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COVID-19: Dispatches from Sing Sing

Sing Sing Prison (AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

John J. Lennon is a contributing editor for Esquire and a contributing writer for The Marshall Project. He is serving a sentence of 28-years-to-life in Sing Sing prison. For Esquire, he reports on how Sing Sing has been preparing the prison facility for the virus from among a population for whom social distancing isn’t possible.

Sing Sing is on the east bank of the Hudson River, in Westchester County. Behind a thirty-foot wall, 1600 of us live in close quarters on open-tier cellblocks stacked four or five floors high. In here, there is no such thing as “social distancing.”

Look down the phone line at any prison in America, and you’ll see prisoners holding socks. When it’s you’re your turn, you pull the sock over the handset. Lately, some guys have brought nasal-spray bottles filled with bleach and water, which they use to wipe everything down. A primitive form of preventative health.

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