« Reveal

COVID-19 in Confinement

2020-09-19 | 🔗

At a time when self-isolation is the best way to avoid the pandemic, we examine two places where people have no choice but to live with strangers: nursing homes and prisons. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I want to tell you about a new bi weekly podcast from the PBS Science Series, Nova that is diving into the science behind the headlines, enjoying journalist in position I'll look Patel behind the scenes with the scientists and engineers technologists mathematicians and more working to better understand our world. It's no more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and fine science based answers to the most pressing, questions of our time, so listen to Nova. Now today, on apple podcast casts Spotify sticker wherever you get your pod From the centre for investigative reporting, MP are ex, this is reveal. I'm Allison more lives in Maryland, she's a career development coach but she's also had a second job. For the past ten years as a remote caregiver for her mom, Meta Carry has been writing about their intense relationship to
strong willed women who clash a lot but love each other deeply. She wants to make it into a book after what happened in the past few years. She has new title and I think I am change the name to call the front desk. I really fun using dark comedy an antidote for me, call the front desk it's. What carries mom would ask her to do it. Was this constant, please, you ve got to call the front desk pleased. It is one favor, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry through you go Anita, moved into an assisted living facility and vulgar Raton Florida. Whenever something was wrong, she typically try to get help herself. But when it didn't arrive, should call carry at home in Maryland. Every time you know. Why see that my phone in the come on we're the let me name, I thought it's either
she's calling me or a member of the staff calling me that she is in trouble when carry couldn't pick up Benita would leave voice mills, hundreds of them you're, probably could refer knowing car and reprogramming wandered to hear these calls to be urgent, I'm scared in pain. I need someone to come clean meal and sometimes I'm just lonely are you're, not peering, my roundworm, nobody here at the moment, and that is why I wonder how you are tat. I am really very, are really are their way out to talk you get on your scaring, learn Queen where the end of a pandemic summer, millions of cases were nearing two hundred thousand deaths in the. U S and a disproportionately high number of them
Have been in nursing homes in present places where people live under one roof with lots of strangers. The pandemic has hit communities of color, especially hard and with nursing homes. Some research suggests those with mostly black residents have higher death rates reveals Elizabeth Children has been investigating why nursing homes have been hit so hard across the board and finds that the pandemic made an old problem even worse. For much of her life. Anita limber was ahead. Turning beauty, she played tennis into her sixties. She loved sailing and going to the beach she had her house. Custom built in gated community and Boca Raton, her daughter says even into her eighties, look still mattered to her a lot be Stafford, Strafford Court. Lovingly referred to harass, diva, Anita every morning she had the routine put on
a wig but on the make up jewellery everything ways just so. And then, when she was ready to meet her public, they wheels her into the lobby and there she sat ready to play car there being go, eat meals in the dining room with other residents or go to physical therapy Anita, moved into Stratford in twenty seventeen, because she heard through the grapevine that they had a great in house, rehab centre. Had been in a wheelchair for several years after a need surgery and she thought if she moved their she'd walk again. That hasn't happened yet, so she needed lots of help from staff including changing her adult diapers she'll sitting here the shambolic generic I'm sending in
and this is why, when asked about meters, they are dish that thing you can't just sit in a web pull up or a soiled pull up, and unfortunately, she was ripe for infections and was frequently going to the hospital where she would have to reside for several days up to more than a week on ideas. Antibiotics boy, I'm sorry carry legally and me sorry for you and everyone, urinary tract factions or you t eyes, can be deadly. They can get into the bloodstream and cause organ failure and these red and nursing homes on unsanitary, linens or when staff don't wash hands between patients at Stratford Court and needed just kept getting them for years,
why we learn? Why are you doing there were my life life done? Eric Carry new Stratford, wasn't a five star facility she'd seen those, but she thought it was above average and it is according to Medicare ratings, except when it came to infer Jeanne Control, they weren't doing what they were supposed to deficiency in two nineteen. Can you read that provide appropriate care for residents who are continent or in I set up a video call with carry so I can show or some federal inspection reports there posted on mine. They show that for years, Stratford has violated infection control requirements.
Looting: failing to protect patients from urinary tracked infections right well, that would certainly track with my personal experience and here, what's this one say have a program that investigates controls and keep infection from spreading inspector cited, failures to meet these requirements three years in a row, twenty seventeen to twenty nineteen twenty, but the government didn't find them. I see the king, her head. What is what are you thinking? I find that, both here and unacceptable as a family member who goes by that Do you no harm creed? That's what we a line had sought were expecting if they ve been cited, numerous times, then why was there no oversight to see if proper measures had been instituted? That would be my question.
For hate. Unfortunately, deficiencies in the practices that nursing homes of four infection control were widespread and persistent. Across multiple years, John Diccon investigated infection control at nursing homes across the country for the government Accountability Office, a non partisan congressional agency. He says these infection control problems were chronic way before the pandemic. Remove them were boost things like not sanitizing equipment or not washing hands when staff for working directly with residence. Other things could be staff displaying symptoms of of being sick, or not having proper protective equipment. We had exam poles of nursing homes that we're not isolating appropriately residents when they were exposed or confirm to have an infection inspectors. Can these types of problems at more than eight
percent of nursing homes in recent years, half of nursing her had violations multiple years in a row, but there were hardly any consequences. Regulators and define less than two percent of the time This was the state of nursing homes when the corona virus arrived in the? U S and late, fair, worry, carry went to visit her mom Stratford Court in Florida, and I remember you know, being em hotel room and starting to hear the report's out of Washington now a nursing home the sinner of concern over put she'll quota virus outbreak, the CDC investigating after a staff member and resident tested positive with more than fifty others, quarantine, showing simply health officials visuals current coming to the facility, the very next day, as they often get they had, big social gathering in these entertainers who were there
singing, and I saw my mother and she was jamming to the music one of the first things that happen. While we were there listening to them, was there was a gentleman off to the corner and key was coughing and it was a fairly productive car. It was a car like, oh my god, carry rest over to a staff member to ask what they were doing to protect residents from the corona virus. She was told not to worry just wash your hands. But throughout the visit, so much of a needle life struck carriers risky with the pandemic on the way carry clear, you remember the day she left her mom was in the dining room, full of residents visiting family members and staff, and I stood there in the hallway for several minutes, just looking at her and I wanted to memorize the scene because I knew I would not be seeing her again. I just knew it
Within a few days, Anita had another urinary, tracked infection and was back in the hospital She was well enough to go back to Stratford. She went up to the nursing home floor. Not her normal room. A couple days later carry got a call from Stratford. I just wanted to inform you that there is evidence of covered on the property and of us he's instituting lockdown measures. I knew it was I was really devastated there was no indication Anita had covered but carry knew how vulnerable her mom was and she felt helpless because of pandemic. She didn't want to fly to Florida, and even if she did, she wouldn't be allowed into Stratford. She had to try The facility would protect her mom. I had mom question I do think positively about the future. Let's just think
getting better. Let's just adopts a positive, I sat even in the midst of all. The unknown right. We all are dealing with ongoing, so she said to me who the hell do you think you are Billy Gram? Don't play life coach with me do that with your clock at first messages from Stratford manager, assured residence and families that they were well prepared for the corona virus. Later messages listed precautions, they were taking like requiring masks for staff and patience and isolating patients with symptoms.
But as the weeks passed, carry didn't like what she was saying on the video chat with her mom, I saw a rapid deterioration of her condition. She just was starting to prevent far more lethargic, just off really no idea, you really know what my name is now I don't even know what my name is right now, Anita saying during their next video call, carry couldn't make out anything Anita said she was well over the wheelchair hanging there I was. I wanted to reach three the screen and physically, like tell her in the other direction, and I was so incense I was well. Around the room. My husband thought I was gonna have a stroke myself pleading for someone to help her
she was drawing. She was in such poor shape. I was beside myself and the following morning carry got the call she'd been dreading and staff. Member told me that she was taken to the house, but all she was running a fever. Her blood pressure was low and she was experiencing shortens the grass a doktor at the hospital left, carry a voicemail later that day been admitted with, as I know, the corona virus and on he's doing ok, he hasn t her, but her oxygen. Aubrey evil. The federal government didn't require nursing homes to report cover cases and deaths until May, since they started keeping
nursing homes have reported more than three hundred and forty five thousand residents confirmed or suspected of getting cove it and more than fifty three thousand of them died well tower. The company that own Strafford destinations biggest donor of senior housing com since at least sixty seven are nursing homes, Walter hasn't made public the number of deaths at its facilities, but Didn't analysis of federal data and found about half of Well tower nursing homes had covered deaths. Three hundred Thirty nine, as at the end of August, well Tower refused, reveals many requests for interviews, but in a call with investors. Last month, one executive said cases and deaths were way down the number I am not speaking. It was fully white. They had back in April. Nay, when one of the operators will blindsided
Obviously we all blind cited by covered, but should they have been like the rest of it? train nursing homes did not have enough ppp and tests. Still federal law requires nursing homes to have plans for a pandemic, and for decades regulators have pushed facilities to improve infection control data day. That responsibility falls to caregivers. Like Marie Repressive, remember anything bad lived, so you have to feed them. There has. Of course you do. Everything for the patient Murray has worked for eleven years. Has a certified nursing assistant at a South Florida nursing home like many care Rivers in that area, she's from Haiti, Murray hasn't gotten covered nineteen, but she's watched colleagues gets
and says: there's no way to stay six feet or even six inches from patients. We how one on prior guy, because it is obviously be they refused to give us a tv. That's why he's We were able to confirm that a staffer died of covert, but not how she caught. It worry worries she lose her job for speaking out. So we're not giving her last name or the name of the nursing home where she works. She made. Eleven dollars an hour and supports a family, her view, because I have to go to work for Greece clear because they don't give you probably Pv Murray, says workers like her deserve better
treatment, experts say residents and staff should be tested. Often and staff should be given gloves gowns I protection and masks, but Marie says she sometimes has to wait. Two weeks for a fresh mask fool. You guarded really bad feeling. Margaret merit is a vice president of a union that represents more than eight thousand nursing, Homeworkers and South Florida. She says more than TAT thousand of them, have gotten covert. Five have died from it, Margarets as caregivers, don't get enough training and aren't kept in the loop about covered cases we feel have one gives you suppose you have meaning with your walkers what we did not have that everything secret to the workers, most of the people she represents are women of color, so our most of the people doing the same job across the country. Poor pay and love the benefits mean they have to work, no matter what and that puts them,
and everyone around them at risk. After only a few days in the hospital and neither was discharged to Stratford coded Isolation wing doctors told carry the nursing home could handle everything that Anita needed, but carry was concerned. And rightly so, within a few days and needs I was getting worse and she was moved to hospice. Thank God I was able to face time with my mom at De Hospice facility. It was a gift, is painful as it was to see her in her final moments and may third Anita died. She was eighty four I wanted to talk with. Stratford courts manage. Company, but instead they responded with an email. They said they significantly expanded their infection
troll programme during the pandemic and since then, inspectors have not found deficiencies. Federal data shows that during Covin Stratford, nursing homes section has had about thirty patients at any. Given time. Seven have died from the virus night staff. Members got it too, but none died. All across the country sing. Homes are still in crisis. After a dip. This summer, new covered. Mrs started surgeon nursing home residents, make up more than a quarter of all covered related deaths. I think is a national tragedy. I think could have been avoided that I believe to my soul. It could have been avoided Carry has a beach home in Delaware in August on her birthday sheet.
On some comforting, music and opened a large box holding her moms ashes lack of all around. And she found several spots to scan Mom's ashes near a sailboat and that an old style covered well at a park with a sign that reads: fountain of youth ok mom, you always aspired to drink from the fountain of youth. I thank you. For quite some time. You figured out the recipe,
actually, I think, when you were born the gods and goddesses were serving up helpings of the beauty Jean. They invited you back four seconds in thirds anti, we can rest in peace. Our story was from reveals Elisabeth children. Over the past few months, the federal government has been sending straw teams of experts to nursing homes with big covert nineteen outbreaks. They still running a lot of infection control problems and the government has find thousands of facilities and last month,
it started a new nation, wide training programme for controlling infections, like nursing homes, prisons are supposed to have protocols for stopping the spread of illness, for which over nineteen things then go. According to plan can you were. We need help call my family, let alone or die, and they got us locked in. Your would be. Would have covered nineteen or we'll catch it? Please we're die and help us Doyle. When we come back, you listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting in p ex this is reveal a malleson when the pandemic, it one of the scariest
to be was under one roof with strangers. Unable to control Will you come in contact with precarious? it was a nursing home for Chad marks. It was prison. I was thinking man. I hope I make it out here. I have been in prison for seventeen and have years I knew but my time was probably very short and things went my way. Chad was locked up in a federal prison in Lexington Kentucky my biggest fear was that man I had done all this time and I might die in prison, and then where I was at, we didn't have any case for three weeks. Then we had two cases them within days. We had over three hundred. It was that There are a hundred and twenty two federal prisons and by late March, the risk of a massive outbreak of covert nineteen was so theories that attorney general, William BAR directed officials to take action attorney general They embark, ordered prisons, hard hit with corona virus cases to increase early release programmes
moving more, it was a move that surprised alot of people. Nicole Louis, is
order with the nonprofit newsroom the marshal project. They ve been tracking the spread of covert nineteen in the prison system and the coal. How big of a challenge was it for the prison system to move people out I'd, say very big? Directing prisons to release people is one thing doing something different. The federal bureau of prisons is notorious for its bureaucracy. It's not part of their m o to let prisoners go early, so we knew it was going to be difficult. So prisons are packed with thousands of people who see long sentences, illnesses going back to the push to get tough on crime and even before Colvin there's been a lot of talk in Washington about how to get some people out. That's right and there have been efforts by both the Trump and Obama administrations to commute sentences and give some prisoners early release, people who are low risk and who the system two sides have been rebuilt, heated and there's been some progress
but there are still about a hundred and fifty five thousand people in federal prisons and thousands of petitions for clemency that are pretty much collecting dust. One of the problems is that there is no parole and a federal system, so people can earn their way to early release and the programme designed to send sicker dying people home known as compassionate release. Well, it's really used so with the pandemic. It seems like the perfect, but to step things up right, there's no real way to socially distance in prison. So as the corona virus was spreading, it seem pretty straightforward to move low risk and elderly and makes out. But I was hearing complaints from families and from prisoners at the process, wasn't working so to understand what was going on. I decided to focus on two federal prisoners. Both were victim on drug charges and got really long sentences. One of them is the man we just heard from Chad Marks, but I'm going to begin.
With Byron Miller, he's fifty three originally from Saint Louis and he's in another federal prison in Kentucky and for the past month we ve been talking over the phone. How you doin Gonorrhea great Gregory, so by will end up in prison. Well, let's go back tonight in any form Byron, selling, crack and Saint Louis. He had a prior drug offence for when he was in college, then he gets busted by the feds. I spoke to his daughter, Jessica from her home in Georgia, where things like. Ok zeal, so long ass. The disease still doorway used vendor. So you know show any of the best if he just showed us like the greatness of him. But when we went to court we ve found out, otherwise, so Byron ends up getting twenty four years in prison for drug trafficking remembers sitting in the courtroom an age six when the judge him
down Byron sentence. She thought he was talking about. Twenty four days like other members them, but at the time my mother just burst out crying and here literally went down a spiral They're, like it's worth, noting that at the time the law impose different sentences for different forms of cocaine, with crack acquiring a much stiffer penny me and that ended up sending a lot of black people to prison and disproportionately longer sentences firing got another drug charge soon after he arrived in prison, so he was facing forty one years. Whatever's necks the years go by Byron roles in a bunch of rehabilitation programmes. He conversed Islam he's. Doing so. Well, then, he's moved to a low security camp this feeling remorse for what he put his family through the door.
Are you going to let the family girl You know my play with regard to indicate a mild children and when the endemic kids, whatever is the virus. At this point, barons dad is really sick. He been diagnosed with cancer, his family to side to move him to the hospital. Then his mom gets coated so he's very. Worried about his family. Around the same time, Byron gets worried that he might be able to finish the rest of the sentence at home under the Justice Department's directive to come pick you up We always put everything like ever. The paperwork. Everything in my name was being also money really are getting me an image we looked at each other like this is really happening.
At. This point covered, isn't a big problem environs prison, but its sweeping through another federal prison in Kentucky FM, see Lexington, that's where Chad Marxist- and this is the guy we heard from the top right and, as I said, Chad serving long sentence for a drug conviction and also gun possession at this point he's forty one, but, unlike Byron, he convinced a judge to cut his sentence in half. So when covert ninety heads Chad's about thirty seven days away from getting up, so I lock self. In myself, it was important that I see my mother again. I had a bunch of were so stuff and my locker sat was eaten soup for about three weeks those little Raymond Noodle soups, and I just tried to avoid people it was important to see my mother was important to me to get out of prison but its prison. There is really no place to hide. Eventually, Chad has to come out of his cell to eat. We have three hundred people for housing in it and what they do is Linus up like cattle. We would be within not either
foot from each other in a line walking down the steps and picking up trays from officers so was dangerous. It wasn't just dangerous at the prison Chad's as a housing unit right next to his became death trap. We have people over there scream another window to us because they weren't allowed use the phone. My computer anything- and discrimination. You are. We need call my family. Let him know we're die and they got us locked in your would be, but have covered nineteen or we'll catch it These were die and help us. Eight inmates eventually die from the virus at the federal prison in Lexington. The first was a man named one matter. Motto was older hispanic gentlemen, Delano leather work in their pretty nice guy, he had a beaten cancer. Thing in seamen. Church. Every Sunday used always talk about a situation like two years left on an island drug offence,
Oh, he was denied home, can finally ended up Darya Senegal, how many prisoners got the virus and how many died so far about a hundred and twenty one thousand people in prison got Covin, please state and federal prisoners, but that number is likely an undercurrent, because so few prisons actually did widespread testing. In some cases they stop testing altogether after their first outbreak but we do know that by early September more than a thousand people in prison have died or prison samples of have protocols for a crisis like this, so it doesn't spread so massive. Well, they do have a lot of procedures they're supposed to follow, but at the marshal project we found it's been very uneven. They moved quickly to bar people from visiting prisons and sent prisoners into lockdown, meaning people were basically locked into their cells, but we found that they also kept the prison industries running. That's where prisoners make things
licence plates and staff, ignored or minimize prisoner symptoms, and, as we heard from Chad, they also mixed the sick and the healthy together So what happens? The Chad marks his thirty seven is go by and he makes it out safely and now that he's out he's trying to help others who were stuck inside by filing motions for compassionate release while he was incarcerated, he became something of a jailhouse lawyer, so my passion comes from the fact that people are over incarcerated. People are over sentence. I understand there has to be punishment, but I think the punishment should fit the crime. Okay, so check it out. What about Byron Miller so is barons waiting to be released? His dad is moved from a hospital back home he's clearly dying I'm on my way- and I can't believe I'm gonna comic speedier saying how can you get asked me what you gonna come when you gonna come a week,
baby. I'm on my way- and I just got a pervasive gonna- do I'll get there could be a little spot toil and then I told him, There may be always told me: I will show you don't owe me away good, ultimately, prison denies barons bid for home confinement and they give two reasons they're saying he's not at a higher risk for contract encoded and his plan would have him quote: reside with vulnerable population, in other words, his father saw let me get this straight. One reason they deny Byron. Is it even though he's healthy? They think he might put his father at risk, even though his father's dying of cancer that's right now and just a few, after Byron gets this denial letter, his father goes into hospice and, a week later, his dad is dead.
So barons still in prison how's he doing while he's heartbroken he's already been through a lot so far he hasn't gotten sick, but for me, his case were really highlights how there's little compassion for low risk prisoners serving long sentences. I talk the Chad marks about how the Europe prisons or the BP handled barons case. You didn't get to spend time with his father in the stages of his life. The BNP could certainly done if he was white. What would have happened I think that it's a sad day that the BP does stuff, like that, it's not, The truth is that I was not rooted in the truth. Can you now you just think about like it so permanent the death? There's no do over it. Isn't it back. That's the problem that we have non violent drug offenders been in prison for twenty five years, once the real Imitation is done. Why are they still sitting in prison? Wire taxpayer still footing the bill to keep people in prison that don't need to be there?
I mean once the rehabilitation it's been done. What is their left again? Nothing, but punishment suffer it's wrong. In the end. How many low risk prisoners actually made it home under the attorney general's directive mean how many got out. As far as we can tell very few. In April, half of one per cent of all federal prisoners were found. Eligible for home confinement, and these decisions seem to be arbitrary. It all depends on how officials interpret the attorney general criteria are prisoners at risk of contracting Cobain? Are they risk of dying a contract the virus. Would they put the community at risk if they got out its caused? A lot of confusion. We ve heard from families that prison administrators sent people to quarantine to prepare for going home only to be sent back to their cells. Elinor diverted something chaired Mark said he so that race might be a factor in who gets release. What do we know about that? So prison is a place where racial disparities are well document.
But when it comes to covet in prison, there's just so much. We don't know, we don't know how race or ethnicity affect the number of cases or deaths and real early release is there is a huge question about regional specialities. We don't have answers to these questions, because the Bureau of prisons hasn't made their data public and we ve been asking for it. They did send us a statement, basically a form letter. It said the bureau is quote, proceeding expedition, We with sending people to home confinement so who is ultimately responsible for this. It's a great question and it's a hard one to answer the families and in prison are extremely upset and concerned. Many have told me that there are also very frustrated because they kick it basic information from the prisons about their loved ones. And you know lawmakers in Washington. I worried to several senators, have asked the inspector general to look into how the bp handled the virus and one of the first things they found
Was it a federal prison in California, where nine hundred people tested positive, but only eight were released to home confinement is, is a case of who you know, for example, prison, tromp, grinning, clemency to Roger Stone and Transformer camp indirect Nepal? Man afford was sent home in the middle of the pandemic, despite not meaning criteria for home confinement? Absolutely and critics of the BP aren't surprised by this. The federal system operates like a fiefdom the present and is at the top. He has a certain amount of discretion about who can get out. The less well connected prisoners have to contend with there wardens who have a great deal of power indiscretion as well as we saw with Byron Miller's case. They can refuse to send people home and ignore directives from Washington Nicole Louis as Rapporteur, with the marshal project. Nicole Thank you. So much for talking to us you're welcome our next talking here
When we come back, we have the store of one man who is just released from prison. The first thing he did was joined the fight against the pandemic. That's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal a reality. I'm a story is about a man who went from life in prison to life, as an essential worker. As a teenager, humanity. Randal was sent to prison for life for kidnapping and armed robbery after spending twenty
for years in California, presents a parole board, approved his release, citing the progress he'd made behind bars just a few months ago that out hush where work and he started keeping the dire If so, it's on a cell phone second day, it's saudi love in every bit of key money got a job right away. Working inside a tourist hotel in San Francisco, except there aren't any tourist around the hotel, is being used to house some of the city's homes population and protect them from the corona vibes Planet p Maloney is one of hundreds of formerly incarcerated people who now emergency covert, shelters crossed the city reveals,
Michael Montgomery, spend time with key money to see what it's like to be a new life, helping people in them of a pandemic key monies typical morning, routine, get up at four thirty at a halfway house in Oakland, grab a quick breakfast and jump. The train to his job across the Bay focus Where were we write down town San Francisco mawkish Street, we're working towards your hotel, officially called site, can cite tat right site, and is a hotel with a marble. Entryway ornate chandelier you no kind of fancy. It was swarming with tourists before the pandemic. Now the guy are people who were living on the streets or in cars or in crowded shelters. We have egg Correction of architects are met. People who just was tired of paying bills and just wanted to explore.
And came out here and ended up homeless. The who, Hell we're Khamenei works is run by a nonprofit called five keys that runs programmes inside it side prisons, it's one of twenty eight tells the city is leasing at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. People working like Khomeini, are required to follow tight protocols to protect the names of the locations in the privacy of the people living here. Commodities job title is ambassador. He calls himself a fee. Whatever needs to be done, I do it's like if a hotel key the card that you put in the door, if that don't work on the floor, is called cuz, he got the hard key to every room in a hotel. This morning were far Keith. Only dollar wellness shag reporters aren't allowed in any of the city shelters. So Khamenei made this recording himself on the job at one of five.
Keys locations I love about wellness, changes that and give you an opportunity to become for me with the gas and allowed again to become familiar with you occasion, He runs into familiar faces among staff and the gas noisy room at the shelter he spots me. He remembers from fulsome prison. He is my boy. For many many years, a real good do real, smart and vision when us I am a litter. The man's name is Michael quarter, is fifty and has been living here for several months, I mean I could go stay with my family, but I don't want to be a burden on my family. I've taken enough from you they've, given so much to me. While I was locked up The term, MR, do almost an emergency Michael Tills, commodity, that after he got out of prison, he finished barber college and even found occasional work. But save up enough to afford a place to stay for dinner,
play the Weeknd on the job, forty plus hours a weekend on a job. Yet it's still not enough. Does one of the things that are bankers I don't want to go to my family needed cuz, I'm a man and I went to prison as a teenager. I might as a man. Don't nobody want to be a action? You know for help. Forty two years on commodity works six days a week at twenty dollars an hour, that's enough to make it at least while he's living at the halfway house for the next few months and he says he's grateful for the job. It feels like a natural fit what're? We lay today struggle
in more ways than one not just because I ve been a prison, but also because, as a teenage before I was in prison, I was also homeless. You know, so I bring about assess of cohesiveness and understand but most importantly, bring about their love. For you know, I'll have a good day today. Banks that GMO Forest project more forest tight check out. Right day, ashes beautiful. You can talks a lot about love and compassion and how we can make a difference in people's lives to understand his outlook. Today, you ve gotta go back to his time in prison, for years. He was moved from one bleak lock up to the next places it offered little in the way of
the obliteration in his words human warehouses. It was hard He struggled with his anger, then in twenty eleven, and he was transferred to San Quentin State prison. We says in coin is like a college. It was like college. Does he took advantage of extensive classes and self help groups? that earned the prison national recognition and that's how I first met came. It was twenty four in and I was at San Quentin- to record a restorative justice programme run by the insight prison project which is now part of five keys. Deep breath went in in a large classroom overlooking one of the prison yards. I found combining dressed in gray, sweats sitting in a circle with nine other men, mostly lifers exhale. They were exploring the trauma they experienced as kids and how that
impacted them and the choices they made that led them to prison and one sure recording a view that are made back at San Quentin. It's real, the intense, so I want to make sure it's. Ok, if I play some of it. All I did at audio. I wanted to What come on. He thinks of all this today. Now that he's out of prison and working in a warning, their strong language in this tape. I stayed up all night. You know right this cuz, I repressed Astoria, about this forget about this, but let tells the group a story. It was his first. Kindergarten. He got his clothes dirty and his mother, lashed out we arrived at the house, my mother, started drinking at all small incorrect Ok, what's. My mother NASH made me something to eat and we now have location. I remember saying
you ain't shit, mother, Father store the black ass I hate you get on my face, the other men sit quietly as key money talks about the years of physical and emotional abuse he suffered before he was. To a group home at age. Eleven We call the fear. I felt in my stomach get the time from her telling me I better not cry as he finished, reading the letter he's emotional. Still trying to make says are a woman can do a fire, your gear, like then yeah, I'm still dealing with their right now In fact, in my life Fatima relationships. You know that made me create these subpersonalities personalities to be harmless fearless. You know to make other people feel well
Do I my mother, yeah, I to do what I know I'm a man on it. A little boy. No more. Feels a letter army. What are you really feel him right now, I'm feeling a man, I'm feelin joy, for that I was able to let that I'll die was upon him. I m process. All I knew I had to be courageous and utilise that circle to support me, because for many years that story, I told myself never tail on never tell nobody'd is oh, they won't even understand tat. You know in plus I don't wanna be looked at different.
Come on. He says he took everything he learned about himself in prison and he uses today it is job at the hotel most employ he says is how to now a trauma as our working these places. I see young people, young people who have in Lille thirty years. What of trauma. You would think that Fifty years on as trauma plays out differently among the hotel guess, but one of the biggest Ireland is, he seen has been drug use com? and other staff carry the anti overdose medication, nor can wherever they go in just a few weeks ago They help save the life of a resident, who'd overdosed Kommeni struggled himself with addiction as a so when guesser in crisis, he gets it channel sure everything is all right on a moment.
Men had lost break I'm coming back from launching I see one of them This is a long familiar witness stays in all tail you're right now. I looking a little down a little confused No, I just felt there was a need to be able to talk to Hamas. As so many other people just walk past. You know he was gone to summon all sign in and I immediately felt in my heart to stop it toy we are about digs, is no disarm, is warranted and others. You know where this fool, where this shopping Dixon isn't Dixon. I know body no better than you
You know it's all right for you to have you know we ve been here before we know I go now. At that time. He was vulnerable. You know somebody came and took money from me. You know they I could it came in, and envy mob. You know and stuff like that. So it was my duty today. I am back to his room safe and that's what I was doin after spending more than two decades in prison. Commodity just beginning to work towards some of his other goals he still wear in ankle, monitor and has three more years until he gets off parole, he's trying to reconnect with his daughters and grandchildren. He wants to find his own apart, and move out of the halfway house still in the middle of the biggest health crisis in his lifetime he's glad to have a role.
You and I have known each other actually going six years. That's a long time. What would you say are the most important things about yourself for other people to know the most. Important thing about me: is there I'm helping this hill and processing me how to love myself I mean society now and I'm love in every bit about me because I had to do work on myself to get here. Oh don't hold onto to that. The work here. He's doing, does carry risk. Twelve of his colleagues have gotten the virus as well as for Teen guess living in shelters operated by five keys, but there have been no deaths and overall San Francisco officials report progress contained
The spread of the virus among the city's vulnerable homes population That's only from reveals, Michael Montgomery. He was also the Lee producer on today. Show lost our chaskey talk. You telling me this and Brett Myers Edit, the show thanks to reveals data, editor Sue, oh for her work on the nursing homes story, special thanks it a shared and Roof Baldwin from the Marshal project. The journalism nonprofit that covers the criminal justice system their nets gives our general council and our production managers and achieve a meaning score and said designed by the dynamic do o J Breezy, Mr Jim Briggs, if Nando my manual Aruba that help this week from a Mustafa offer our sea always Christa sharper bet Thomson as our editor in chief and our executive producers Kevin solving our feet music is by comrade lightning support for reveals.
How, by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John Dene Catherine T Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Heising Simons Foundation. The democracy fund and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of this four investigative reporting. Mp are Ex I'm Alison and remember. There is always more to the story.
Transcript generated on 2020-09-19.