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Photo by Eddie Herena

I read the warden’s memorandum from July 29, 2020, and meditated on its content. It says, “There are some things that doctors and nurses can do to help you but they do not cure you. The body (your immune system) will have to do that.” 

Large numbers of prisoners have become severely ill and many have died because their bodies lacked the nutritious, healthy foods they needed to help strengthen their immune system and fight off COVID-19. 

From July 9 to July 27, 2020, when other agencies stepped in and helped the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) with providing food for inmates, my body felt and grew stronger every day. Then everything just went back to normal. Nothing but inadequately nutritious foods, namely snacks. Crackers, bologna, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not every inmate can afford to shop at the canteen, spending their money for the institution. 

In this COVID-19 crisis, if CDCR can’t provide quality food services to inmates, “trying to help save their lives,” they should step aside and let another agency handle it. 

Too many lives have been lost already. It should’ve been only none!

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.

Kunpan-Sansatan is the pen name of a writer incarcerated in California.