I have been remiss on the issue of Covid in prisons

Can I blame this on the presence of Covid in the world in general? In my life? In the lives of my loved ones? Or is it because my focus has shifted to creative writing on subjects not related to prisons? I am not sure.

Because the volunteer work I was doing behind prison walls stopped (due to Covid), I suppose I have thought less about this issue. Also, frankly I at times easily delude myself and imagine that people (wardens, state, county and city officials) are doing the right thing.

Well, I can’t give myself any comfort.

This pandemic, climate change, health issues, other creative endeavors all have distracted me and, well, I just wanted to believe things weren’t awful. (“I want to believe.”) After all, haven’t we seen some prison systems doing early releases? Didn’t the jail in Albuquerque report on excellent safety measures to give a sense that it was properly handling this virus? Aren’t the judges being more lenient and granting bail options so that jails and prisons aren’t overcrowded?

Here’s what I learned once I started paying attention again.

According to the UCLA Law Covid Behind Bars Data Project, as of September 2021, there have been 199.6 Covid deaths per 100,000 people in prisons and jails — compared to 80.9 per 100,000 in the total general population in the US.

In short: more than twice as much Covid has killed in prisons and jails compared to outside the walls.

There have been protests in some jails and prisons on this issue – per Time Magazine these protests have been in the Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana, the St. Louis City Justice Center and in the Santa Clara County (California) jails, to name a few. How many protests do not make the news?

As a former active war protestor, I know how many protests did not make the news. So I doubt the general public (or me) know the extent of this.

I question myself – is there a reason why I have drawn in and tried to just focus on myself, my family, our health? When we all come out of the pandemic, will we be more callous?

2 thoughts on “I have been remiss on the issue of Covid in prisons

  1. Dear Lindsay,

    I am glad to see you writing on such an important topic and honor your commitment to finding truth and justice. Each step forward prepares the conditions that lead to peace. Your work with MATCH New Mexico remains with me, and I remain thankful for your dedication and contributions to the mentoring program.

    MATCH is alive and well under the leadership of Sharon Sessions, Ph.D. at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. The program based in Santa Fe has a new name, Mentoring Kids Works New Mexico, though I do not have any connection with them since January 2019.

    And so good person, I wish you good health, conscious intention in positive and compassionate work, and the ability to enjoy your creativity and spirit.

    I live in California now, close to family and three generations of lovely ladies with my wife Babara, her daughter Elethea, and our approaching seven-year-old granddaughter.

    I am writing, studying Torah, staying out of the way of any virus particles, and feeling gratitude for the life that has been given.

    Perhaps I can reflect my current thoughts with comments I made about a novel I am writing this way:

    Attempting to understand if righteous people can shape peace, there are issues of choosing life and the good, in contrast to the evil and deterioration, on our fragile planet. And my context is the distressing global degradation in marine life, the race for control of undersea resources, and the potential for conflict under the South China Sea between the People’s Liberation Army Navy and the US Navy. I place some hope in a renewal of the United Nations with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and confront the nations seeking continuing control and corruption in self-focused and willful blindness to global challenges to life and peace.

    Military strategists plan for war while a farmer plants winter wheat and dreams of warm rains in the spring. Yet, without conscious intention, study, and application of our understanding to caring for the global family of humanity, all people will be like whales hit by ships that sink to the bottom of their ocean home.

    Dreaming of peace, is anyone planning what to do if there should be no more war? The world seems much smaller as we struggle for life, and we ready for battle to protect all our rights.

    The warm rains in spring missed the farmer this year.

    May this be a good year for you.

    Thank you.

    Respectfully,

    John Graham

    On Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 1:30 PM lindsaywaitewordpresscom wrote:

    > lindsayw739 posted: ” Can I blame this on the presence of Covid in the > world in general? In my life? In the lives of my loved ones? Or is it > because my focus has shifted to creative writing on subjects not related to > prisons? I am not sure. Because th” >

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    1. Hi John. It’s wonderful to hear from you. Settling in California to be closer to family, to reflect, to write an important and insightful book sounds just like you. (I would like to know when your book is published, by the way.) I started paying more attention to how we abuse our waters, too, after visiting Jacksonville, Florida a few years ago and seeing a display about all the plastic waste we humans are putting in our precious oceans. I also just recently listened to an NPR piece on the value of whales, and how we are continuing to reduce this population. And our destruction of coral reefs – I can’t even imagine the results of that disaster. I hope, like you, that we can move more towards peace and sustainability. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “he arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice, ” and I believe that is happening. I hope that includes a closer look by all of us on how our actions toward the environment need to bend toward reclamation. I see signs that a lot more people are paying attention to social justice and climate change, especially younger people. Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’m glad to hear MATCH is alive and well. I look forward to reading your book. Peace to you and your family, Lindsay

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