COVID-19 from the Inside


Dave Sanders asked Temujin Kensu to describe what it is like on the inside and how COVID-19 has changed their lives. It’s hardly surprising that the average “Joe” is not much concerned for a prisoner’s life under COVID-19 – the thinking being if they lived an honest life they wouldn’t be behind bars. But just consider if you’re wholly innocent and find yourself in that situation. Here’s the perspective of one such individual, Temujin, who under lockdown has plenty of time to think and write:

Dave, You asked me “How’s it going?” Well, our situation is, of course, a little different from the public's. This is hell. We have no "takeout" or DoorDash, no family to safely socialize with or games to play. Many have no radio or TV, no access to books, magazines or access to a library, no means to order online. I'm one of the few with a "library" thanks to family and friends. We can't Skype or Facetime with loved ones and we can't exercise at all, even where all the experts and guidelines say to do so. The food is of such terrible quality that it's compromising our immune systems.

[Editor’s note: One exoneree shared how he discovered some food in a Michigan prison to be in containers marked “Not for human consumption”. Temujin is not exaggerating.] We are separated from loved ones, experience unending inhumane conditions, insufficient nutrients and calorie-short food and lack of hygiene. If not for the pandemic, most would describe what we experience as “torture” but now it is summarily dismissed as a necessary evil.


[Editor's note: It might sound al