Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is exposing all inmates, by conducting mass moves that have the girls at Christina Melton Crain Unit (Crain) packing up and moving units two to three times in one day. They said it was because one of the units, Terrace Unit, is closing down. But the more people they move out of that unit, the more they move back into it, moving 200 to 300 women in one day, most having moved here, there, and back. 

The dorm of “COVID-positive” women also goes to the same chow hall, or dining hall, as us. It feels like they are purposely exposing all of us to COVID-19.

There are COVID-positive dorms on every unit, and they don’t have enough staff to supervise us. In my opinion, they are having to shuffle us because they don’t know what else to do. We’ve lost all of our cooks, and the food is burnt or still raw, making people sick. We’re being forced to live off of the commissary, or what little is left of the supplies. We’re getting no more trucks.   

Maintenance is not fixing anything in our dorm. We’re down to two-and-a-half toilettes, including one that barely flushes. We are down to four showers, but the one drain for all four backs up to where we stand ankle-deep in everyone else’s dirty water. 

God Help Us!

UPDATE

On Dec. 2, 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed up at our unit, and the same warden that initiated all the moves of inmates from unit to unit within our prison retired on the very same day. I believe she was given an ultimatum. 

I think a lawyer might be interested in the fact that all of the Crain units were exposed (to COVID-19) and that, then, the CDC came and just shut it all down. 

Inmates here are in an uproar due to the exposure. Due to the moves, the facility did not order enough food and our meals fall tremendously short in terms of calories. The commissary has not ordered supplies either. 

Many want to talk. We want a lawyer, and the law library won’t give us information. 

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Kelli Wilkerson

Kelli Wilkerson is a writer incarcerated in Texas.