The Other Pandemic

By Tim Pauley

COVID-19 in prison is quite different than most people might expect. Prison is literally designed to pack the maximum amount of people into a minimum amount of space. Washington has had trouble with the courts in the past for being overzealous in that regard. Even in the absence of deadly disease, this tends to create danger where none need exist.

Of course, when the pandemic hit, this was not mentioned. Instead we heard scare stories about the potential ‘early release’ of a notorious spree killer who is serving 6 consecutive life without parole sentences that were imposed barely ten years ago. a story so ridiculous it’s amazing anyone took it seriously. But they did.

This particular scare campaign was engineered by an unscrupulous person, probably a government official, who contacted the victims of Isaac Zamora, the aforementioned spree killer, a person who is absolutely never going to be released from prison. Yet when Columbia Legal Services asked the court to reduce the prison population, not an unreasonable suggestion under the circumstances, this was the narrative foisted upon an uninformed public.

A more poignant question might be just who was it that disturbed the victims of this horrific crime and opened a somewhat fresh wound? To tell these poor people such a lie is unconscionable. When our local TV stations helped perpetrate this fraud instead of giving the public the real story, that was terrifying to those in prison amidst this pandemic.

In the posts to follow, I hope to give many examples of why COVID-19 is likely to reduce the prison population considerably in the very near future. Unfortunately that reduction will be accomplished through the deaths of prisoners, most of whom are not serving life without parole like Mr. Zamora.