Photo by Zoran Borojevic on Unsplash

August 15: I can personally say that I have gained weight since the denial of consistent outside yard and exercise. I’m feeling more sluggish and unmotivated. I’m limited to the amount of exercise I do in my cell because I have a cellmate that has his own life. It’s considered disrespectful to interrupt a cellmate when he is sleeping or relaxing by starting a workout. This is a standard consideration and an unwritten rule in prison. Most of anyone locked up across the country will tell you the same thing. I work in the call center from 7:20 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. each day, excluding weekends, so I’m even more limited at finding an opportunity to work out in the cell. My last thought is that only officers could have brought COVID-19 into this prison because visiting was shut down well before the first COVID case was discovered. Prisoners are looked down on, like we are the people getting everyone sick.


August 31: COVID-19 has continued to move through Snake River Corrections and prisoners are choosing to keep their symptoms quiet during morning health checks by the medical staff. Non-Tylenol is used to keep temperatures undiscoverable. Random lockdowns are happening through the prison. Movement is restricted, including less dayroom time and outside access, although when it’s meal time more than one unit is called, creating long lines that allow random units to intermingle. This is also the case with medication lines. Intermingling takes place through jobs like those at the production kitchen, where officers’ food is served, and the physical plant, where prisoners from different units gather and move through the prison. Laundry workers from mixed units are working, too. Only a certain few workers are not able to attend work. Outside yard is planned for every other day. The average time is now around 45-60 minutes. 


September 2: As of August 31, 2020, 281 prisoners and 102 officers at SRCI have tested positive for COVID. A notice was posted in each housing unit that states 10-minute showers and a maximum of 20-minute phone calls will be provided to prisoners, due to COVID-19 . In addition to this, I can personally say that no outside access or exercise is offered to the prisoners on COVID lockdown. Hot food is being delivered to their cells every meal.

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Edward Pergande

Edward Pergande is a writer incarcerated in Oregon with more than a decade left in his sentence. He works in the prison call center as a lead trainer for a marketing company. He would like his writing to bring to light the wrongs of the prison system.