Outbreak at San Quentin

July 24, 2020
Three men in masks in front of San Quentin State Prison.

As the Coronavirus outbreak overwhelms San Quentin State Prison, one incarcerated person, Chanthon Bun, is awaiting his release on parole. Bun tries to protect himself from the virus, while incarcerated first responders and cleaning crews attempt to treat those who are collapsing and stop the spread of COVID-19. In this episode, we hear first-hand accounts from incarcerated people inside San Quentin trying to survive the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

This story contains graphic content, listener discretion is advised.

At the time of this recording, 13 people from San Quentin have died due to coronavirus, bringing the total number of lives lost in California prisons to 40. Our hearts go out to them and theirs, sincerely.

Find out how you can support people on the inside with care packages and more at Prison University Project.

Chanthon Bun is a producer now living on the outside. Greg Eskridge and Thanh Tran are both multimedia journalists currently incarcerated at San Quentin. Checkout Uncuffed and First Watch for more of their work. Rasheed Lockheart, who narrated this piece, works with Planting Justice, a food and social justice organization empowering those impacted by incarceration. Many thanks to Ant, Eric Phillips, and Alex Simon for sharing their stories from the inside as well.

Special thanks to James King from the Ella Baker Center and Adnan Khan from Restore Justice.

Produced by Pat Mesiti-Miller and Ninna Gaensler-Debs

Original score by Pat Mesiti-Miller

Artwork by Teo Ducot

Producer Credit: Pat Mesiti-Miller and Ninna Gaensler-Debs
Original Score: 
Pat Mesiti-Miller
Teo Ducot