Rebecca Barber, Reentry Housing Coordinator, talks with a listener in Waupun Correctional during this current situation with Covid… This is what it is to be inside RIGHT NOW.

“allow me to fill you in on what’s going on around here. B, we’ve been locked down for about two weeks now (since October 16th), due to what we initially thought were a few Covid cases throughout the compound. We were all tested last week, and unfortunately, they came through and delivered the not so good results early this morning. Mama, I’m in a cell hall of a little over two hundred people, and so far, they’ve recorded over forty cases in my cell hall alone, and that’s just the ones that they know about. All of the results aren’t even back yet. Between me and you, three of my neighbors tested positive… Two of them are two rooms away from me in each direction. Oh, and get this, they now have to quarantine in their rooms. They’re no longer moving them to quarantine in another building… And do you know why?… It’s because there’s no more room to put them. B, as of right now, Waupun has over 400 cases throughout the institution. And remember, that number represents the number of infected before all the results are even in. Goddamn, there’s only twelve hundred people here! We could easily see half of the total population being infected. That’s crazy! That’s not only crazy but a little frightening as well.

B, the tier tender who’s been working my range every other day since the lockdown started tested positive as well. He’s been delivering our food and ice every other day for the past two weeks, and he got his positive results today. Yo, we could have easily tested negative Wednesday morning and contracted Covid from him Wednesday evening. B, I feel like we’re literally sitting ducks awaiting the unknown I feel like the consensus is, If someone gets it, fine, they just get it. If someone dies from it, fine, move them out, and move someone in from Dodge. It almost seems inhumane.

Oh, then the worst part is, being paranoid about every little abnormality. Let me tell you, all day I’ve been suffering from some sort of small bug. I’ve been congested, my head has been hurting, my throat has been scratchy and my stomach has been hurting. Now, I know that it’s probably nothing, maybe a little head cold, but deep down in the back of my mind, I can’t help but to wonder. B, watching this shit unfold completely destroys your sense of logic and leaves you stranded in an ocean of paranoia… And it’s so f-ed up because we don’t have options in here. On the streets, you can stay in your house and physically control who you’re around, but not in here. In here, not only can you not control who you’re around, but you can’t even control not being around an infected person. Okay, law, order and justice, I get it, but did they make a plan for situations like this when they were formulating these guidelines? And if not, shouldn’t they be more concerned with it now? It just goes to show, our lives don’t matter…”

So now, YOU… outside those walls, YOU, concerned with upholding “justice for all”, YOU, who claims that all lives matter, YOU, that has a voice… how are you using it?

This article was contributed by Rebecca Barber with interview participation by an anonymous source.