The year of 2020 was anticipated with promise of change. Many of us prisoners here in Virginia were looking towards possibility of some relief, but as quickly as that light came, brilliant and burning with hope, the quicker that flame was doused and the gloom of despair and uncertainty reclaimed the reigns of our community. This time, the darkness came in a form fit for global impact – a pandemic. pestilence. 2020: affectionately dubbed the year of clarity and vision by most of us, has quickly wrapped into 2020: the year of the coronavirus.
Incarcerated populations across America have been affected by the disease at various rates. On the low end, staff’s refusal to work in possibly infected areas is slowing operations. At the high end, the highly communicable virus rapidly spreading throughout the confined quarters of prison communities, where social distancing is literally impossible.
So far, there is no apparent sign that the virus is here at Lawrenceville, but the proliferation of COVID-19 across cable television, the woes of our family members by phone, the statewide directives locking down prisons, and distributing sneeze guards keep fears fluid and real from one side of the gates to another.
Fear: the surrender of the help that comes from reason.
Behind the walls, fear is king. As incarcerated people, we deal with a set of fears most others do not. We depend on staff for almost every necessity. If conditions became somewhat apocalyptic and society destabilizes, prisoners will either be legally executed or abandoned in cells to futilely fend for themselves… a fear permanently etched in the back of the mind, and at the center is the motivation for all fear — the idea of survival.
Prompt: Define fear in your words. What are some of your fears? How do you see yourself overcoming them? What do you think could be done to alleviate today’s fears of sickness and death?
– Quadaire Patterson, Creator, Organizer, Writer VADOC #1392272
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