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In 1984, in San Diego, I was born to two parents with mental health problems. My parents put myself and my siblings through severe neglect, sexual abuse, physical and verbal abuse. I am the oldest of six children. My dad was a Vietnam vet. At age 12 I broke away from my parents and turned myself over to Child Protective Services thinking they could help and were the only answer.
My 67-year-old friend is not violent, but California would beg to differ. At his sentencing, the judge told him, “You are a Vietnam trained killer,” and then sentenced him to 68 years to life. His crime? One day my friend broke into an unoccupied house. After he was caught and tried, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced under California’s Three-Strikes law. We call him Cadillac. He was really excited by the passage of Proposition 57 last November.
My message is: Take a little time out of your day to check on someone. Listen to your intuition, and observe the world around you. Wherever you are in life at this moment, even if you don’t like it, make use of your time, place and purpose to be a real life hero who saves a life. After all, heroes are not just those that we see on TV; they are everyday people like you and me who take the time to respond to the cry for help from others. Be a hero today.
New information revealed at Omaha’s annual Black August Weekend, held at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, may engender a glint of hope for Nebraska political prisoners, Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter. The two await the answer to an age-old question: How long is life? We Langa and Poindexter, also known as the “Omaha Two,” have been imprisoned 43 years.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez today urged the United States government to abolish the use of prolonged or indefinite solitary confinement. There are approximately 80,000 prisoners in the United States of America who are subjected to solitary confinement; nearly 12,000 are in isolation in the state of California.
Yesterday’s election results show Californians calling for additional cuts to the prison population and corrections budget while approving new taxes to save programs like education, welfare, childcare and healthcare. Voters resoundingly passed Proposition 36 by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin. Proposition 30 was passed by voters 54 percent to 46 percent.
The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012, written and prepared by a coalition based at Stanford University, has qualified for inclusion on the November 2012 ballot. Although many would like a more encompassing initiative, we at FACTS are prepared to support the passage of this step forward in the 2012 election.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.
The reduction of 35,000-40,000 prisoners equals a potential loss of $2 billion in the yearly CDCR budget and 7,000 CCPOA members. The “security threat group” (STG) scheme enables CDCR to segregate a lot more men. Segregation costs nearly double general population and requires more staff.
Patricia Wright is a prisoner in Central California Women’s Facility’s Nursing Unit coping with an extraordinary array of challenges. She is legally blind, has stage four cancer that has spread to her breasts and her brain, causing her to lose control of her bodily functions, leaving her diapered, and has been given six months to live. What’s worse is that she’s innocent.
We are not surprised that Malik Rahim is being hailed as one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina. In 1997, Malik rediscovered information on our case and made it his mission to bring attention to the plight that Albert, King, myself and so many other Louisiana prisoners have endured in being unfairly convicted and sentenced. The Angola 3 went from obscurity to international recognition thanks to Malik’s efforts.