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Here I am at SCI-Fayette, PA, on quarantine! Why am I on quarantine you might ask? Anyone who leaves the prison for any reason (in most cases) or who comes into the prison must be placed on a mandatory 14 days quarantine.

Simple right? Just do the 14 days and be done with it right? Wrong.

For reasons I have yet to understand the staff here treat you as if you have just come out of the hole. As if quarantine is a punishment for something you did that you were unaware of. Quarantine takes place on B-Block in this jail. While on quarantine you are only permitted 20-30 minutes max out of your cell for a quick shower and a phone call. Kiosk privileges are not permitted.

This left me scratching my head. Now back to why I am on quarantine in the first place, I left the jail to go to the hospital to get a cat scan on my right shoulder. I have been dealing with right shoulder pain a while. But that’s irrelevant.

While on quarantine you are also not allowed to receive commissary, only order it. Another head scratcher for me. Let’s see, what else? You are not permitted to clean your cell with any chemicals or a broom. Or in other words, all the things you can use to clean your cell.

Also if you leave your door open when you come out of your cell for the allotted 20-30 minutes, a C.O. will ransack your cell attempting to look for any excuse to justify his intrusion. It may sound ridiculous but I can’t make this up.

Now, on to the positives of quarantine. I have some free time to sit down and write this lovely piece on the quarantine process at SCI-Fayette. I have tons of down time to catch up on my Accounting studies. Oh, and lastly I have nothing but time to sit here in my cozy cell, all alone and ask myself this one question: “Why didn’t I turn down that medical visit?!”

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Manuel Pagan Jr. is a writer, father and passionate musician. His music can be found on Apple Music and other online platforms under his artist name “Zona.” He is incarcerated in Pennsylvania.