I first heard about COVID-19 in the news, and the first thing that crossed my mind was “I am going to die.” At I.S.C.C. they are doing a horrible job at keeping inmates safe. I have not been provided any resources or information of the safety measures to take to protect myself. What I know is only from what I hear/see on the news. The facility conducted COVID-19 test on July 10th, but I have felt discouraged to even seek medical care because the medical staff has been denying certain care and just say “we don’t do that anymore.”
The only way that I can basically take care of myself is to wear a mask. They are not giving us proper masks at the proper time. I submitted a concern form on August 9th asking for a mask. They posted a memo that we are switching to surgical masks on August 4th. However, they still haven’t provided my tier surgical masks. Now is day 7 since the memo and no masks.
There are 59 inmates in a 50Wx75L tier without proper ventilation and we have no hygiene products. The prison has been negligent/careless and not even following their own rules of mandatory masks.
I have heard of only one death at the facility and only 200 cases, but we are not well informed about anything. We are always on lockdown without any recreation since June 20th and all programming and visitation have been canceled. I haven’t had contact with my support system. This has started to give me anxiety and depression.
One message that I want to share with the public on being in prison during the pandemic is to not be a victim.
About the Stories from the Inside story project:
ACLU of Idaho, Black and Pink Boise, and HumanKind have collaboratively reached out to people who are currently incarcerated to share their view of the COVID-19 from inside Idaho jails and prisons. The experiences detailed in the submitted letters and responses are reflective of a prison system that lacks any standard of medical care for inmates and IDOC staff in the face of a global pandemic—even as the number of infected continues to rise. With the authors’ permission, we are publishing these letters here so their stories from the inside can be known.
Prisoners are people — and these are the real experiences they are having on a daily basis. All stories have been shared with written consent.
Black and Pink: Boise is an open family of queer & trans prisoners and "free world" allies who support each other.
Humankind: A Voice from the Inside is an organization committed to providing a voice for those navigating through the criminal justice system. We believe that everyone deserves fair and compassionate support in and outside of incarceration. Humankind envisions a world where individuals involved in the system are treated justly and receive adequate rehabilitation to become productive members of society. We need change, not chains.
The Northwest Abortion Access Fund is an abortion fund serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Trained, compassionate volunteer advocates run our toll-free hotline. We help people pay for their abortion care by sending funding directly to the clinic. We also help people get to and from the clinic and make sure people traveling for care have a safe place to stay.
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), a membership organization of over 70 funds across the United States.