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The experiences here at Federal Detention Center (FDC), SeaTac, have been difficult for all of us. The institution is an administrative building, not a prison yard, so we don’t get to see the sun very often. We are let out for a few hours as part of our free time, but during the pandemic there have been more lockdowns. Whenever an inmate or staff member catches the virus, we are put under two full weeks of complete lockdown until the staff or inmate tests negative for the coronavirus. We have in the past been put in lockdown for over a month because we had new cases being confirmed every week.

It is difficult because, given the spike in cases, we rarely get a visit from our families. When we’re in lockdown, we only get to use the phone for ten minutes and sometimes not at all. Showers have also been limited to between five and ten minutes for each inmate in the unit.

We used to have classes every week, but now because of the virus, everything has been placed on hold. Some classes have started up again, but now they only happen two or three days a week instead of daily. We used to have access to a room where we could go and play board games, card games, and so forth, but now we only use them for classes! The number of activities have been cut significantly, so I resort to reading books.

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.

Jordan Colfax is a writer formerly incarcerated in Washington.