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This informational flyer goes out to anyone or any organization who has an open mind and a compassionate heart for confined inmates. The COVID-19 virus is at an all time high at San Quentin. So far over 1,800 inmates have tested positive and over 200 correctional officers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 10 inmate deaths. 

The virus was originally discovered at San Quentin on March 14, 2020. By May 18 all inmates and staff were tested and cleared of the virus. On May 30 San Quentin allowed 120 inmates from California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino to be transferred here but failed to test them properly beforehand. They were housed in the same unit with Reception Center inmates who had already been tested and cleared. We were to be transferred to institutions that we were endorsed to. Because of this error made by CDCR the 350 remaining Reception Center inmates have to suffer the repercussions. Several Reception Center inmates ended up contracting the virus from the CIM inmates, and we are stuck here.

We have been hearing on the podcast news radio station that people outside are protesting for early releases for some inmates. Reception Center inmates do not have anyone protesting or advocating for us. We need to start receiving our time credits (editor’s note: credit toward time served) that are legally owed to us. We have already qualified for a transfer. I am losing 8 to 10 months of good time and work credits because the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) transferred infected inmates here. They have created this new wave which is spreading like wildfire and is much deadlier than the outbreak in March.

We are confined to our cells 24 hours a day. We no longer can participate in any rehabilitative self help programs. These programs were beneficial to us and helped our chances for completing parole. They also helped us toward becoming positive and productive citizens in society. 

COVID-19 has disrupted our time credits and the normal program here. San Quentin is full of chaos with no end in sight. We need outside support from advocates for us to receive our time credits. We need in-cell rehabilitation programs while we’re stuck in quarantine for the foreseeable future. 

We need our cause to be posted across social media so all of California can see what is happening. We need pressure to be put on CDCR and San Quentin to give Reception Center inmates the time credits owed to us. 

Thank you for your time and patience regarding this pertinent matter. Please try to stay COVID-19 free. May God bless you, your family and friends.

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.

Vernon Jackson is a writer incarcerated in California.