This is an open letter going to the ombudsmen at California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.
Ms Malone, Ms Rosalez:
I have been informed of the abusive search guards are currently doing at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla.
The inmates have been on lockdown for over two weeks now. The reason is that an inmate allegedly threatened guards by saying she has 4 syringes with HIV tinted blood in them and she was going to stab guards with them. This sounds very unlikely to me.
The guards are searching each room in the prison in a very despicable manner.
· The guards took all mattresses and blankets. The guards didn’t “time to return” the mattresses until the next morning so all of the women had to sleep on bed frames.
· The guards destroyed inmates’ property. This was property purchased by the inmates’ families. The took creams and smeared them on the walls. They emptied out bags of hot chocolate on the floor.
· Televisions, typewriters, CD players, and other property purchase by inmates’ families were destroyed. Some of the inmates had received these items from other inmates with their permission but the CDCR policy is that an inmate cannot give another inmate any property. In other words, when an inmate is released and doesn’t take her stuff with her it must be destroyed regardless of how good of a shape it is in.
· All arts and crafts items were destroyed. Many inmates try to improve and support themselves by creating cards, stationery, and other items for other inmates. Destroying this material means they are unable to support themselves.
· Inmates have had their medicine taken away and destroyed. Then they were given a ducat to go to the infirmary to get their medicine. This is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer’s money.
· With the exception of one roll, all toilet paper in each unit was thrown away. This is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer’s money.
· Cleaning supplies were thrown out. This is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer’s money.
· Inmate mail is being delayed as a result of this search.
My belief is that the guards are upset at the layoffs currently occurring at CDCR. They are taken out their anger on the people who cannot fight back – the inmates. The excuse for the search – the HIV tinted blood syringes – sounds very fishy to me. How could an inmate get this? It’s my understanding that HIV positive inmates are kept apart from the general inmate population.
Is not one of the purposes of CDCR to rehabilitate inmates? How can they rehabilitate when they are treated like dirt. Elderly women are being clubbed because they got confused and turned the wrong direction. The women are being called “fat cows” and other words I prefer not to use.
Most of the women at VSPW are there to pay their debt to society. This does not mean they should be treated less than humanely.
Sharon McNary, KPCC radio
Mike Tharp, Merced Sun Star
KGO (San Francisco)
KTVU (San Francisco)
Dan Rosenheim, News Director, KPIX television (San Francisco)
Los Angeles Times
Patti Mandrell, Chowchilla News
Paula Hansen, Chowchilla News
San Francisco Chronicle