Covid News from San Quentin

It was just announced that prisoners will no longer have access to phones in San Quentin. According to the Warden, this is to try to control the spread of the Covid-19. With more than 50% of the people locked up in San Quentin already testing positive, and many more displaying symptoms, this seems both cruel and too little, too late. Tim and everyone on death row and in solitary confinement have already been in their cells for 24-hours a day for weeks, sick and utterly isolated. And now, they won’t even be able to call loved ones for the foreseeable future.

While this is bleak, we just got a letter from Tim reporting that despite the horrendous conditions, Solitary Garden has brought some joy to his small cell. Someone recently visited UC Santa Cruz with their family and stumbled across the sculpture of his solitary cell and the garden. They described reading Tim’s letters and sitting in “his cell”, overlooking the Bay, and thinking about Tim. They write about how the project encapsulates the “torture” of U.S. prisons and called Solitary Garden “a call to action.” Tim said that the letter made his spirits rise, just to know that he is not utterly alone, and that people do see his plight. With letters being his only access now to the world outside of his cell, we hope more people will write Tim.

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