#CagingCOVID: Stopping the Spread Behind Bars

While the world is trying to flatten the curve of a pandemic without end in sight, U.S. prisons and detention centers continue to be COVID-19 hotspots, warehousing millions and failing to make the substantial populations reductions needed to create conditions of social distance.

#CagingCOVID is a campaign to shine a light on mass incarceration in a time of a public health crisis, and apply pressure to use parole, clemency and decarceration at local and federal levels to stop the spread of the virus behind bars.

Use this form to report Covid related conditions inside


Call our 24 hour hotline to tell us your story about Covid-19 and incarceration at 910-604-6519



“This is a petri dish for disaster”

Featured Story by Lavontaye Graham

Has your life been touched by the threat Covid-19 poses to our prison population? If so, we want to hear about it. Click “add your story” today to share your experience and spread awareness.

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COVID-Positive Inmates Stacked Like Sardines In A Dormitory
Anne is a mother from Florida who worries about her 25-year-old son, who contracted the coronavirus in prison. She talks about the conditions he and other people inside endured during their quarantine period. Submission by, Anne Amended Transcription of Audi...
They Said They'd Release My Brother, But They Haven't
Back in March, officials at a prison in Bastrop, Texas told a woman we'll call Mindy that her brother would be released for home confinement due to his underlying conditions - high blood pressure and diabetes. But as late as December, Mindy's brother had yet to be released. And COVID-19 continue...
COVID-19 Outbreaks In A Virginia Shadow Prison
Marylin McCarty and Kirsten Darby of the Just Future Project in Virginia discuss the injustice of the process of Civil Commitment of people who committed sex offenses after they've served the length of their sentences. McCarty and Darby talk about the inhumane ...
My Diabetic Son Was Retaliated Against For Complaining About Insufficient Medical Care
A mother talks about her diabetic son's treatment at the Terrell Unit in Rosharon, Texas. He complained about insufficient medical care and lack of access to safe food, and he was retaliated against. Audio Submission by, Anonymous Amended Transcri...
Prison Guards Aren't Wearing PPE, And They Aren't Held Accountable
A schoolteacher in Texas talks about her fiancee's experience inside the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, Texas during the pandemic. She discusses how he was treated when he got COVID-19 and the lack of COVID safety among guards. Audio Submission by, Anonymous ...
COVID-19 Clemency Protests Popping Up Across the Country
Links to COVID-19 prisoner rights protests nationwide The following is a glimpse of news coverage from protests and lawsuits about COVID-19 in prisons and jail. More will be added as they are gathered.  TX ...
His Whole Unit Was Infected
An inmate's fiance talks about conditions in Nebraska State Penitentiary and where he's located now - Tecumseh State Correctional. She says he's afraid he'll get COVID, given his age (60) and high blood pressure and the explosion of COVID cases in his former and current facilities. Au...
They Have No Escape
A mother worries about her son, who's been incarcerated in Iowa for 21 years, after the men in the cell next to him get COVID-19. She voices concerns about the lack of sanitation and nutritious food, but she's afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation from the system. Submission By,...
My Old Celly: His Covid Case, Tennessee Prisons, And The System At Large
Paul Tardie of the Inside Books Project and author of Inside: Dissecting a County Jail, talks about his old cellmate's experience in Turner Trousdale Correctional throughout the COVID-19 pandemi...
They've Got 300 Men In The Showers At One Time
Audio Submission By, Renee Dagley About Ricardo Peña III Amended Audio Transcription My fiance, he's been incarcerated 12 years on a 30 year sentence. He's a Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas, and they're not doing anything for...
I Spoke Out, And I Don't Know If My Son's Getting Punished For It
Audio Submission by, Tracy Amended Transcription of Audio: They're treated like animals in there, and that's my son in there. I'm not just going to forget about him. He was at Moore Haven, and he called me, and he said, "Mom," he says, "they're taking sick...
Incarcerated Elder in FL Prison Threatened by Guards for Trying to Social Distance
On Saturday, October 24th the morning meal shift did again violate the social distance seating policy and I filed a formal grievance to the warden concerning the shift’s reckless disregard for our health and safety. On October 29, 2020 Sergeant____, CO ____, CO ____, and as for now an unidentified correctional officer did come in my dorm housing unit after master roster count to conduct an alleged shakedown. Myself and several inmates who live around me were picked for the shakedown. After the shakedown was completed Sergeant ____ called me into the bathroom off of camera where the three officers with him did surround and he proceeded to question me why was my name on grievances concerning seating in the dining hall. He stated I was the reason that they were in the dorm and told me that I had better lay down and be still because if he sees my name On one more grievance they were going to come back and tear up the whole dorm and before they left he would tell the inmates in the dorm the shakedown was because of me.
They Are Not Toss Away People
Audio Submission by, Derek Johnson Amended Transcription of Audio: My name is Derek Johnson. I am originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I'm an educator. My brother's name is Julian Johnson, and he's incarcerated in a prison facility in Jessup, Maryland. ...
Families Left in the Dark During Tennessee Prison Outbreak
When South Central Correctional Facility was exposed to COVID-19 through a staff dentist, Sara worried for her husband's health and safety. As she learned about the lack of testing, medical care, information, and safety, she began fearing for her husband's life. Sara calls on the Tennessee Department of Corrections to be more transparent and to provide information to its inmates about their medical conditions.
Oklahoma Mother Voices Concerns About Her Son
An Oklahoma mother shares her concerns about the transfer process of new inmates from other facilities, many of whom are infected with the Coronavirus. She worries for her son, whose risk increases with every new intake.
I knew I was dying. And I knew no one cared.
When I was beginning to have real difficulty breathing, I put a note out the door. It works like this when you are in the hole. You write a note on a piece of paper or whatever and slide it out the crack of the door about head-high. It sticks out like a flag and the next officer that comes by gets it. I wrote on a manilla legal envelope: "My name is [REDACTED]. I have COVID-19. I am dying. Is there anyone out there who can help me get to a doctor or to a hospital?"
Inhumane Treatment in A Georgia Prison
I've been incarcerated 12 years: 6.5 awaiting trial and 5.5 in prison. My family really doesn't know what this place is like, so they don't understand the dangers.  Or, perhaps they do, but we don't talk about it. There is little they can do about it anyway, so I don't want to depress them.
Kevin Rashid Johnson On Covid In Indiana Prisons
Kevin Rashid Johnson speaks about his experience at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana before being transferred to Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, also in Indiana. He discusses inadequate access to soap and hand sanitizer, nutritious food, and PPE. His new facility in Wabash, he says, is better about precautions but guards still come in and out without being subjected to the same quarantine and testing measures as inmates.
James Mason - A Message from Inside
Mr. Mason describes current conditions from inside and discusses what's needed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails.
Michael Powell Jr. - Marion Correctional Institution
Michael Powell Jr. speaking from Marion Correctional Institution about how COVID has impacted life inside. He touches on the cramped conditions and lack of recreation due to lockdown, and worries about how this will affect tensions.
Conditions of Covid Inside - Fourth of July
This institution is allowing its employees to deprive the inmates (us) of our human rights/constitutional rights. Like most of the time, we are only given the opportunity to shower twice and sometimes once a week! We are being denied adequate cleaning tools and supplies during this COVID-19 era! We are being fed on old trays that have old food stuck to it, meaning we are being fed on dirty trays. Most times, we are not being fed the proper amount of food and are often being served unauthorized, uncoordinated and unacceptable substitutions. We are being denied dayroom and recreation privileges/rights and other things as well.
Family Grieves Loss of Father to Covid-19 in Florida Prison
VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT: Chrystal Camacho, daughter of Henry Camacho who passed away after contracting coronavirus in Sumter Correctional Institution in Florida, gives a speech at a public funeral held at the state capitol in Tallahassee to honor all th...
Washington State Prison, Georgia
Testimony from an incarcerated person in Washington State Prison, Georgia On July 3, 2020 I knew I was in trouble. I had been sick for a couple days and now had most of the known symptoms. My roommate had the same thing. I tried to fight it off because mos...
Lavontaye Graham Pleads with Governor DeSantis to Save Lives
#CagingCOVID Caller Submission
“Y’all see us like we’re not human.” While hundreds of prisons across the country fail to provide adequate protections and honor health regulations during the pandemic, the incarcerated find themselves having to plead their case to the court of public opinion. Lavontaye Graham presents a case calling for compassion, bemoaning the indifference felt by too many in regards to the safety of those locked in a "pitri dish for disaster."