Covid behind bars in kentucky

We’ve been collecting Covid-19 surveys from prisoners in Kentucky for the last 10 months in the hopes that we could get a bird’s eye view of what’s really happening and how it lines up (or doesn’t) with the Department of Corrections’ narrative. That data from nearly 100 returned surveys, and more coming in still, is being analyzed now and we’ll make it available once that’s finished. But for now I’d like to share what else we gained through this research. Dozens of new comrades, a sense of resilience, and shared grief that at times was overwhelming and at other times a sign that at least none of us are alone, inside the prisons or out. This pandemic is not over and likely won’t be for quite some time, and we’ve already lost too many incarcerated people this last 18 months and have hundreds more with lasting effects from surviving the virus. With these new connections and ability to get the truth about prison conditions out to the public, we hope to prevent more loss and keep people safer as we work towards the end of Covid and someday the end of prisons.

The story below is from my new friend, Patrick. A talented tattoo artist who made my day by doodling up the outside of his last letter to me as much as they would let him. While his story is about one prison in Kentucky, we’ve heard from enough people to know the conditions he writes about are all problem all over the state.

Write to him at:

Patrick Jones #281515, E.K.C.C., 200 Road to Justice, West Liberty, Ky 41472

Images of 5-page letter that reads “Story #1. August 25th. Hello, My name is Patrick Jones and I am writing this letter to expose Kentucky State Prisons of their misconduct and neglect, especially during Covid-19 pandemic. Many inmates have passed away from covid-19 and also medical related issues…Ages ranging from 21-60 years old. The conditions that we are living in aren’t poor, but grotesque, vicious, dirty, and unbelievable, and absolutely, undeniably unacceptable. I, myself, have had covid-19 twice already and got very very ill to the point of being hospitalized. Almost! But my body was resilient and recovered, but it took a toll on me mentally because I feel trapped, helpless, alone, and I can’t do nothing, so this is why I’m writing this letter hoping to reach to others in the unknown and try to do anything I can do to be an advocate for people in here that won’t take the time to write because it amounts to nothing and all faith is lost in the system, and the disabled older people who can’t write themselves. The staff at the prison I’m at (Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex) do not wear masks or gloves most of the time, almost never. They prepare our food using infected inmates. They do not have N95 masks for us but thin cotton masks that we have to hand wash and is just plain dirty because our soaps are NOT antibacterial and we just make ourselves more covid-prone. With this new Delta Variant strand of Covid we are very cautious ourselves and try our best to distance ourselves but it’s impossible. We are at max capacity all the time. The staff here also verbally abuse us- racism in all cultures and religious sects! They assault us and treat us as if we have a flesh-eating disease. We are humans- Americans, who most of us just had drug problems or financial problems or thefts. I’m not a piece of shit, I’m an American and have always pledged an allegiance to our country, and I just made some non-violent mistakes and will get out as soon as next year. That is, if God helps me through here. We here are being sooooo mistreated and abused, especially medically. It’s crazy! The medical staff here (nurses so they say) have no prior training or credentials to even pass medications. No degrees at all. Med techs can’t even start IVs and most all of them have no knowledge about any medications that are prescribed. W.T.F. Really. My God! Get the professionals in here, we need help in here A.S.A.P. There is a pandemic going on! This is real. Problem list: racism, antisemetic/religious problems, housing accommodations, laundry services, food prep and serving amounts, horrible overworked staff, allergen problems, staff abuse, sanitation not provided/ no effective products, no alcohol or bleach to sanitize. Poor, poor supervising by staff of inmates in segregation unit. There are rampant unhealthy, extremely poor conditions, and the list goes on. Anyway, I will continue to be an advocate for us human beings who have a life and breathe the same air as everyone else! My info and address are below and would love some more resources, inputs, ideas, information, and anything else that could be useful during these really hard times. Contact me with feedback or if you want to know more, Address: Patrick Jones #281515, E.K.C.C., 200 Road to Justice, West Liberty, Ky 41472. P.S. I will respond to any and all letters and thank you for your time! God bless. P.S.S. Be safe, help save lives!