State Prison Inmate’s Diary Details The Ordeal Of Battling COVID-19 Behind Bars


Greater than 1,000 folks incarcerated in New York State’s jail system are preventing energetic COVID-19 infections, and 6 have died from the coronavirus up to now this month. The outbreaks have an effect on roughly half of the state’s 52 prisons, and the Corrections Division halted visits and applied a surveillance testing plan for inmates in late December. For the reason that begin of the pandemic 30 incarcerated folks and 7 Corrections Division employees have died from COVID-19.

There may be presently no timeline for when incarcerated folks will begin to get vaccinated.

The next is the diary of a person incarcerated at Woodbourne Correctional Facility within the Catskills, the place the virus has contaminated greater than 200 folks and killed two males over the course of the final three months.

The writer’s title is being withheld as a result of he fears retaliation from the Corrections Division and the parole board. The person, who has been incarcerated for greater than twenty years, is a diabetic in his late 50s who caught COVID-19 and was put in a quarantine cell block. Some prisoners have entry to tablets that permit them to e-mail buddies and family members on the surface by a secured system known as JPay. In telephone conversations with WNYC/Gothamist after his restoration, he described typing feverish dispatches on the pill and sending them to his fiance, fearful he may not survive. She corroborated a lot of his account.

In response to the inmate’s account, Thomas Mailey, a spokesman for the Corrections Division, mentioned the Division contact traces and quarantines people who find themselves uncovered to COVID-19 and inmates there are handled by nurses twice a day to verify their signs and take their temperatures.

“The Division takes critically its obligation to offer the neighborhood normal of look after these below our care,” he mentioned. “Workers have labored tirelessly to take care of that normal all through the period of our response to the COVID-19 public well being emergency.”

The next has been edited and condensed for readability.

December 2nd, 2020

The Corrections Officer (CO) approached me in my jail dorm (56 inmates in dorm) and knowledgeable me that I examined optimistic for COVID-19. I needed to hurry and pack up, and I began to have a mini nervousness assault (I’m OK now). A number of COs in PPE transported my property. After I moved into my cell with my “property” I requested a CO for some bathroom paper, and as anticipated, he refused.

December third, 2020

I get up at 6 a.m. Breakfast was cornflakes, a cup of milk and an apple. This cell could be very small. There’s a bathroom, a mattress, a sink and two small lockers. The bathroom simply stopped working. I can not see the opposite males whereas we’re locked in, there are about 5 – 6 others, simply the inmate whose cell is throughout from me (by a really small barred window). There’s a mute inmate quarantined with me. He made some noise this morning to attempt to get the COs consideration. Thank God the CO responded.

It’s 12:26 p.m. and the inmate throughout from me is yelling out, “I’m diabetic. I did not get my meals or insulin!” One other inmate down the corridor is yelling out that he has not gotten his mattress, pillow or property but. Two nurses and a CO walked round doing temperature checks. I get a little bit hungry now. I’m attempting to ration my private meals. The jail meals is horrible. Thank God I’ve two and a half jars of peanut butter, tuna fish and another objects. I attempt to anticipate and put together for conditions like this. Prisoners are usually “preppers.”

I spent the following 40 minutes searching the window. There have been three cats roaming outdoors my window within the parking zone. I have not seen cats in 24 years. These cats are large. Meals (not less than for cats) have to be good round right here. I see below my window vehicles within the COs/employees parking zone and lightweight visitors on the agricultural freeway and hills/mountains within the distance. I had no view from my dorm. Love the attractive dawn and sundown.

Hearken to reporter Gwynne Hogan’s radio story for WNYC:

December 4th, 2020

Awoke at 4 a.m. on the dot this morning. Prayed for about an hour. It’s so quiet you may hear a pin drop. I like this peace and quiet — a distinction to the dorm. Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday. My dad handed final yr because of a stroke. I used to be very near my dad. One of many hardest issues in my life, not being with my dad for his final days. I hoped he would see me exonerated, or not less than out of jail.

December sixth, 2020

I wakened round 3 a.m. this morning. Turned on the radio to Bloomberg. Reception was spotty. A CO walked by and instructed an inmate to take his towel off the window. The inmate said that it’s chilly and air is blowing by the window. I’ve additionally had a towel overlaying my window for a similar motive. I hope he doesn’t write us up as a result of we do not want the repercussions. Cannot danger a ticket earlier than going to the parole board. I’m creating a dry cough from the chilly air seeping by the window. Do not know if I ought to point out that to the nurse throughout her rounds tonight.

December seventh, 2020

I had a extreme dry cough final night time. It appears to have gotten a little bit higher this morning. It is fairly chilly in right here. I’m sporting a sweatshirt, sweatpants, hat and socks, and on the point of pull a blanket over me. Air leaking by the window. It is extremely tough to lie in a mattress all day. There isn’t any desk or chair in right here. I had a headache yesterday and right now, basic malaise. Extra people have been dropped at the quarantine unit. Dwelling in a dorm, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to social distance. I consider COVID goes to unfold like a wildfire on this jail.

December ninth, 2020

Simply heard that COVID is spreading in all of the dorms. I’ve already signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. I hope I’m able to make it to my parole board listening to. I ponder if the parole commissioners know what’s occurring in right here. Extra inmates are being introduced into our quarantine unit. This isn’t excellent news. We really feel trapped in right here. As it’s, our drugs are usually not arriving on time and inmates are usually not capable of go to sick name.

December tenth, 2020

I’ve no vitality to kind this entry, however I must proceed documenting. I used to be tossing and turning final night time. My physique was sore; my head was pounding.

December eleventh, 2020

I’ve no vitality to doc something right now. Will strive later. Feeling chills, dizzy and so on.

December twelfth, 2020

I’m feeling a bit higher this morning, however very weak. Yesterday, I believed I used to be dying. Once I acquired as much as choose up my lunch tray I virtually handed out. I got here again to my cell. And began to really feel dizzy. I known as out to the CO and he responded “I’m handing out the trays. What would you like?” I did not have the vitality to reply.

December thirteenth, 2020

I’ve no vitality to kind, no vitality to even stand, no urge for food, throbbing headache. I’m all out of ibuprofen since a physician discontinued that prescription. Medical not responding to my letters. No medicine forthcoming.

December 14th, 2020

After begging for Motrin for the previous 5 days, final night time at 7:30 pm, a nurse introduced me 3 packets of Motrin. As well as, she checked my blood sugar degree. To my shock it was 300. No marvel I’ve no power and no urge for food. I believed I used to be going to die quickly. I’m on oral diabetes meds. I feel I’ve misplaced some 15 lbs. This is the reason I’ve been sleeping all day and having no vitality. One other day and I may have been in a coma. Thank God for this nurse.

I once more requested that I be seen by medical personnel as a result of I had hassle respiratory. Approx. 1-2 hours later the Doctor’s Assistant got here to my cell block. She checked out me and mentioned, “there may be nothing fallacious with you.” She walked away. Later within the afternoon I, together with different inmates, have been escorted to the clinic for a COVID check. I may barely stroll. Whereas ready within the yard (outdoors the clinic) a Lieutenant walked by. I instructed him I could not breathe. He instantly acquired me to see a nurse. When the nurse noticed that my oxygen degree was low, she known as the PA (the exact same PA who instructed me earlier within the day that there was nothing fallacious with me) who requested me if I wished to go to the hospital. I mentioned sure. I used to be transported by ambulance to Catskill Regional Hospital.

December nineteenth, 2020

I used to be transferred to Albany Medical Middle (They’ve a safe unit for prisoners). I used to be grateful to be admitted to Albany Med. since my shackles may lastly come off. The docs and nurses at each hospitals offered glorious care.

December twenty eighth, 2020

I used to be launched from Albany Med. and was moved again to a quarantine unit at my facility. Upon arriving on the facility I discovered that two inmates died throughout this latest COVID outbreak. I nonetheless have some hassle respiratory. I’m additionally feeling extraordinarily weak and have some lingering reminiscence points. Essentially the most important symptom I’ve now’s hassle strolling. Hopefully, I’ll get higher over time. My solely purpose is to make parole and get again to my household.