A. R., Imprisoned Citizen in Cotton Port, LA

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My name is [REDACTED] and I am serving time at Raymond Laborde or R.L.C.C in Cotton Port Louisiana. I have been at this facility since September 2017. I have tried to better myself since I arrived here by joining the traveling soccer team as well as the boxing team. I have attended a few faith base programs also some self-help classes. 

Since the global outbreak of covid-19 I have watched it closely from the prison TV they have for us here. I started to see how more cases and more deaths were at rise. Never did I imagine it would reach this facility and affect the staff security as well. 

I started to hear about the trustee’s unit having the first cases and my friend being the first of this facility to be affected. He was an orderly working for a doctor at this facility. They both contracted it as well as the head warden of the prison, my friend was able to recover from it, but it is unfortune the doctor and warden were not. Those two people were the first deaths from covid in this parish. At the beginning of March as many as a hundred offenders started to feel Ill and sick. Anyone who was to have a fever over the normal was taken out of their housing unit and placed in the prison gymnasium until he felt better. No one knows if these hundred offenders were covid carriers because no test were being done at the time. For my understanding from offenders that have contracted covid and recovered all said they were placed in a cell for quarantine and not allowed any phone call or the chance to let their families know what is going on. 

 

The facility has been on temporary lock down only allowing us small yard time. Programs, sports, education as well as visitation have all been on hold to minimize the spread of covid. The facility provided each offender with two masks to be used anytime we are to leave from our tiers to go outside or to the cafeteria. The security staff as well walks around with their personal masks to avoid them from spreading or catching it. From my understanding this facility is still reporting inmates with covid cases, and at this time the cell block is on quarantine because they have reports of offenders infected. 

Since the pandemic I have gained some weight and became lazy and stop doing my workouts. At first, I did not think and realize this would turn into a more serious matter. I started to wonder and get curious so I borrowed a book called the New World Order and looked for the chapter on “deadly viruses” and got a better understanding of how a virus can be spread and be deadly. At this time, we have not been able to have physical contact with family only thru the jpay video visitation system they have updated and provided for us. We have seen how the network is not great because the video freezes or voice will delay, so many of us rather not even bother to get video visits. We are also receiving 2 free 15 min phone calls every Friday and 2 jpay stamps every Tuesday. Many of us are stressed out because some of us have lawyers and appeals in the courts that all must be on hold until it is safe to continue the court process. If this virus is still alive and deaths at rise, this facility will remain on lockdown and only the strong will survive. 

[Submitted 8/21/2020]

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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