From a call to FFI's hotline by Emitiel Prophet, currently detained at Wakulla County Jail
People are getting transferred in from Krome who have coronavirus. People here get sick as a result. they aren't testing people, they just take their temperature. There was a whole dorm of people that got sick. People were really sick. Instead of moving people to the hospital, they moved sick people into all these different pods. One guy who was sick was put in solitary for a month--he couldn't talk to his family or go to his court date. Officers from the sheriff's office had coronavirus and they spread it to Baker and caused an outbreak. Officers don't wear masks or gloves, so they're exposing everyone in the detention center. We complained to ICE but they don't want to do anything about it. ICE doesn't care if we get sick or die. They don't take anyone to a real hospital. They just take them to medical. ICE isn't reporting the cases.
When we complain they say "that's not our problem."
The showers in our cells don't have curtain rods so it's hard to hang up the curtains, so water leaks all over our cells. The curtains don't stay up so people have no privacy in the bathroom while they're showering or using the toilet. We have to clean up the water with our shirts because they won't give us extra towels. If people manage to hang up the curtain the guards take it down. They don't let people have extra towels, even though they're just using the extra towels to clean up the leaks. When we complain they say "that's not our problem."
We get water from water coolers but they don't refill them regularly. When we ask them why we don't have enough water they make jokes about it. We have to wait hours for them to refill it. One day we didn't have water from 6pm until 6am, the next day. They tell us to drink the water from the sinks instead but the tap water is yellow and it tastes and smells weird. When we complain about the tap water they saw "You'll be alright, water is water." But when people do drink the tap water they cough a lot. So we don't know what's in the water.
They treat us like animals, or like robots.
We don't get supplies. Once a week we get two little soap bars and a tiny body wash and toilet paper. The toilet paper runs out in 3 or 4 days so we have to wait a week. And if we have extra toilet paper they take it away. What are we supposed to do, not use the bathroom? They treat us like animals, or like robots.
There's only one computer in the law library and it's only available for one hour a day. And there's a lot of people that need to use it. Everyone needs to work on their cases. Some people are late on their cases or miss dates because there isn't enough time for them to use the computer. And some people don't have lawyers and their family can't help so they need to work on their own cases.
The food here is terrible, so we depend on the vending machine and commissary. Once the vending machine was broken and commissary wasn't available for a month so we had to eat the food.
We're only allowed to change our jumpsuits once a week.
We're treated like criminals even though we're not. We have to wear jumpsuits that say "inmate". We're only allowed to change our jumpsuits once a week. We don't get extra clothes. People want to work out but if you can't change your clothes it's hard to work out and get sweaty. This place mentally breaks you down.
Baker doesn't even have a rec yard. We're not allowed to go outside so we never get sunlight. I haven't felt the sun on my skin in the three months I've been here. Our recreation option is just a room with a ping pong table and a treadmill. I need the sunlight--it's good for me. It's hard to live without it. It's freezing cold in here. They turn up the A/C really high.
ICE are like bounty hunters.
So many people in here are in here for petty charges. Why are we being deported for such petty stuff, like driving without a license? We're not murderers or part of conspiracies. One guy is in here because his guinea pig ran outside and his neighbor reported him for animal cruelty. A lot of people are in here because ICE came to their house and took them. ICE are like bounty hunters.
I cry sometimes because all I can think about is how much I miss my son. He turned one recently and I missed his birthday. I don't want him to grow up without me. He should grow up with his father. Some people in here haven't seen their kids in two years. Enough is enough.
They talk to us disrespectfully here. They give us awful food. People here are losing weight because the food is bad and there isn't enough.
I just pray that one day immigration detention will cease to exist. Not just to help me, but to help all of us. I don't want other people to go through this.
Photo credit: Phil Botha