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(From a July 7, 2020, @VoicesofSanQuentin Instagram post)

During long sentences many people in prison become isolated and lose touch with their families. Jonathan Chiu was released from San Quentin in May after almost 15 years of incarceration before the transfer of 121 men from Chino which created the current catastrophe unfolding at San Quentin. He expresses a kind of ‘survivor’s guilt’ sensing how bad the conditions under which his “family” is going through right now.  

He continues, “I don’t think that people out here really care about what what’s going on at San Quentin or any other prison that has had a COVID outbreak. Prison is the last thing on their mind. [People] think they’re are just stuck away in a faraway place and have COVID because they did something bad a long time ago and now are actually dying…”

Why should we care? Jonathan continues, “Not everybody in prison is going to be in prison. And we want the people that are coming back out to be healthy and rehabilitated. And if we don’t care about that, we’re just going to make ourselves as a society worse. And also, people in prison have families out here. Just because one person made a very bad choice in their lives, they shouldn’t have to be condemned and their families shouldn’t be condemned to basically watch their people die in there and not even have the chance to say goodbye to them.” 

The number of cases reported as of this morning by CDCR is 1,369 and 184 staff. There have been six reported deaths total. It’s worth noting though that Chanthon, who was released last week said that many people are refusing to take tests because if they are found positive, they are being moved. We will speak more about the fear around moving inside the prison system in an update soon.  Write Gov Newsom and tell the SQ Warden Ron Broomfield that you demand action to be taken now!! We demand Newsom as governor of this state go into an official disaster zone.  In emergency situations, wardens have the power to release people, here’s his email:  Go to the Action Toolkit on our profile for emails and phone. #VoicesofSanQuentin #StopSanQuentinOutbreak #Human.  

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.


@VoicesofSanQuentin is a social media entity that amplifies the voices inside and beyond the walls of San Quentin State Prison. Follow on Instagram: @VoicesofSanQuentin; Follow on Twitter: @Voicesof_SQ