Saturday, June 27, 2020


(Posting was delayed a week due to upset conditions in the system)

Friday, June 19, 2020, 8:45 p.m., Tomoka C.I., Daytona Beach, FL.

A huge black thundercloud moved west from the Atlantic Ocean onto land an hour ago, bringing torrential rain and lightning to Daytona Beach. It's still raining cats and dogs, as they say. A powerful lightning bolt struck nearby and knocked out the Jpay WiFi. You should have seen these tough guys yelling and freaking out when the bright flash lit up the sky. No telling how long it will be out: an hour, a day, a week. I can write and save documents, but no sending messages until Jpay repairs or resets the system.

At 5:30 a.m. this morning, they called breakfast while it was still dark, providing me with a rare sky event as we lined up outside waiting our turn in the queue. Low to the east, brilliant Venus lingered near the crescent moon, provoking multiple arguments as to what it was, a planet, a star, or the International Space Station. I stayed out of it. After scarfing down scrambled eggs, grits, potatoes, and two small tortillas, what they label breakfast burritos, we marched single file back to K-dorm. The crescent moon and Venus were gone, replaced by two mockingbirds on top of light poles entertaining us with their trilling repertoires.

During our weekly inspection Thursday afternoon, I asked another administrator what was the status of our family visits, the same person who'd been optimistic when I asked the same question a week or so before. He wasn't so optimistic this time.

He told me, ''You remember how it was here for weeks, when everything was locked down? That's how it is right now at around six other institutions, and I doubt there'll be any visitation until those places are under control. We can't risk any reinfections right now.''

What that has to do with us, I don't know.

In other local news, two prison buses brought back the F-1 Dorm inmates from Columbia C. I. this week, minus one. Supposedly, a Tomoka inmate committed suicide while in a ''psych cell'' at Columbia, hanging himself with his facemask strings. Of course I'm skeptical. No verification yet of the details.

On the local radio, a Florida Dept. of Corrections (FDC) spokesperson said that 1,645 inmates and 320 staff had tested positive for the COVID--19 virus statewide. Locally, 138 inmates and 23 staff tested positive for the virus at Tomoka C. I.. The women's prison at Homestead logged in the most, with 302 inmates testing positive. No one doubts that if every inmate were tested, the numbers would be in the thousands.

I asked an official, several weeks ago, about the COVID--19 antibody test. The local Department of Health announced they were giving free antibody tests in Volusia County. Tomoka C. I. is in Volusia County. I asked, ''Since they're offering free tests, would you call them about coming out here and giving us antibody tests? I would like to volunteer.''

He looked at me like I was crazy as he formulated a response. ''They won't come inside the prison,'' he said, walking away.

I wondered about that, since I'd heard that the local Dept. of Health Director, on a recent tour of the prison, saw the prison-made blue facemasks being worn by many prisoners, and commented, ''Those things are useless.'' Too bad we couldn't talk to him.

Still no educational, vocational, or wellness programs back in session. The Chapel has been closed for a couple months, and will remain closed until September, they say. So much for freedom of religion.

On a positive personal note, my mother, Lucille Norman, came home from the rehab center this week. She is very happy to be home. My sister-in-law, Diane Norman, my late brother Tom's widow, is staying with her, tending to her for now.

As for myself, nurses administered an EKG last week. I'm still waiting to see Dr.Westfall for the results.


Montgomery, Alabama--- The state prison system said that a fourth inmate has died after testing positive for COVID--19 as the numbers of cases among inmates and staff continues to rise.

Frankfort, Kentucky---Mass testing for the coronavirus is underway at a women's prison after at least14 people contracted it, Gov. Andy Beshear's administration said Monday. The state is trying to avoid a repeat of the major COVID--19 outbreak this spring in western Kentucky where the virus cases numbered in the hundreds.

Omaha, Nebraska---Another employee in the state's prison system has tested positive for COVID--19, and health officials say a second child in the Omaha area has been diagnosed with a rare and serious inflammatory condition that's linked to the new coronavirus.

Portland, Oregon---Gov. Kate Brown has asked for a list of names by June 22 of inmates eligible for possible release to limit the spread of COVID--19 in the state prison system.

Olympia, Washington---A prison is restricting movement in its medium-security unit after more than 100 officers and inmates tested positive for COVID--19. More than 1,800 of the 2,248 inmates at Coyote Ride Corrections Center are in quarantine because of potential exposure to the coronavirus, the state Dept. of Correction said.

Be safe.

No comments: