May 30, 2020
Excerpts from KAGE Universal phone interview, May 2020
Calling from CSP-Sacramento
The COVID outbreak, like any outbreak in these prisons, we seek to understand exactly what’s taking place. The mental and psychological effect that the COVID virus has been having on you out there... it has been a hundred times worse in these prisons. So it’s having a great effect on our minds, on our psychological condition. Every day I see the fellows doing different things to guard against it, because the CDCR and medical department is not issuing us, or getting to us information to guard against it.
There’s no medical staff, and the staff that do come, come and pass out pills and other small medications.... There's nothing that the medical staff has offered us. Those that do get sick, even then they don't offer them testing. Even those elders that have some type of ailment... They don’t offer us testing. None of that. The only thing we have gotten from the CDCR, the medical staff here, is a mask. These masks are made from a sewn material that actually slows our breathing down, especially those that have asthma. Now some of the officers have started wearing masks. But most of them don’t. Even to date.
Social distance is very difficult in environments like this. And we have this recycled air coming out of these vents. And with these vents, there’s always some of us that catch colds and then it goes down the tier. So that’s basically what’s taking place...
...Since last month we’ve been on lockdown. During these lockdowns the officers will leave the building. And they’ll go out and have BBQ on the side of the gym, with a BBQ grill. And they’ll stand there and have whatever. And all they do is hang out there all day. They have medical staff coming in, BBQing and whatnot. That’s been going on since last month. Under the banner that there’s racial tension between black and white. Which is false. So they quarantined us, then turned around and slammed us. So we’ve been on extra lockdown. We only come out to shower. If they take you to the doctor..., you would be able to see all the officers with no masks, BBQing on the grill over there by the side of the building. They would have medical staff coming in, BBQing and whatnot
Mutawally, 63 years old, has been in prison for over 25 years, 22 of those were in solitary confinement. Despite having over 35 certificates of completion and being a peace maker on the yard, with a passion for teaching the younger generation how to unlock their minds and find their purpose, he has been denied parole multiple times since he first became eligible for parole almost a decade ago. Mutawally is a social and political activist.