Methods used by the state to
control inmate behaviors, often referred to as the "Carrot and Stick Approach,"
are used by lightly trained guards who have not been helped to understand
the responsibilities and ethics connected to the psychology of Behavior
Modification as applied to humans.
This creates a climate of fear which runs rampant and unchecked throughout
our correctional system.
Further examples of Cruel and Unusual Punishment in the form of psychological
torture include: lockdowns which last months and sometimes years at a time;
deliberate destruction or "loss" of inmate legal papers;
denial of access to law books and prison libraries and therefore
the ability to file papers under certain court mandated deadlines;
blockage of mail which is a violation of federal law; retaliation
by prison staff for the filing of grievances as permitted by state guidelines
interference with familial love and bonding by denying thousands
of prisoners the right to visit with their own minor children, even behind
denial of quarterly packages from home which meet prisoner minimum
Beatings and the setting up by guards of prison rape as a form of
torture and control is commonplace.
Also common, is the trafficking of drugs by guards who line their
pockets and exploit prisoners on the one hand and beat or punish them with
Guard Infractions are not dealt with squarely and honestly but allowed
to continue through the unwritten practice of denial and cover up.
The mentally ill, the terminally ill, and the elderly are abused
and punished as they have few advocates and many no longer have the ability
to advocate for themselves.
Compassionate releases for the terminally ill are legally permitted
at 6 months before death, yet these releases are routinely denied until
the last two (2) days before they die.
Many inmates do not make it out at all but die handcuffed to their
hospital bed. Their companion at death is a guard standing nearby making
Particularly horrendous are those individuals who are isolated for
months and years at a time in SHU (Security Housing Units) where time and
reality take on a different dimension and where sane men are not only broken
in spirit but driven mad.
Those who were not sick when they were incarcerated are often sick
upon their release and, as a result of our shortsightedness, we have created
an otherwise needless threat to public safety.
As a remedy we should STOP the abuse and extreme punishment for thousands
of our inmates including those who are mentally ill and who cry out for
We need to reexamine our harsh parole laws. We need to STOP the return
of prior offenders "conveyor-belt-style" back to our prisons for minor
and even minuscule infractions.
We need to examine the very real injustice(s) we are seeing in the
courts often from first arrest through parole.
We need to MODIFY California's Three (3) Strikes law which has been
abused and misused by overly zealous prosecutors advancing their own careers.
Our state legislators and leaders need to STOP the passage of punishing
new bills as a way of demonstrating that they are "tough on crime" and
begin to consider first the economic fallout and emotional turmoil these
laws will bring to California families.
Sixty UNION subscribers pleaded for the life of Beverly Dias, a young
mother incarcerated at Valley State Prison who will die without a transplant,
by walking the halls of the legislature together. Mr. Zimmerman in
Senator Jeff Denham's office was specifically asked to intervene to either
give her a transplant or release Beverly Dias. Two appeals were made
at the microphone. One by B. Cayenne Bird, Director and the other
by Francis Courser.
It is time to be "smart on crime" and in that way we remain citizens
United For No Injustice, Oppression, or Neglect.
Photos by Jo Ann Fawcett
Publisher of Ecobyte Newspaper
and Nova Albion Magazine
Thursday, March 13, 2003, Sacramento Capitol
At great sacrifice and expense, families of prisoners,
many of whom are also people in the helping professions, traveled for hundreds
of miles to protest inhumane conditions in California's prisons. Only large,
funded voting machines are recognized as having any clout by the California
legislature. We had 150 people sign in this day. When we can bring 1000
to a rally, we will be able to win more battles. Still, it was a good crowd
of wonderful people standing up for their loved ones. Doctors, teachers,
nurses, social workers, journalists, and families of prisoners from almost
every occupation turned out to show they care in the middle of the week.
Itwas very impressive.
We formed a large circle on the North Side of the Capitol, held hands
and prayed for our loved ones who are living in a violent, unsanitary and
inhumane conditions at 33 prisons statewide
Children and young mothers left to rear them
alone, the real victims of 3 Strikes and other harsh laws. The father and
husband of this family has a life sentence for a non violent crime. Is
this what the public wants? NO!
by Jo Ann Fawcett
Unseen victims of harsh sentencing laws. These three children have lost their father for life
over a ridiculous, minor violation .
U.N.I.O.N. Director, B. Cayenne
was mistress of ceremonies
and event coordinator. Her speech
emphasized "6500 people willing to do
a little work, organize properly,
and can change any law.
Cayenne Bird Speech
Tommy Clinkenbeard, Esq. Speech,
spoke about the injustice and
inhumanity of Capital Punishment
Robert Driscoll Speech
John Videen, M.D. Speech
Frank Courser Speech
Photos by Jo Ann Fawcett