Lennon’s interviews with Dino Caroselli, who was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison in 1993 after an attempted robbery and shoot-out with police, were conducted the week of March 30, in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. As of April 13, three incarcerated people in New York State prisons had died from COVID-19, and 139 had tested positive for the virus, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Among staff, 581 people had tested positive, and one had died.
This article is a collaboration between The Atlantic and The Marshall Project.
It’s late March, and I am at my table on Sing Sing’s A-block yard. I want to call my wife, but I am wary of being in a caged area, shoulder to shoulder with 23 other guys on the phone. I have my bleach and water concoction in a little earwax-remover bottle and a stack of paper towels in my pocket, ready to wipe the receiver. A paper towel covers my mouth. A big rubber band wraps around my ears, keeping it in place. Rubber gloves are on my hands. My buddy, a porter back in the cell block, provided me with the PPE.
Guards have just gotten the okay to wear masks. But we still haven’t. Yet guys cover their faces with cut-off T-shirt sleeves, scarves, handkerchiefs, whatever they can. How I see it, guards should have started wearing masks back in mid-March, when visitation and volunteer programs were canceled in all New York prisons. At that point, they were the only ones who could have brought in the virus.