Re: Incarceration doesn't stop crime.
- From: hue <micromutt@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 20:29:19 -0700
Sympathy can be found in the dictionary, right between shit
I suppose people are put in prison for being nice to society
The first thing to learn is that you make your own bed so lay in
it. The next thing to do is decide to change your attitude and quit
expecting a handout or a hand up and climb up yourself.
Almost all cities have libraries, read and learn,
\On Tue, 15 Aug 2006 16:08:22 GMT, "_ G O D _" <DEMIGOD@xxxxxxxxx>
Fourth of July at CCWF
by Sara Jane Olson and MikeRhodes
On the fourth of July, the Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) prisoners had
our "annual" BBQ. For those of us in housing unit 506 on B Yard, it was the worst BBQ
we've ever had.
It took place on one of the Central Valley's hot, hot days. The first heat alert came
early that day. When it's over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, women who take anti-depressants
or similar psyche meds must limit their exposure to sun and heat. At 3:10 P.M. there
were still a few such women outside so the entire yard, which usually locks down for
count at 3:45 P.M. on a holiday, was recalled.
Prisoners in three of the housing units on B Yard can stay outside until 9:00 P.M.
But 506 is the Close Custody unit. All Close A inmates are locked in the building
after 6:00 P.M.every day. All Close B and Close A prisoners are locked in our cells
at 8:00 P.M. For some of us, this goes on for years. Because of this, 506 usually
goes first to eat at 5:00 P.M. That night, of the four housing units, we went last.
None of us were allowed to eat outside, picnic-style.
The guards said, "You got nuthin' comin'!" They groused, "Why do they still get that
damn BBQ?" Once a year, we grudgingly get one grilled soy burger and one weiner on a
bun. Once a year, we get a small wedge of watermelon on the state's dime and the
guards complain that it's "too much."
On July 1, 2005 by legislative fiat SB737, the California Department of Corrections
(CDC) added "and Rehabilitation," (CDCR) to its title. Several other
interdepartmental name changes and an "on paper" reorganization occurred as a
response to (from Prison Legal News, June 2006): "former Governor Deukmejian's 359
page June 2004 report to Governor Schwarzenegger, Reforming Corrections. The somber
forewarning of the Deukmejian's report was that without a civilian oversight board,
any reformulation of CDC would fail. Nonetheless, in enacting SB737, the California
legislature omitted such oversight and instead left the reorganized prior bureaucracy
to continue to run itself." Also lacking "is the absence of any measurable goals in
actually achieving "correction" of "rehabilitation" of prisoners; . . . the financial
incentive . . . for all staff is to increase the prison population."
Since reorganization took place, the only suggestions put forward by the Governor,
the CDCR or the guards' union (CCPOA - California Correctional Peace Officers
Association) and its front group, Crime Victims United led by pro-punishment Harriet
Salarno, is to build more prisons. In his 2006 State of the State speech, the
governor announced his intention to finance $223 billion in state bonds over the next
ten years for infrastructure and new construction in order to accommodate gross
overcrowding in the CDCR's 33 institutions. There's no mention of decreasing the
prison population through rehabilitative program interventions or streamlined parole
Caren Hill, a three-strike prisoner at CCWF says,
One has to wonder what CDCR's definition of rehabilitation really is. Punishment has
always been their motto and, from this side of the fence, I can honestly say that the
punishment will always be their motto. When I say "their," I speak of the CCPOA, the
men and women in green. The "free world" staff and the educators, for the most part,
believe that their job is to rehabilitate. However, the custody staff often gets in
the way. Custody is CCPOA and, as far as I can tell, the guards resent change and are
not willing to work at rehabilitating inmates.
The treatment of women prisoners by custody would shock and appall the public's moral
conscience. We are treated as less than human. We are demeaned, called names and left
to "handle our business," that is - settle inter-inmate conflicts ourselves. If one
of us has a problem with any of our seven roommates, guards tell us to "handle it",
rather than move one of us. When someone is jumped in her room, staff turns their
heads. Shell-shocked youngsters and the elderly are victimized regularly. Violence
might be instigated by the guards or simply not attended to because they don't want
to do "paperwork".
As the paper reorganization of the CDCR was going into effect July 1, 2005 so too
were the prison medical services throughout the state. They were put under new
supervision. Federal Judge Thelton Henderson put prison health care into receivership
because it was so poorly run, with one inmate dying per week as a result of a
non-functioning system. In February 2006, he appointed Robert Sillen to the post of
federal receiver to implement reforms in a failed bureaucracy that houses 168,000
people with another 120,000 on parole. Medical costs have risen from $153 million in
2001 to $821 million in 2006 and costs will rise still higher. Sillen predicts that
the medical care for prisoners may never be reintegrated under CDCR supervision.
Meanwhile, in CCWF, we don't see much in the way of change in our medical care. Our
problems mainly stem from lack of access. We have to go through custody to get help
and help is rarely immediate.
There are outside organizations from the Bay Area that have visited us for years.
Some are Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), California Coalition for
Women Prisoners (CCWP), Critical Resistance (CR), California Prison Focus (CPF) and
Justice Now. They have focused on specific projects.
CPF worked to end male staff pat searches of female inmates in 2005. For many women,
that was a welcome change. Some told sad stories of humiliation and embarrassment.
One stout young woman, who affected a sort of gender-neutral appearance, related how
she'd been singled out behind Central Kitchen shortly after she came to CCWF. As she
told me her tale, a blush rose from her neck to her cheeks and tears welled in the
corners of her eyes. "He scared me", she cried, "and he told me no one would believe
Anyway, one must be careful about retaliation. The threat of retaliation stops many a
whistle-blower in her tracks. Retaliation greases the social machinery in prison;
retaliation and snitching.
LSPC produced a widely-read booklet, "Dignity Denied". It centers on the lives of
women prisoners who are 55 years of age and older. It includes numerous interviews.
One woman, married, children, in her late 30's or early 40's had never committed a
crime. She'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time with an old friend who behaved
in a way he never had before. She was arrested, got a private attorney, a
professional investigator, did all the right things and thought she'd never go to
prison. The first offer, six months in the L.A. County Jail. "Oh, I could never do
that," she said. Now she's convicted with a two-year sentence at CCWF.
"People in court, the judge, my lawyer, they told me I'd go to fire camp. I've got a
sentence with 85%. Nobody with 85% goes to fire camp! Those people don't know
anything about CDC! When you come into CDC, it's a whole different world. It's like a
third world country. You're completely cut off from civilization. I was freaked out
when I got here. I was sure some of the prisoners were men. 'Are they men?' I asked.
I had no idea. You're isolated.
"I want to go to education. I go to my counselor for help. She doesn't know when and
if I'm going. Yesterday, I waited an hour and a half to see her. I was late for work.
She told me, 'you're on the list!' That's all she can tell me. They don't know from
computers. There's no computers! It's sheer incompetence but it's 'planned'
incompetence. These people are supposed to be our resources but they don't help us.
And they don't have to."
Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety (TIPS), a Sacramento-based group that supports
prisoners and their families, predicts that the entire state prison industry may be
put into federal receivership soon, perhaps as early as October 2006. Judge
Henderson's special master, John Hagar, has worked with him for several years,
especially in cases concerning corruption and brutality by guards at Pelican Bay
State Prison. In early July, he delivered a frank and scathing report of the
Schwarzenegger administration's failure to implement any positive, money-saving
change since it took office. Two CDCR head administrators, first Rod Hickman and
later, Jeanne Woodford, were side-lined by the governor and CCPOA and resigned last
spring. Together, the CDCR and the CCPOA will resist any move toward prison
privatization, a threat recently thrown about by Schwarzenegger.
Politicians and the mainstream media, especially television news, have trained the
public to fear "criminals", to look at prisoners as not-quite-human, a species apart.
Crime is sexy, brings in viewers and sells advertising for T.V. stations. The brave,
"get tough" legislators protect all the good people from the larcenously-inclined
poor, particularly the poor African Americans and Latinas, who get put into prisons.
(CCWF statistics by race of inmates: Black 30%, Latina 29%, white 35%, Other 5%)
The public needs to be retrained to accept the idea of a rehabilitated prisoner.
Politicians will have to put some effort into undoing their nefarious campaign of
criminal injustice over the past 25 years. California, besides three strikes, has
perhaps the most punitive, lengthy sentencing laws in the nation. There must be
sentence reform. For rehabilitation to have a chance of success, parole must be
severely reduced, if not altogether eliminated as it has been in other states.
The only hope for a true political overhaul of California's massive, costly,
expanding prison industry is a federal takeover. As long as Californian politicians
are beholden to the powerful prison bureaucracy, whether the CDCR's Sacramento
headquarters or in the offices of the CCPOA, their predictable acquiescence to prison
power is unshakeable.
California is breeding generations of prisoners. It's past time for an intervention
and only its citizens can do it. Incarceration doesn't stop crime. A society that
tackles its problem with social solutions provides hope to its people. Increased
educational access, universal health-care and insurance, childcare, higher taxes on
wealthy incomes, affordable housing, jobs plus public arts and sports programs are
critical. Hope blends a positive outlook with personal responsibility, producing
citizen optimism and a boost in civic involvement. Prisons kill hope. They are
nothing but dead zones.
I intend to last long enough to put out of business all COck-suckers
and other beneficiaries of the institutionalized slavery and genocide.
"The army that will defeat terrorism doesn't wear uniforms, or drive
Humvees, or calls in air-strikes. It doesn't have a high command, or
high security, or a high budget. The army that can defeat terrorism
does battle quietly, clearing minefields and vaccinating children. It
undermines military dictatorships and military lobbyists. It subverts
sweatshops and special interests.Where people feel powerless, it
helps them organize for change, and where people are powerful, it
reminds them of their responsibility." ~~~~ Author Unknown ~~~~
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