening in phase
four. And now, unofficially, not until after
a vaccine is made available to the public. Our captors know the men are struggling with not seeing their families, they
are showing no empathy for this or any
of the other struggles we face during this
pandemic. They’ve reduced our recreation,
taken away all of our volunteer programming, and they’ve begun terrorizing us using the mail room. The officers don’t social
distance or wear their face coverings as directed, but they run roughshod on us if we
don’t, ie: terminate your video visits, cell
you in, write you up, terminate your yard
or, in the case of officer [name withheld],
they’ll accuse you of killing their officers.
An officer at the camp contracted Covid
and unfortunately succumbed to the virus.
C/O [same officer] got on the microphone
and announced to us all that this was our
fault and it was just like [name withheld].
Referring to officer [name withheld] who
was murdered at WSR a decade ago. C/O
[name withheld] sits in the booth with up
to five staff members (no social distancing)
and refuses to wear his mask. He puts it on
when an inmate approaches the booth but
if this prick does have Covid, the air conditioner in the booth is forcing all that madness straight into your face when he opens
the door. The staff at this prison tell us that
we need to get rid of the “us against them”
mentality but that is a one way street. We
give the benefit of the doubt to them, they
say we are “guilty as charged.” We offer
empathy for them in relation to their job
or their lives and they call our request for
empathy “whining.” It will always be them
before us in prison. It will always be them
against us in prison. I have worked on myself regardless of the administration’s view
of me or my growth. I’ve served 28 years
and am down to my last 4. I’m going home
soon and look forward to advocating for
those I leave behind. The desire to continue
my good works I’ll take with me. Thank
you for your efforts. Be safe out there.
Mark, at WSR
Denied Covid Medical Help
Recently, about the end of Feb. 2020 I
suffered COVID-19, when a MCC prison
guard exposed me to his spit. I sent WA.
St. governor, Jay Inslee, material information showing that MCC employees had
wrongly exposed me to the virus: COVID-19. As soon as I began suffering the
excruciatingly painful and debilitating COVolume 1, Number 7

VID-19 symptoms, I requested, but was denied, medical attention. I thought I would
die. When I tried to file a grievance(s),
several MCC employees retaliated, by
torturing me: [1] an Intensive Management Unit (IMU) guard, (name omitted),
said he’d spat in my food. And a chubby
IMU guard tried to slam my hands in the
cuff-port when I reached for my food tray,
causing me to scrape the skin, and lightly
bleed, from the knuckle of my right hand
thumb finger I was left in the freezing cold,
causing me to suffer excruciating pain in
my feet/toes, hands/fingers, and body due
to being exposed to the cold weather etc..
In order to make the torture stop, I had to
promise to withdraw the grievance(s). Later, I was compelled to follow thru with the
grievance(s): #20697797 and #20701987.
Also, I filed correspondence with Governor
Jay Inslee’s office, and the WA. State Ombudsman.
Jerome Alverto, MCC
Arkansas Report
I know we’re feeling it down here in Arkansas. Aside from infections all inmates
are forced to deal with shortages blamed
on missed deliveries, yard and church being denied because of “lack of security”,
not coming around and doing cell clean
ups and shave call. It’s just one thing after another. Shit’s really about to boil over
down here. I’m sure yall are dealing with
the same thing up that way. Really it just
gives the CO’s reason to take something
or deny something and then have something to blame it on. It’s really just hitting
the penitentiary in AR for the last month
or so, so they had all this time to formulate a plan but they aint done nothing but
lock the whole penitentiary down. OK cool
– but if you leave all the hot cases in their
original cells instead of quarantining them
all in one you aint getting nowhere. Nation Guard just came last week (8-18) and
tested the entire DOC here and we found
out we had 14 cases at this unit. Since then
we’ve been on lockdown but like I said the
last few months we’ve been dealing with
b.s. they’re blaming on the virus. So I don’t
know what’s ahead for us now…
Bill Blockmon, Tucker Prison
Wyoming Report
Here in Wyoming State Penitentiary they
started out by giving no cloth masks and
we were all out together, then a couple
months later they started a separated tier
schedule where the upper tier was let out

and then several hours later the lower tier
was let out! Then they started a different
modified schedule, and then yet another!
Then they started giving us two free phone
calls a week and now that testing has
started they are all over the map to when
they let us out, hell one time they tested us
and then as soon as testing was over they
let us all out! They take people to quarantine and then after ten or so days, they
are bringing them back into the unit with
those of us who haven’t had it! Now they
have had us locked down for a few weeks.
Sometimes being four or five days before
we can shower or call home and they say
that our rights change and they can do what
they want to do during a pandemic. The
medical department will not even see us at
this time. They say that everything including law library, medical, programming,
religion, etc. is all on hold until after the
pandemic and these are all constitutional
rights! They claim that the health department is calling all the shots at this time because the WDOC never had a plan of action
for a situation of this magnitude! So now
we are stuck in our cells six days a week
at 23 hours 45 minutes a day and 24 hours
a day on Sunday! We now get 15 minutes
a day out. Our schedule is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday we get 15 minutes for the
phone and Monday, Wednesday, Friday a
15 minutes shower and nothing on Sunday! I know that in contrast to some of the
conditions around the country this is pretty
good but our constitutional rights are being trampled on and our grievance process
is controlled by a DOC employee and she
rejects most claims and cover up WDOC
wrongdoing! They aren’t even keeping us
informed on anything related to Covid-19
or progress they are making or not!
Jonathan Pitts, Wyoming State Pen.
And In Nevada
We have been quarantine – locked down
since March 18, 2020. No outside sunlight
or fresh, clean air. No outside our cells, but
for a half hour every three days; for shower
and calling home only. A number of inmates and staff have become infected, but
we’re not told who, exactly how many or
how many have died. I believe at least three
staff have died, and I’ve lost some friend in
the world.
Joseph Brooker, High Desert Prison, NV
From New Mexico
I am an inmate at Otero Prison in Chaparral, New Mexico. If you go on the internet

under the address NMCD/OCPF or Otero
County Prison Facility, you’ll find a lot of
info about how this place has mishandled
the Covid-19 crisis. It even made it to the
Albuquerque Journal but I still feel they’re
not managing it (Covid-19) well.
I had never tested positive but not long
ago I was put in RHU for a week then put
into a POD with inmates that had tested
positive but then recovered. I tried to inquire about the why on this but never received a direct answer. Hmmm. We’ve had
people die from this virus here at this prison
at it’s sad to say that ever since I got out of
RHU I haven’t been tested again and that’s
three weeks ago. Makes a person wonder.
Leo Costillo
Can’t Adjust
I would like to express my appreciation
for your zine, especially the article by J.
Lee in issue #6. I commemorate him for
such a professionally written article, and
Julien’s interview was also well spoken
and represented all of us. Keep up the good
I recently spent 16 months confined in
segregation. A couple of months ago I was
released into general population. What a
shock. I was placed in seg pre-COVID, and
acclimating back to GP was extremely difficult for me. No library privileges, no chapel (it was transformed into a Covid quarantine), only one hour of yard per day (only if
it wasn’t closed for one reason or another),
restricted gym (no weights or sports equipment), and restricted day room. In addition,
we are required to pick up our food trays in
the chow hall and then eat in our cells. The
administration said they were trying to social distance us, which made absolutely no
sense as I was tossed into a cell with three
other prisoners for a month before being
assigned to a two-man cell. Of course upon
my arrival I was not given COVID testing
or even my temperature taken.
Unfortunately, I was unable to adjust and
conform to the new reality so I’m back in
seg pending transfer to IMU for another
long stretch of confinement. No ones fault
but my own poor decisions.
Jason Kalchbnrenner, Airway Heights


n the last issue I posted a letter from FROM COVID-19 IN
a prisoner in protective custody. I got
some crap from “solid cons” who wrote PRISON THAN AT
to berate me for printing anything from
someone in PC.


While I was locked up back in the mid
1980s the state legislature was trying to
pass a law limiting the amount of good time
earned by sex offenders. At the time I was
publishing a newsletter, much like this one,
called The Abolitionist. In that newsletter I
asked prisoners to oppose that legislation,
saying "if you fail to do so they will be doing it to violent offenders next." I got a lot
of grief from “solid cons” over my standing
up for stinking sex offenders. Well, the law
passed and some years later the good time
cuts were expanded to include violent offenders. Who could have guessed?
Well, here I am again, nagging you to
do the right thing. Your status as a prisoner
cuts across lines of race, class, and all other
levels of division. You are all prisoners of
the state, regardless of who ratted on who.
When I was at the Walls some of the most
respected stand up cons broke down—
when the going gets tough, the tough get to
ratting. Talk shit all you want, but when it
comes to a choice between dying or ratting,
most will choose to live.
My message to you is this, those who
work to divide the population by any
means, their type of crime, race, sexual orientation, or even status as rat, is serving the
interests of your captors. PC can play a role
in this struggle. You don’t need to respect
them, or like them, but you do need to allow them to contribute.
You also need to understand that prisoners often check-in out of fear. You are oppressing them in some way and there are no
prisoner-based mechanisms they can turn
to—the state is their only option. And that
is your fault.
In the 1970s we used six homemade
shotguns to put an end to prisoner-onprisoner rape, we provided safe cells for
the vulnerable, we escorted the elderly to
and from the commissary shack. We are the
ones who got you conjugal visits, or what’s
left of what you've allowed them become
today. And we were faggots!
Please stop doing the man’s work by further dividing the population with your reactionary ideas. The bottom line is that you
are all prisoners. If you can't see that you're
going to have a tough row to hoe. ♥
Ed Mead


espite conditions that make social
distancing difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, a New Mexico
state district judge ruled that keeping a man
in state prison would be safer than going
home roughly four months early.
District Judge Albert Mitchell ruled on
Aug. 20 that despite his underlying health
conditions and close living conditions in
prison, Stanley Ingram would be safer in
prison than at home with his girlfriend in
In the order, Mitchell acknowledged
Ingram’s health conditions, including diabetes and heart arrythmias, and how those
conditions have been reported to create a
higher risk of experiencing severe complications from COVID-19.
“The policies and procedures implemented at the Department of Corrections
facility where Mr. Ingram is being held
appear to be more effective in protecting
the individuals in state custody from COVID-19 than the Governor’s orders as implemented in Quay County, New Mexico,”
Mitchell wrote.
Ingram could still appeal the ruling, but
he said he can not afford another attorney and that the issue would likely not be
settled before his pending Dec. 15 release
date. Earlier this year, Lujan Grisham issued an executive order allowing a subset
of inmates to be released 30 days early.
“To the point that anybody would be
safer in prison, versus at home with a family member out in the community, it just
makes no sense, frankly,” Moskowitz said.
Judge Mitchell acknowledged in denying Ingram’s release that Ingram and other
inmates in his unit are housed in bunk beds
about four feet apart and that inmates are
not required to be six feet apart when interacting with each other.
“The corrections department and the
governor have the power to be releasing
people, to be looking at this and taking
proactive action, irrespective of our law
students,” Moskowitz said. “So we’re still
hoping that we could get them to the table
to talk more about possibilities.” ♥
Prison Covid News



he good news is that the newsletter
now have readers located in state
and federal prisons in all fifty states.
While we started out focusing on only
Washington and Oregon, we've now grown
to a fully national readership.
The bad news is that his growth in readers comes at a cost. More paper, more
stamps, etc. Accordingly, if this newsletter
is of value to you, then you must pay two
stamps per issue. If you want six issues, for
example, send 12 stamps. If you don't have
stamps, sell Prison Covid subscriptions to
other prisoners.
For those of you who are new to this
newsletter let me give you some background. I format, and print Prison Covid;
volunteers do the work of editing, folding,
sealing, affixing address labels and stamps,
and then doing the actual mailing. We've
been putting this publication out since
April, often twice a month, and this is the
first time we've asked you for any kind of
I'm a 78-year-old state-raised ex-convict
who has spent some 35 years behind bars—
starting at the tender age of 13. Yeah, doing life on the installment plan. The prison
experience has left me with PTSD and I'm
nutty enough to still consider myself a convict. My only income is social security,
which ain't much. I'm also a communist
and my friends and I provide this newsletter as a service for prisoners.
We commies are anti-capitalist, against
racism, sexism, and all other forms of social discrimination, We are against President Trump, for example, because he is a
racist and a fascist. His playbook comes
straight out of the mouth of Adolf Hitler's
fear mongering. Slogans such as "Make
Germany great again" and “Germany
first!” were campaign when Hitler was running for public office during the 1930s. Oh,
and let’s not forget Hitler’s tough on crime
rhetoric that's now coming out of Trump’s
mouth. Indeed, Trump is on an execution
spree, carrying out more federal executions
in 2020 than in the past 57 years combined.
When Hitler occupied the nations of Eastern Europe, the first thing he did was empty
the prisons and execute all of the prisoners.
Both Trump and Joe Biden are anti-prisoner war mongering pig. They both represent the interests of the super rich, although
in slightly different ways. We are living in
Volume 1, Number 7

the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, after
the rich have decided which two candidates you get to vote for, you then have a
"choice" as to which representative of the
super rich will rule you.
No matter who you vote for, you will be
getting always increasing military spending and forever wars of aggression, usually
against the poorest people on the planet.
What we socialists seek is the dictatorship of the working class. Yes, you can vote
or worker A or worker B, but you will be
voting for someone representing the interests of the working class—the people who
produce everything. And you would be
living in a society that puts people before
profits, that creates jobs, rather than jails.
The constitution of the U.S. was created
by white male land owners to serve the
interests of that class. That document has
long ago outlived it's usefulness. Think of
it as a very old suit that has been sown on
and patched until it is ready to fall apart.
It's way past time for a new suit—the suit
of socialism.
Try to see any society as an ocean going luxury liner. The top half of the ship,
the superstructure, is the political element
that steers the vessel either this way or that.
That superstructure can be anything from a
liberal democracy to an authoritarian dictatorship, or anything in between.
The bottom part of the ship, the engine
that drives it forward, we'll call the infrastructure. Here is the mechanism that produces the economic power (we'll call them
the means of production). On the one hand
this engine can be capitalist, meaning it is
owned by private individuals for their personal profit. Or on the other, it can be socialist, where the means of production are
owned by the working class for the good of
those who produce all commodities.
Oh, you say, socialism has been tried in
places like Russia and China and has resulted in authoritarian regimes, and it has
clearly failed as an economic alternative to
capitalism. It has not failed. It was strangled to death. Did you know that shortly
after the revolution the U.S., France, and
England invaded Soviet Russia in an effort
to kill the revolution? The West has been
attacking any nation seeking to improve the
conditions of their peoples. Look at what
they've done to Cuba, and are now doing to
Venezuela. Think of the 1950s Korean war,
the blockades, economic sanctions, etc.
But all that aside, Karl Marx wrote that
societies must go through the course of social development before socialism can be

implemented. He said there could not be a
revolution in Russia because its economic
system was still feudal—it had not gone
through capitalist development, a condition
necessary to develop the means of production to a point of being able to meet social
Lenin got around Marx's requirement by
claiming that the three months of Russia's
Kerensky regime was capitalism. China
and Cuba were also essentially feudal
when their socialist revolutions took place.
Whereas the U.S. has fully gone through
the capitalist phase of development and is
now ripe for revolution. Not only ripe, but
rotten to its core.
The capitalists are destroying the very
planet in their quest for obscene profits.
Look at the wild fires burning in the West,
the melting ice caps, the increasingly harsh
storms, global over population, a growth
that comes at the expense of other the species with whom we share this Earth. And
then there are the constant wars. In short, it
is either socialism or barbarism.
You have a vote. You vote with your
feet. Your small chunk of this struggle is
to peacefully and responsibly engage in
actions aimed at extending democracy to
prisoners, including the right to vote, and
to struggle against the slavery of prisoners.
These are bourgeois democratic demands,
which means they are not revolutionary.
Working to implement these two demands
puts you on the right side of history.
Pot is legal, gays can marry, inter-racial
couples are okay. Times have changed.
This is your moment. There are 2.2 million prisoners, 14.6 under supervision, tens
of millions of ex-cons, and millions upon
millions of friends and family members of
prisoners. The strength to mount and support statewide and national movements is
all around us. We need only vote.
You are victims of a social order so sexist that allows men to believe women are
property that can be subjected to beatings
and rape. You are victims of a society that
engenders mass unemployment and poverty, causing many to rob and steal in an
effort to survive this madness. Capitalism
is a dog-eat-dog system that has us preying
on each other to survive. This will not stop
until we have a more sane social order.
Stop being a victim and become an active
agent for progressive change. If you are unwilling to follow a socialist path, you can
at the very least peacefully work to implement the bourgeois democratic demands. ♥
Ed Mead

Virus News ........... Continued from page 5
Department of Corrections' website said
352 Eddie Warrior inmates were still positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
As COVID spikes In Indiana prison,
inmates and families report lax
Inmates and family members worry that
the prison hasn’t taken adequate steps to
prevent the spread of the virus. The increase in cases follows spikes at the New
Castle and Putnamville prisons in August.
Advocates protest, demand better
conditions for Oklahoma inmates in
‘COVID-19 hotspot’
A group of advocates came together today to protest outside of the Eddie Warrior

Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma.
The prison has been a COVID-19 hotspot,
with over 700 women testing positive for
the virus and at least one death. Advocates
are calling on the governor and the board of
corrections to make changes to help keep
the women healthy and safe.
“A silent pandemic”: nurse at ice
facility blows the whistle on
coronavirus dangers
The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, says
that Irwin, which is run by the private corporation LaSalle Corrections, has underreported Covid-19 cases, knowingly placed
staff and detainees at risk of contracting
the virus, neglected medical complaints,
and refused to test symptomatic detainees,
among other dangerous practices.
‘It almost broke me.’ How the
pandemic is straining mental health
at Allegheny County Jail.
No personal visitors, hardly any time for

inmates outside of their cells and chronic
vacancies in mental health and health staff
raise concerns that the mental health of Allegheny County Jail [ACJ] inmates is deteriorating, according to inmates recently
incarcerated there, family members of current inmates, advocates and current and
former ACJ staff.
Nearly 1,000 inmates, more than
200 staff in Wisconsin prisons have
tested positive for coronavirus
After nearly flattening for about three
months, positive coronavirus tests in Wisconsin prisons are back on the rise at rates
worse than ever. More than 600 inmates in
state-run prisons tested positive for coronavirus in the past month, bringing the total
to 953 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Further, 223 staff had tested positive as of
Sept. 15.

Prison Covid
PO Box 48064
Burien, WA 98148