*Letters from Christopher will now be sharing a new piece of inmate art or craftwork in each week’s Video Fridays segment. Each piece will be added to an upcoming gallery where they can be viewed as a collection.
Here in Ohio, the coronavirus is being taken very, very seriously. The governor has declared a state of emergency and is moving swifty, limiting mass gatherings, and forcing cancellations of public events. He has mobilized every resource and is drawing upon federal assistance. I think he is one of the few politicians in the country that understand the gravity of the situation.
The governor ordered the department of corrections to formulate concrete plans in preventing coronavirus spread within the prisons and how to handle cases when they appear. In my 25 years of incarceration, I have never seen the mobilization and the type of serious effort that the department has embarked upon.
I, and thousands of other inmates, are concerned about coronavirus as all of us live in a forced community setting. The director, Ms. Annette Chambers-Smith, has shown decisive leadership during this crisis, and many of us are thankful for it. She has been in mass email contact with all of us, communicating important points to prevent coronavirus spread, and providing us with important information about the virus so we will understand. I’m seeing even the most thick headed guys start to come around.
Here at the local level, per the director’s orders, all visits have been cancelled until further notice, and all outside non-staff have been banned from entering Ohio facilities. These are dramatic steps for inmates, but ones that all of us fully appreciate. Medical co-pay fees are waived for anyone who seeks medical attention for flu-like symptoms. It’s an excellent move. It encourages inmates who have no money, and who would have otherwise avoided seeking medical help because of the co-pay, to obtain medical care.
As an inmate in Ohio, any worry I had about how we’d be treated during this crisis has been put to rest. So many other states seem to be handling their prisoners with less empathy and compassion. As it currently stands, Ohio corrections appears on top of things.
Coronavirus is spreading across the United States, and we are just now seeing the tip of the iceberg. People are hoarding supplies, and a general sense of panic is setting in for some Americans. For those of you who have been following these posts all along, stay ahead of the panicked crowds. Think weeks ahead of others, not just for what you will need, but what possible unexpected events could occur due to disruptions to public services or imposed quarantines or exclusion zones. Develop back up plans of action, and be ready because all of this is coming. You need only see what is happening around the world to understand.
*By all means, be safe. Spread the word.