James “Jay” Ward is incarcerated at the Toledo Correctional Insitution and has been in prison since he was 15, he just turned 30 on April 1st. Donate to his legal fund here: Freedom for Jay.

He also loves talking to people! Add him on JPay or GTL:
James Ward /A517461
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

When the pandemic started, it’s been apparent that people on the outside have lost their jobs mainly to prevent the spread of COVID 19, losing their means of finances in order to support themselves during this time of crisis, which is why I believe the government – President Donald Trump, surprisingly – issued a $1,200+ stimulus check to everybody that meets the requirements in order to help them maintain food and other necessities while quarantined in their homes. This situation has caused people all over the country/countries to come together to create initiatives to help provide people with supplies, especially the elderly that are much more at risk to come out of their homes to shop. The war continues as we fight against this deadly virus. But, it’s not a war that is just happening on the outside… it’s on the inside too. But its been nothing said about us prisoners getting that help too. So what about US?

This isn’t a time to be thoughtless. Thinking about the outside only. What about us prisoners? We’re in no better situation than those on the outside and at risk just the same. Why? Because we may be under the care of the government in a way and have a guaranteed roof over our heads, locked up in their prisons, which entitles them to feed us 3 times a day and provide us with things we need – trust me tho, that its a very limited providence – but we don’t have any real means of financial support to survive with in here unless we have family or friends out there to send us money to afford food, hygiene, and/or clothes. But then it depends on if they can provide for us financially to meet our needs that we don’t get from the state. And many of those people have lost their jobs, so they can’t no longer support their loved ones in prison as they would like. We as prisoners in the Ohio prison system get next to nothing for the work we do, at most, $24 a month from the state to survive on depending on our job title. Some prisoners, such as myself gets less than $10 and many of us owe court cost and other debts to the state, so we don’t get much – how is that enough? If we don’t got a good support system on the outside in a time like this, then we have nothing.

Many people in here want to self-quarantine in their cells to prevent themselves from getting sick. They don’t want to eat the food that’s made by the workers because they fear getting sick – a worker coming in not knowing they have the virus could contaminate all of us. But many people can’t quarantine themselves because they have no support and gets next to nothing to buy food with from commissary, let alone hygiene to stay clean. The government could provide us with this money, to help us just like the outside, but they excluded us instead. They could pay us more for our jobs but they see us as what they don’t need to worry about, giving us slave wages and the minimum of health care.

When it comes to real-life crisis, it seems that us prisoners are left at the bottom of the barrel and not thought about by the government for financial aid. But a seemingly deadly virus – COVID 19 – has been spreading among the world’s population, which means us prisoners too, because we’re NOT excluded from the world just because we’re behind bars and away from society. We’re human beings just like those on the outside and need help just the same. We lack proper and professional medical care in here among many other things that the outside has. And it’s saddening that it’s not a mind to think of us out there besides those who love us and understand, which is a select few in our lives.

Us prisoners, just like those on the outside, need an initiative to help us too. Cuz its not just about the outside that’s strugglin, it’s us in here too but even worse. Just cuz we get provided 3 meals from the state and other things, that don’t mean that we’re in better situations. We have to start thinking of the people inside too and not just the people outside. This is a time when people need to start thinking about everybody, but why ain’t we doing that?

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