Moving Into Federal Prison

by Jay Goodman

After I arrive at the federal detention center in Youngstown, Ohio, I was put into quarantine for 15 days. Right away I noticed their quarantine was nothing like the one I’ve been in Texas, or in state prison in Ohio. Both Texas and Ohio took this COVID-19 opportunity to lock their entire prison system down. They have cut us off from our families, no visits, no phone calls, not feeding us like they’re supposed to buy law. I truly understand that this COVID-19 is serious, but the people in prison should not be treated like an animal because of it. But I saw that This federal detention in Youngstown had some good common sense when it came to their quarantine.

The cell block had a good hundred prisoners, the staff had a piece of paper with all of the prisoner’s names and the date they came in. The guard would open the cell doors to the inmates that came in on the same date, and give that group 2 hours to use the phones and take a shower. Then they open the next group and they would get there two hours. This process would continue until everyone had a chance to speak with their family in shower. After the 14-day quarantine, I was moved to a different cell block. Now we could come out of ourselves from five in the morning until 930 at night, minus a couple counts. What I seen right away was that this place kept everyone that lived in the same cell block together. Never under any circumstances allowing anyone to be in contact with someone else from another cell block. Our food, commissary, and medicine were all brought to us in our living area. If someone was to leave for count or any other reason, when they came back, they would have to return to quarantine and start the whole process over again.

I cannot begin to explain how nice it was to finally be able to come out of myself for more than an hour a day. After seven months of basically living in isolation, it was great to be able to come out of my cell and call my family. I could never begin to explain how difficult it is to be in prison, present itself is a very stressful place. Now they’ve taken our visitation, our only means of communication is the phones. And it’s the Craziest shit, because since we haven’t been able to have any contact with our loved ones, one would think that each prison would go out of his way to make sure every prisoner was able to call home. But it’s been the exact opposite. Every place has taking total advantage of the situation. While I know we’re in prison, and I know the seriousness of COVID-19. It’s also important to remember the men and women in here our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, dads and moms.

Our families love and miss us. We worry about them and they worry about us. It’s one thing to lock us down and starve us, to not allow us to shower for days. But you’re not even allow us to talk with our families is truly shameful on their part. So, to leave the madness of Texas and Ohio was a blessing I also was happy to be able to work out, after being in virtual isolation all these months takes a toll on the prisoners mentally as well as physically.

So even though I was confined to the cell block in which I live 24 hours a day, I was very happy to come out of my cell in the morning and exercise for a few hours, and to talk with my daughter and other family and friends. I can never begin to explain the way the prison system has taken advantage of the COVID-19 crisis. The abuse has been unnecessary in almost everything they’ve done. I understand the institution is responsible for the well-being of the prisoners. But you lock prisoners down in a small cell for months and months, and treat them like they or their families are not important has been a very difficult situation for all prisoners to deal with.

I also understand that no one was ready for the COVID-19, but let’s face it, maybe at first, they thought the solution was to quarantine everyone for the overall safety of the institution. But as time went on, they should have been looking at other solutions to at least ensure the prisoners could speak with their family. I want everyone reading this to understand that I am not writing this to get sympathy. Just like I said in my first chapter of the puppet masters. I am not a man sitting in prison complaining because I was sitting here. I broke the law and I expect being in prison. My goal was exposed the Texas department of criminal justice for how they treat their prisoners. And also show it’s always been run like any other criminal organization. Wrong is wrong, it doesn’t matter if you have a prison uniform on, or a guard, or a police man. Everyone should be held accountable for his or her actions. No exception!

Now that I’ve moved into federal custody, I am hoping that this last day to my journey is much different than the last 15 1/2 years. I was thinking on my ride here, that surely, it’s got to be better than Texas. I laughed to myself as I write this because it seems that every place I’ve been sent to is corrupt. I have yet to see any prison be run like a place of rehabilitation. I am hoping that federal prison will be different. Hopefully it will be at least a step up from the madness of experience the last 15 1/2 years. At least this is a good start. Even though there’s a long road ahead of me, I am praying and hoping that the federal prison system will somehow be better then the hell I have gone through.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez