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Forcing out two women’s prison wardens is scapegoating, not accountability

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.

A village cannot be built in a jail: Why gender responsive...

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.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 1135, Prison Anti-Sterilization Bill

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.

Stop the McFarland GEO women’s prison!

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.

Wanda’s Picks for March 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.

Wanda’s Picks for February 2014

I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.

Advocates call budget plans to open new prison beds a major...

Gov. Brown’s 2014-15 budget will contract 5,633 new prison beds in state while funding the expansion of four new prisons and allocating $500 million for more jail construction. Advocates celebrate a series of parole reform victories outlined in the proposed budget while pointing out that lifting some of their extreme limitations could easily prevent Gov. Brown’s costly prison expansion plans.

Women in solitary: ‘Last night another girl hung herself’

The recent conversion of Valley State Prison for Women into a male facility has led to a dramatic increase in the use of solitary confinement: Ad Seg at CCWF and the SHU at CIW. Concurrently, there have been several suicides in Ad Seg and the SHU in recent months, at least one from an alleged “overdose.” The excerpt from the letter quoted above is one of many that indicates how desperate the situation is.

Wanda’s Picks for September 2013

On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.

Court orders California prison population reduction plan in 21 days

Yesterday’s ultimatum by the three-judge panel puts Gov. Brown and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on notice to present a plan for further reductions in the state’s unconstitutionally crowded prisons within the next three weeks. Advocates who have criticized the governor’s criminal justice realignment plan as inadequate were quick to praise the court decision.

Letest News

Black History Month in the Fillmore

Black History Month 2019 exploded at the Fillmore Heritage Center with 17 events that celebrated different facets of our very diverse community. There was Fiyah Friday, Fillmore legend LaRon Mayfield’s Aquarius Bash featuring DJ Drama, the weekly Tuesday Bluesday, the Samba Percussion class, a Night of R&Bay featuring DJs DJ 12 and Black Marc, The Global African Experience presentation by the legendary historian Runoko Rashidi, an intimate and epic evening with the Grammy award winning R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! and the African Diaspora party.

Menthol milestone, the anniversary no one is celebrating

Menthol has been the tobacco industry’s recruitment tool for far too long. It has been added to cigarettes for nearly a century, masking tobacco’s harsh flavor, making the smoke feel smoother and easier to inhale – but that ease comes with a price. The smoothness of menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply, so harmful particles can settle lower in the lungs. Menthol cigarettes are also harder to stop – people who use menthol cigarettes have a lower rate of successfully quitting.

Celebrate Dr. Hannibal Williams for making a difference – keep his...

Liberation House, the first residential facility for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction that reached out to Afro-American men, is another example of its founder, Dr. Williams, making a difference. During its 30 years of operation, Liberation House was an extremely successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program which successfully helped thousands of men from every walk of life attain their sobriety.

Why we love Jeff Adachi

Jeff Adachi was the only official in this city we could trust to fight for us, the Black and Brown and poor San Franciscans being bulldozed out by a city drunk on its wealth and power. San Francisco’s jails are 57 percent Black, yet Blacks are down to about 3 percent of the population. Those were his clients.

Celebrate Cultural Landmark designation of the Arthur Coleman Medical Center

You’re invited! Please join us at the Coleman Medical Center on Tuesday, March 26, for an open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m., 6301 Third St. (at Ingerson), San Francisco 94124. Visit this landmark center for Black health! Meet the staff and board of the Bayview Hunters Point Clinic. RSVP please to health@bayviewclinic.org. The event is free.