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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.
A mass prisoner hunger strike rocked California’s prison system this past summer, drawing international attention to the extensive use of solitary confinement in the United States. Nearly all of the attention, however, has focused on solitary confinement in men’s prisons; much less is known about the conditions and experiences inside women’s prisons.
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.
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.
Young women at the Chowchilla Freedom Rally Jan. 26 spoke out passionately for their sisters in a prison packed to nearly double its capacity, demanding that the 4,500 prisoners eligible for release be freed. At least 400 people came from all over California to show their support for the women locked up in the Central California Women’s Facility, currently the state’s only women’s prison.
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 ...
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.
Adding to Kevin Gosztola’s recent coverage of the hunger strike at Pelican Bay prison ... I want to look more closely at one of the prisoner’s demands, in particular their call for the abolition of the “debriefing process.”
Reaching at least 6,600 prisoners across 13 prisons, this massive and inspiring act of solidarity and people power across prison-manufactured and exacerbated racial and geographic lines has dumb-founded the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation).
At least 400 prisoners at Pelican Bay continue to refuse food and thousands more around the state are striking in solidarity, making it the largest hunger strike in the history of the embattled California prison system. “We are urging our state representatives and Gov. Brown to step in and force the CDCR to recognize the prisoners’ demands,” says Manuel La Fontaine.
During the past 25 years I’ve spent a lot of time with survivors of torture, men and women enduring long term solitary confinement in California’s prisons. The single way offered to earn their way out is to tell departmental gang investigators everything they know about gang membership and activities. The prisoners call it “snitch, parole or die.”
“Jailhouse Lawyers, we are learning, are often people of extraordinary firmness who fight for a law that rarely fights for them.” “Unity is feared ... isolation is favored.” – from “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.” by politically condemned death row prisoner, journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal “This landmark legislation (Prison Litigation Reform Act) will help bring relief to a civil justice system overburdened by frivolous prisoner lawsuits. Jailhouse lawyers with nothing else to do are tying our courts in knots with an endless flood of frivolous litigation.” – Sen. Orrin Hatch, former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
The Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) will hold the Praying for Peace, Working for Justice March and Rally at Oakland's City Hall Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 4 p.m. as the Oakland community continues to demand justice in the senseless murder of Oscar Grant by BART police.