Sunday, April 26, 2020


Dateline: Thursday, April 23, 2020--Tomoka C. I.--Daytona Beach, FL

I wanted to tell you about the other dorm, ''F-1," that was transferred Saturday. F-1 is a ''faith-based'' program dorm, the inmates signing up for a one-year program. I have much to say about the watered-down faith-based program, some other time. They get a lot of privileges other inmates/prisoners don't have. Some sincerely want to improve themselves, while others are schemers, looking for angles.

The theory behind the Saturday transfer order was that the only dorms without virus symptoms, K-2 and F-1, should be transferred to another prison, separated, so they wouldn't be exposed to infection. They would then keep all the symptomatic prisoners here, isolated. When Mr. Strauss' positive tests came back, that killed the transfer for K-2. We were all theoretically exposed--quarantine.

F-1 inmates had no choice. No positives. They took their meager pillow cases, crowded onto the prison bus, packed together like sardines, got shipped to Columbia C.I. No telling how long they will be gone. They've already filled their dorm with sick inmates.

When we evacuated Tomoka for the September, 2019, hurricane scare, to Columbia, we carried the same near-empty pillowcases, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, a change of clothes. Luckily, after two days we went to the canteen there and bought coffee, shower slides, soups, etc. We were gone for a week, but these men could be stranded for a month or more.

This morning, the same two nurses came around for our temperature checks, decked out in their ''PPE,'' face shields, etc.

I told the nurse taking my temperature, ''Thank you both for your dedication and professionalism. I appreciate you risking your own health to keep us safe, and my wife is grateful, too.''

The nurse lit up, smiling behind her mask. ''Why, thank YOU. You're very welcome. We don't get much thanks, but the opposite, people blame us for all this.''

"It's not your fault, you're just doing a difficult job.''

"I'm glad somebody appreciates that,'' she said, moving on to the next person, three feet away.

I'm glad I said that, a brief conversation that made the three of us feel better.

About the food--after all the complaints about the repeated servings of dry peanut butter sandwiches, the food has improved. We've been getting hot meals at supper, some sort of meat patty, rice, carrots, and corn bread. Tuesday breakfast consisted of coffee cake, oatmeal, and diced pineapple, while they served two turkey bologna and cheese sandwiches, a sandwich bag of lettuce, and a green orange for lunch. This morning we got a hot meal, a spoonful of scrambled eggs, grits, coffee cake, and a banana. Lunch consisted of two bologna and cheese sandwiches, sliced cucumbers, and an apple, a huge improvement over the dry peanut butter.

No one knows when this will end. Suspended family visits spread the suffering to our loved ones. We have plenty of soap for hand washing, wear our prison-made cloth masks, and clean frequently. We got to make a canteen run, five scans only, but still haven't gotten outside for recreation.

I will write more tomorrow. All the best, and take all precautions.


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