Priscila (left) and Beacon Prison Action founding member Laurie Dick (right). Image credit: Michael Isabell
This week, Beacon Prison Action founder Laurie Dick talks about the lives of incarcerated people at Fishkill Correctional and Green Haven Correctional. She is joined by Priscila (last name withheld), who regularly comes up from New York City to visit her husband at Green Haven.
Beacon Prison Action has resumed its Prison Rides program offering free transportation to the families of inmates. The organization has offered close to 1,000 free trips to 150 individuals, thanks to its network of volunteer drivers.
“It’s been a great way of pulling local beacon residents into this cause and also helping to welcome people like Priscila, who come through our town on a regular basis and show them a friendly face during what I can imagine is a very trying day,” Laurie says.
The Covid-19 shutdown has been harrowing for inmates and families, she adds. At Green Haven, at least three prisoners have lost their lives to Covid at Green Haven. At Fishkill, five prisoners have died.
“Infection is much more under control right now and I’m happy to see that but I do worry that a second wave could come and take another toll on the lives of the people incarcerated there if the testing is not increased.”
Priscila has struggled with a long period of separation from her husband, who caught the virus and struggled with his symptoms. He has recovered well in recent weeks. “He’s looking good,” she says.
“When they shut down the prison [due to Covid], I was on my family reunion visit – allowed to stay over for two days,” she says. “Stay in this little house they call trailer. They have a family setting, with cooking. I had just gone into the visit and I went in leery because before I went in that week I had been watching the governor on TV… Around 2 o’clock, I had to leave that same day I went in. That was the first initial shock with Covid and prison.”