Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights

October 16, 2013

by Amy Preasmyer

I am an inmate at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California. In April 2013, I and another individual were falsely accused of sexual assault and placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) immediately. I was forced to face the loss of my job assignment, property, good living quarters, placement and status in groups and organizations. I was forced to miss my scheduled final examinations for college and lost the privilege to shop, walk outside or even call home.

Chowchilla Freedom Rally 'CCWF is at 200 capacity w 4,000 people inside' 012613 by Wanda, web
This little girl and her grandmother's friend and hundreds more traveled to CCWF, California’s main women’s prison, in January for the Chowchilla Freedom Rally to demand, “Bring our loved ones home.” Their sign highlights the dreadful overcrowding at CCWF, created in order to ease crowding in the men’s prisons. The situation has not improved. – Photo: Wanda Sabir
The federally mandated Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) protocols and the complexity of its consequences turned my world upside down in seconds. ((Fire Inside’s editorial note: Enacted by Congress in 2003, PREA (P.L. 108-79) sets protocols to prevent, identify, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated or detained people in custody. PREA aims to address sexual abuse as it may occur between inmates or may be perpetrated by correctional facility staff. Grant funding is available at both the state and local level of government to implement PREA. PREA also mandates that information on rape and sexual abuse be collected and made available as part of the monitoring provision of the act. For more information, see http://nicic.gov/prea.)) This protocol has no intelligence or consideration of the law or constitutional rights that the judicial system offers and in many cases merely lacks. Through PREA, I quickly learned the cruel conditions of Ad-Seg.

This false accusation under PREA meant I was abruptly removed from my bed late in the evening to face an extended wait and then a transfer to Ad-Seg. Upon entering my newly assigned chambers at 3 a.m., I found the toilet was backed up and a DD3 (EOP) ((Fire Inside’s editorial note: EOP stands for Enhanced Outpatient Program, a program designed for inmates who are categorized as having a disability that makes it difficult for them to interact with the general population in prison but not so serious that they require inpatient care. DD3 is a designation within the EOP classification.)) had urinated everywhere prior to me, leaving extremely unsanitary conditions and aromas.

I was left with only a bedroll, a state issued muumuu and no panties. I was utterly distraught and in a mental state of haze and disorientation, not knowing the excessively degrading experience I would continue to face from that point forward.

The torture and anguish administered with each passing minute, the refusals, limitations, the sudden removal of rights and privileges, and the revisions established by prison officials reveals a clear abuse of authority and misuse of power.

CCWF Ad-Seg conditions and limitations include:

  • Inadequate (if any) legal assistance and resource access.
  • No phone access.
  • Canteen items removed from original packaging.
  • Absolutely NO educational or rehabilitation opportunities afforded.
  • No religious services.
  • No contact visits.
  • No means to properly disinfect and sanitize cells.
  • No sanitation in dayroom, hallways, and stairs even while escorts continually take place daily and frequently.
  • No efficient and proper mental health assessment, evaluation and tracking.
  • No razors to maintain feminine hygiene (30 day review).

And the list goes on.

I was subjected to this treatment for an investigation evidenced as false. I am forced to start over when thrown back into general population, and CDCr holds no accountability, doesn’t right their wrong, nothing.

They remain unaccountable and unmoved by the loss, humiliation and set-back I endured those countless days and nights. They failed to offer guidance, leadership or assistance in reinstating my original program, assignment and the positive participation within my community I was once commended for.

Further, the cost to arrest, charge, investigate and re-house us was absurd. No precautions were taken toward California’s budget and its continued economic crisis. Nonetheless, I was guilty until proven innocent, a constitutional right broken and overseen based on “protocols,” but in reality, it is because everything changes behind these walls.

I was subjected to this treatment for an investigation evidenced as false. I am forced to start over when thrown back into general population, and CDCr holds no accountability, doesn’t right their wrong, nothing.

In a world of hardened minds, poverty, misunderstandings and violence, PREA offers a tool for manipulation of the system, its institutions, and all of those within it. ((Fire Inside’s editorial note: This occurs in a context of severe overcrowding following the conversion of Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) to a men’s prison, as over a thousand women and transgender prisoners were transferred from VSPW to either CCWF or California Institute for Women (CIW) in Corona, outside of Los Angeles. CCWF is currently functioning at close to 200 percent of its design capacity.)) What is disturbing is that the woman who filed the accusation under PREA sought – and ultimately was rewarded with – a transfer to California Institute for Women (CIW), the only other institution where a woman serving a life sentence term can be housed. In addition, there was no disciplinary action for her false allegation or restitution for expenses incurred behind it.

I was sentenced as a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), and there was an enormous capacity for me to change my life as I matured from adolescence to middle age. ((Fire Inside’s editorial note: According to the ACLU, there are approximately 2,570 children sentenced to LWOP in the United States, including children sentenced as young as 13 years old. The United States is the only country in the world that sentences youth to LWOP. See https://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/juvenile-life-without-parole.)) It is unnerving that my opportunity for rehabilitation and education was jeopardized and challenged by a protocol set forth by CDCr, the very department that stands firm on their claim for rehabilitation and education.

Yet, those are among the first things denied when we are placed in Ad-Seg and hold the greatest ramifications on our future successes. These are all a result of the system’s damages.

In a world of hardened minds, poverty, misunderstandings and violence, PREA offers a tool for manipulation of the system, its institutions, and all of those within it.

Must we wait for more victims before we seek and support a change? Or is CDCr simply waiting until PREA is manipulated in a way that damages them, society’s example of law-abiding citizens?

Had this woman falsely accused an officer, would that officer have been arrested and forced to relinquish rights pending results of the investigation into the accusation? Would the employee suffer a wage loss? Would disciplinary action and consequences be rendered to the accuser once charges turned out to be baseless? Are you waiting until you have to rebuild your life or are you supporting to seek change now?

After being subjected to this methodical strategy meant to break me for a mere investigative purpose based on false allegations by another inmate later evidenced, I have chosen to embark on another journey to overcome and refuse to be their puppet or their statistic. I will not allow CDCr policies or standard operating tactics to make me stray from rehabilitation, education and future re-entry into society. As many say – that is NOT an option!

I defy the daily systematic obstacles set in place to make struggles become failures. There is no expectation of success and, through this ignorant assumption, I am empowered and influenced. What was intended to discourage has fueled the passion and participation in the Human Rights Movement for humanity and peaceful resolutions when faced with resistance behind bars and in the systems of injustice.

If we believe, we can achieve. Together we can make a difference. Support restoring lives and the need for change NOW.

Send our sister some love and light: Amy Preasmyer, X-29459, CCWF 511-19-4U, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla CA 93610. This story will appear in The Fire Inside, the newsletter of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.

 

17 thoughts on “A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights

  1. fkfde

    Prisoner Breeding Nation in World Leading Jailer Land rehearsing humanity in dictatorial surrounding for correction and rehabilitation the American Way. " Restoring lives and the need for change NOW" are heard in Tough on Crime Culture governments since at least some 30 years. Vote for Terminators.

    Reply
  2. Karma

    You gave up your rights long ago when you murdered an innocent man. You get what you deserve. Thank God you are locked up as you are a manipulative monster.

    Reply
  3. BNurr

    Funny that this person is complaining that her rights were violated. Seems she violated someones right to live and now cries about the conditions she has to endure. Too bad and so sad… you're not living in a country club.

    Reply
    1. Poor little killer

      Perfectly stated. She wants us to care about her "rights" after what she did? It certainly doesn't seem like she matured at all from the spoiled high school brat who didn't get her way and killed someone for that. Now she's complaining that they aren't spoiling her enough in prison and she's unhappy. Those conditions she complains about should be her daily life…not college or shopping or anything else that gives her a reason to live. You shouldn't have privileges when you kill someone, no matter how much of a spoiled brat you are.

      Reply
  4. Amy-is-a-murderer

    Oh, what a pity, Amy, you are such a horrible person as your father told Dateline, "I did nothing wrong"- just be a lousy parent and your weak mom too!!!!! Now I see where you get the attitude, you are so low!!!! Spare me your sob story, I wouldn't give you a plug nickel to help you, but I would give your daughter money to get as far away from your horrible parents. Why don't you `fess up to Ricky`s parents and his daughter about why you killed him!!!! "Falsely accused"!?!?!?! Seems to be a pattern with you…maybe if you hadn't killed Ricky, you wouldn't have to sleep in pee…oh well, sucks to be you, doesn't it's thank your weak, lousy parents for letting you run around like a how and a skank, rot!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Henry Kane

    I really hope that none of the commentators here ever wind up in jail-even over night. You could be pulled over for any number of made up reasons that a cop may choose to use. If he/she decides you are in their opinion not being respectful (bending over) they might choose to arrest you or (god forbid if you live in some areas) shoot your arse.
    Then you would understand what it is like to have your rights violated. You can cry, you can protest, you can scream but you will still be stripped naked and have every body cavity searched to their satisfaction. You might not even be guilty so what goes around …
    Better be a little more compassionate for those who suffer whether you think they somehow deserve it or not since things seem to return to us as we give them out. Me? I need all the mercy and compassion I can get in life. I"ll prefer mercy over judgement any day. She is already liveing with a life sentence in prison it does not have to be torture.
    If that is the kind of system you want then move to an Islamic country of a third world nation. They do not show mercy to criminals there only hope you NEVER get accused of anything cause you are guilty unless you prove yourself innocent! Bunch of Dummies.

    Reply
  6. alee

    Lol I spent a few years at ccwf myself and let me tell you amy got what she deserves seriously unless youve done time with these pschos they deserve no fucking mercy!!!

    Reply
    1. Randall

      Somehow I doubt you've ever done time anywhere. If you did you wouldn't talk like that.

      If you have done time then aren't you just as much a psycho? What makes you better than them? What were you convicted of?

      Reply
      1. Samantha Douglas

        Ahh, Randall Flagg from the other blog page! Amy was (probably is) a bad person. She screwed up! She was a twit in junior high, and a snob in high school. That's cool that you want to support her and all that, but don't be dumb. She and Jennifer had dumbass Billy Hoffman kill Ricky. It sounds like you know the parties as well, so lets be informal. Billy confessed, the girls haven't. The facts don't indicate that Ricky deserved to die. Amy has all kinds of our high friends visiting her, celebrating her birthday and other similar shit. She's an asshole! She helped kill someone! Fuck Amy! Stop defending her!

        Reply
        1. Randall

          Ahh, Sammy. I'm assuming you are that blog owner. If so you need to remember you can't censor here. Your sarcasm lacks too.

          I defend human rights, regardless of a inmates crimes. Torturing inmates demeans us all. And I wonder how your song would change if it were you or a family member incarcerated in inhumane conditions. Would we get the whiff of hypocrisy? I wouldn't doubt it.

          Reply
        2. MElastiGirl

          I think you and many others here are missing the point. I don’t know Amy, so I’ll take your word she’s a twit and a snob. (And obviously a convicted killer, but you sound bitter–maybe she dissed you in junior high?) Anyway… Aside from the valid points made above about how you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law one day, there is that small matter of the Constitution. Prisoners may not have rights like the rest of us, but they still have basic human rights. Also consider–while I realize this doesn’t apply to Amy, since she is serving life without parole, other prisoners will one day walk among us. Given how many innocent people have been released from prison–death row even–because over zealous police or prosecutors screwed up, you should care what happens behind bars. Do you really want to treat people like animals instead of working toward some sort of rehabilitation? Because people who are treated like animals tend to behave like animals. Prison’s general population sounds like hell enough to satisfy the bloodlust of people like you. Just sayin…

          Reply
  7. guest

    i saw this story and wanted to know more, i found this and here is my rebuttal, as a former cdcr inmate i do know it isn't always fair in the behalf of the inmate maybe she did have her rights violated, oh well we all are held accountable for our actions, every action has a reaction, i think were missing the whole truth or bits that were revealed to us, she sat free for 5 years while assuming to be a great mother, her daughter is now meant to carry the burden and loss of both parents. i don't feel any compassion for amy it is what it is.thank god the child has two sets of grandparents to help care for her. lest we not forget they to have suffered a tragic loss on both sides , 5 years later after both families suffered the loss of one only to be slapped in the face again by betrayal, it's truly sad by the good thing is that the daughter has family on both sides to help her.i don't hate amy i only pray that god gives her strength to find help, wisdom, and forgiveness, seek and you shall find. seek the lords comfort for without we shall never truly live

    Reply
  8. Gina

    Amy, I'm sure Ricky would love to have some horrible conditions in his life for a little while, but he can't, because as you know, he's dead and you are responsible for it. You are also responsible for where you are today and I for one do not feel one bit sorry for you. Quit bitching and deal with it, at least you are alive.

    Reply
  9. Carlos

    I agree w/ the notion but have no sympathy for the writer. Assuming nothing was obtuse about what I saw in ID's "Deadly Sins" program, she deserved what she got & what kind of "good living quarters" is this conniving bitch getting in prison? Is she getting comfortable hand-outs & still feeling entitled to good stuff even in prison? That said, F*** Amy, HOWEVER, there should be equal accountability for corrupt guards who feel entitled to rape & take advantage of women without any type of retribution. REALLY? Can a guard just sexually abuse women in prison & just send a whistle-blower to solitary confinement? THIS, yes, MUST be changed!
    I second @HenryKane's comment, this is America, basic human rights should still apply, not a 3rd World type torture complex.

    Reply
  10. Dean

    Karma is a bitch and so are you. You’re an evil and sadistic piece of crap and I for one hope you rot in hell for your crime. If there’s one good thing to come out of all this you’re being treated exactly how you deserve to be regardless of what the few bleeding hearts in here say.

    I’m sure they wouldn’t be anywhere near as sympathetic to your plight if it was one of their close friends or relatives who you so coldly and callously had murdered. Enjoy the rest of your life behind bars scum and with any luck you’ll continue to get treated exactly as you deserve to be. Like the piece of shit you are.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
San Francisco Comcast
Advertisement