The omicron virus is running wild in Stateville and the I.D.O.C. has done little to protect people in custody of not getting the virus. The Stateville staff Christmas party was a super spreader event sending the prison into its second full quarantine. Everybody in the prison was tested but the results were hidden from the people who tested positive. However this week the staff went on the long galleries and told individuals that they tested positive for the virus two weeks ago, (This was done on Jan. 9, 2022) and were asked if they still had symptoms? If they answered no they were taken of the isolation list, however they were so called isolated with their cell mate who tested negative, this is a first hand account because it happen to the writer this article I was negative but my cellie was positive. This shows that the medical staff here knew people were positive but they left them in the cell with their cell mates and other people around them that were negative. Therefore exposing them with people who are positive. Not separating the people with the virus put everybody lives in jeopardy.
It is apparent that people in prisoners lives don't matter and that all the criminal justice reform talk was just political rhetoric. The Black Caucus passed a bill that didn't answer any of the real measures to reduce the civil rights issue of our time mass incarceration. All it dealt with was the usual low hanging fruit, non-violent offenders that have the highest rates of recidivism. There was no reform in the Safe- Acts bill passing for the people that have the lowest recidivism rates, the long term offenders that have outgrown their crime years. By the lack of precaution used during this highly infectious variant, can only make you imagine the outcome when a more lethal variant enters into the prison. It could lower the prison population by death. Most of us are growing old in prison and are leaving here in caskets from death by incarceration.
If the I.D.O.C., can't protect us from these variants it should sincerely consider letting some of us go, so we can protect ourselves. We need people to continue to build media outreach programs. So they can write letters to newspapers, magazines and get articles out there on positive stories of returning citizens who are successfully reintegrating, who are developing family lives, who are involved in doing service in their community, doing mentoring.
The only way for true criminal justice reform to work is if "you," get involved and bring others in. If not a lot of people with great human potential will die behind bars, because politicians keep getting into office with the same formula of "lock em up and throw away the key," rhetoric. Because good people like you stood by and did nothing.
Lonnie Smith B00708
Stateville Correctional Center
About the author: Lonnie Smith B00708, he's 56 years old and has been incarcerated for 33 long years and suffers from high blood pressure.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive