In prison, having a cellmate you get along with is a rarity, but for Anthony Ehlers and James Scott, who have been cellmates for nearly five years at Stateville Correctional Center, they were one another’s family.
“He and I were a big odd couple to be best friends,” Ehlers, 48, wrote in a letter about Scott.
“Guys used to make fun of us. We didn’t care. I’m sure it was kind of weird, he was a short, bald, dark-skinned Black guy, and I am tall, and very white. But, we were inseparable.”
In March, when Ehlers felt body aches, a sore throat, dry cough and a loss of smell and taste, he worried he had been infected with COVID-19, and worse, that Scott would get sick too. He was right.
While Ehlers survived the virus, Scott did not.
Raul Dorado, 41, said when he first saw fellow prisoners exhibiting symptoms, the prison was not yet on lockdown.
“I noticed that many more than usual were sick,” wrote Dorado, who has been at Stateville since 2000. “Some said things like, I don’t know what the hell this is, but it’s kicking my ass!”
“I feel fragile, like a porcelain plate slipping out of a child’s hand,” wrote Dorado about his mental state. “Disposable, like a bent spork.”