The Coronavirus as seen through the eyes of our Insiders

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Part IV: We’re all in this thing together

See also   Part I   Part II  Part III  Part V   Part VI   Part VII   Part VIII   Part IX   Part X   Part XI  Part XII

Noah (Texarkana FCI, Texarkana, TX)

4/4 Today we have been issued masks that are rectangular with two loops and a wire at the top for form fitting around the nose with the expectation to wear them everywhere outside of the wing of our dorm. Don’t believe they are of the N95 variety, but this is all just for outsider information. I am currently using cloth (t-shirt).

The COs and staff will also be wearing their masks. We are expected to wash them and reuse them until replacing net week.

We are within a hundred miles or so of FCI Oakdale where, according to various newsletters and articles sent by email, an outbreak is occurring and 4 inmates have died due to COVID-19.

4/14 The chairs (inmates) have been rearranged yet again, having recalled those moved to the open unit to clear it out again. A number of inmates, guesstimated to be at around 50 here at the FCI, have been listed to move to the open unit for what is presumably the 14-day quarantine prior to release. From what I can tell, everyone that is moving over there meets the first threshold, that they have under a year remaining on their sentence. This seems to be regardless of their offense, as inmates of all offenses seem to be on the list.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the end of the lockdown, according to the BOP mandate, but I have seen nothing to indicate that this is the case in actuality. We have, however, been making our way to the chow hall as of today, to carry out our meals there, rather than in the unit.  We do not sit there; we get and go.

Still no positive cases here (that are known). There are cases in the community and at the jail and state detention facility in Texarkana, TX.  Seems that we are the exception.

Morale is still good as far as I can see in my unit, but it is fairly difficult to watch perfect day after perfect day go by the window. It is difficult not knowing what the future will hold, whether a visit is in my future, whether I would even welcome such a risk to be taken by loved ones.  Speaking a bit more lucidly, I’d rather not risk their health today or tomorrow for a visit. But I do miss everyone very much. We are inmates, right, but we’re people, and speaking for myself, I’m human and would love to go home.

Thank you for your articles, your updates, your concerns, your letters, etc.

4/24 Buckle up– safety first.. even though this car isn’t going anywhere.

REARRANGING THE DECKCHAIRS ON THE TEXARKANIC 3.0:  When I first started the updates I didn’t think that “rearranging the deckchairs” was going to be an every update thing, but hey, why be surprised anymore? Today’s strategy is to move those in the 14-day quarantine unit to the gym. The unit below us will move to the newly vacated former quarantine unit. Below us will be the new medical isolation bay. The reasoning given is explained as a need to provide one door access to the medical building should infections take hold. We are told there are 0 positive cases here at the prison. Unknown amounts of test kits or tests given (if any).  COVID has reached the state facility in town, as well as the county jail.

PACK UP, YOU’RE GOING TO QUARANTINE. If you are, then you could be going home or not, depending on which way the wind blows tomorrow and who decides. We are hearing different things in regards to the quarantiners. Last time I updated, I mentioned that there was a group of 58 moved to a unit to begin their 14-day countdown. Rumor has it that 2 days into the quarantine there was some kind of breach that made them restart their clock. I sure do hope that they are sent home, but can’t help but wonder of all the rearranging is allowing the illusion of action to overshadow the impending debut of COVID into our institution. Classic BOP DOJ stuff.

MORALE: In general, I think there is a general sense of frustration amongst the inmates and staff. We as inmates have been on quarters restriction for 24 days. Not allowed to go outside for 24 days. Today’s word of mouth is that it was not the warden here, the BOP, or anyone amongst the staff here that has nixed the idea of getting some fresh air, it’s the CDC. We have actually been encouraged to write region and the CDC to let them know that we haven’t been outside. Is anyone else in the BOP getting rec time?  I don’t personally hold out much hope for implementation of the CAREs act for those that do qualify, considering all the foot dragging and can kicking that we all have come to expect. But– trying not to bite the hand that feeds.

PERSONAL NOTE: I have tried my level best to state things as they happen plainly without too much opinion or emotion seeping through, but there is something in regards to the portrayal of inmates that needs to be addressed. The topic of those that have been released in NY and the knee-jerk reaction to condemn all releasees back to prison until the virus passes is frustrating.

RECAP: Phone calls are still free! Reassessing the visits on May 18th. We no longer go to the chow hall to pick up meals, they are brought to our units and distributed at the door. Nobody has tested positive here and unknown if anyone has been tested . . . period.

Thank you friends, family, newletterers and updaters alike. Your updates, articles, replies are extremely important during this time, and I have found them to be extremely useful and informative. Thank you. Even if you are finding my updates useless, thank you for yours.

We’re all in this thing together.

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