October 2, 2017
Speech delivered for Mianta by Julia Arroyo of the Young Women’s Freedom Center at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif.: My name is Mianta McKnight. I am the Community Engagement Director at Justice Now. As a person who came home from a women’s prison after serving 18 years and one day on a 15 to life sentence, I realized exactly how important transitional resources and assistance are.
August 31, 2016
On the surface, the recent “retirement” of the wardens from two of California’s women’s facilities appears to be a needed move in an effort to reform California’s violent correctional system. While many Californians are just beginning to agree that our Department of Corrections does more harm than good, many legal advocates and anti-prison activists have been fighting to make that very point from both inside and out of prison for years.
November 26, 2015
On Nov. 11, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and kept without water, food or restrooms for 11 hours. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.
March 26, 2015
The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.
October 25, 2014
I am writing to you to report the abuse inflicted on juveniles in the juvenile detention centers in San Bernardino, California. The abuse is inflicted by law enforcement officers or police officers in San Bernardino. I was one of these juvenile detainees who experienced abuse at the hands of the police officers and juvenile hall correctional officers while detained at the Rialto police department and later the San Bernardino juvenile hall.
October 25, 2014
The issue of “gender responsiveness” as an excuse to open more prisons has been rearing its ugly head lately with the expansion of CDCR’s supposed “reentry hubs” and “community based facilities,” totaling 4,090 new beds altogether. Yet one woman in the new Female Community Reentry Facility (FCRF) in McFarland recently called Justice Now, saying she feels like “they were sold a dream.”
October 1, 2014
Robert Fuentes was an award-winning poet and essayist. PEN America awarded him the Dawson Prize in fiction in the 2010 Prison Writing Contest for a piece titled “Lessons,” which begins: “Well, I originally contemplated about trying to sugarcoat what I had to say; but in the end, I arrived to the conclusion that it was best to not mince words and to just say things as they are … prison life is fucked up.”
September 26, 2014
On Sept. 25, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1135, the prison anti-sterilization bill authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and bi-partisan co-authors and sponsored by legal and human rights organization Justice Now. The bill proceeded to the governor’s desk after passing with unanimous floor votes out of both the Senate and Assembly, with support from organizations like ACLU Northern California and Black Women for Wellness.
July 29, 2014
On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.
May 4, 2014
California prisoners, who suspended their 2013 hunger strike, the largest such strike in history, after two legislative leaders promised bills addressing the strikers’ demands, are now opposing one of those bills. Sen. Loni Hancock’s Senate Bill 892 would give prison regulations on “gang validation” and the new step-down program the force of law. And it would leave California with the largest population of prisoners in solitary confinement of any country in the world or state in the United States at enormous cost to the taxpayers.
March 3, 2014
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
January 30, 2014
Since implicit in making it a requirement that people participate in those programs available in each step and that any failure to do so will result in a person being moved back to Step 1 until that person agrees to subordinate him/herself to the dictates of Section 700.2 (self-directed journals), the cognitive restructuring/brainwashing program is, clearly, mandatory.
October 29, 2013
I found out Sept. 30, 2013, that she was in San Francisco General Hospital with lung cancer. She’d been going into emergency for chest pain and problems breathing, but they treated the symptoms and didn’t notice the spots until recently when they kept her. I didn’t know it was as serious as it was, so imagine my surprise when I get a text, two texts that she is gone. Genevieve Bayan, my big sister – gone. I hope she wasn’t alone.
August 24, 2013
Should the Commission grant this request for a hearing, we will provide the Commission with testimony from prisoners, as well as oral presentations by family members of prisoners, advocates and lawyers. We would ask that the Commission recommend to the United States government and the state of California that they immediately take all measures necessary to address grave violations of human rights in the prison system.
August 15, 2013
Members of a statewide anti-prison coalition acted swiftly this week to defeat Senate Bill 445 (Hill) Revenue Bond Financing of Prison Construction. Today the bill authored by Sen. Hill died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee when none of the committee members made a motion to bring the bill to a vote.
June 18, 2013
Tomorrow the Senate Rules Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for acting California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeffery Beard. Advocates, experts and family members of prisoners plan to attend the hearing and raise their concerns about Beard’s track record on prison expansion and overcrowding in Pennsylvania.
January 24, 2013
Hundreds of Bay Area residents will be getting on buses and into cars Saturday morning, Jan. 26, making the long trek to Chowchilla where they will join hundreds of other Californians at a Freedom Rally in protest of horrendous living conditions in the notorious prison, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). Let’s make enough noise so that the decision makers in Sacramento have no choice but to hear our demands! Solidarity actions are encouraged! Read more for when, where and how to get there …
July 13, 2012
The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.
April 24, 2012
Monday the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Court Oversight and Improve the Prison System,” an attempt to overhaul and redirect a prison system that has been floundering for at least a decade.
September 19, 2011
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced Tuesday that non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders who are female, pregnant or were primary caregivers prior to incarceration and have less than two years of their sentences left are eligible to serve the rest of their sentences in residential homes, residential substance-abuse treatment programs or transitional care facilities.