On Monday, March 15, the classrooms at the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) Eyman Complex at Cook Unit in Florence, Arizona, resumed teaching sessions after a brief closure.
There is no doubt that the global pandemic has changed every aspect of what was considered “normal” life. Zoom calls and phrases like “masking up” and “social distancing” have become common. At the grocery store, toilet paper and bleach were as scarce as clean water in a third-world country at one point. Life within the walls of Cook Unit has been bad, if not worse, than being on the outside.
We all wear masks, to some extent, as a way to hide our insecurities. The goal is to appear as perfect as possible to gain one of the most important of human achievements: acceptance. Acceptance from our parents, acceptance from our peers, from those we desire. Without acceptance, you feel alone without value and constantly in pain.
An art and essay collaboration between Chastyn “Nova” Hicks and Sharon Adarlo, Prison Journalism Project’s artist-in-residence.
There is a sense that the department of corrections does not believe that inmates deserve that money.
Lunch has arrived, however, not in the normal brown trays that keep our food nice and warm, but on styrofoam trays. Among this society of Arizona inmates, we know that when food arrives on styrofoam trays, something is up.