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Apr 30, 2018

OP ED: Release Elderly, Dying Prisoners to the Community

Taeva Shefler

keywords: parole, ab 1848, elderly release

No self-respecting hospital in the country would allow individuals to die in their care the way prisons allow their wards to perish. Regularly, we at CPF hear reports of illness, injury, and disease that go untreated. We hear from individuals dying of Hepatitis C, knowing and experiencing violent bodily symptoms only to be told, “your condition hasn’t progressed far enough for you to deserve treatment.” People are told they may have cancer and then made to wait months, sometimes years, for diagnostics and ultimately surgery. The attention to medical care is beyond negligent or reckless; it is uncaring, capricious, and malicious. We keep our prisoners sick, weak, and poorly treated.

Recently, we spoke with one man who was at Pelican Bay for many years. Someone who participated in the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013, and went weeks without food. Only after this prolonged protest did he begin to receive medical care: he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and was receiving diagnostics for what turned out to be cancer. However, during the course of the Ashker litigation, CDCr sought to undermine the plaintiffs’ standing by transferring class members away from PBSP. He was cut off from treatment for many years, and his cancer progressed before confirmed diagnosis. He felt that part of the reason they shipped him out of PB was so that they wouldn’t have to take on the costs of his medical care. He noted a distinction between custodial transfer and medical transfers. He got a custodial transfer, and as a result, his medical care was discontinued. His condition is now in the late stages, with little chance of a cure.

This man’s situation is by no means unique. What are we gaining by stressing the prison system in this way? Do we think we are saving money? We aren’t. In fact, if we released these men and women into the community, they could be cared for by their families, or, if needed, checked into hospitals, and enrolled into Medicare, where the federal government will reimburse medically trained professionals to provide appropriate care, as they do for the rest of Americans.

As we all know, California was found to violate the federal constitution due to its failure to provide adequate medical care to its prisoners in 2002. That is over 15 years ago. According to the Prison Law Office, a settlement agreement filed that year required CDCr to completely overhaul its medical care policies and procedures, and to devote resources into the prisons to ensure timely access to adequate care. Unfortunately, that has not occurred. This case is still under active monitoring, because medical care continues to suffer.

Currently, California has a compassionate release program for those in a vegetative state or determined to have less than 6 months to live, and also has a limited elderly parole process under AB 1448, where prisoners must be at least age 60 and have served at least 25 years behind bars to be eligible. Additionally, there is a proposed November 2018 ballot measure which may increase the number of elderly prisoners eligible for parole. Under this proposal, prisoners must be 80 years of age or older and have served at least 10 years behind bars. The measure must collect enough signatures to make it onto the ballet, so there is no guarantee the measure will be there this fall.

These efforts are a start, but they are not enough. In truth, they are rarely used. According to the Monterey Bay Justice Project, only about 53 prisoners were released under the Compassionate Release program during a 12-month period from 2016-2017. The Elderly Parole Program may provide a chance before the board at age 61, but beyond that it is really just a factor that the parole board is expected to consider during regular parole appearances, and it is rarely cited as a reason parole is granted. The parole board is widely known to have a retributive view of the law and often denies people parole based on facts related to the crime of commitment, without giving sufficient weight to the present factors and condition for the individual.

Meanwhile, the number of older prisoners continues to rise at dramatic rates. We need a program much more robust.

We need an independent review board to make elderly parole determinations, including medical professionals, who would be required to interview patients and make objective determinations about medical need.

We must recognize the lower risk to public safety due to medical status. Individuals who are rolled out of prison in wheelchairs are inherently less likely to recidivate. A 2012 study by the ACLU found that in New York, only 4% of prisoners 65 or older return to prison with a new conviction within three years of release.

It is time that we release the sick and elderly back to their communities. ●

Apr 30, 2018

LETTER(s): Suicide at CCWF: Jaylene Ho


keywords: prisoner letter, women's prison, suicide, guard misconduct, ASU, Administrative Segregation

If Jaylene Ho and I were able to house with one another, she would still be here today. We had a separation Chrono placed on us as a form of retaliation from staff. Jaylene was doing a 6oz for this to be appealed. It was denied on the first and second level. It was sent to the third level, but now she’s deceased. I did a hunger strike to gain the attention of the situation and have the Chrono removed. At ICC on 10/26/17 this was addressed by the committee, whom all interviewed me on the matter prior, but the warden, who is the one who ultimately denied the removal of the Chrono mental health was aware of Jaylene and my relationship with one another as mental support and has us documented as such. I explained this to the A.W. Anderson, who believed the removal of the Chrono could be done and understood my situation. He is the one who convinced me to end my hunger strike and attend ICC to advocate this matter for myself, so it can better be explained from myself. Either way, I was denied, and I was not heard. Because of the stress of prison and unable to find comfort from one another, Jaylene ended up needing EOP and had to be on suicide watch prior to her committing suicide. Now that she is gone, I now have no support. I was admitted to crisis bed after her death and my MIT has declined to EOP and I continue to struggle day to day. I am traumatized by what happened, I’m grieving death tremendously. I feel guilty for not being there for her. And with all this, she’s the one person whom I’d talk to and trusted that would comfort me and help me through everything. I’m denied NDS or phone calls home after this incident. I was afforded to call home the day after to tell my mom to contact her family to let them know she died. Since then, I have had no contact with my family. This is inhumane. I’ve ahd to do another 5-day step down to try to talk to MH through this, but nothing is helping. It’s not Jaylene and she’s the only one who I trust and that truly loved me. Jaylene was threatened with this separation chrono after she explained to staff she had safety concerns while C/C and they denied her of safety by locking her up in Ad-Seg because they believed it was only because I was in Ad-Seg. She went back to the unit and threw water on an R.N.’s face to get housed away from C/C inmates that she had an issue with. They used that act to say she was willing to batter staff to be housed with me.

Jaylene continued to be harassed, threatened and cell extracted as retaliation from prison staff here at CCWF. Even with a wheelchair and possible broken foot, they were planning to cell extract her just to move her cells and put her on the other side and upstairs (with a wheelchair). I convinced her to tell the she’d come out if she could see medical staff to ensure her need for the lower tier. I didn’t want her to get hurt or have more problems with staff for refusing to leave the cell. Jaylene constantly discriminated against for her transgender identity by prison staff here at CCWF and previously at CIW, which made her a target for false accusations of staff battery and other ridiculous false accusations, verbal and mental harassment. In addition to those stressors, Jaylene did have mental health problems. Jaylene made many comments suggesting she wanted to harm herself or also commit suicide in the past repeatedly, but never went to commit any act of actual suicide as long as I’ve been housed with her in these past two years. the night she took her life she made those comments but didn’t sound like she was serious. Being I couldn’t be housed with her or have a visual of her room, I only heard he voice through a vent. She didn’t sound serious like I said and I was frustrated with her at that moment because I was tired after taking my medication, so I told her I was laying down and not coming back to the vent right then. I accidentally fell asleep because the medication makes you sleep. When I woke up, I was startled that I was asleep and went to the vent and called her name. Moments later after she didn’t answer me back, I figured she was ignoring me because I hadn’t stayed at the vent to talk to her. I heard the staff running and going to her room. It was too late, and I was too late; had I been housed with her, she’d still be alive. If I could see her, I would have prevented her from harming herself, as I have from even the simple types of harm from the past. This suicide, shocked and traumatized and hugely impacted my mental health and I have severe guilty feelings and anxiety with her gone. I think about wanting to die every day ever since. She was my rock; I was hers. The lack of human compassion, humanity added with discrimination and bullying with power control issues from staff has all become so distressing to the women inmates here in prison, that people struggle to feel human and to survive another day here. Unfortunately, I lost my one and only best friend and true love of my life due to this place making things too hard for her to handle. I failed her in the end as hard as I truly tried to always be right there for her.

My hunger strike was even used against me with staff saying it shows my willingness to harm myself to be housed with i/m Jaylene Ho.

The chrono was generated to fulfill a threat made against Jaylene for wanting to leave C/C due to safety and enemy concerns.

This goes to show how institution staff will twist and turn anything to feel they have power and control over you, by taking what you need or love away from you... or you away from it.

Letter #2:

One More Star
Prior to Jaylene Ho Committing Suicide… & After

Jaylene was c/c and having issues with some inmates. She went to staff explaining that she had safety/enemy concerns. They denied her concerns because they believed she was trying to go to Ad-Seg simply because Casey, her long-time friend from home was in Ad-Seg. So they threatened her with a “Separation Chrono” from Casey stating that they were in a relationship, which none of the staff could positively identify, having never seen the two together before. They told Jaylene she had to go back to c/c because there was no other to place to have her. She went back and through a small med cup of water on the R.N. nurses leg at the pill line in the c/c unit, since staff told her she’d have to do something to get moved from c/c. They re-housed her in Ad-Seg, but placed a ridiculous, unverifiable separation chrono between Jaylene and Casey with her lock-up order. She tried to do a 602 Appeal on the Chrono which was only denied on both the 1st and 2nd level due to a staff statement. Jaylene possibly broke her foot and had to be in a wheelchair for a period of time, so they had to move her to a lower tier. Once they realized her lower tier put her to close to Casey, they found a reason to say she didn’t have a lower tier Chrono, so they were moving her again. She refused, and they prepared to cell extract her. She came out with the promise she’d see medical to verify she needs a lower tier, as to her needing to use a wheelchair. Coincidently, the medical RN could not find the lower tier Chrono, so staff grabbed a hold of her wheelchair and pushed her to the other side of Ad-Seg as she was crying, forced her out of her wheelchair, put her in a stretcher ad carried her upstairs to the top tier and clamped her inside of her cell, refusing to give her any of her property, hygiene or turn on her water for 24 hours.

Eventually she got to see the doctor who gave her the lower tier Chrono in the computer and a copy for herself to prove to staff, which they then had to let her move back to a lower tier. During her time upstairs, she couldn’t shower or get around because staff wouldn’t bring the wheelchair upstairs. Then, they tried to say she didn’t have a Chrono for the wheelchair, so she again had to go through the Doctor and get the copy of the letter. Once on the lower tier, they threatened to move her away from being near Casey if she didn’t take a Bunkie. So she took an intake l/m Hammalton. This inmate attacked Jaylene and bit her twice, so deep that it punctured and became infected. She told staff, who said they would move one of them out. So they let l/m Hammalton back inside the cell, unsurprisingly. L/m Hammalton then packed all of Jaylene’s property, dumped all her food from the canteen in the toilet, then threw her own urine on Jaylene’s bed. Jaylene was in a cage waiting for staff, so she didn’t know any of this was happening. Once the l/m Hammalton said she was ready to move, the staff allowed her to take her items from the cell into another cell. When Jaylene was escorted from the cage back into the cell, she noticed all her stuff was missing and urine was all over her bed. She cried and called staff and told them what had happened. They ignored her statements by responding, “How do we know that it was your stuff?” She told them l/m Hammalton was an intake, meaning she doesn’t have any property, and Jaylene offered to provide her property receipts to the staff to prove that it was hers. They refused to help her, so she filed a 602 Appeal. Weeks to months later, she’s pulled out to be interviewed for the Appeal, and threatened to move her away from Casey if the 602 wasn’t pulled back by Jaylene. She was so upset she removed the 602, just wanting to get back to her room where she was so close to her friend Casey. Casey sent her half of her own hygiene products and whatever else she could to help make the situation better. Jaylene was constantly harassed by the staff for being transgender, and at shower time she was humiliated in front of all the Ad-Seg inmates and staff for saying she needed a ADA shower. She was denied a shower after protesting her need. Jaylene was experiencing such stress that she broke down after a letter from her son was “returned to sender” being that he was no longer at that addressed. She was put on suicide watch and the clinician contacted her family for her to get the new address. Casey stayed talking to Jaylene every day in the vent, but they couldn’t see each other from one on the top tier and the other on the lower tier. Both relied on one another for love and support. Mental health staff were aware of this and documented Casey as a “support person” in Jaylene’s file. Casey was so distraught by everything happening and Jaylene’s emotional decline, so she decided to do a hunger strike for removal of the Separation Chrono to house with Jaylene. Staff began to harass Casey, saying this hurts them more because it proves she’ll go to great lengths to house with Jaylene. Casey stayed on her hunger strike for 11 days, while receiving glucose daily for her drop in blood sugar to prevent a diabetic coma. The 11th day, A.W. Anderson interviewed Casey and gave his word that he’d look into the Chrono as it sounded removable after Casey explained the Chrono falsified information and was the result of a threat to Jaylene for asking to lock up for safety concerns. Casey was advised to attend ICC on 10-26-17 to help explain the Chronos need to be removed to the ICC Committee while the Warden had the ultimate decision, so she did. She tried to explain but was cut off, and her explanation was un-heard and uncared about by the staff present. A.W. Anderson looked into it and she he believed they’re removed it – but it was denied. Casey had to go back to her cell and tell Jaylene, and they added that Casey’s hunger strike showed her willingness to harm herself to house with Jaylene, as well as refuse to leave Ad-Seg, because Casey was released as of July. But because Jaylene had longer time, she couldn’t leave her there alone. Jaylene was charged with Battery against an Inmate after she was jumped by an ex-girlfriend Amber, her new girlfriend Jr. and a friend of theirs on the yard. The ex-girlfriend worked in the yards Program Office for the staff whom observed the fight. So Jaylene got a 115 for Battery against the ex-girlfriend and it didn’t state all the others, even though they were all cuffed up too and had to all sign non-enemy Chrono to leave and return to their units. The 115 stated Jaylene hit the ex-girlfriend and that the ex-girlfriend was defending herself by hitting her back. Casey was already on her way to Ad-Seg for Assault on a Peace Officer or she would have helped Jaylene and stayed to help Jaylene and been a witness to the incident. But Casey did overhear Jr. and Jaylene talking because she was in the cage already sitting there as they came into the two cages besides Casey. Jr. said, “Well anyone who fights my woman I’m gonna get it on it,” and Jaylene said, “You all jumped me,” and Jr. responded, “it is what it is.” While in Ad-Seg, staff found razors still inside the razor head underneath Jaylene’s mattress, and charged her with Possession of a Deadly Weapon in Ad-Seg. She a received a DA referral and was placed on single cell for a while.

After ICC on 10-26-17 and Casey had told the news to Jaylene that Chrono was denied, Jaylene received a DA referral Chrono stating her case was going to be picked up. Jaylene broke down, but Casey was able to talk her through it, and they managed to both help one another. Casey had to get on an Anti-Depressant due to the separation trauma from Jaylene. They were both breaking down mentally, emotionally and physically, having no idea what to do next and how to help the situation. Both needed a hug and to hold each other, but they couldn’t.

On 10-28-17, Casey woke up early because she couldn’t sleep in, she was stressed out. Jaylene was supposed to get up that morning and they’d spend time together she said the night before, because Casey was getting really depressed feeling really defeated. Jaylene slept in though until after 12 noon. When she woke up she asked Casey why she didn’t wake her up and casey was upset saying, “If you wanted to be up with me, you would have been. Jaylene said she was being stupid which made Casey say, “Fine, I’ll go be stupid by myself then.” They didn’t talk much that afternoon, but came together later on and apologized. Jaylene got upset with herself for breaking her promises and knowing Casey paroles in only 1 ½ years and with the chrono now. She called “medical emergency” and said to Casey she was leaving her, not meaning what she said. The medical nurse came and Jaylene asked to get pulled out to talk to Mental Health because she was going through it. No Mental Health was available, so the R.N. gave Jaylene a Vistaril. After, Jaylene went to her vent and called for Casey and told her she was sorry, that she really doesn’t want to leave her, and said “things would be easier and better for you if you didn’t have to worry about me,” and, “I won’t be a burden to my family”. Casey got upset and said, “there you go again, you promised you wouldn’t talk like that anymore,” and, “one broken promise after the next,” and, “you said you’d show me you’d keep your promises to not say you’ll leave and not talk like you want to die anymore.”

Jay said things like she wanted to die after almost every incident but was usually crying and Casey would talk with her and make her feel better. This time Jay was sounding more aggressive and not sad or upset. So Casey said, “I’m gonna leave the vent now, I need to lay down” (Casey had taken her anti-depressants which made her tired). Jay yelled at her saying, “No Casey come to the vent now.” Casey was getting onto her bed to relax for a minute before she planned to calm her nerves and not be frustrated with Jaylene. Jaylene yelled again and said, “Ok, when I die, you’ll know why.” Casey yelled from her bed and said, “That’s why I’m not coming to the vent, because you’re talking like that!” Casey didn’t take Jaylene’s statement seriously, being she’s said that kind of stuff a lot of the time, but if Jaylene was really upset she knew she needed her, so of course would talk to her and help her calm down. This time it sounded like Jaylene was saying that only to control Casey’s actions by forcing her to get to the vent anyways. Casey just laid there for a minute trying to calm down her nerves and frustration, and she was already tired. She heard Jaylene answering the staff doing the security checks through the echo in the vent, from her bed. Then she heard Jaylene’s toilet flushing and assumed that Jaylene was just mad and the way Jaylene yelled to answer the staff sounded mad too. So Casey laid there for a little while. Next thing she knew she was waking up and the lights on the tier were already off. She felt panicked because Jaylene and Casey made a deal not to go to sleep while upset with one another. So Casey, questioning why Jaylene hadn’t called back for her like she normally would once she calmed herself down, Casey yelled for Jaylene in the vent. Jaylene didn’t answer, so Casey yelled really loud so Jay would wake up, or if she had her radio on, would hear her. Jaylene still didn’t answer Casey. Casey walked back to sit on her bed thinking Jaylene didn’t answer her because she wasn’t coming to the vent earlier when she was demanding her to. Casey couldn’t fall back asleep because she didn’t want the night to end like that, like they promised to go to sleep ok and happy together. As Casey lay there she can hear the C/O doing her checks – but Casey hears the knock on Jaylene’s door from the staff and Jaylene didn’t answer, so Casey stood up and then heard the staff yell something and run toward the bubble and another staff opening Jaylene’s door. Casey went to the vent to hear what was going on, and next thing she hears is a man’s voice loudly counting, “15, 16, 17, 18…” and Casey panicked and screamed out the door, “What’s going on?!” and her neighbor yelled to Casey, “She hung herself. Don’t ask questions now, I heard her calling you the vent saying, ‘this is your fault!’” Casey stayed trying to listen but everyone was so loud and wondering what was going on. Casey tried climbing up her door, standing on the food tray slot to see over the tier but couldn’t see down there. Casey saw another staff on her tier and she asked, “Is she OK? And when he responded she was still breathing, Casey collapsed with relief and started to hyperventilate, sobbing to the floor. Next thing she sees out the door medical staff walking slowly, so it seemed ok. Then next thing Casey can hear is a machine beep sound and people downstairs yelling, “She’s not breathing”. Casey flipped out, but was trying to hear what was happening, and if Jaylene was ok. Casey doesn’t pray to God, but dropped to her knees and prayed through the tears on the floor, asking ‘God please breathe in her, save her please, God please, I’m begging you, just breathe in her, let her breathe,’ then hears someone downstairs scream “She’s gone.” Casey screamed, kicking the door on the floor, screaming and crying, then got up and saw staff walking a sheet downstairs and hears everyone saying how they just put a sheet over her body. Casey did a “medical emergency” and said she was experiencing chest pain to get out of her cell and tried to run to Jaylene. Staff knew Casey and Jaylene were close, and they blocked Casey as she pushed past them. They grabbed her and she forced her feet up on the wall pushing the cops with her back against the railing of the tier dropping to the ground to get to the stairs by Jaylene’s room, and the cops started saying to drag Casey into her cell. Casey said “No, please no! Take me down the other stairs then.” Once downstairs, Casey dropped to the floor, laying on the ground, facing Jaylene’s body with the sheet over it. She wanted to run to Jaylene with everything she had, and a lot of cops came forming a circle around Casey, saying she was going to run towards the body. They all placed their arms on Casey, forming a barricade around her. She begged to see Jaylene’s face, but they forced her into her cell.

Since Jaylene’s death, Casey was told all kinds of crazy things. Besides saying “It was her fault,” there was a rumor spread that “Casey told her to kill herself” and then another rumor that Jay was just trying to get Casey’s attention because she might had been kiting someone else. Then before Casey knew it, there were all kind of rumors, but no one knew the truth, because Jaylene and Casey were always to themselves and wrote each other or talked through the vent. Nobody can ever hear the conversations unless they yelled. None of the rumors were accurate. Casey was forced to be on Suicide Watch and forced to go to 805 building in a crisis mental health bed outside of Ad-Seg. The following Sunday, Casey was told she had a visit and while being escorted, Amber was on the yard (Jaylene’s ex who jumped her) and Amber yelled, “kill yourself just like you told your wife. I called Jay’s family and told them what you said to her and everything you did to her. And stop calling her family.” Casey responded, “I never would tell Jay to do that” and kept walking with her escort into visiting. It was Casey’s children and Casey couldn’t keep it together. She just cried and told the kids Jaylene had died, but didn’t tell them she committed suicide. The kids never had seen their mom like that, so they cried. Casey never got a chance to even call Jaylene’s family. She’s now being held in Ad-Seg with a new lock up order stating mental health staff heard threats on the tier being yelled about Casey. Casey should have been placed on NDS, but it states she’s denied NDS, because her safety concerns are “unknown”, which determines Casey is non-cooperative with the investigation into enemy safety concerns. But Casey never claimed she had any or even knows where mental health staff heard that from. So Casey has no phone calls to even reach out for family support at this time. Casey is EOP now and has thought about committing suicide and be with Jaylene every day since her death. She cries every day and has no one to talk to, because she’s angry with all the inmates and staff for everything they did to Jaylene, to her, to them and all the inmates for saying these rumors about her, Jay or their relationship. Casey is deteriorating daily and can’t sleep, eat or have any normal functioning. She cut all her hair off, and has her hair saved for a memorial for Jay she hopes to one-day do. A month it’s been after Jay’s death and everyone has moved on to gossip and make up rumors and drama about other people now. But Casey cries and thinks about Jaylene every moment each day. Jaylene was her best friend and the love of her life. They planned a future together, knew each other’s children and family. Casey and Jaylene promised to legally marry but made vows and their own world together up to where they say they’ll go to be together after they grow old and die one day. They claimed one another as “wife” and Casey still does and always will. Casey is a broken mess with emotional rollercoasters. Hopefully she can push through one more day. If she’s advocating for Jaylene and doing anything for her wife’s benefit and to honor her, she can do one more day.. So please help.

Apr 30, 2018

Substantial Justice: The use and Misuse of Confidential Information

Big Smiley, Pelican Bay State Prison

keywords: prisoner letter, ashker, confidential information, debriefing, parole, informants

Justice fairly administered has been forgotten in my situation (last of the dinosaurs still in Restricted Housing, new SHU “RCPG”) and in the situation of many others who fall under similar circumstances.

Ashker vs. Brown has recently filed motions to United States District Court Northern District of California, Oakland Division Case No. 309-CU-05796-CW. One of the motions covered confidential disclosures, which are affecting prisoners who appear before parole board committee’s DRB; Ashker covered this, focusing on BPH confidential disclosures etc. Related, “the confidential memorandum” is the most damaging because this document is not disclosed to you or your attorney before our BPH. If it is disclosed, it’s redacted. This document has the debriefer confidential informants full statement debriefing info against you, which for the most part is fabricated and intentionally misstated and outdated. Still, document remains in my confidential file for new BPH commissioners to read and continues being rubber stamped to deny our parole. We are unable to challenge it, because it’s not disclosed. In 2016, BPH made some modifications to this confidential information policy.

If the Ashker motion is granted, this will change this continued due process violation that keeps myself and many others from obtaining a parole release date or release to a mainline.

Remember this vital point, for some of you new generation prisoners. Even when confidential information is not fabricated or misstated, it is frequently not disclosed in full or is disclosed in too vague a way as to allow for its reliability to be tested. This information could significantly aid prisoners in arguing - but because it was not disclosed you cannot mount a defense. So, bottom line...Make sure you cover these points as it relates to your situation.

I have been trying to get to Salinas Valley mainline to be near my family, my mom and dad, who are old, so I could receive visits. My dad tried to hold out but recently passed away.

Every debriefer prison informant has, in my circumstances, given the same information against me and lied, fabricated, magnified information to turn me into something more than what I was. For the benefit of IGI Reviewer, a brand name holds more ear weight, leaving me a victim of circumstances. Tell a lie, tell it often enough and it becomes truth. Now in 2018, still the same old outdated memorandums from these prison informants.

These actions also contribute to the overcrowding of prisons. The confidential information overrides any good rehabilitation accomplishments you may have. This continues to be a clear violation of due process and equal protection of constitutional laws under the 8th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

This is why the Ashker vs. Brown legal team has filed this motion, among other motions for RCGP prisoners who are held wrongfully in RCGP (some).

This motion is on confidential informants’ information and related “motion for extension of settlement agreement based on systemic due process violations.” Prison activist and legal eagles should capitalize on this moment and file your documents and appeals on confidential information, related especially to the confidential memorandum in C-File.

I give thanks to Ashker vs. Brown legal team for including my (BPH) transcript parts on the confidential disclosures and the wrongful denial of parole for being in RCGP etc. and for including my declarations to get out of RCGP to a mainline.

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; What stings is NO justice. ●

Dec 01, 2017

LETTER: State of Mind Within Corrections

E. Red Protsman


It is very interesting to observe the effect of giving one person absolute power over another. The tendency to believe in one’s own self-righteousness is remarkable. Even persons with the noblest of intentions tend to fall victim to the deadly trap when such power is left unchecked. The sudden ability to “Lord” over another is an intoxicating drug that few understand how to resist.

Never in my life have I seen this manifested more clearly than in correctional officers en masse, as a result of the lack of checks and balances by the administration of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The reality of this unbridled and unmonitored power effectively makes correctional officers and their supporting immediate superiors, judge, jury and executioner. Knowing that they can, without fear of reprisal, push an inmate/convict will have additional time added to their sentence, is used daily both in threatening and controlling inmate/convicts for the correctional officers’ benefit. In a world where, when an inmate/convict should challenge this, the prevailing attitude is, “Correctional officers don’t lie.” This creates an environment where inmates are at the mercy of vindictive correctional officers who understand the administration will do nothing to correct the ongoing problem, all the way through to the top management of CDCR.

Granted, life inside prison, behind dark enclosures, can and often time is, a stressful place for both inmate/convicts and guards. However, this does not justify the administrators who have become behind-the-scene politicians, carrying on in a state of denial.

Oversight committees have given the guidelines for abuse a name: Underground Regulations. This is the core of correctional officers’ authority to exercise the power bestowed upon them by the indifference and turning a blind eye from those who are more interested in advancing their personal careers, than monitoring the activities of staff under their charge. This apathy by supervisors and administrators is magnified by the fact that once a correctional officer is off new-hire probation, it is almost impossible for them to be terminated due to the very fact that his/her direct supervisors are very usually a friend to them, their co-workers those s/he see on a regular basis, go home together, drink together, (which leads to small talking too, usually and most times for a friendly heads-up to watch such-and-such, do right for inmates/convicts). Even if they are just reprimanded for abuse of power, the officers’ union will fight the administration – a fight the Department goes out of tis way to avoid. This, in turn, fosters the “code” of staff covering for each other, even when an inmate’s life is put in danger.

Convicts/inmates must take a long, good look all around them before always placing the blame just solely upon all the C/O’s. Someone said once and again today, “It’s not the person you hate and despise.” If you could see that very same person and had no knowledge s/he were a C/O walking the street in regular clothes, you’d most likely not hate or have second thoughts about that person. Though reality is now and what they stand for; once they put that uniform on and come to work- it will make you feel as you do in that “messy” way. It’s taken me over fifteen years to truly see and understand what is really being said to me.

That very word “HATE” is such a strong word, I don’t think it should be used; but if so, it must be used very carefully. “HATE” is one major downfall and serious misunderstandings in modern day life and society. If you asked 95% of convicts/inmates just why they HATE all C/O’s, believe me that a variety of answers would come thrown your way, from “they cut hard”, “they’re tough”, to, “they mess with me all the time and I can’t get a break.” The truth of the matter is, this cannot be true about all C/O’s. So why all the poor and negative thought process?

Too much finding faults in people while secretly they hide within their own. Yes, many of the C/O’s can be mean and very abusive. But it still doesn’t make it OK to condemn every C/O that is based on small facts or hearsay without truth. Just because there are inmate/convicts that do wrong, that doesn’t mean there are no inmate/convicts that are sincere about doing what’s right and getting their lives and shit together. Life just isn’t in black and white, as most people see it. Every individual should be given (at least) half a chance.

Another point influencing the “State of Mind” within corrections, is the issue of race. In prisons, everything is defined by race. The courts have tried to push their agenda of race-neutral. That has been a failure. This division has gone all the way up to the United States Congress. And it goes down through different divisions of life in prison, from divisions within the staff union, to quotas in inmate job assignments. An inmate/convict who attempts to function race-neutral can expect persecution from one faction to another of staff.

At the day’s end I truly think and believe every human wants only the best for all and each other. In a world that we all face, filled with static noise, it’s so very easy to become lost in the surroundings, emotions and serious problems inherent with prison. Until accountability and communication becomes important, this Department is doomed to continue to deteriorate as a dysfunctional drain on taxpayer’s dollars, with no redeeming benefits.

Convict/inmates are not animals, C/O’s are not robots. If inmates/convicts and C/O’s can remember that they all are human beings, things will be much better.

I am not writing this for anyone to be excused for their behavior of the way they act, the true reality is, wrong is wrong, right is right. That’s for everyone and mostly for both sides of the fence.

It’s the physical body that can be locked away. If inmates/convicts and C/O’s are not careful, we’ll all fall victim and have our minds enslaved.

Apr 30, 2018

Habeas Corupus Filed by Stanford Three Strikes Project

Kim Pollak

keywords: three strikes, proposition 57

Stanford University Law School’s Three Strikes Project recently filed a habeas corpus petition in the California Supreme Court, over the unconstitutionality of the implementation of Prop 57. The petition is on behalf of five prisoners serving third strike sentences for nonviolent offenses, who are being denied eligibility for early parole consideration. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Prop 57 regulations deny the intentions of California voters who approved Proposition 57 by a margin of 2 to 1, in November 2016. Californians spoke loud and clear in their desire to lower California’s prison population, by giving more of our imprisoned community members the opportunity to show the California Parole Board that they are no longer a threat to the society they seek to reenter.

Proposition 57 amended Section 32 of the state Constitution to read “any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense.” CDCR regulations eliminate third strikers, despite Section 32. According to Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project, CDCR’s regulations are in direct conflict with the California Constitution.

The petition also argues that the regulations contradict the state high court’s ruling in Brown v. Superior Court (2016) 63 Cal. 4th 335, which attempted to block the measure from the ballot, claiming that it would endanger public safety.

Nevertheless, prosecutors challenging the petition, claiming they are concerned that the initiative’s definition of “nonviolent” does not include crimes such as arson and certain sex offenses. But the regulations ignore the fact that nonviolent third strikers have the lowest recidivism risk. They are older, more mature, and many have long-since made the type of personal transformations that the parole board is looking for. Excluding third strikers in parole consideration is not only counter-intuitive, counter-productive, and counter the wishes of California voters, it is also cruel to those who have done their time, done the work and are ready to return home to their families and communities, where they once again, will have the opportunity to give back, as so many people languishing inside US prisons today, can only dream of.

California Prison Focus will be sure to follow and report on the progress of this petition.●

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