Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Monday, June 1, 2020, 12:09 p.m. Tomoka C. I., Daytona Beach, FL

I haven't written any updates since I told you about the false D. R. on Wednesday. I've been busy, and so has Libby. I wrote and printed a ''Written Statement'' to submit at my hearing, listing all the actual facts and why the D. R. should be withdrawn. We've been in touch with my lawyer, and are hoping he will file a rebuttal to the warden before my hearing. I'm praying that we won't have to go any further. If by some chance I am retaliated against and go to solitary, I won't have access to my tablet or emails. Hopefully it won't come to that.

I talked to my mother on the phone over the weekend. They removed the pins in her hip, and the painful, but necessary rehab continues. She expects to go home in a week or so, depending on her insurance coverage. She hopes to get a hospital bed and walker for her home.

Heard from my first cousin, Sue, from North Carolina. Her eldest sister, Jane, had surgery to replace her pacemaker a few days ago, and Sue is staying with her at home in Georgia. Both Sue and Jane visited us here last year. Middle sister/cousin Betty was recovering from surgery at the time, and couldn't join us. She makes up for it with her inspirational emails and prayers. Reconnecting with such warm and loving relatives has been good for Libby and me. Please keep my mother and cousins in your thoughts and prayers.

So far it has been a quiet day in prison. They posted a schedule for each dorm to get outside for canteen and rec, either a morning or afternoon. Dorm K-1 went to the canteen Sunday morning, and is scheduled to go again Wednesday. One major problem--the canteens are restocked every Wednesday morning, and they remain closed. It seems that the schedule-maker delights in disappointment, knowing that anyone listed for Wednesday canteen effectively is denied access.

The pandemic economic collapse trickles down to the prison population, just as it has affected free society. Loved ones who have lost their jobs, haven't received stimulus checks, are facing home foreclosures and eviction, are standing in line at food banks with crying, hungry children, are ill-equipped to send money to their family members in prison. In this dorm, at least half the men have no money in their canteen accounts, with no prospects to get any.

We have two pay phones on a wall in this dorm, and at two feet apart, it's impossible not to overhear the person next to you. Yesterday morning, while dialing Libby's number, I was struck and saddened by what I heard. It went something like this:

''I hate to bring it up, but I never got that money order I asked about last month.''

"I understand. Do you think you could send something, anything, this month? I'm dead broke. I really need soap and deodorant, shampoo, lotion. You know. I got some soups on credit, need to pay back the guy. Please, it's bad, I need help.''

''I know. I appreciate it. I hate to ask you, but you're the only hope I have.''

''Okay. I understand, but if you could do anything...please. Okay, I'll call you next month. Take care. I love you. Bye.''

I felt bad for the guy, but what could I do? The need is too great. I am blessed that Libby looks out for me as best she can. I always buy extra coffee packs. and soups to share with a few needy friends, but no one can look out for 20 or 30 broke prisoners. Once some new guy I'd never seen before approached me wanting to borrow a quantity of food I did not have. He had that ''look''--a druggie--and I figured he actually wanted to buy drugs. When I told him no, he copped an attitude, accusing me of letting a hungry man starve.

I told him, ''I've been in prison a long time, and I've never heard of anyone starving to death in a Florida prison. You may not like it, but you eat three meals a day in the chowhall, you'll have a full belly.''

Conversation over.

Although I didn't know the man on the phone, later I offered him a soup and coffee. He took it. ''Thanks.''

Prison news from USA TODAY—

Washington, D. C.—The Supreme Court refused the Trump administration's request Tuesday to block a lower court order requiring stepped--up efforts against the spread of the coronavirus at a low-security federal prison in Ohio.

The high court's action represented its most significant intervention to date related to the deadly impact of COVID-19 inside federal prisons.

The low-security Elkton Federal C. I. in N.E. Ohio faces a potential large-scale transfer of elderly, medically vulnerable inmates to less dangerous types of custody, including home confinement, under a federal court order. As many as 837 inmates could be affected out of a total prison population of some 2,500.

Juneau, Alaska—Prosecutors have accused an Alaska man of violating a federal judge's order and breaking his quarantine after securing early release from prison amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Terre Haute, Indiana—Three inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, according to the federal government.

Helena, Montana—Montana reported two more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including an inmate at the Yellowstone County Jail in Billings. The inmate, who is in his 30's, tested positive on Tuesday, said RiverStone Health spokesperson Barbara Schneeman. He is being cared for at a Billings hospital.

Omaha, Nebraska—Nebraska's prisons, jails and detention centers continue to see staff infected with the new coronavirus, as the state's death toll and positive COVID-19 cases climbed Tuesday.

Montpelier, Vermont—The Vermont Department of Corrections said Thursday it has completed testing of inmates and staff at the Rutland prison for the virus that causes COVID-19 and no cases were detected.

Be safe.

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