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Coping during COVID on the inside




A few words from Louie on what life has been like inside during COVID.


Hello, My name is Louie Light and have been incarcerated for 26 years and done 10 of it here at San Quentin. I was asked by the TRUST volunteers to give my perspective how my life has changed and how do I and many others cope with the daily living arrangements due to Covid. Truth, the first thing that comes to mind is to take it one day at a time. What I’ve learned through the years, covid or not, there is nothing in prison that is set in stone. All you can do is go with the flow and make the best of it. Actually, this reminds me of my Level IV days where movement is limited, programs are few and you better get comfortable in your cell, because that’s where you are going to be most of the time.


In regards to coping during these pandemic times, here are 4 of the most coming things being done:


  1. The lock-down sleep program. It’s where the guy stays up late at night and sleeps most of the day. The point of this schedule is alone time. It’s peaceful at night, you’re all by yourself to your thoughts and usually the TV programs are better. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I know a lot of guys who do their time this way.

  2. The Board/Study guys. These are the guys who put the ear plugs in to concentrate on correspondence classes, college, book reports and whatever else is being worked on for rehabilitation.

  3. “Porky’s are Us”. This is where the pounds keep on coming. These are the guys who now believe they are Master Chefs. Turning that bologna sandwich into a steak or making apple pies like it is going out of style. Of course, the problem with this is, exercise is not on the chef’s menu.

  4. “Pump it Up”. This trait is a tricky maneuver. Most guys are still sharing that 4 x 12 space which means timing is everything. We make water bags for weights, use the sink for our back arms, and try to sweat away the pounds in the corner.


As for myself, I cannot tell a lie, I’ve experienced all 4 of these traits. Thankfully, I only kept 2: studying like crazy and got to get my pump on. Even to my surprise, I’m finding myself being able to dig deeper than I thought was ever possible. That just goes to show you the work never ends and if you keep believing, the payoff is priceless.

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