People who violate our overly complex and needlessly punitive web of laws, when they do so due to being disconnected from reality due to a psychiatric illness, are suffering from an illness and they are not criminals.
I had a poignant moment at my campsite this morning. Involving those goddamn wild turkeys, believe it or not. My hated enemies. But as much of a nemesis and a pain in the ass they can be, I realized there was a bond there.
When the Berkeley campus first went into lockdown, it was great for me. Because I had the whole campus to myself. But gradually, more and more people realized there was this big expanse of unoccupied green space right in the middle of the city. So more and more people are hanging out here every day.
The street scene is like watching a movie. Except you only get the middle act of the movie. You don’t get the first act or the third act. You don’t know their life story—what led up to them being the people that they are. And you almost never find out how their lives turned out.
We were locked in our rooms due to COVID-19 but allowed to use the restroom with, at times, 10 to 15 inmates. We line up for meds four times a day at least 10 to 20 deep. If you ask the correctional officer (CO) to wear gloves, they’ll refuse your meds.
I write this after 3 days of being curled into a fetal position, fighting off COVID-19. I was sick and bedridden when I received my test results that read, "COVID Negative." This is what it looks like to test someone and then try to transfer them.
When future generations look back on the devastation caused by this coronavirus pandemic, they are likely going to say that what happened to incarcerated populations in America’s prisons is tantamount to crimes against humanity.