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The California Men’s Colony Administrative Segment is depriving inmates with both basic needs and the privileges they are entitled to — due to the coronavirus, they claim.

It is quite disturbing how, during the COVID-19 crisis, we inmates are not able to receive our quarterly packages or personal property. We have no access to the law library, our visits with family are suspended, and we are only allowed a 15-minute call once every two weeks. We have no access to a religious chaplain, and we are housed 23 or 24 hours daily in a cell. Property officers are sending our books and packages back. And they blame it on COVID-19. Correctional staff are the ones bringing in COVID-19 to prisoners. 

Also, they aren’t cleaning the building. In August 2020, there were 40 new cases of COVID-19. They only give inmates in Ad-Seg diluted disinfectant once a week, which doesn’t do the job. During this time of COVID-19, correctional staff and mental health staff also appear agitated and frustrated.

Inmates like me are unable to have our surgeries. Prison officials blame the problem on COVID-19. I have to have surgery on my hernia, I have to have an outside specialist check out problems with my hands and bladder, and I have to see a urologist. But I am unable to, due to COVID-19.

These are some of the issues surrounding us mental health prisoners in CMC Ad-Seg. Stay safe and healthy!

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.

Cedrick “CJ” Johnson is a writer incarcerated in California.