|Grievances of Conscientious Men Incarcerated Within Mule Creek State
- Compiled, prepared, presented by: Eric Knapp
Mule Creek State Prison
I. RULES, REGULATIONS, POLICIES, PROCEDURES
A. Local Authority
MCSP frequently cites its own operating procedures as final authority
for denying inmate appeals and MAC requests even though Title 15 and/or
D.O.M. might state something contrary to what is cited as justification
for denials. Operational procedures (which MCSP refers to as the "MCSP
Department Operations Manual") are subordinate to D.O.M. and Title 15,
not superior. Even though local operating procedures must first be approved
by the CDC director whenever amended and before being implemented, MCSP
uses many which have no such approval. Many of MCSP's operating procedures
are therefore rogue and should not be cited as authority for denials when
Title 15 and/or D.O.M. state something more favorable to MCSP inmates.
B. Supreme Authority? From the way MCSP seems to get away with always
inventing and enforcing rules, regulations, and policies which have no
foundation in administrative law (D.O.M. or Title 15), it seems to us,
the Facility "B" general inmate population, that either the Legislature,
the Senate Public Safety Committee, or the CDC director has bestowed some
type of supreme authority upon MCSP to do whatever it wants to the incarcerated
men within its walls and get away with misinterpreting administrative law
however it sees fit. We want MCSP to be held accountable when it does not
follow rules, regulations, and policies in a manner which is as favorable
to us as possible without jeopardizing or compromising the institution's
safety and security.
C. In-Service Training (IST)
MCSP staff conduct, attend IST classes for sixty to ninety minutes
at least eight days per month during time otherwise scheduled for us to
take showers, make phone calls, have access to the exercise yard, attend
chapel services, and participate in recreational activities. IST is also
conducted/attended on days not authorized/scheduled by MCSP operating procedures.
Collectively speaking, MCSP inmates have been to just about every level-III
and level-IV prison in California so know from personal experience that
IST is not conducted elsewhere during time normally scheduled for prisoners
to participate in program activities. Our MAC representatives have complained
about this issue on our behalf many times in the past, but the problem
continues. We want IST to either stop being conducted during our time or
be conducted only on days approved, authorized, and scheduled by MCSP operating
MCSP requires inmates to drop to the ground and remain there for long
periods of time whenever an alarm goes off on entirely separate yards.
We have collectively been to every level-III prison in California and only
MCSP requires inmates to do this. It makes no sense to us because MCSP
is the least violent prison in California. Any incidents which occur on
a yard are always able to be handled by only that yard's responding staff.
Making inmates drop to the ground when an alarm goes off on another yard
is an example of MCSP practicing blanket punishment and unnecessarily treating
us differently than prisoners are treated at other California prison.
E. Fog Procedures
MCSP frequently experiences heavy morning fog during winter months
which require all inmates to be accounted for (counted) immediately after
the morning meal (which means all inmates remain locked inside their cells
until fog count clears). However, we are not let out of our cells for sometimes
hours after the morning meal even though all fog has been gone for hours.
We want staff to stop leaving us locked inside our cells after fog has
F. Heat-Alert Procedures
When summer temperatures reach 90°F, inmates on heat-sensitive
medications are required to return to their housing units to get out of
the heat and be accounted for by officers. However, MCSP forces ALL Facility
"B" inmates (not just those on heat-sensitive medication) to not only return
to our housing units, but also get locked inside our cells while inmates
on heat-sensitive medication get counted. tie are then kept locked inside
our cells for hours when we could instead be taking showers (many of us
were outside on the exercise yard all hot and sweaty when it reached 90°F),
making phone calls, doing laundry, or any number of other things more preferable
than being stuck inside a hot 6' x 9' cell with another man waiting for
the count of inmates on heat-sensitive medication to clear before being
released from our cells. We want MCSP to stop locking all Facility "B"
inmates inside our cells when outside temperatures reach 100°F. Instead,
allow us to continue with whatever we were doing and require only the heat-sensitive
inmates to return to their housing units -- appropriately disciplining
those who fail to return.
II. INMATE APPEALS
Responses by MCSP staff to inmate appeals and grievances are commonly
surly, condescending, and often fail to meet mandatory time limits set
forth in Title 15 § 3084.6. Valid appeal issues are rarely decided
in our favor by department heads (first-level reviewers) or the warden
(,second-level reviewer) if previously denied by lower levels of appeal
review. We want appeal responses to be on time (and/or in compliance with
Title 15 § 3084.6 when delayed) and responded to as favorably to MCSP
inmates as possible within the guidelines of protecting the safety and
security of the institution, its staff and inmates, and the public.
A. Lack of Respect Much contempt, hostility, and disrespect is shown
by several MCSP staff members toward the approximately 1,200 men with sensitive-/protective-housing
needs on Facility "B" at MCSP. Some staff refer to us as "punks", "rats",
"drop-outs", "pieces of shit", and other such derogatory names. tie are
frequently cussed at and talked down to like we are little children. Some
staff seem to think that because we are not practicing violence against
them and each other, we deserve less respect than that received by prisoners
at more violent prisons. We want all MCSP staff to treat us with due respect
and stop psychologically pushing inmates around just because they know
that most of us prefer to not have to push back.
When employee misconduct is reported by inmates and/or their outside
supporters (family members, friends, attorneys, etc.), MCSP invariably
sides with employees regardless of their culpability. Such lack of accountability
makes employees believe they are invulnerable to disciplinary action and
above all rules, regulations, and laws concerning employee misconduct toward
inmates and/or their supporters. Further, MCSP seems to condone and even
facilitate retaliation against inmates who report employee misconduct.
MCSP allows employees to continue working in areas where many complaints
about them originate. We want MCSP to take our reports of employee misconduct
seriously and take appropriate disciplinary action against staff members
who commit misconduct.
C. Medical Staff
Some of MCSP's doctors, MTAs, and other medical staff often become
extremely disrespectful, unprofessional, condescending, and even hostile
to men who come to them for medical care and treatment. Although the misconduct
of the worse offenders (e.g., "Dr." Douglas) is routinely reported, nothing
changes. We want staff to be held accountable and disciplined (just as
we are) when misconduct is committed which subjects us to disrespect, contempt,
hostility, and other such indignities.
D. EOP Inmates
Some of the correctional staff who work in the EOP housing unit treat
inmate mental-health patients with contempt, hostility, condescension,
and disrespect. Such conduct not only brings great discredit upon the officers,
MCSP, and CDC, but also aggravates the mental conditions which many of
the EOP inmate-patients suffer. We want to see an end to the harassment
EOP inmates suffer at the hands of certain correctional staff. Tae also
want to see correctional staff held accountable and disciplined when they
do commit such misconduct.
E. Abuse of Authority
Several MCSP staff members presume to have carte blanc authority to
violate due process and not follow established rules, regulations, policies,
and procedures. For example, on February 26, 2002, an inmate exiting the
dining facility after breakfast was confronted by a sergeant because his
hair was longer than allowed by inmate grooming standards. The sergeant
told the inmate he is placing him on "C" status and ordered officers in
his housing unit to confiscate his red privilege and green identification
cards. "C" status can only be imposed by a classification committee on
only inmates who generate significant disciplinary histories in a 120-day
period (either two serious rules violation reports, or three rules violation
reports -- either administrative or serious). This sergeant's attitude
and actions give only one example of the arrogance with which certain MCSP
staff members flaunt, ignore, and show contempt for the established rules,
regulations, policies, and procedures of the California Department of Corrections
and the state and federal laws governing operations of prisons, treatment
of prisoners, and inmate rights.
F. Citizens Complaints
Several complaints and reports of employee misconduct have been presented
to MCSP by the family members, friends, and supporters of MCSP inmates
pursuant to CA Penal Code § 832.5. Despite the 30-day time limit to
acknowledge receipt of such complaints/reports, and the 1-year time limit
to provide final responses, MCSP does not comply. Further, MCSP allows
inmates whose outside supporters file such complaints/reports to be harassed
and retaliated against by prison staff (frequent and harassing cell searches,
confinement in ad-seg, etc.).
(Union) Representatives Some of the correctional officers at MCSP who
are union (CCPOA) representatives try to give inmates the impression that
they actually run MCSP. We frequently observe and hear about mere correctional
officers chewing out other correctional officers with more seniority, sergeants,
lieutenants; captains, and MCSP administrators with impunity. Often it
is the officers themselves who brag to us about the "power" they wield
to influence MCSP policy. We hear about officers threatening MCSP supervisory
and administrative staff with union complaints and stress claims to get
their way in dictating inmate program activities and unlocks. CCPOA representatives
have telephoned other correctional officers in front of us and given instructions
to ignore memos, orders, and directives given by sergeants and other higher-ranking
staff. We believe that what we see and report here needs to be kept between
staff and not aired in front of us. Because of our sensitive-housing needs,
we expect MCSP staff to be professional and united in looking out for our
safety. How can we have confidence in MCSP's supervisory and administrative
staff when correctional officers claim and often demonstrate an inappropriate
amount of influence, control, and power over MCSP rules, regulations, policies,
H. Power Conflicts
We constantly witness unprofessionalism, disrespect, backbiting, gossip,
and petty squabbles among some of MCSP's staff members. We frequently observe
correctional officers threatening to make stress claims and other complaints
to their union (CCPOA) if certain conditions are not met. We get the impression
that the CCPOA representatives who are mere correctional officers presume
to have control over MCSP and supervisory/administrative staff. Upper echelons
of MCSP leadership seem intimidated by CCPOA representatives to the point
that they cater to the demands of correctional officers, often at the expense
of the rights, privileges, amenities, accommodations, and fair/proper treatment
of MCSP inmates.
When appeals and grievances are filed by inmates and/or their visitors,
inmates are often retaliated against, harassed, and threatened with such
things as confinement in ad-seg, transfer to unsafe institutions, loss
of privileges, frequent and antagonizing cell searches, and other forms
of intimidation intended to make us withdraw complaints.
IV. HEALTH, SAFETY, HYGIENE, SANITATION
A. Food-Handling Practices We feel the following unsatisfactory conditions
exist because certain staff members are not properly performing their duties
1. Inmate kitchen workers are not trained in or made to follow sanitary
hygiene practices. They receive no formal training of any kind on using
plastic food-handling gloves to prevent contaminating food with germs,
bacteria, and other microorganisms. We want all inmate kitchen workers
to receive such training on a regular basis.
2. Inmate kitchen workers have been observed continuing to serve food
with the same disposable plastic food-handling gloves after coughing and
sneezing into gloved hands; touching, rubbing, and scratching various body
parts; and touching contaminated/non-food surfaces (counters, tray bottoms,
clothing, etc.). We want inmate kitchen workers trained to be conscientious
of what their gloved hands touch while working with/around food, and to
be required to change gloves whenever they become contaminated with unsanitary
3. Inmate kitchen workers talk, laugh, cough, and sneeze while standing
over open pans and trays of food while preparing and serving meals. Spit
and other debris flying out of their mouths lands directly in our food.
We want inmate kitchen workers to be more conscientious around our food.
4. Inmate kitchen workers do not change disposable plastic food-handling
gloves as frequently as the should while serving meals. Gloves are supposed
to be changed whenever they come into contact with anything other than
the serving utensil which is supposed to be used to serve food.
5. Employees allow inmate kitchen workers to serve food with gloved
hands instead of serving utensils. Inmate kitchen workers have been observed
serving portions of wet food onto trays by scooping handfuls of the item
with gloved hands instead of a serving utensil.
6. Inmate kitchen workers mix salad dressing into large pans of lettuce
with gloved hands, apparently oblivious to the fact that the bare skin
on their wrists and arms, as well as their filthy shirt sleeves, come into
contact with the lettuce/dressing mixture.. we frequently find hair, lint,
and other unpalatable items in our food. We want tongs or other utensils
used to mix dressing into salads instead of gloved hands being shoved elbow-deep
into salad pans to do the job.
7. Inmate kitchen workers dip and trail shirt and jacket sleeves into
our food when reaching over trays and food pans.
8. Inmate kitchen workers put food which has been dropped onto the floor
or countertop onto trays without any consideration for whomever will have
to eat it, and without any interference from supervisors.
9. Inmate kitchen workers must use a toilet located within the kitchen
area. Hand soap and paper towels are not always available for use, so workers
return to food preparation and handling with unwashed hands after being
in or using toilet facilities.
10. Inmates with the epidemic hepatitis-C virus are working with/around
our food. We have been told by MCSP medical staff that infected inmates
may work in the kitchen. However, an agent of the Amador County Health
Department told the pre-release class that infected humans are not supposed
to be working with/around food intended for public consumption. We want
inmates infected with diseases such as hepatitis-C to be kept away from
kitchen areas where our food is being prepared and served.
11. EOP inmates are allowed to work with/around our food. Many of these
mental health inmate patients do not shower or wash/change their clothes
as often as they should. We do not want EOP inmate patients working in
kitchen areas where our food is being prepared and served.
12. Inmate kitchen workers carrying brooms enter the dining area where
we are still eating and begin sweeping as soon as the dining area begins
to be released one row of tables at a time. This stirs up a lot of dust
and microbes for those of us still eating, and creates anger toward the
inmate kitchen workers whose supervisors order them to sweep while men
are still eating. lie want sweeping of dining areas to be done after feeding
is over and all diners have left.
B. Hep-C Kitchen Workers
MCSP allows inmates with the hepatitis-C virus (HCV) to work in prison
kitchens preparing and handling our food. HCV is an epidemic disease sweeping
through the U.S. and California prison system. We feel it is highly irresponsible,
dangerous, and deliberately indifferent to our health and safety to let
inmates with infectious and communicable diseases work in prison kitchens.
We want all infected/diseasei inmates at MCSP to be restricted from working
anywhere near our food.
C. Non-SNI Food Handlers
MCSP houses approximately 2,350 sensitive-needs inmates (SNIs) on sub-facilities
"A" and "B". Sub-facility "C" houses approximately 1,180 inmates who do
not have sensitive needs. However, all food for the entire prison population
is prepared in the Facility "C" main kitchen by inmates who do not have
sensitive needs. Inmates without sensitive needs despise inmates who do
have sensitive needs. They frequently contaminate our food and do whatever
they can get away with to express their contempt for us. We frequently
find sand, hair, metal, and other unexplainable items in our food. We feel
that MCSP's main kitchen should be located on a sensitive-needs yard and
operated by sensitive-needs inmates to protect us from the malicious and
sadistic acts committed against us by inmates who do not have sensitive
needs. We were informed by staff several months ago that an inmate on Facility
"C" had been caught urinating in Jell-0 designated for Facility "B". We
do not know how true that rumor was, but we frequently hear such stories
which cause us great concern as a population for our health and safety.
D. BOP Diners
There are approximately two hundred EOP inmates on Facility "B" at
MCSP housed in Building 110. For whatever reason's), many of these mental
health patients neither shower nor wash/change their clothes as frequently
as they should. This causes them to smell bad and offend the general population
inmates who have to sit with them in the dining facility. We want EOP inmates
to be required to shower daily, change/wash their clothes more frequently,
and sit at least one table from us so we don't have to smell them while
trying to eat meals which are unappetizing enough without the smell of
unwashed bodies and clothes making things worse.
E. Inmate Barbers
"Barbers" at MCSP who cut our hair are inmates who receive no formal
or professional training of any kind in either health, hygiene, and sanitation
procedures, or in proper hair-cutting techniques. Barber shops are not
provided nor are barbers promptly given replacement parts when barber tools
become broken, dull, or worn. Barber aprons are not laundered as often
as they should be (every day), and barbers are not given barbicide capable
of killing hepatitis-C and HIV. The law requires that even barbers who
cut the hair of prisoners will have special training, equipment, and accommodations.
Since inmate grooming standards are currently being imposed on us by CDC,
we want MCSP to protect our health by establishing better barber accommodations
which meet California Health and Safety Code standards.
Several MCSP inmates have slipped, fallen, and injured themselves both
inside showers and when stepping into/out of showers. The cheap shower
shoes sold in the inmate canteen quickly become worn and smooth on the
bottoms. The supposedly "non-slip" surfaces painted on the floor in front
of all showers quickly wears away and becomes dangerously slick when wet.
Work orders requesting that shower areas be resurfaced with "non-slip"
coating take forever to get completed. We want safer shower areas and the
ability to obtain better-quality shower shoes from canteen, quarterly packages,
and vendor purchases.
G. Non-SNI laundry Workers
MCSP houses approximately 2,350 sensitive-needs inmates (SNIs) on sub-facilities
"A" and "B". Sub-facility "C" houses approximately 1,180 inmates who do
not have sensitive needs. However, all laundry for the entire prison population
is washed in the Facility "C" main laundry by inmates who do not have sensitive
needs. Inmates without sensitive needs despise those of us who do. They
frequently do whatever they can to express their contempt for us. Inmates
who have come to Facility "B" from Facility "C" tell us to never send our
laundry in to be washed in the Facility "C" main laundry. They tell us
that the inmate laundry workers .on Facility "C" spit on our clothes, urinate
on them, steal clothes out of them, put them into washing machines with
no soap or crammed so full that proper agitation/cleaning does not occur,
and many other such things. tie feel that MCSP's main laundry should be
located on a sensitive-needs yard and operated by sensitive-needs inmates
to protect us from the malicious and sadistic acts committed by inmates
who do not have sensitive needs against those who do.
Despite several requests by our MAC, MCSP has failed to repair all
the potholes and uneven surfaces on the recreation/exercise track and field
which fill with water and mud whenever it rains and present serious safety
hazards for both inmates and staff.
MCSP provides us with "medical care" which we feel falls far below
acceptable standards. Men have to wait weeks and months to be seen by a
doctor, get treated disrespectfully by medical staff, receive incorrect
diagnoses of medical conditions, have prescriptions suddenly changed or
stopped without having been informed by a doctor, and are forced to report
to work with contagious colds and/or viruses which require rest and could
contaminate/infect others (especially when kitchen workers are the ones
who get sick and are forced to work).
Several of the deaths and irreversible medical conditions which have
occurred and developed during the past several years at MCSP could have
been avoided or corrected if properly diagnosed and treated by medical
staff. Such malpractice and neglect is cruel and inhumane. Animals in zoos
and shelters receive better medical care than we do. Many of the men incarcerated.
within MCSP were doctors, nurses, and emergency medical service providers.
Others of us have had enough experience with medical care when we were
free to recognize deplorable conditions when we see them.
Inmates at MCSP are being charged additional $5.00 co-payment fees
for follow-up doctor visits and consultations. For example, inmates who
have blood tests done or x-rays taken must fill out a second request for
medical services and pay an additional $5.00 to receive test results and/or
follow-up care and consultation. If an inmate wants a copy of his blood
test results, he must pay .102 per page. Title 15 Sect; 3354.2(c)(1) states
that the $5.00 co-payment fee shall cover the evaluation, assessment, and
medically necessary treatment, INCLUDING FOLLOW-UP SERVICES RELATED TO
THE INITIAL CONDITION determined by health care staff to be necessary.
We want men incarcerated within MCSP to stop being unnecessarily and wrongfully
charged for follow-up medical services.
C. Medical Line
Inmates at MCSP must stand outdoors for long periods of time (sometimes
several hours) while waiting in line to receive prescription medications
and/or medical/dental care. There is no shelter, overhead or otherwise,
to protect men from rain, heat/sun, and cold/wind. Nor are men issued rain
gear and insulated jackets to protect them from the weather and keep them
warm and dry (as mandated by § 3030(b)(1)(F) in Title 15). We want
all MCSP inmates to be issued rain gear and insulated jackets in compliance
with the law. Tie also want some type of overhead awning or shelter built
to protect med-line users from rain, cold, heat, and direct sunlight (to
avoid heat exhaustion and sunburn).
Instead of performing proper dental procedures on our teeth, MCSP dental
staff will only pull them out when we get cavities or require dental services
such as caps or work on root canals. Instead of bridges and partial dentures,
dental staff want to yank all teeth out of a jaw so full dentures may be
made. The dental care we receive falls far below societal standards.
E. Hep-C Care & Treatment
MCSP inmates diagnosed with the hepatitis-C virus (HCV) are not being
provided with the proper and most effective treatment and care. They receive
the inferior generation of alpha interferon (Intergen) instead of the more
superior pegalated interferon (Pegintron). Inmates with HCV are given disciplinary
"A" days when their medications make them too ill to report to work. They
must also stand outdoors for long periods of time in the rain, cold, heat,
and wind without rain gear, insulated jackets, or overhead/other shelter
while waiting to receive interferon injections. We want MCSP's many HCV
patients to receive the most effective HCV treatment possible, excused
time off (ETO) when they are too ill to report to work, rain gear and insulated
jackets as required by Title 15 § 3030(b)(1)(F), and to not have to
wait outdoors to receive interferon injections.
F. Special Diets Unlike other California prisons many of us have been
to, MCSP does not provide special diets/foods for the many men incarcerated
here with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity problems,
and special religious dietary needs.
VI. FOOD SERVICES
A. Service MCSP employees do not enforce proper preparation of trays,
and refuse to correct mistakes made by inmate kitchen workers. The following
problems exist because employees and supervisors are not properly performing
their duties and responsibilities:
1. Menu items carelessly slopped or sloshed onto trays and mixed together
with other items (e.g., cake bottoms made soggy by vegetable juice, vegetables
mixed with pudding, etc.).
2. For every several trays which might have equal/decent portion sizes,
one or two will have unequal/small portions (meat, cake, rolls, etc.).
These inequalities could easily be compensated, but staff refuse to cooperate.
Supervisory kitchen staff refuse to enforce portion sizes indicated
on menus. Inmate kitchen workers use ladles, scoops, and spoons not equivalent
to designated portion sizes (i.e., using 4-ounce serving utensils to serve
items which the menu says are supposed to be 6 ounces). This creates hunger
and irritability in the men being shorted, animosity toward the inmate
kitchen workers not being properly supervised, and resentment toward the
employees who are not properly carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities.
MCSP has the men incarcerated within its walls on a "heart-healthy"
diet which is high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. While this
diet may be ideal for endurance athletes and people who are able to eat
whenever hungry, it is miserable for prisoners who only receive two cooked
meals and a sack lunch per day. Carbohydrates do not satisfy hunger pangs
as do proteins and fats. People on high carbohydrate diets must eat often
(at least five times per day) to avoid becoming hungry and tired (hypoglycemic).
Feeding only three high-carb, low-protein/-fat meals to inmates is cruel
because we never feel full and are always hungry, lightheaded, and miserable
between meals. We either want off this "heart-healthy" diet, or to be fed
a larger variety and volume of food.
D. Wet Trays
MCSP scullery machines do not properly dry trays. As a result, wet
trays come directly from the sculleries to the serving line where food
is slopped onto them while still wet. Trays are supposed to be dry when
food is placed onto them so that any germs, bacteria, or other microbes
which live in the filthy water found in scullery machines will be unable
to contaminate food. The final stage of scullery machine washing is supposed
to be a high-heat pass intended to speed drying and kill germs and bacteria.
We want MCSP's scullery machines to work properly, and for our food to
stop being placed onto wet trays.
E. Citrus; Sweeteners
Not too long ago, oranges, grapefruits, and other fruits were regularly
served to us with breakfast and lunch. A temporary acting warden (Hickman)
decided he would try to eliminate inmate-manufactured alcohol from MCSP
by removing citrus and other items (i.e., sugar and honey) from our diet.
Despite the fact that MCSP inmates continue to make wine on a regular basis,
and although prisoners at other level-III and level-IV prisons are receiving
these items, MCSP refuses to bring them back. The only fresh fruit we get
now is apples and an occasional banana. We are also forced to sweeten foods
and beverages with artificial sweeteners loaded with chemicals. This is
punitive against the entire general inmate population of MCSP for the actions
of less than one percent of the total number of men incarcerated here.
We want citrus, sugar, and honey returned to us.
MCSP removed bacon, sausage, chops, ham, ribs, and other pork food
items from our diet. We have been told that this was done to accommodate
MCSP's Muslim, Jewish, and Seventh-day Adventist inmates. Title 15 §
3054(c) sufficiently provides for accommodating the minority number of
inmates with special religious dietary needs without affecting the general
inmate population. No valid reason can therefore be given for eliminating
food items enjoyed and desired by the majority of MCSP inmates. We want
pork food items back on the menus. We also want inmates with special religious
dietary needs to be generously compensated pursuant to Title 15 §
3054(c) when they are unable to eat certain menu items containing pork.
VII. HOUSING CONDITIONS
A. Cell Temperatures Winter air temperature in our cells is always
too hot or too cold despite numerous complaints and work requests made
every year by both staff and inmates. There is no balance or consistency
in air temperatures between each housing unit's three sections. We want
winter cell temperatures to be comfortable and consistent at all times
during the entire year and immediately fixed,/adjusted when reported (it
currently takes several weeks for MCSP staff to respond to work orders).
B. Air Quality
Air quality in MCSP housing units and cells is poor and unhealthy.
Filters on air-intake vents inside housing units are neither changed nor
cleaned as often as they should be. Many of the men incarcerated at MCSP
have persistent sinus problems due to the poor air quality inside housing
units and cells. Headaches, sinus infections, breathing problems, and bloody
noses are common complaints among prisoners at all times of the year. We
want improved air quality in all MCSP housing units and cells.
C. Summer Heat
MCSP cells and housing units become extremely hot and uncomfortable
during summer months. A proposal written by an MCSP inmate who spent two
years at Calipatria State Prison (where outdoor summer temperatures get
up to 130 deg;F while indoor cell and housing unit temperatures remain
cool and comfortable) was submitted through our MAC suggesting several
low-cost methods to alleviate summer heat problems at MCSP, but, as usual,
MCSP failed to provide the timely written response required by administrative
law (see VII. MEN'S ADVISORY COUNCIL, B. Staff Responses). We want MCSP
to take the steps suggested through our MAC to alleviate the miserable
housing conditions we experience every year during summer months
D. Cold Showers
Shower temperatures in the winter are uncomfortably cold every year
despite numerous complaints. Water is warm for the first few minutes of
the first shower, but turns and remains cold for the remainder of everyone
else's shower time (approximately two to five hours). We want warm showers
during winter months.
E. Cell Partners
Approximately 2,350 inmates at MCSP have sensitive case factors and
housing needs. However, MCSP forces men who are not compatible to share
6' x 9' cells meant for only one person, MCSP imposes disciplinary action
such as ad-seg and rules violation reports against men who refuse to live
with certain inmates. We know who we will and will not end up fighting
with when locked together inside a small space. When we refuse to live
with someone, it is because we want to avoid injury to ourselves, to whomever
MCSP is forcing us to live with, and/or to the staff who will have to respond
when we end up fighting. We want to have final say in who gets put into
a cell with us.
F._ Gym Housing
14CSP packs approximately 180 level-II inmates into an area not much
larger than a regulation-size basketball court. Such "housing" is supposed
to be "emergency" and "temporary" (which means inmates are not supposed
to remain housed in such conditions for more than ninety days), but many
level-II inmates have been forced to live in the gym for years. MCSP's
Facility "B" is designated as a level-III yard for level-III inmates with
sensitive case factors and housing needs. Having an additional almost two
hundred level-II inmates crammed onto the same yard with one thousand level-III
inmates creates a burden on all inmates collectively (especially when you
consider that MCSP's Facility "B" was designed to house only five hundred
inmates, not almost three times that number).
Level-III inmates (most of whom are lifers or serving lengthy sentences)
are adversely affected by the level-II inmates in matters of job assignments
(almost every gym occupant is assigned to jobs meant for level-III inmates)
and visiting space (,visits have to be terminated early every week due
to so many gym occupants getting visits on top of the number of level-III
inmates who get visits). Since gym housing is supposed to be temporary,
we want to see level-II inmates sent to a sensitive-needs level-II prison
as soon as their "temporary" status has expired (we have been informed
that ninety days is supposed to be the maximum amount of time men may be
forced to suffer this type of makeshift and substandard housing).
G. Modesty Dividers in Gym
Approximately 540 men, who are forced to live in small gymnasiums at
MCSP, have to share a single row of ten toilets spaced only twelve inches
apart. These men must suffer and endure the daily humiliation of having
to defecate and wipe themselves in full view of others. Despite repeated
requests and proposals through our MAC, MCSP refuses to install modesty
dividers between the toilets to afford gym occupants some degree of dignity
and privacy while performing eliminatory functions.
VIII. PROPERTY, QUARTERLY PACKAGES, VENDOR PURCHASES,
A. Allowable Property whenever inmates transfer to/from MCSP, they
must either give up several items of personal property because allowable
property items vary from prison to prison based on no recognizable or consistent
guidelines. We want to see allowable personal property standardized among
all prisons (according to level) so that we will not have personal property
taken from us whenever we transfer to/from MCSP.
We also want MCSP to let us possess all items of personal property which
we can demonstrate are allowed at other level-III and level-IV prisons.
Quarterly packages and vendor purchases are frequently issued to us
by certain MCSP officers in a surly and begrudging manner. There is no
consistency between officers in what they will allow or deny from one inmate,
package, or day to the next. Inmates are not advised of their right to
appeal an officer's denial of package items. We want standardized fairness,
latitude, and consistency in what we may receive in our quarterly packages
and vendor purchases.
C. Outside Vendors
MCSP seems to be in cahoots with the good of boys at Walkenhorst's
mail-order catalog company to corner the inmate market at MCSP and monopolize
the majority of special purchases we make from outside vendors; thus illegally
allowing Walkenhorst's to charge higher prices because they have no/little
competition. Walkenhorst's is a California mail-order prison vendor founded
by former employees/affiliates of the CA Department of Corrections. Evidence
that implicates MCSP in assisting Walkenhorst's in getting more business
from MCSP inmates than other vendors is the special Walkenhorst's catalog
MCSP and Walkenhorst's put together which shows only items which may be
purchased from Walkenhorst's. Additionally, MCSP allows us to purchase
up to ten pounds of food items per month from Walkenhorst's only (no other
vendors are approved for such food purchases). Walkenhorst's is too expensive.
For example, the Sony CFD-V17 AM/FM radio with cassette/CD player is sold
to us by Walkenhorst's for $90.00. The exact same item sells for .$50.00
at Good Guys, J.C. Penney's, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, and Target. We want
to be able to purchase from a wider selection of vendors to get the best
quality, service, and merchandise for our money.
D. Clear-Cabinet Policy
Title 15 § 3190 states that institutions may allow inmates to
possess any two of the following items: one television, one musical instrument,
one radio, one tape/disk player, one typewriter. MCSP recently implemented
its own policy which now requires these allowable property items to be
encased in transparent plastic. Items encased in clear plastic are sold
by the only two vendors MCSP allows us to buy from, but the items are off
brands and of extremely low quality compared to items not encased in clear
plastic made by more reputable manufacturers. Since inmates at other California
prisons are allowed to purchase/possess property not encased in clear plastic,
and since the clear-cabinet policy invented by MCSP is not a departmental
requirement, we want to be able to purchase/possess the higher-quality
property items not encased in clear plastic.
E. Canned Items
Other level-III and level-IV prisons in California allow inmates to
receive canned good in quarterly packages. We want the same privileges.
The CDC Operations Manual, §§ 54030.4.4 and 54030.3.2 specifically
authorizes prisoners to possess footlockers. MCSP has always before allowed
us to purchase and possess footlockers. When contraband was found hidden
within the construction of only a few footlockers (we were told by staff
that it was only about five), 14CSP told all 3,500 inmates that they may
no longer purchase footlockers. This is unfair blanket punishment. We want
MCSP to resume allowing us to purchase footlockers as authorized by the
CDC operations manual.
MCSP inmates are not allowed to purchase word-processing typewriters
which have non-removable memory capabilities even though such typewriters
are allowed at many other level-III and level-IV prisons in California.
We want to be able to purchase word-processing memory typewriters which
do not have removable memory/storage capabilities (floppy disk drives/ports).
When we purchase items from canteen, food sales, etc., or when items
such as coffee or protein powder are sent to us in quarterly packages and
vendor purchases, the containers which hold such items are as much our
personal property as the item inside. Certain MCSP officers take it upon
themselves to arbitrarily come into our cells and crush, cut, and otherwise
destroy all containers in our possession which no longer contain the original
item(s). We use, want, and keep containers for storage of other items.
Since such containers belong to us as items of personal property, we want
MCSP staff to stop destroying and confiscating them. We are adult men who
know how to dispose of garbage and/or unnecessary property. We want to
make our own decisions about what to do with non-contraband personal property
items -- not have those decisions capriciously made for us by officers.
Other prisons allow cigarette lighters. MCSP took lighters away and
installed three stationary electric lighter boxes outside on the exercise
yard. Men experiencing nicotine withdrawals have learned to light cigarettes
inside their cells by arcing electricity from wall sockets. This causes
damage to sockets resulting in added repair costs to MCSP's already tight
budget. We want MCSP to either allow us to purchase cigarette lighters
again, or just prohibit tobacco entirely so men will be able to quit smoking
altogether and stop damaging prison property and not have to suffer nicotine
withdrawals between yard periods and during facility/institution lock-downs.
J. Hot Pots
Several level-III and level-IV prisons in California allow inmates
to purchase and possess the Rival HotPot Express which has a warm-boil
temperature dial, holds 32 ounces, and is equipped with a built-in safety
feature which prevents overheating and fire. The Rival HotPot Express allows
men to cook beans, lentils, pasta, vegetables, and other foods to supplement
inadequate prison menus. The so-called "hot pot" which MCSP currently allows
us to have is nothing more than a pitcher-type water heater in which water
will not boil and food cannot be cooked. We want to be able to purchase
the Rival HotPot Express which is allowed at other prisons (many of which
are level-IV and have much greater security concerns and fewer built-in
security features than MCSP).
K. A/C Adapters
Other level-III and level-IV prisons in California allow inmates to
purchase A/C adapters and the removable transformer plugs used to operate
many low-amperage appliances. We want to be able to purchase adapters (to
save on battery costs) and appliances which come with removable transformer
A. Service Mail service at MCSP is by far worse than we have collectively
experienced at over twenty other prisons in the past thirty years. Late
delivery (days, sometimes weeks, after mail arrives at MCSP); letters,
pictures, stamps, and cards torn by envelope-opening cutters; misplaced
stamps and photos; and constantly changing mailroom staff are just some
of the many problems we frequently encounter.
B. Confidential Mail
Incoming confidential mail for MCSP inmates is frequently opened (and
read?) by MCSP mailroom staff and delivered to inmates as regular mail
(,often several days after arriving at MCSP). Such practices violate the
law and our Constitutional rights. Incoming confidential Mail is only to
be opened in our presence, never read by staff, and delivered the same
day it arrives at MCSP.
C. Money Orders
Money orders arrive for us at MCSP from our loved ones in plenty of
time for the money to be posted into our trust accounts prior to canteen
draws and food sales, but MCSP does not get the money into our accounts
until sometimes weeks have passed. We have been informed by staff members
that all envelopes containing money orders (and letters) get put into bins
located in the mailroom. When these bins become full (which may take several
days or weeks), the envelopes containing money orders (as well as letters,
stamps, photos, etc.) are taken to the inmate trust office so the money
orders may be processed. We want money orders to be processed no later
than the day after they arrive at MCSP. We also want the envelopes which
contain money orders to be forwarded to us the same day they arrive at
MCSP, rubber-stamped with the money order's amount and tracking number.
D. Saturday Delivery
MCSP delivers inmate mail Monday through Friday. However, the mailroom
experiences so many staffing, sorting, and volume problems that inmate
mail frequently does not get delivered every day. We believe it is reasonable
to request that mail also be processed and delivered on Saturdays as it
is at several other prisons and in society.
E. Adult Magazines
Several court rulings have established that inmates may receive adult
magazines such as Hustler and Penthouse. State and federal obscenity laws
clearly state what is legal and what is not legal for U.S. citizens (including
prisoners) to purchase and possess. However, MCSP frequently censors, denies,
and disallows adult magazines which do not meet the three-prong obscenity
test established by federal courts. Even the CDC director's rules (CCR,
Title 15), which is administrative law, is not being followed by MCSP in
disallowing adult magazines. We want all adult magazines which may be legally
mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to stop being withheld and denied.
MCSP visiting rooms were designed to accommodate visiting for yard
populations of only five hundred inmates. Because MCSP exceeds design capacity
by more than one hundred percent, visiting rooms are always crowded and
individual visits are regularly terminated early to crake room for other
visitors. However, Title 15 § 3177(c)(11)(F) states that visits can
only be terminated when visiting rooms are in use to MAXIMUM capacity.
The Facility "B" general inmate population submitted a group proposal in
July of '2000 suggesting several reasonable methods to effectively reduce
the number of visiting terminations. True to form, MCSP ignored our input
and continues to unnecessarily terminate visits in violation of not only
Title 15 and D.O.M., but also its own operating procedures. We contend
that MCSP is not utilizing space in the Facility "B" visiting room as efficiently
as possible to avoid terminating visits. MCSP is therefore allowing visits
to be terminated when visiting areas are NOT in use to maximum capacity.
We want ,1CSP to explore the proposed suggestions we submitted in July
of 7_000 for avoiding visit terminations.
B. Vending Machines
Food prices in vending machines provided for inmates and visitors in
MCSP visiting rooms skyrocketed as soon as the contract with Brown Rear
Enterprises expired and new vendors were chosen by MCSP. Sandwiches and
meals went from $1.95 and $2.25 to .$3.00, burritos and Hot Pockets went
from $1.00 each to- 1.50, bottled water went from .60; for sixteen ounces
to $1.00 for twelve ounces, and sodas went from .45 to .75;. Our visitors
tell us that the current prices they are forced to pay are outrageously
expensive, extortionate, and NOT comparable to vending machines they use
elsewhere. Since most prisoners' loved ones have financial difficulties,
we feel it is unfair to charge them so much for visiting food. We propose
offering the food vendor a certain number of the aluminum cans purchased
and thrown away every visiting day in the visiting rooms to offset his
exorbitant prices (see XIV. INMATE FUNDS, D. Aluminum Cans). At almost
.05 a can, this would be a win/win solution for both the vendor and our
C. Unexpected Visits
"MCSP inmates sometimes receive unexpected/surprise visits from loved
ones during work hours. Such visitors are turned away without getting to
see the inmate they drove long distances to visit. If/When this occurs,
we want MCSP to let us have the visit as long as the visitor has never
visited while we have been assigned to our current work assignment, and
allow us to use either Excused Time Off VETO) or non-disciplinary "A" time.
D. Holiday Visits
Title 15 § 3179(b) requires MCSP to conduct visiting on the following
holidays: New Year's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day,
and Christmas Pay. Inmates forced to work on these holidays are not allowed
to receive visits. They want MCSP inmates to be allowed to have holiday
visits and either use Excused Time Off (ETO) or receive non-disciplinary
"A" time in lieu of "Y" time.
XI. YARD, RECREATION, PROGRAM, & ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES
A. Lack of Quality Activities/Programs MCSP does not provide us with
as many of the meaningful free-time activities and programs which are offered
at other California prisons (lifer groups, extensive handicraft, recovery
groups for men wishing to deal with sexual addiction and other such problems,
etc.). We want MCSP to allow us to develop and participate in quality activities
which will have a positive effect on our incarceration and parole.
Title 15 § 3100 authorizes all California prisoners to participate
in handicraft programs which allow us to create and sell goods for profit
pursuant to CA Penal Code § 2601. We have been to prisons where we
have made and sold leather goods (belts, wallets, etc.), picture frames,
sculptures, models, and figurines made out of popsicle sticks, and all
sorts of other handicraft items. Other level-III and level-IV prisons allow
inmates to purchase and possess various handicraft supplies such as colored
paper and cellophane, glue, glitter, leather, popsicle sticks, and other
supplies necessary for quality handicraft. MCSP only allows us to have
colored pencils, acrylic paint and watercolors, brushes, and white art
paper. It has been said that MCSP received approximately two million dollars
several years ago to establish a handicraft program and build a handicraft
store on MCSP property so we could sell our goods to the public. We don't
know how true that rumor is, but we were also told that when two inmates
filed an inmate appeal about that issue, they were retaliated against with
disciplinary action based on false/set-up charges and transferred to other
prisons. We want a handicraft program comparable to what we can demonstrate
exists at other prisons and the ability to sell our goods to the public
for profit as authorized by Title 15 and the CA Penal Code.
C. Recreation Budget
It is our understanding that MCSP has a recreation budget from which
recreational supplies (balls, games, cards, etc.) are supposed to be purchased.
Ever since April of 2001, we have received fewer and fewer recreational
supplies until we now have almost nothing compared to what we had prior
to the year 2001. We want an audit of the MCSP recreation budget to ensure
that money allotted for our recreational supplies has not been mismanaged.
D. In-Cell/Lock-Down Time
MCSP is constantly coming up with reasons to justify keeping us locked
inside our cells for long periods of time during which we normally are
at work, in school, taking showers, on the exercise yard, and taking part
in other program activities. "Staff training", "generator testing", heat
alerts, and fog conditions are some of the more common reasons given for
keeping us locked inside our cells during program time. However, these
excuses are given so frequently, and we are left in our cells for such
long periods of time, that we have difficulty believing that lock-downs
are not being conducted for reasons other than those given. Inmates have
observed officers and supervisory staff conducting social gatherings, pot-luck
meals, parties, and other such functions while inmates are locked inside
E. "Down" Days
Approximately six hundred men on Facility "R" at MCSP are adversely
affected every week because MCSP shuts down all daytime (0600-1400) day-room
activities (especially showers) one day every week in Buildings #7,#8,
and #9 (which each house two hundred men). To make matters worse, two of
the housing units (7 and 9) experience these second-watch "down" days on
weekdays when third-watch staff conduct in-service training (Tuesdays and
Thursdays), thus making it almost impossible for inmates who worked all
day to get showers. Many inmates with jobs in vocational shops and PIA
Sewing work all day with/around chemicals such as gasoline, oil, formaldehyde,
heavy/toxic metals and fumes, and other such irritants. which need to be
showered off as soon as possible after work. In housing units with "down"
days, men are unable to shower until as late as 1930 hours (2015 if their
custody is Close-B) -- as much as six hours after they left work. We want
second-watch workers to be able to get showers BEFORE the evening meal
every work day regardless of "down" days and staff IST. We also want building
officers to conduct a controlled shower program on "down" days so all men
may get showers.
F. Movie Videos;
Title 15 5 3220.4 authorizes prisons to show movies not rated above
PG-13 to inmates. The only restriction on such movies is that they not
glorify violence or sex or be inflammatory to the climate of the institution.
MCSP presumes to have authority to restrict movies even further by prohibiting
those which show women kissing each other and female nudity. Despite the
Puritanical standards imposed against us by certain MCSP staff members
responsible for ordering and playing movie videos, MCSP has shown us movies
which showed a man having sex with a live tiger, movies which showed full
frontal and rear nudity of a female toddler ("American Rhapsody"), and
several movies which showed male nudity. In addition, 4CSP regularly plays
cartoons and children's movies which offend us because we are not children.
We want MCSP to stop censoring PG-13 movies which show female nudity --
especially since the pornographic adult magazines we have a legal right
to receive through the mail contain much more explicit, titillating, and
graphic nudity than anything a PG-13 movie might briefly flash across the
G. Edited Movie Videos
Title 15 3 3220.4 authorizes movie videos not rated above PG-13 to
be shown to the adult men incarcerated at MCSP. Provision is also made
.for exceptions to the PG-13 rating, but MCSP will not allow us to view
movies not rated PG-13 which were specially edited at the time of production
for showing to specific audiences such as airline passengers and prison
inmates. Instead, MCSP shows us cartoons and other children's movies which
customarily receive a PG-13 rating by the 'Motion Picture Association of
.America. We want to be able to view the specially edited movie videos
available to MCSP through Criterion and Swank (video vendors currently
used by MCSP).
H. A2-B Inmates
Title 15 gives all A2-B inmates the exact same privileges and access
to yard, recreation, and entertainment activities as those received by
A1-A inmates (cross-reference `;;; .3044!c)(3)f,1F,) and 3044'd)(3)(E)).
However, MCSP forbids A2-R inmates from participating in weekend/holiday
yard with Al-A inmates, daily evening yard with A1-A inmates, and evening
dayroom with Al-A inmates. We want MCSP to follow what the law says about
A2-?i inmates getting the same yard, recreation, and entertainment privileges
as A1-A inmates.
I. Prizes Title 15 5 3220(d) states that prizes awarded to inmates for
participation in recreational activities and contests may be purchased
using money from the Inmate Welfare Fund (I'JF1. A maximum of three sodas
is all MCSP will award individual inmates who WIN tournaments (no sodas
or other prizes are awarded to participants who do not win -- contrary
to what is stated in § 3220(d) of Title 15 about awarding PARTICIPANTS).
If./When individual inmates enter and win more than one tournament event,
MCSP refuses to award those inmates the three sodas they should be awarded
for each event they win. Tae want MCSP to start awarding prizes to all
inmates who participate in recreational activities and contests, and to
award winners of multiple events the full prize for each tournament won
(e.g., six sodas to an inmate who enters and wins two events for which
three sodas are awarded to the winner or each).
J. VSG Pins
Title 15 and the CDC operations manual authorizes inmate members of
organizations and activity groups to wear buttons and lapel pins to show
affiliation. MCSP does not allow its inmate Veterans Support Group (VSG)
members to wear small lapel pins of the U.S. flag even though other prisons
allow inmate members of veterans groups to wear such pins. In light of
the tragic events which took place on September 11, 2001, MCSP should be
doing whatever it can to encourage inmates to be patriotic and loyal to
America, instead of denying veterans the means to show love and loyalty
to their country.
A. Sugar & Honey Instead of punishing only individual offenders,
MCSP too all natural cane sugar and honey out of the inmate canteen because
less than one percent of the total MCSP inmate population uses those items
to make wine. Such blanket punishment is unfair. Since wine at MCSP is
still being made on a regular basis, the only inmates suffering because
they cannot have sugar and honey are those who do not make wine. We are
now forced to sweeten our foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners
which are loaded with chemicals. We want natural cane sugar and honey added
back to the inmate canteen.
XIII. WORK ASSIGNMENTS
A. Gym/Level-II Inmates
Almost every one of the approximately 130 level-II inmates packed into
the Facility "B" ;;gymnasium is assigned to jobs intended for Facility
"B"'s one thousand level-III inmates. This means that approximately 130
level-III inmates are unable to receive a work assignment. Since level-II
gym housing is supposed to be "emergency" and "temporary" (meaning inmates
are not supposed to be made to live in such deplorable conditions for more
than ninety day), we want them sent to a level-II sensitive-needs prison
as soon as their ninety days are up. 'We also want level-III inmates to
have priority on Facility "B" job assignments since Facility "B" at 4CSP
is a level-III yard for level-III inmates with sensitive-housing needs.
B. Close-B Inmates
Title 15 clearly states that inmates whose custody level is "Close-B"
may work in job assignments located beyond the work-change area within
designated institutions which have an established facility security perimeter
(Title 15 5 3377.1(a)(4)(A)and(B)). PIA and certain vocational classes
at "4CSP (an institution which has an established facility security perimeter)
are located beyond the work change area in the same building as all vocational
training shops. however, MOSP refuses to allow Close-B inmates to work
in PIA and certain vocations in spite of what the law says.
C. Paid Assignments
Compared to other prisons we have collectively been to over the years,
MCSP seems to have far fewer paid inmate job assignments. Clerks, teacher's
aides, kitchen workers, and a certain number of yard workers and building
porters (according to seniority) get paid for their work at other prisons.
MCSP does not pay any yard workers or building porters. We wonder why other
prisons do, but MCSP does not. We want this matter investigated. Perhaps
an audit/investigation of the MCSP Inmate Pay Committee would be appropriate.
D. Days Off
.We want there to be at least two job positions in each work area on
each shift which have Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays off. These positions
should be offered and/or made available to inmates based upon seniority.
E. Vocational Apprentices
MCSP inmates who have completed initial vocational training, and are
now in vocational apprenticeship programs, frequently get transferred to
other institutions where they are put at the bottom of vocational waiting
lists and given no priority over other inmates to resume apprenticeship
training. We want MCSP to stop transferring inmates who have not yet completed
vocational apprenticeship training.
IV. INMATE FUNDS
A. Inmate Welfare Fund (IWF) The Inmate Welfare Fund (see CA Penal
Code ,5 .5005) is a great mystery to MCSP inmates. Despite repeated inquiries
by inmates and requests by MAC representatives, ASP makes no effort to
explain to us what the IWF is, what IWF money is/is not supposed to used
for, and what rights we as inmates have regarding the Int. (i.e., account
disclosure, use, etc.). We want to know everything there is to know about
the IWF and request an audit to ensure that the IWF has not been mishandled
by MCSP in any way unfavorable to us in our ignorance.
Title 15 § 3240 authorizes each inmate activity group to conduct
up to three fund-raising campaigns every year for general funds and donations
to non-profit and charity organizations. Common practice at every prison
we have been to is for each inmate activity group to have its own separate
trust account to ensure that money raised by a group is used by and for
only that group. MCSP has closed all separate trust accounts for individual
inmate activity groups and combined them into one single account it calls
"the general fund". This makes it seemingly impossible for groups to track,
utilize, and account for money raised by them for their own use. On top
of that, MCSP has severely restricted the fund-raising ability of inmate
activity groups by limiting them to only one fund-raiser per only one yard's
activity group per year. For example, if the Facility "A" Alcoholics Anonymous
group conducts a fund-raiser this year, Facility "C" activity groups will
not be allowed to conduct one at all this year or next year unless none
of the Facility "B" activity groups want to conduct a fund-raiser next
year. We want each inmate activity group at MCSP to have separate trust
accounts and be allowed to conduct at least two fund-raisers per year --
even if it means putting the individual groups on separate yards under
a single umbrella. For example, instead of having three individual Alcoholics
Anonymous groups ("A", "13", "C"), there could be only one MCSP Alcoholics
Anonymous group with three chapters ("A", "B", "C"). That way, when Alcoholics
Anonymous conducts a fund-raiser, it will be for all three yards simultaneously,
with the proceeds being deposited into a single ;MCSP Alcoholics Anonymous
account. This could apply to all of MCSP's individual activity groups (AA,
PIA, CGA, VSG, etc.).
C. Aluminum Cans
Thousands of aluminum soda cans are purchased and discarded every day
of every week of every year by MCSP inmates (bought from the canteen) and
their visitors (bought from vending machines in the visiting rooms). The
aluminum cans bought from the canteen rightfully belong to us, and the
cans purchased in the visiting rooms to our visitors. MCSP (or someone
associated with the prison) recycles our aluminum cans but we have no idea
where all the money goes. Since the California redemption value for a single
aluminum can is almost .05, someone is raking in thousands of dollars every
few months from cans we and our visitors purchase. We want all the money
from our aluminum cans to be put into an account from which the MCSP general
inmate population as a whole shall be able to make contributions to non-profit
organizations and charities of our choice, pay salaries of additional staff
needed for special recreational/entertainment events, make improvements
to visiting rooms and other areas used by inmates and visitors, and purchase
items and supplies which will benefit us. We do not want money from our
aluminum cans going toward anything not unanimously approved by our MAC.
A. Rain ear & Insulated Jackets
The law states that ALL inmates WILL be issued the-extra/protective
clothing required by the climate IN ADDITION TO a denim jacket (Title 15
5§ 3030(b)(1)!F) and 3030(b)(2)(F)). MCSP is located in an area of
northern California where frequent winter rain and cold winter temperatures
make rain gear and insulated jackets ;mandatory for both staff and inmates
alike. MCSP inmates are forced to be exposed to adverse outside weather
conditions when walking 100-400 yards every day to/from meals; when responding
to calls and passes for :medical, dental, classification, mental health,
chapel services, packages, canteen, etc.; when reporting to/from work;
when walking 200-500 yards to/from the visiting room; when education supervisors
take lunch and mandatory 20-minute breaks at least three times per day
(these breaks require all education students and workers -approximately
150 men -- to stand outside on the exercise yard with no shelter of any
kind while waiting to be called back into the classrooms); and when exercising
or participating in outdoor recreational and entertainment activities.
However, despite all this outdoor exposure MCSP inmates are subjected to,
MCSP refuses to comply with the law and issue ALL inmates rain gear and
insulated jackets for winter wear/use. Men incarcerated at MCSP are therefore
forced to suffer frigid winter temperatures (30deg;F - 45;F), rain, and
wind without the extra/protective clothing guaranteed by law. MCSP has
plenty of yellow rain gear and insulated blue nylon jackets for everyone's
use, but only certain inmates receive them instead of everyone as the law
requires. We want ALL MCSP inmates to receive the yellow rain gear (tops
and bottoms) and insulated blue nylon jackets currently only being given
to certain inmates. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees
all U.S. citizens (including prisoners) equal protection of the law. Title
15 5§ 3030(b)(1)(F) and (b)(2)(F) are laws designed to protect ALL
California state prisoners from the climate
VI. INMATE DISCIPLINE
A. Blanket Punishment Instead of punishing only the individual inmates
who commit various rules violations common in prisons throughout the state,
country, and world (making wine, concealing contraband within items of
personal property, smuggling drugs, etc.), MCSP punishes all inmates for
the misbehavior of a few by stripping us all of whatever privilege(s),
accommodation(s), and/or amenity(ies) were abused by the few guilty inmates
in breaking prison rules. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
guarantees that all American citizens (including prisoners) will have equal
protection of the law, that the privileges of U.S. citizens (including
prisoners) shall not be abridged, and that no person shall be deprived
of liberty or property without due process of law. By suddenly making it
no longer possible for us to receive oranges and other such varieties of
fruit, honey, natural cane sugar, footlockers, non-transparent property
items, etc., especially since prisoners at other level-III and level-IV
prisons are receiving these items, MCSP is treating the entire general
inmate population unfairly and punitively instead of punishing only the
men guilty of breaking rules. This in turn encourages men who do not break
rules to be angry and sometimes even violent toward men who do break rules
and/or get implicated as causing removal of certain privileges, accommodations,
and amenities. We want MCSP to stop its policy of blanket punishment and
restore to us everything taken away as a result of the misbehavior of only
a few inmates.
B. Confidential "Snitch") Information
It is suspected by many MCSP inmates that MCSP not only gives immunity
to inmates guilty of rules violations in exchange for often false, vague,
and uncorroborated information about other inmates, but also uses that
often bogus information to take adverse disciplinary action (confinement
in ad-seg, rules violation reports, frequent cell moves and searches, transfers,
etc.) against inmates. This is not only unfair to the men being "ratted"
on, but also encourages violence against the men who give such information
or are even suspected of doing so. It also encourages cowardly inmates
to provide false information against other inmates in exchange for expected
favors. We want MCSP to not rely on information from inmates to justify
taking adverse action against other inmates.
XVII. MEN'S ADVISORY COUNCIL
Title 15 3 3230(g)(1)(A)-(E) and D.O.M. 3 53120.11 use :mandatory language
in requiring that the Facility "B" Men's Advisory Council (MAC) be provided
with an office, office furniture, supplies and stationery, and either immediate
access to a copy machine or its own copy machine. Despite repeated requests
by the Facility "B" 3AC, MCSP will not accommodate them in accordance with
administrative law (Title 15 and D.O.M.). Our MAC is unable to reach its
full potential in becoming as effective, efficient, and professional as
they could with proper accommodations. Tae want our MAC to be provided
with an office, office furniture, supplies and stationery, and either a
copy machine of its own or immediate access to any of the several copy
machines on the yard.
B. Staff Responses
Title 15 5 3230(i)(2) and D.O.M. sect; 53120 makes it mandatory that
MCSP staff give timely written responses to all issues raised by the Facility
"B" MAC (so denials may be formally appealed). MCSP provides neither timely
nor written responses to issues raised by the Facility "B" ~IAC. Instead,
the Facility "B" MAC is always being told that issues will get looked into,
but there is never any follow-through or follow-up responses unless the
MAC raises the issues again several weeks later. 'They want all MCSP staff
to promptly respond in writing to all issues raised by the Facility "B"
MAC so formal appeal procedures may be initiated when unsatisfactory responses
The Facility "B" general inmate population gets the impression that
our MAC and its representatives are not respected by MCSP staff. Title
1.5 ~ 3230 and D.O.M. 3 53120 clearly establish that our MAC is a valid
and recognized organization worthy of proper recognition and respect. They
frequently see MAC representatives being talked down to and/or yelled at
by officers. We want MCSP staff members to respect our MAC and take our
MAC representatives seriously when they are advocating on our behalf and/or
representing our concerns and interests.
Title 15 5 3230 and D.O.M. 5 53120 provides clear guidance to wardens
on effective "MAC operations. The Facility "B" general inmate population
is unhappy with the way MCSP staff members seem to keep our MAC suppressed
and oppressed to the point it can barely function as authorized. We want
the MCSP warden to help change MAC/employee relations at MCSP through appropriate
training and dialogue, and allow/encourage the Facility "B" MAC to become
what it has the potential and legal authority to become.
XVIII. WASTE, FRAUD, THEFT, ABUSE
Thousands of dollars (at least $10,000.00) were wasted when MCSP staff
ripped hundreds of beautiful annuals, perennials, shrubs, and grass out
of the ground and just threw them into the garbage.