Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Friday, May 15, 2020, 11:15 a.m. Tomoka C.I., Daytona Beach, FL

News....Libby heard the Governor speak on the radio. He said 893 Florida prisoners had tested positive for COVID-19 virus, 9 prisoners from 70 to 84 years old had died. 120 staff tested positive. He said all those tested positive had been moved and isolated. The newspaper cited slightly different numbers.

The question the men in quarantine ask is, how many prisoners statewide have been tested? In dorm K-2, they selected twelve men only out of 70, including me, to be tested. Five out of twelve tested positive, 42%. A nurse told me, over a week ago, when asked, that they weren't testing anyone else. They aren't talking openly now like they were two weeks ago.

Saturday afternoon. 4:36 p.m. They've had a hard time ''counting'' this week. They have official ''count times'' every few hours, day and night, nobody left, no one is missing, everyone sits patiently on their bunks, while the guards come through and count, count, and recount. Friday afternoon they announced ''recall'' (go to your bunks and get ready for count) around 3:30 p.m., and finally ''cleared'' count at 6:35 p.m. Ridiculous. Those long recounts screw up the institutional schedules for all activities, including ''chow times,'' telephone hours, the Jpay kiosk--previously-scheduled video visits--showers, TV news broadcasts, and more.

Many prisoners--particularly the older, wiser ones, are glued to the local news broadcasts and the national network news programs. This coronavirus pandemic, with its constant numbers updates, has created news junkies in the prisons. When the recounts impinge on the news times, commonly paranoid old men think the prison is doing it on purpose, to keep them from watching the broadcasts. It's not intentional--they just can't count.

It is 4:46 p.m., and they just cleared count, not bad, considering it took three hours yesterday. I have a five o'clock phone call scheduled with my cousin Linda in Texas at five.

At another prison, years ago, whoever the officer was who messed up the count was taxed ten dollars, placed in the Employees' Club fund. One officer told me he had to pay ten bucks one time, and never messed up count again. Counts there rarely took longer than15 minutes. Perhaps they should try that here. No, that wouldn't work. Too many might have to file bankruptcy.

They're calling evening ''chow''--two turkey bologna sandwiches, some sliced raw carrots, and a small green apple. I have a bag of Doritos to spice up the meal. Back later.


No comments: