On Monday 24 August 2020, I’m posting the work of a new guest writer. He writes under the initials L.R., and is a retired Coloniel incarcerated in an Ohio correctional institution. He lives in the prison’s veterans housing unit where the other inmates are also vets. These housing units provide specialized needs unique to vets and play a significant role in their rehabilitation. His essay is titled “PTSD and Justice” and presents an argument toward an important veteran’s issue. I’m honored to publish his work.
At my institution the week brought a steady stream of EMS calls for inmates who are very sick due to COVID. Respiratory issues appear to be the main problems, and men have been sent out for emergency care.
Early in the week, on the third shift my unit received an officer who was working a double. We’ve been short staffed due to COVID, and I am beginning to see the emotional wear and tear on staff faces. The officer had worked the first 8 hours in MC Unit, one of the quarantine units for COVID positive inmates. He arrived in my unit still wearing his full blue protection suit. He then sits down at the desk, removes the garb, and goes about his shift. All of us in the unit are stunned. Some guys are mad, others vow to contact the warden, the press, the president — you name it. Me, I’m horrified. I spent the next 8 hours fleeing from the officer’s every movement.
There are so many positive cases here no one really knows for sure how many there are save for medical staff. Last count, somewhere north of 240. However, it’s likely we’ll be north of 500 in the next 10-14 days. Why? On Thursday, 4 men were uprooted from the COVID positive MC Unit, and distributed to two other COVID negative units: JC Unit and MB Unit. What the hell happened? Who ordered that? No one is saying, and the nursing staff were visibly angry and upset over the action.
As an inmate, what am I to think of this? There are rumors being circulated by staff that the powers that be want the virus to “run it’s course” so we can be done with it, rather than incur all the expense and trouble. We’re told that a close look was made at Marion Correctional and Pickaway Correctional, 2 institution where thousands of inmates fell positive earlier in the year. The conclusion was that the loss of life was acceptable, the majority of inmates came out of it fine, and it’s simply too expensive to enact the extraordinary measures needed to prevent the spread.
Note today’s date. Then 2 weeks from now read the consequences of what has transpired here this week.
*I usually issue a call to action, but the events unfolding here leave me at a loss for words. What can I possibly call anyone to do? What difference could it make? No one here appears to care, save for our wonderful nursing staff.