Another wet and humid day...I went outside earlier and thought,
“Man, it's crazy to be outside in shorts and a tank top in the middle of January!”
Yesterday I was moved to another cell and that was an adventure in itself...They told me I was moving and when I asked where to, the guard said,
“I don't know...Off the pod somewhere.”
I packed everything up and waited and waited until he came back and said,
“Man, I'm sorry...They said you're not moving until the morning.”
I had to unpack my hygiene stuff and bed sheets, and keep everything else packed for the morning time. I crashed out and got up the next morning a little after 5am. When 1st shift came on I asked about moving and the guard said he didn't know anything about it. I asked if he'd find out and he said he would. But I waited all day long until the afternoon just to find out that I was only moving to the next section over – something that could've been done in five minutes the night before! I was tired and frustrated, but quickly moved and scrubbed the cell down because it was quite filthy. My friend David used to say,
“I think they move you to these cells so that you can do all the cleaning.”
I think he's right!
My only complaint is that I'm wedged between two guys that stay up all night long and make a ton of noise. I didn't sleep well at all and just made a comment to one of them,
“I guess I have to change my sleep schedule around y'all...”
So, recently I've been thinking a lot about something...Since my stay in October (which I am continually grateful for) something has been bothering me. It's one of the reasons why I wrote a Statement recently for my website concerning the facts of my case, and the Law of Parties not being the primary focus at this stage.
I feel uncomfortable with my case being co-opted as part of any other agenda, and it makes me feel kind of used. I had this conversation recently with another guy back here who also received a stay last year, and he says it's happened to him as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with fighting for people with everything you have; but when I'm told my image is appearing in a poster, or my name or my writings are being used or whatever, it doesn't sit well with me because the danger is that these things could end up alongside facts or images that aren't strictly correct. Right now, my case is at a very important stage, and all I want is to just wait.
I was discussing with a friend recently about NO two cases ever being the same, and even in Law Of Parties cases, they are all different. My case right now is very different even from my co-defendants. It's also very important to know and to be able to distinguish between the two Texas Criminal Codes used in each indictment – they are VERY different! One of the codes says you are equally as guilty just for being there, and the other says you were directly involved in the capacity of 'party to the crime'. [Note from the Webmaster: Please go to our 'Law Of Parties' section where you will find the Texas Penal Code which will help you to distinguish between the two codes. Thank you]
There are different aspects, angles, and nuances in every case; and even if two cases seem identical, they could be ruled on very differently. My case as it stands now, is focused on a biased judge who harbored anti-Semitic resentment towards me, because I am Jewish, and therefore denied me the right to a fair and unbiased trial.
So, to put my image with something that doesn't match what my case is about, makes me uncomfortable. That being said, Catherine and I don't like pointing things out to anyone, but the need to ensure that my case (and this is the same for everyone back here) is not misrepresented, is of paramount importance.
I understand and respect those who fight for someone on death row, and I've always felt it important that each friend, pen pal, or advocate, actually know the case they are speaking out about. It's very important to research and review as much as possible, including recent filings. That way, when you post something about a person being wronged by the court, or wrongfully convicted, or innocent, and you are asked,
“Explain their case to me...Why should I support this person?”
You can speak with confidence.
A blanket statement along the lines of,
“Well I don't believe in the death penalty...We fight for all the same,” isn't going to convince a person to support you in your efforts, especially if they want to hear a compelling argument. In an ideal world we would only ever have to say,
“We fight for everyone the same,” but we're not in an ideal world or situation here...
Anyone who's been reading my journals over the years will know how strongly I feel about not wishing anyone to blindly support me. I've never wanted anyone to come to my aid purely on the basis of me saying I'm 'innocent' or 'not a killer'. The people I have in my life all know this and have done their research thoroughly. Catherine has done a wonderful job in outlining and presenting my case on my website; she knows my case inside out, and speaks regularly to my attorneys. I know that everything she posts will be accurate, and done correctly, and those who help her will follow her lead.
I'm good friends with many guys back here, and I want everyone to live...I understand the desire to be supported and to have outside support, but it's also important to have that trust and to not just take our word for it. Do the research...Believe me, the haters and people who want to see us all executed will try to counter whatever you post, and it doesn't help someone's case if you scream,
And then it comes to light that there's a confession, or a weapon with a fingerprint, or whatever the case may be.
Please...do your homework. Your homework is your armor against even the strongest of voices who challenge you. My friends have done their homework, and I trust them with my life. They are my advocates, and I couldn't be more grateful to them.
There will always be those who have their own agenda...Those who don't agree with the tactics or acknowledge the aspects and nuances of my case, and even some who feel my case should be fought exactly the same way as someone else's. But my attorneys know best, and they are fighting for my life on the basis of the issues that could actually save me - that's what matters.
I also understand it may upset some people who feel my loved ones should fight for me in a different way, or with a different agenda, and it's not my wish to upset or offend anyone. What I will say is that each death row inmate is an individual, and their loved ones, families, and friends, should be respected when they are doing things the way they've been directed by their attorneys.
As I said, in a perfect world things would be different. Everyone could fight for everyone in exactly the same way, and with the same amount of time and energy. Sadly, this world is far from perfect and a winning issue for one person, is not going to be a winning issue for all. As sad as that is, there is still always something to fight with for everyone. This is what could make a real difference to someone's case. Educating and informing ourselves are the best tools we have in this fight.
Anyway, that's what's been on my mind lately...
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
January 20th, 2020
Martin Luther King Day...We had a very good breakfast (cinnamon rolls) and fried chicken for lunch. The lunch came right on time because I went outside today, and whilst the first part of the morning was freezing, as the sun rose higher in the sky, it warmed up and so we played some basketball – I won 12-3! It was a nice run and good exercise which I really needed.
So, over the weekend I did my best to keep busy, but my neighbour is getting on my last nerve...He's really loud and annoying, and stays up all night. He also has this weird thing where he is always yelling out everything that happens, much like a sports commentator. No one is paying any attention to him and we can't understand everything he says because he doesn't have any teeth. Every so often you'll hear someone down the walkway yell out,
“Put your damn teeth in your mouth! We can't understand a single word you're saying!”
He's not a bad dude, just really annoying, and I value the sleep I can get in this place.
I've been thinking about the relationship I'm in and we've just celebrated two years together recently, yet it still feels as fresh and exciting as it did when we first set out on our journey together. We write to each other every single day, and we always have lots to talk about.
I've been in relationships before and I've loved before, but this is completely different...I think it's because we are rooted in a strong and mutual respect for one another's creative talent and intelligence, her strong sense of family and friendships, and good 'old fashioned' values like manners and respect. We are both very emotionally expressive and into the romantic stuff, but more than anything, we're close friends who tease one another, laugh together, and exchange and develop creative ideas. I know that no matter what, we will always remain close and that gives me a certain freedom in my love for her. We're not clingy, and we both express ourselves independently and have a genuine love.
But what I've been thinking about today is that relationships with death row inmates are not always taken seriously, and there will always be those who want to criticise and offer their opinion. We are all different back here, and however anyone 'does' their relationship is not mine or anyone else's concern, and all relationships should be respected. Criticism doesn't matter to me because Taffy is awesome! She looks out for my best interests and I look out for hers, and we are loyal to one another. I often tell her to ignore a lot of silly stuff that goes on, take time out, breathe, and take care of herself over anything else.
I guess I can sum it all up as being amazed by 'Us', and after many toxic and failed relationships, I wondered if I'd ever find the 'right' person...I looked and looked and sadly, in looking, I broke some hearts because even when I was content with something, I wasn't happy...I felt empty...I felt awful for hurting people and it was never done with any intention of deceit or gain, but I just didn't know what I wanted at the time. Then, it hit me and I knew it immediately. I was a little overwhelmed by all of it, as she was, but we were both smitten. I just knew immediately that this is what I wanted, and I still want it just as much today as I did two years ago, and I'm still smitten! I often tease her and call her a voodoo priestess for casting spells on me, and she calls me a cheeky wizard (ha ha).
So, going into the next year with her, I'm just so grateful to have her friendship, love, support, and encouragement...To just have 'her'.
Here's to a great week!
Courage. Strength, Hope and Faith.
January 21st, 2020
My section has a recreation 'off day' today, so I slept in until 7am, then got up and started my day. We had really lazy guards so I expected it to be a long one...
I did some laundry, cleaned my cell, and around 11am two guards showed up to tell me I had a legal visit. It was a bit of a surprise, but I've been anxious for news/updates...I was told that they filed a response to the Supreme Court on a related issue – one which won't have much of an effect on the trial court issues, should the Supreme Court deny it. Then I was told about some other shady stuff that was going on, but my attorneys are not concerned because the facts are on my side.
We both feel confident, and there is still some way to go before things even begin to start moving and shaking...I left the visit feeling very positive.
As I was waiting to return to my cell, I had a chat with another guy I was on death watch with, Abel Ochoa. He has a date in 16 days times, but is at peace and still has hope. I told him that anything can happen and to hang onto that hope. I've known Abel since 2003 when he was on the same floor as me during my trial in Dallas County, and he's a good man. I hope and pray that things work out for him, and he is spared.
I waited for over an hour and a half to get back to my cell, and it was freezing when I returned! The air/heat has been acting up lately, but it's strange that it's been out in the day time, but comes back on at night.
Apart from that, there's nothing else to report today...
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
February 6th, 2020
My day started off with going outside for recreation. It was super cold but the fresh air and cold breeze was invigorating, and I needed it. I'd not been to recreation since last Friday (my choice) so I chose to just get away from some people and the negativity that has taken over on the section where I live.
I knew I was going to have a legal visit today and I hoped that I was going to get a shower, but I ended up leaving before I could get the shower! It was a very good legal visit though, and I enjoyed the time I spent with the two people who visited from my team. I feel that sometimes I can't properly express how fortunate and grateful I am for the people I have fighting so hard for me...
When I was out at visitation, Abel Ochoa was having his 'last visits' before his execution. At about noon they took him out and I had a chance to say 'goodbye' to him (although, at the time of writing this I'm still praying he will get a stay!). I've known Abel since 2003 when he and I were awaiting our respective trials. We lived on the same floor of Dallas County Jail, but because of the high security that surrounded my case, I was secluded and partitions were placed around my cell so I could not see anything outside of the cell. I could only hear peoples' voices. I began talking to a guy with a heavy Texan accent and he referred to himself as “Woody,” and I just assumed he was a white guy. He was really nice and had a laugh that was so contagious, and he always tried to lift everyone's spirits, and often quoted the bible.
As my trial date drew nearer, I had a series of pre-trial hearings. The guards would surround me, shackle me up, and escort me to court. One afternoon I was leaving court and passed a holding cell. There was a Latino man in an orange jump suit and he hit the glass giving me a 'thumbs up' and a huge smile. I thought to myself,
“Who is this guy?”
He yelled to me through the glass,
I was confused...Woody was white, I thought.
I was escorted back to my cell, and soon he got back to his cell, and yelled over to me,
“That was me, Randy!”
“You're Mexican? You sound like a redneck!” I hollered back...And we both laughed and made small talk.
We were both sent to death row relatively closely, and Abel has been the same person he's always been. He often teased me over the years because there was a female Latino guard who often flirted with me as I waited for my trial. Abel would say,
“How's Juanita?” and laugh!
He has always tried to lift the spirits of the death row guys, and I don't know a single person back here who didn't have an affection for Abel. When we were both on death watch together, he'd often say,
“It's not over! Don't lose hope!”
He told me the same thing on the day I received my stay...
“Never lose hope.”
It's 2pm as I write this and I'm still holding onto hope for Abel...I don't want to write a bad ending to this journal...I really don't. I don't want to miss him, I want him still here...The world will be a better place with his presence!
It's much later now and there was some confusion about Abel's case on the Execution Watch program...They announced he received a stay...Then, suddenly, they said he hadn't received a stay.
Abel is being executed as I write this...The world has lost a bright soul. Judge him, condemn him, but the fact remains that for over 16 years I knew him to be one of the kindest people here on this earth. He walked and breathed in his faith...He loved his faith.
Rest in peace, friend...I will miss you.
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
Dedicated to Abel Ochoa, and all who knew and loved him.
February 13th, 2020
It's been a weird few days after Abel's execution; the wind seems to have been knocked out of many people back here. The 'Execution Watch' program on KPFT initially announced that he had received a stay...But they had misinterpreted a court opinion, and a loud cheer erupted across B-Pod when the announcement was made. Then, after talking to people in Huntsville who were holding a vigil/protest, we knew that the execution was moving forward. There was much confusion, and then we heard an official say,
“Yes, he is being executed, and his appeals have been denied.”
For the next few days there was an unusual silence on the Pod, but on Monday the silence was broken by madness, chaos, arguing, and negativity. I had another legal visit on Monday, so fortunately I was away from most of it. I feel that much of the negativity and arguing is due to the stress we all feel back here with the new mail room and other policies. People who have had support for years are going to lose that support on March 1st. On top of that, the mail itself is in complete and utter disarray - mail is going missing, printed Jpay emails are not being delivered, and books are already being denied if they arrive by courier. On top of all that we are about to go through another administration change so we have to adjust to whatever new rules/policies they wish to implement as well. I've never witnessed such disorganization and upheaval in all the time I've been here...It's difficult to feel settled in any way.
I encourage everyone who writes to someone back here to read the new rules and follow them exactly. On March 1st, the mail room will begin to deny mail that doesn't meet the new requirements.
And now, I would like to clear something up for those who don't understand where I'm coming from in my journal entry of January 16th...I've been told by friends that I've been 'misinterpreted' by some, so let's be clear: We should fight against the death penalty 100% regardless of the crime – that is my belief, and has always been my belief. However, it's also important to acknowledge the following two things.
(1) I wish to be private for a number of reasons, and mostly because I want the facts of my case to remain 100% accurate in the public domain. My attorneys, Taffy, and my friends all understand the importance of this, and that's why I tell people that if they read something online that doesn't come from the official 'Friends of Randy Halprin', then it cannot be relied upon to be accurate. Whilst my case is going through the courts, I don't feel comfortable with me or my case being 'co-opted' for any other agenda, or being used for anyone else's personal agenda on social media. That's my personal choice as an individual.
(2) Back here we are all grateful for and respect those who fight against the death penalty...However, when facts are mentioned about anyone's individual case, regardless of who they are or their crime, it's important to be 100% accurate in what you are saying on social media.Being passionate about the fight is admirable, but no two cases are the same, and maintaining credibility is vital. Fighting against the death penalty, and publicly posting about an individual's case, are two very different things.
One other thing...I've been told about something so wildly inaccurate appearing on Facebook about me being visited by Ms Kim Kardashian!! This is NOT true. Ms Kardashian was here to visit another inmate. This is why I prefer people to look here on my website, and/or check the Friends of Randy Halprin Twitter account, where everything posted is true and accurate information.
Finally...Personally, I do not like Facebook whatsoever, and would prefer NOT to have anything posted there about me or my case, unless it's something done via my attorneys. It's purely a personal thing that I just don't like that platform, and my friends and those close to me do not post about me on Facebook for that reason. As a result of this latest inaccurate information, I would rather nothing was posted or shared on Facebook about me or any of my work or journals, unless authorized by the Webmaster. [See our, 'Who We Are' section for more information]
Hopefully, this should clear everything up...
On a more positive note, we learned that another guy will soon be getting off death row for a new punishment trial. Hopefully, he won't have to come back.
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
March 12th, 2020
I've been pretty bad at keeping up with this journal...I've tried to do some writing, and I'm not exactly lacking motivation, but I often feel like I'm repeating myself or griping about things going on back in this environment when so much more is going on out there. However, I'm going to try!
So, we've been on lockdown for over a week now. We knew it was coming, but because of the staff shortages, the shakedowns of the pods are taking forever. It took two days just to do the pod I live on and I didn't lose anything, thank goodness. But we really should've been up and over with it by now.
A growing concern amongst us all back here is this Corona virus...I know what it's doing to the world and to the economy, and I also know that it's causing a lot of stress back here with special visits being cancelled due to travel restrictions. As more and more cases pop up, I feel like it's only a matter of time before someone comes into the unit with the virus, and this place (like all prisons) are incubators! It will spread like wild fire and then everything here will be shut down and we'll be on quarantine.
Years ago there was a Noro virus outbreak that started on another unit in another town. As is typical in Texas prisons, guys were shipped around which spread the virus to other units. It hit Polunsky with a fury and as each case popped up, they would place that particular pod in quarantine and lockdown. The danger was that because we wouldn't be able to make commissary whilst in quarantine, guys were reluctant to report to staff or medical that they were sick, and so the virus took hold even further.
This will happen in the free world too – people can't afford to skip work when they live from pay cheque to pay cheque. And then there are the people who can be plain idiotic and selfish, leaving their homes to go non-essential shopping or whatever, and spreading it further. It's insane, and no one knows what will happen here. I just feel it's a matter of time before Polunsky is contaminated!
I guess this is a story to be continued...
We've also been waiting on a new warden to take over Polunsky, and it was supposed to happen on March 1st. As far as I know, the transition into a new administration has yet to happen. I do know that the new mail room rules have begun, and I've had two cards denied thus far, but I'm confused...Some guys are still receiving cards, but the cards I had denied came from my girlfriend and they were handmade (with her beautiful art work!). So, I'm wondering if this rule now only applies to handmade cards and not store bought cards? We've not seen any official policy posted yet, so we're really clueless.
Anyways, Spring seems to be here and I've been watching birds – magpies specifically – outside of my window. It's been really meditative! You don't really pay too much attention to birds when you're out in the free world, but back here? I love watching them! There's a rat infestation on Polunsky right now, and we're seeing more and more predatory birds like hawks and buzzards flying about. One buzzard waited until night time and landed on a light pole...It watched and waited, patiently, until the rats came out to forage at night. When one came out, it swooped down like lightening and snatched it up...It was surreal to watch!
That's pretty much been my days lately. Hopefully, I'll find my groove and get back to writing normally...We'll see!
Courage. Strength, Hope and Faith!
March 14th, 2020
It's early Saturday morning as I write this, and the sunlight is beginning to break through clusters of grey clouds, offering some much needed hope to the day.
This corona virus has now affected TDCJ, with visits being cancelled until further notice, and we all had the feeling it would happen. Still, out of a caution, I'm okay with things coming to a standstill if it means less chance of spreading this disease. Yes, it's disappointing that visits are cancelled, but better to be safe than sorry with something like this. Even if the virus could be introduced by an infected guard coming to work, the TDCJ in their wisdom will say,
“There is nothing we can do to stop that.”
Really?? I can't help but think about those who are elderly, in poor health, and serving very long and harsh sentences, forced to survive without social distancing and basic hygiene to keep themselves clean and well...I think of all those who have served so much time they've done their sentence twice over, and still they're locked up in an environment that could kill them! And still the TDCJ will say,
“There is nothing we can do to stop that.”
Well, it's high time many of those people who are non-violent were released, as a humane gesture towards preventing the spread of this disease, and more unnecessary deaths. There are many prisoners with chronic health issues like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart conditions, and also a rapidly increasing older population. When the virus hits prisons – and I say 'when' because there is no 'if' about it – it will be a very worrying time for those people and their families and loved ones.
To the surprise of most of us back here, they have been sending clean up crews to disinfect things. That's great, but what worries most of us is the use of handcuffs on both death row and Ad Seg inmates, as they are not disinfected or wiped down between use from inmate to inmate.
I also don't like the use of hand-sanitizers as a replacement for thorough hand washing....When it comes to not having access to somewhere you can wash your hands, then hand-sanitizers are the next best thing. But even the CDC says that thorough hand-washing is essential as a means of preventing the spread of the virus. Plus, there is evidence that hand-sanitizers can lead to the creation of 'super bugs'.
Another major concern I have is that some guards are treating this pandemic as 'media hype', or, as I've heard several guards say,
“It's a hoax. I'm not worried about it...”
This is very dangerous and TDCJ should do everything they can to discourage this thinking!
Not one single health worker has come around here on Polunsky Unit, and there hasn't been any passing out of leaflets etc to give us any necessary information about wiping things down or washing hands either.
As of today we are still on lockdown on 12 Building. I think they have two more pods to shakedown. I did hear that they might do shakedowns this weekend as visits are cancelled.
I was not surprised when I heard a spokesperson just now, on the radio, saying,
“This will not affect executions.”
So...At a time when more money than ever is needed for health care, and with the economy in free-fall right now, the State has no problem wasting money to execute people...I guess revenge causes people to lose all sense of rationality.
On a completely different topic, and needing to keep my head in my work and trying not to panic...I've been stuck on writing my childhood memoir for a while. Today, I've been thinking about love and its many facets, and how love encompasses so much and has many different meanings for all of us. Love, in all it's many forms, has fuelled me over the years...I thrive when I'm surrounded by love – either giving or receiving. So, I'm excited to have a kick start to that project! I've been busy working on a few other things with Taffy, but I hope to be back into writing that particular memoir soon.
I hope everyone stays safe and well!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
March 16th, 2020
Sunday morning...I had a solid 8 hours of sleep! Last night I tortured myself listening to 'Sound Awake', one of my favourite radio programs. The DJ was out and had some guest DJs running the show. They started off by saying they'd play nothing but '80s music, and I thought,
“Oh, that could be really good!”
WRONG!! It ended up being nothing but '80s hair metal! Bleh!!! It was plain awful. The only good thing I can say about it was that it brought back some childhood memories of my best friend's sister, Meredith, who listened to nothing but that kind of music, so I remembered most of the songs.
They finished shaking down E-Pod and will complete D-Pod today. I'm hoping our lockdown will be over tomorrow as it will be our outside day, and it would be lovely to breathe in some clean air.
There's supposed to be an audit of some sort this week, and that usually means an inspection of the prison – but I don't think it will happen because of the virus.
Anyway...It's set to be a weird time as this virus continues on...
Stay safe and well!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
March 17th, 2020
Tuesday...The lockdown has ended and with that comes an explosion of noise and chaos! My section doesn't have recreation today, so I'm stuck in the cell. But I was first to get my shower out of the way and I was happy about that. Waiting all day for a shower can be a real pain in the butt.
I could have misheard someone yelling, but I was sure I heard that the scheduled execution for tomorrow was off, although I don't know if it was an actual stay or just a rescheduling. I know there has been some pressure to postpone it due to the Corona virus, because people wouldn't be able to protest in close quarters, or be cramped into a small room to witness the execution. Regardless, it's always a good thing to get a stay!
You know, I've made this point before, but at a time when the economy is falling apart and we should be freeing up resources to help people when they really need the help, it seems ridiculous to press on with executions...Think of what that money could do to save many lives. Our politicians and governors should really re-prioritise what is most important in benefiting humanity because it definitely isn't revenge.
Okay...just heard the news and the guy got a 60 day reprieve which will translate into another 5 months. This is due to a law in Texas that requires an additional 91 days if an execution is halted. Well, that is very good news, and I wonder if the same will happen for next week's scheduled execution? [Note from the Webmaster: Yes, as we now know, they did indeed grant a stay for the execution scheduled for 25th March].
There's a tree behind the building, directly behind my window, and it was taking forever for it to bud, when all of the other trees had fully bloomed. I thought it might have died, but it came to life and you can see the leaves beginning to bud. It's really cool to see...I mean, how many people really pay attention to a tree blooming when spring comes? It's an amazing symbol of hope...I highly recommend it!
Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.
March 28th, 2020
indeed...I'm not really sure what to say about this Corona Virus. I'm
not the kind of person who thinks, or even says,
“Oh my God! It's
the end of the world!”
And I tend not to panic about things either.
Actually, I'm not a person prone to panics of the world, in general.
Internally, with personal issues and my own neurosis, I can work
myself into a panic. But externally? I tend to handle things okay,
and maybe that's because I'm a 'glass half full' kind of guy and I
know that humans can be incredibly resilient and figure out ways of
handling problems against incredible odds. I'm just always
disappointed that we seem to wait until there's a crisis before we
I do think we have to
be real with ourselves that a lot of these issues have to do with our
greed and selfishness. I think we have a morally corrupt form of
capitalism. Yes, I identify as sort of socialist in that I believe we
are all connected and we must all contribute to a greater cause and
humanity. But neither am I the kind of person who thinks that people
shouldn't be able to live and work as they please, or to be
millionaires/billionaires IF it's not at the expense of the rest of
humanity...Our current form of capitalism IS at the expense of
others. There's something wrong when a person in the entertainment
industry or sports industry is paid millions of dollars, when people
who keep society safe, put their lives on the line, or teach and
raise future generations, are paid peanuts...And why should a person in the
service industry barely make a living wage?
I don't know...I just
hope that recent events will make people slow down and take stock of
what is really important in life. I hope that when these social
distancing limitations are lifted, people will see the value in one
another and reconnect.
That's my two cents on
With regard to how the
prison are handling everything...There's been a few lapses of people
slipping through (guards) with colds or some kind of illness(!) at
the front gates, and coming to work. But once other officers and
inmates begin to complain, the ranking officers send them home
immediately. There was a female guard coughing all over the place
about two days ago, and we were all freaking out! Some other guards
complained to a sergeant and the sergeant told her to go home.
We do have what I call
a 'corona crew' coming around and wiping things down and sanitising
regularly. They've assigned a trustee to the pod which is something
they've never done before and I don't know if this will last, but at
least the place is being cleaned more regularly than it ever has been
in my almost 17 years here...
Visitation has been
cancelled for the foreseeable future...I was hoping to see my Rabbi
before Passover, but that doesn't appear to be happening this year.
But I imagine Passover and Easter being affected for everyone this
year. Passover is a family event...It's much like Thanksgiving in
that you will have friends and family attend a 'Seder', and it's a
relaxed and fun event. With social distancing, it's bound to affect
things for everyone.
I'll give the prison
credit though...Instead of visits, they've been allowing phone calls
for death row prisoners. I don't know if this will be weekly or how
they plan on doing it, but I was able to call my girlfriend which was
awesome! They're just five minute calls, but worth every second just
to know she's safe and to tell her I love her.
They've also been
allowing our attorneys to set up 30 minute legal calls, so kudos to
them for all of that. They seem to be doing the best they can for
I've been spending my
time reading, listening to music, and focusing on my writing work.
Not much else to do.