The country might be locked down, but struggles inside prisons and out continue to develop chaotically and unexpectedly intersect with the COVID-19 crisis. Prisoners in Stateville in Illinois report that they continue to suffer from a full lockdown, restricting their programming and access to phones. Yet, guards are patting them down without washing their hands between each person, making transmission likely, and prisoners are regularly crowded together in bullpens. The lockdown conditions allow for total repressive control but do nothing to stop the virus.
On the outside this week, Indianapolis cops killed a young black man named Sean Reed. Indianapolis residents organized a mass call-in to demand that the city not tear gas demonstrators during a respiratory disease epidemic. Blockades have continued for two days at the site of Reed’s murder.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, we have been sharing updates from prisoners and their supporters on how COVID-19 is impacting their time in prison. Mark “Mustafa” Hinkston called in to us from Toledo CI on May 5th. What follows is his statement, which was recorded through a mask. As of the 5th, he was on his 13th day of hunger strike.
We continue with a recording was sent into us by a listener, who shares a conversation with a prisoner in Rockville, a women’s prison here in Indiana. Afterwards, we share part of a video that was released by a prisoner in Ohio’s FCI Elkton, who begs for people to help those suffering inside. You can see that video here.
We end this week’s episode with a Mother’s Day poem that was recorded from Bertie Correctional in North Carolina by James S. Morgan, Jr.