With the entire world in the midst of a global pandemic, one would think that the chaos and incompitence that’s normally part of everyday operations inside the prisons would become soomewhat organized and structured. Not so….!
This Covid-19 crisis has really exposed the ineptness and corruption of the Administation of the nation’s prison system! Granted not a single prison was ever designed with “social distancing” in mind, in fact they were designed to serve as human warehouses with the intent to cram as many bodies as possible into a single space. And ths blatant disregard for personal space has resulted in filthy, unhygienic, roach/incect infested living conditions.
So when Covid-19 found its way into the prisons via the Staff/Administration, it’s no wonder the virus blew through the houosing units like a brush fire! Thousands of inmates were infected and countless others died. No information has been given to the inmate population as to the infection rate of the virus and to date not a single inmate has actually been tested for Covid-19, that is unless they’ve been suspected to have it.
We are required to wear masks, but again there is no social distancing. That is virtually impossible to do in a setting such as this! What found shocking was how guys were/are displaying symptoms and are falling ill but are refusing to say anything to the nursing staff out of fear of being placed in isolation for quarantine. My neighbor, a guy two cells down from me, two guys directly across the range from me, and another guy I frequently talk to all refused to tell the nurses they were ill. They just took sick time off from work and stayed in their cells (somewhat)! And those are just the guys I know about, who knows how many others have done the same thing?
With Covid-19 ravishing the planet and there being certain contingencies in place to try to keep those vulnerable safe, one such protocol was the cancellation of institutional visits. Some of us who receive visits on a regular basis have not seen our family and friends since March! Now I’m aware there are some people out there in society faced with the same dilemma, so criminality aside we all should be empathetic towards one another.
On the flip side, with there being no institutional visits one woould think the illicit drug supply within the prisons are depleted. Because according to the Administration that’s how all of the drugs are smuggled in. Yeah, right!
There are more drugs in the institution than there has been in a very long time. A variety of drugs at that. Marijauna is so abundant in here that you can’t even walk the hallway without smelling it. Heroin, Meth, Suboxone, K-2 (or as the guys call it “Tune”), and Tobacco are all plentifull in here.
But I can’t complain because I came up with the enterprising idea to manifacture and sell incense and “wraps.” For those who don’t know, “wraps” are typically cigar papers used to roll up and smoke out of. But since there are no cigars in here, I’ve been utilizing coffee and brown paper towls. I coat the paper towls with a thick layer of coffee, dry them out in the microwave, cut them down to rollling paper size, package them, and sell them.
The incense on the other hand is a six step process and takes up to 2 days to make. But at least I no longer have to smell the stinch of whatever these guys are in the habit of smoking!
With there being no end in sight as to the infection rate of Covid-19 and us having to accept the fact that we’re going to have to make some adjustments to how we go about our daily affairs from here on out, all I ask is for people to be patient with one another and make an effort to be mindful that everyone on the planet is going through the exact samething! No of us are alone in this.
In closing, I’d like to share a quote out of the Quran that has brought me continued inspiration during this time: “Allah imposes not on any soul a duty beyond it’s scope” (Surah 2: 286). Everything that’s happening right now with Covid-19, lockdowns, unemployment, and pending evictions, we have to remain optimistic and remember “that the testing of your faith produces perserverance, and perserverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way” (James 1:3).
We should be utilizing this time not to blame who’s responsible for this or that, or to be lashing out at one another over personal preferences, or overly concerned/depressed about a virus none of us has control over. No, this time should be spent in appreciation for loved ones, it should be spent in gratitude for what the Most High has blessed us with, it should be spent by us coming to the realization that all of these material trinkets we’ve become acustomed to identify with are nothing but an illusion! Our true worth lies in our humanity and the true wealth that’s passed down for generations is the integrity and dignity instilled in Us by Us!
DONOVAN DAVID CLARK #A390726
3791 St.Rt. 63
Lebanon, O.H. 45036