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The situation at FCI-Seagoville is quickly going south, spinning out of control, as one guard noted. So far at least 55 inmates have tested positive in the past three days. Many of them were chow-hall workers which pretty much guarantees that the virus has spread throughout the entire compound. There are cases now in three of the seven units that we know of.

To make things worse, since no inmates are now allowed to work in any capacity, we’re being fed pre-packaged frozen sandwiches and junk food. So not only are we surrounded by the virus, we’re being underfed and surviving in extreme lockdown conditions beset with anxiety. Physical distancing is impossible, mask-wearing here is sporadic.

This is a recipe for disaster and we need to get the news out. Stop listening to just the Bureau of Prison and start listening to the inmates. Shame on the courts and the Department of Justice for allowing this to go on. How many people have to die before somebody takes some significant action?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Fernando Rivas Martinez is writer and prison reform advocate incarcerated in Texas. He is a 1977 Juilliard graduate and award-winning composer of film and television music. In 2016, while incarcerated, he received an honorable mention from the PEN America prison writing program for his poem "300 Min." In 2019 he won the American Short Fiction Insider’s Prize award and an honorable mention on the Texas Observer short story contest.