NOTE: This update was written on 5/13/2020 and received on 5/20/2020
Hey Everyone, still here. Most sentenced inmates were released the last week of March, but there are still 150 of us on the island, in addition to the 4000 detainees. Our dorm was much less crowded for a little while, but DOC has been moving lots of us into one crowded dorm again in the past couple weeks. There are about 30 of us now so it’s impossible to social distance again. Most of the surfaces people touch in the public areas of the building are never sanitized, and only about half of DOC staff are wearing masks. They gave us all knockoff 400 game-in-1 Gameboys, though, so we should be fine.
I’ve been told I’ve been approved for release to home confinement with an ankle monitor but it’s been over a month and there’s been no news, or even any indication of when there might be news. Supposedly the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the DOC are working on it. It would be great if they actually were, and I know people on the outside are working to keep the pressure up (thank you !), but for my own peace of mind, I’ve turned my focus back to October. I’m over the hump now — only 5 months to go! Still getting & lovoing your mail, just behind on responding to it because things have been kinda crazy in here. Take care out there!
Update: Despite the qualifications in this message, David will be able to respond to all letters. He’s got more time on his hands so please write to him!
Happy belated New Year! I’m still doing OK in here, and rounding the first corner on my time right about now — 1/16/20 is exactly 9 months before my release.
They moved us out of EMTC, the only facility for sentenced inmates on Rikers, on 1/7/20. Despite the fact that we moved literally across the street to RNDC (C-74), the process took over 12 hours, well over half of which was spent in holding cells with no food and no working toilets, or handcuffed together in the back of a bus. So that was fun.
RNDC is better by some measures, and I’m starting to settle into a new routine here, which is great because that’s what makes the time fly. The main drawback is that this facility is used to house adolescent detainees, not solely sentenced inmates like EMTC. Some of these kids are likely to do long stretches upstate, and looking to make a name for themselves within the prison system. They often don’t have the same incentive to behave as folx who are going home soon, and we’re mixed in with them in the visiting waiting area and on the visiting floor. I haven’t had any problems and I don’t plan to, but it’s an extra source of stress for those of us sentenced inmates who get visits. It’s also probably illegal (it’s definitely illegal for them to house us together), but of course the DOC does what it wants.
I was able to stay on top of my mail and actually respond to everyone who included a return address up until about Christmas. I’ve had so much love pouring in it’s impossible for me to respond to it all! I’ll write back as much as I can, but if you don’t get a response, please forgive me. Please keep it coming! Every letter I receive brings a smile to my face — and as a bonus, I can use it to line my paper-thin mattress. And THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken the time to drop me a line. It’s been really humbling and helps keep me sane.
I’m still staying safe and staying busy. My new schedule in RNDC seems to allow me more time to work on writing and translation, so I’m trying to take advantage of that.
Take care out there. See you soon!