Well, since most activities have come to a screeching halt everywhere… in the streets and in prison alike… it’s been a struggle to effectively occupy our time. I know it has in here anyways! Just imagine the lock-down y’all are going through in the streets and multiply that by (at least) 10. The attitudes and general atmosphere have made a drastic shift over the past month or so, with arguments and tension continuing to rise. These have been fueled by misinformation, speculation and never-ending rumors… for which prison will always be a breeding ground!

So, it’s really difficult to get a proper perspective on the status of the progression or (hopefully) the regression of the number of COVID-19 infections. To try and distinguish between fact, fiction and just plain-old hype. And I say this, coming from the viewpoint of someone who’s incarcerated… someone who can’t see the 1st hand effects in the streets. I mean, I watch the news and hear one reporter say how “better days” appear to be in front of us, while another one will say that the “worst” days are yet to come. Then you have one side pushing to re-open the States immediately, while the other side is urging the States to slow down and be more cautious. This type of subjective reporting only allows for mass confusion and speculation, which turns into the fuel that feeds the frustration and over-worked rumor mills that plague society and the prison system alike! This is being seen in the streets, where both sides are in a tug-o-war with the Governors actions in several States… around these “stay at home” orders.

As I said, I see all this on the news… but the most relevant news we receive, comes from the daily Updates that are sent to us by the MDOC (Michigan Dept. of Corrections). The last I knew, the Michigan prison population had about 900 (+) positve COVID-19 cases, then with the last Update, that # jumped 200 overnight… to more than 1100. They’ve begun to test a facility, that was hit hard with the virus… 100+ positive cases and multiple deaths. Now, in the process of testing ALL prisoners there, it’s become clear that they had no idea just how many people were infected already. Here is a portion of what we just received:
The Michigan Department of Corrections is committed to providing the prisoner population with up-to-date information as it relates to our efforts in dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As you may have heard, we are testing all prisoners at Lakeland Correctional Facility for the virus.

The results are now coming in, so you will see a spike in the cases in the results below and for the next few days.

Prisoner cases:

On April 23, we are reporting 200 positive cases identified and 94 negative test results.

*The 200 positive cases include:

-Lakeland Correctional Facility 185
-G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility 12
-Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center 1
-Woodland Center Correctional Facility 1
-Duane Waters Health Center 1

*Prisoner deaths

We are sadly reporting the deaths of three prisoners who had tested positive for COVID-19.
The prisoners had been housed at Lakeland Correctional Facility, Woodland Center Correctional Facility and Parnall Correctional Facility.
There have now been 28 prisoners in MDOC custody to pass away from this virus.
On the average, there had been about 20 positive cases and 1.5 deaths, every day, since they began testing. This just goes to show how much of a captive audience the populations of our jails and prisons are… once something like the COVID-virus is introduced into these closed-environments.

Actually, due to my own funk… a couple days have passed and the those #’s jumped to well over 1200+, with 33 deaths now. This was the most recent #’s, as of April 26th. And they still have over 1/2 the tests to come back, from 1 facility… with another facility to begin to be tested this week (G. Robert Cotton Corr. Facility).

I know I hear a lot about how States #’s are beginning to plateau, but it’s not the same #’s we see in prison, where tests are finally being done and huge spikes are being seen almost daily with a pretty constant mortality rate. The most troubling part is that most the facilities, where the virus is taking it’s greatest toll… are either very vulnerable prisoners at medical facilities who are unable to effectively fight this virus. Or they are prisoners, who are close to going home, like those at Parnall Facility, where the initial outbreak hit the hardest. And its been at these facilities, where the most deaths have occured… so inevitably death sentences have befallen the medically frail population and prisoners who were serving short-sentences, predominently.

This makes zero sense, when the release of these prisoners… who were going to go home shortly anyways or no longer could physically cause ANY threats to society were forced to remain in prison, to find a DEATH SENTENCE! Every man & woman, in prison, is serving the sentence that the Courts handed them… not one of them was given a DEATH SENTENCE! I’m sure that the families and loved ones of those 33 prisoners who lost their lives to this pandemic would agree… and question who determines the value of one humans life over another?! Because, outside these fences they might’ve had a fair fight against this deadly virus!

Look, I realize that all prisoners can’t be released… but I hope this will make someone look at what happened and try to find some new process or policy, in the case this ever happens again, in the future?! OR, in the case there’s a second wave that’s even worse… as some medical professionals have predicted. All lives should matter, whether free in society or locked in a cage… rich or poor… all lives shoud be protected equally

Be safe & stay healthy!

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