Washington Prisons Without Visitation Due to COVID-19   by    Ruth Utnage

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began this spring Washington prisons were forced to temporarily stop outside visitors from coming in. This move made sense to most of us because the only way for an inmate to contract COVID initially is from the outside. But there has been consequences for us as inmates due to no visits.

For many of us visitations with our families acts as a grounding rod for the lightning strikes of emotion we sometimes feel, they help dissipate the intensity we feel of this place, reintroduce normality back to us. It’s small things like clothes with color. Shoes, perfumes, behaviors that we cannot display anywhere else…like hugs. Do you have any idea how cruel it is to command a human being they cannot touch another human being? Do you have any clue what that does over a 10 year period? In visits we can touch another human. No visits equals no human contact. No human contact is VICIOUS.

As a woman (you can call me trans if you want, but I’m a chick) I require touch. Us women are tactile creatures with empathic brains and we soothe ourselves and others through acts involving touch, its how we socialize and its important. At a women’s prison the women are allowed to do things that involve touch, like hug. At a men’s prison this is not allowed and since I am trans and housed at a men’s prison I am technically not allowed to touch at all.

In short…THIS SUCKS!

I need to see my loved ones face to face, HUG them and see the words “I love you” flow from their mouths into my empty reservoir that should be full of small things like “I love you” and the feelings of small gestures like a light touch on my shoulder from someone who is letting me know “you are real, I am real, we exist, you exist”.

We need visits back…

With Love
Ruth Utnage
(For interviews or media inquiries please contact me directly!)

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage