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.
Hundreds of inmates here are on quarantine, and nearly 225* have tested positive. There are so many positive cases that the entire gym has been cleared and refitted with beds to house them. To make things worse, no one is telling us anything. So we are all left to wonder and worry. The lack of communication is causing unnecessary suspicion and distrust amongst the guys here, and I’m baffled at it all. If someone would appraise all of us I think there would be understanding and collective action. There’s no containment of the virus, and some of the symptomatic cases have become life threateningly ill. By this time next week we will likely have lost lives here.
Well, it looks as if our beautiful island isn’t going to dodge the Coronavirus Death March after all. For the past several months I’ve blogged about how my Ohio facility has remained an odd oasis in a sea of pandemic. I’ve watched the world outside slowly contort and twist upon itself as the virus has slayed its way across the planet. All of us here have watched apprehensively as several Ohio prisons exploded into worse case scenarios.
This week our COVID-19 lockdown ended and we’ve returned to semi-normal operations here. Many of the departments that were closed have reopened, and guys are happy to get moving again. Of course, nothing is really back to “normal” in the sense that we remember. The ‘new normal’ (as clichéd as that phrase has become) is a world where we’re still restricted in some of our movements, and everyone still wears masks. Don’t get me wrong, I really AM thankful. After the last 8 weeks, our new normal is awesome.
When I was growing up I couldn’t remember much in school. It seemed no matter how hard I studied, I’d retain a fraction of what I learned. I suppose it will come as no surprise to hear that I dreaded tests.