23
Mar

Homebound And Feeling Down? You Aren’t Alone…

My entire adult life has been built around structure. I’ve always had a schedule. I don’t anymore.

My “new normal” consists of going outside to take out the trash these days and making a run for it if one of my neighbors happens to be doing the same thing at the same time or meeting clients and staying in my suv. It’s odd to not walk into a venue or a unit. It’s odd to change so much so quickly.

Social distancing has affected anyone who takes this virus seriously. For others who don’t, they eventually do when their job shuts down or their city is locked down by a safety in place order.

Due to the number of requests for drive by ceremonies, I’ve updated my site pages… Texas Twins Events I cannot and will not “just sign a license.” I will conduct a ceremony regardless of how brief PRIOR to signing your license.

Changes to how, where and when people are now getting married by car are shocking but occurring with regularity during this virus window.

Suddenly being stuck at home and unprepared for the possibility has caught a number of folks with their pants down. People who didn’t know how to cook are learning. People with limited food at home are “winging it” with wild recipes of items they have on hand.

I miss seeing my grandson the past 2 weeks. I miss my clients, my structure, my predictability and my family. I miss the way things “used to be.” But, this is temporary. Self quarantine protects all of us. It’s inconvenient but it’s essential.

My twin sister summed up this unexpected virus to me while I was sadly calling 9 clients last week to advise them that their event had been cancelled.

These clients had been scheduled at 4 TDCJ Units, 2 FBOP facilities 1 ICE Detention Center and 1 county jail and were excitedly looking forward to a wedding they had waited months to have.

Cindy summed up the situation better than I could have (as usual).

“YOU will no longer FEAR the STORM, once you’ve SURVIVED the DROUGHT”

Cindy literally has a flair for iconic and memorable quotes that I’ve never had.

Yesterday, I reviewed a DM from a Linda who wanted to know if I “had heard about Harvey Weinstein?” I follow prison news and legal news closely and ironically had told my husband weeks ago “they are taking him to Bellevue.” Matthew wanted to know the outcome of a very public and sensational trial. I had tuned in at odd times to follow this trial.

While awaiting sentencing, Weinstein was kept at Rikers.

Rikers Island is among the world’s largest jails – it is perched on a 413 acre island between Queens and the Bronx and holds about 7,000 inmates, down from more than 20,000 at its peak in the 1990s.

The majority (85%) of detainees at Rikers Island are pretrial defendants, either held on bail or remanded in custody. The rest of the population have been convicted and are serving short sentences.

As early as February, Bellevue had reported cases of Coronavirus. But the main story that most of us will remember is the death of Kobe not the outbreak of a virus sweeping through New York.

Obviously, Weinstein wasn’t sick during the trial or showing signs of illness.

How do I know? From catching glimpses of the trial. No one was coughing or showing signs of difficulty breathing. That trial was charged with emotion but without visible signs of illness.

Meanwhile at Bellevue, more cases surfaced not only there but at other hospitals as well.

Because Weinstein had suffered a mild heart attack, he was sent to Bellevue for an angioplasty procedure.

There weren’t any reports of Coronavirus at Rikers until after Weinstein having that angioplasty. Think about it.

My observation of the widespread and unheard of transmissions of the Coronavirus at Rikers took me a moment to try and understand why or how the virus had come to get into Rikers.

Was it a guard? A weekend visitor? Or was it Weinstein returning to custody from Bellevue? Could his nurse or treatment team at Bellevue have inadvertently transferred the virus to Weinstein it was it a hard surface that Weinstein came in contact with? Hospitals are riddled with germs as are prisons.

Many posts regarding Weinstein becoming infected with the Coronavirus run from “he deserved it” to “that’s great.” Focus on where he’s been and who has been around him ya all.

What these folks are missing here is the number of people who have been within 6 feet of Weinstein.

Regardless of your feelings about HIM what about THEM?

Attorneys, correctional officers, hospital staff, I could go on and on here. Reporters within close proximity are and have been equally “exposed.”

Someone else had commented on yet another post regarding Rikers being overrun by the virus. Another “who cares?” Well, for people this narrow minded and unconcerned about inmates, it should be noted that the inmates family care.

The correctional officers and their families care too.

Do these people posting hateful comments realize the number of people who work within the criminal justice system prior to making idiotic public remarks? No. Because they don’t love an inmate or an officer. They don’t care about inmates. But there are millions of people who do care about inmates.

There are families who care about a loved one working at a facility overrun with a deadly virus too.

Prisons have millions of visitors on weekends throughout the U.S. But if we look at where this virus is running rampantly through the criminal justice system, it isn’t affecting any state as much as New York. Why? Rikers and Bellevue? The airport? A city that’s a literal hub for international travel? Public transportation? Cabs? Ubers? Drivers from the network? Hotels? Airplanes?

Could it be because Weinstein literally “brought the Coronavirus into Rikers from Bellevue? It is a possibility. Or was an officer already infected and transporting Weinstein from court to Rikers or from Bellevue to Rikers? Was he already infected during the trial? He didn’t appear to be but if the incubation period is two weeks the possibility of him being ill at some point are possible.

Rikers is now releasing inmates at an alarming pace. Were these other inmates exposed? We may never know but the possibility exists.

Other correctional facilities are following Rikers lead. They too want to thin the numbers of inmates. This has never occurred within the criminal justice system before. TDCJ will not follow the lead of others and neither is CDCR although many are pressuring early releases. CDCR may very well start releasing older inmates or inmates with health issues due to the number of people pressuring them to do so but pressure won’t affect TDCJ. This is Texas and Texas is being proactive rather than reactive.

Ironically, the Fort Worth PD announced publicly that they won’t arrest Class C suspects. They don’t want to bring anything into the jails. But does this announcement encourage criminal behavior? Maybe. In Texas, most citizens are armed and in a position to protect their home and property. Texans are preparers by nature. Most know how to hunt and fish. Parents and grandparents teach kids gun safety at a young age. I was one of those kids. My uncle handed me a rifle at about ten years old. I don’t like guns and never have but I know how to use one and my husband has taken me to driving ranges for years to keep me aware of the possibility of one day needing to use a gun to protect myself. I hope that day never comes.

How did the virus get to Bellevue? A woman returning from abroad flew into Newark and then went to Bellevue. Did Bellevue already have the virus? Maybe. Was it a possibility? Absolutely.