End the gladiator fights! End the separation of families and of fathers from their children!

by Desiree Morales

Prisoners’ wives, children and supporters will keep rallying until these abuses stop.

CDC, your power trip is destroying our families and creating the perfect circumstances for the next generation to secure their place in your prison system.

The California Department of Corrections is clearly not seeing the big picture. The two opposing groups being focused on [whose conflict is used to force them into gladiator fights – ed.] are not the only ones affected by this extreme modified programming. There are other people who are greatly affected by this months-long lockdown.

The families, the wives and the children of the men on modified programming suffer overwhelming consequences too. Visiting is a huge part of the rehabilitation process. It’s also the time when mothers and fathers spend time with their children and when fathers can mentor and guide their children away from the paths and choices that lead to incarceration.

Drastic changes in a child’s life can cause havoc. Children act out when they don’t understand what’s happening. This leaves the mother to deal with her children’s emotional and behavior problems on her own.

Stress, tension, anxiety, loneliness, depression and feelings of being helpless set in and root themselves deep within these prison wives’ souls. Those kinds of emotions take a toll on her life and her ability to function in a healthy positive manner.

How can prison officials deny this little child’s fervent prayer?

Families are being broken down even further, thus setting the perfect circumstances for history to repeat itself. The cycle of incarceration continues, and that’s a major problem.

The Department of Corrections should open their eyes and see this modified programming spills far beyond their cell walls and barbed wire fences. Stop your power struggle and do what’s right. Come to an agreement that is fair to all. Stop bullying our loved ones and their families.

Your goal should be to rehabilitate and reunite, not to oppress and separate husbands and fathers from their wives and children. Stop categorizing the men in your custody as being less than human, as being no good or throw-aways, as having no basic human rights or as being deserving of whatever the warden decides to inflict on them.

We all make mistakes or wrong choices. Some of us end up in prison and some don’t. We all have the same thing in common though: We are all imperfect and we all have done wrong at some point in our lives.

This is what we want:

  • End the modified programming and integration of two opposing groups at Corcoran State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison, CTF Soledad and all prisons affected by the CDCR’s inability to implement a safe and positive, productive environment for the men housed in their prison system.
  • End the integration of General Population (GP) and Special Needs Yards (SNY); no one wants designated yards!
  • End the separation of fathers from their kids.
  • End the separation of families.

Desiree Morales can be reached via California Prison Focus, at contact@prisons.org.