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California | San Francisco | Police State and Prisons

Sheriff Mirkarimi's New Jail Plans; Cal's Prison Hunger Strike Expands
by Register Peace & Freedom or Green
Wednesday Jul 10th, 2013 5:55 AM
San Francisco Democrat Sheriff Mirkarimi wants SF taxpayers to spend $240 million on a new jail when there are 900 empty jail beds every day. Meanwhile Democrat Governor Jerry Brown is preparing for a long hunger strike in California's prison concentration camps rather than abolishing solitary confinement and reducing the prison population per court order, which would include closing Pleasant Valley Prison, where the prisoners get a disease called Valley Fever which can be fatal.
San Francisco Democrat Sheriff Mirkarimi wants SF taxpayers to spend $240 million on a new jail when there are 900 empty jail beds every day. Meanwhile Democrat Governor Jerry Brown is preparing for a long hunger strike in California's prison concentration camps rather than abolishing solitary confinement and reducing the prison population per court order, which would include closing Pleasant Valley Prison, where the prisoners get a disease called Valley Fever which can be fatal.

Here are the 2 stories from:
http://curbprisonspending.org/

For Immediate Release - June 24, 2013
Contact: Emily Harris, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (510-435-1176)Stockton: Advocates will demonstrate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $900 million California Health Care Facility prison in Stockton tomorrow to call for an end to prison expansion in the state. The ceremony will take place at the new facility off Highway 99, Tuesday, June 25th at 10:00am.

“While we hope that this new prison hospital improves health care for those locked in California’s inhumane prison system, we call on Sacramento to take immediate steps to make real reductions in the number of people locked up,” said Annie Banks of Californians United for a Responsible Budget. “Over 20 years of litigation has made it clear that the major problem with prison health care is that there are too many people in California prisons.”

The Federal Court has threatened Gov. Jerry Brown with contempt charges if he fails to immediately implement steps to reduce the state’s prison population by 9,600 people before the end of this year.

“If the state had taken common sense steps to parole the elderly, the terminally ill, the medically disabled, would this prison hospital have been built?” asked Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance who will be travel all the way from Los Angeles to protest the opening of CHCF. “The CDCR has been wasting money and wasting lives for decades. It is past time to turn that shop around.”

Gov. Brown has also refused orders from the Court to evacuate prisoners at high risk from Valley Fever from two state prisons. A CDCR study has shown that the incidence of Valley Fever is 600 times greater in Pleasant Valley State Prison than in surrounding Fresno County.

“The Governor has shown that he’s willing to let prisoners at high risk of Valley Fever – mostly African-Americans and the elderly – die rather than take steps to further reduce the prison population,” said Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project. “The fact that CDCR continues putting high-risk populations in San Joaquin Valley prisons shows that CHCF is little more than a $900 million fig leaf that fails to cover up the lack of commitment to California’s health.”
The Governor and CDCR are planning another $800 million expansion in the form of “infill beds,” and plan to increase the prison population over the next five years.

“Gov. Brown has shown where his real commitment is: it has nothing to do with the health of prisoners, their families or the communities to which they’ll return. His only commitment when it comes to prisons is to continue the growth of a system that is killing poor Californians of color,” said Sammy Nunez of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin.

Residents of Stockton recently stopped a proposal to build a new jail in San Joaquin and hope this prison will be the last new facility to open in both the county and the state.

***

When: Monday, June 24th from 2pm-4pm

What: Community Leaders will gather and testify in protest at the Community Corrections Partnership meeting where Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will going public for the first time about his plans to build a new $240 million jail. At today’s meeting the Sheriff is seeking the support of the Community Corrections Partnership to apply for $80 million in SB 1022, funding from the Board of State and Community Corrections.

Where: City Hall Room 305

Contact: Emily Harris, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (510-435-1176)

Background:

The San Francisco County Sheriff has plans of “rebuilding” the Hall of Justice jails (top two floors of HOJ, around 800 beds). According to Sheriff Mirkarimi “Our jails at the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street, were seismically damaged during the 1989 earthquake. The building is in constant disrepair and unsafe.”

San Francisco jails have been at about 62-65% of its total jail capacity for almost two years. There are approximately 900 empty jail beds county jails every single day.

Protesters argue that the unsafe facility should be closed immediately, that the county has the opportunity to reduce its total jail capacity from 2400 to around 1600 beds and invest the projected costs of the jail into community-based alternatives.

“I know firsthand that justice stops at the doors of 850 Bryant, and other San Francisco jails. Let’s demand better outcomes and stop the absurd idea that building a state of the art jail will make San Francisco safer.” Manuel La Fontaine, a member of All of Us or None, a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
*****
The news on the hunger strike is that it is broader than ever:
From: http://solitarywatch.com/

On Monday, July 8th, California prisoners launched their third hunger strike in two years, protesting conditions in the Security Housing Units (SHUs), where thousands of prisoners are held in segregation units designed to limit communication. While the largest one-day participation of the prior two strikes rose to over 11,000, Monday’s strike began with a historic 30,000 people inside California’s prisons refusing breakfast and lunch.

The Los Angeles Times reported that two-thirds of California’s prisons are known to have reported meal refusals, including four out-of-state facilities. Also according to the Times, 2,300 individuals did not attend work or educational classes, with many of them presumably doing so in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

In a phone call with Solitary Watch this morning, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokeswoman Terry Thornton stated that updated numbers will not be available until later this afternoon, and Thornton emphasized that a hunger strike is not officially declared until an individual refuses nine consecutive meals, and that while inmates may refuse state-issued meals, they may also eat canteen items.

Solitary Watch inquired with CDCR as to the review process, which began last year, of more than 3,000 SHU prisoners throughout the state placed there for being affiliated with certain prison gangs. CDCR has stated its intention of reviewing all individuals in the SHU to determine whether or not they should be: retained in the SHU, placed in the Step Down Program by which they could hypothetically get out of the SHU in four years, or transferred to the general population immediately.

According to Thornton, as of June 28th, 382 reviews have been completed. Of them, 208 were approved for immediate transfer to the general population, indicating that they were not engaged in gang activity; 115 were placed in the Step Down Program; and the remaining 59 were retained in either the SHU or Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). The 59 were retained either for undefined “safety reasons” or because they were dropping out of their gangs. Thornton told Solitary Watch that these reviews will continue despite the hunger strike, and does not foresee these reviews being disrupted by strike activity.

Thornton also stated that lines of communication between CDCR and prisoner representatives remain open and that there has been ongoing communication between strike leaders and prison officials.

In the meantime, the state has issued guidelines on how to deal with prisoners who are on hunger strike, including those who are starving and near death. This morning the California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) issued a press release outlining “policies, procedures, and care guides” for use during a prison hunger strike. The release, which suggests that officials are preparing for a prolonged strike, is accompanied by several detailed documents.

One of these documents is a guide for health care practiti**oners titled CCHCS Mass Hunger Strike, Fasting & Refeeding Care Guide, and includes guidelines on managing the health care of prisoners through various “stages of fasting” and their “voluntary refeeding” after a period of starvation, which presents health care risks of its own. It includes a series of educational handouts describing the risks of permanent damage or death from refusing nutrition, and advises them to fill out advance directive form “if you do NOT want health care staff to give you medical care when you are not able to speak,” and “Health care staff will not give you food or fluid as long as you make it clear that you do not want them to.”

Another policy document includes a section on “Informed Consent and Intervention,” which states:


Health care staff shall grant inmate-patients autonomy in health care decisions related to nutrition and shall not force feed the inmate-patient unless one of the following criteria are met:
1.The inmate-patient’s condition meets the definition of emergency status…[As defined in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, § 3351(a): "An emergency exists when there is a sudden, marked change in an inmate’s condition so that action is immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm to the inmate or others, and it is impracticable to first obtain consent."]
2.The inmate-patient is deemed unable to give informed consent as defined in CCR Title 15, Article 8, § 3353.1 and the institution obtains an appropriate court order per CCR, Title 15, Article 8, §3351(a) to treat a mentally incompetent inmate-patient.

Forced feeding (enteral or parenteral nutrition support) shall not take place except in a licensed health care facility by licensed clinical staff.

Both documents suggest that CDCR does not plan to undertake the kind of mass force-feeding that has been so controversial at Guantanamo. They also suggest that the state is willing to countenance a long and possibly deadly hunger strike rather than meet the demands laid out by the participants.
*****
All prisons are a waste of our tax dollars and make the crime problem worse because they remove tax dollars from the education and social service sectors which are the only sectors that can prevent street crime. Solitary confinement of ANY KIND is by definition torture, not rehabilitation. THE ONLY GANG THAT EXISTS in California is the DEMOCRAT-REPUBLICAN PARTY that promotes this torture. A serious program of rehabilitation is the following:
1. Abolish solitary confinement
2. Abolish the death penalty
3. Close all prisons where Valley Fever is a problem, bring home to their county of origin the 8500 California prisoners currently in prisons in Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi. CLOSE ALL PRISONS IN THE REMOTE UNDERPOPULATED AREAS OF CALIFORNIA.
See http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=702
4. Send all prisoners to their COUNTY OF ORIGIN so they can be integrated into their community and be with their families while receiving education, medical care and job training.
5. Legalize all drugs thereby removing them from the street market and ending the prison pipeline
6. Change all prison sentences so that they are not more than 5 years with mandatory education, medical care and job training programs for all prisoners under age 50.
7. Require that all prisoners under age 50, most of whom are functionally illiterate, obtain a high school diploma in prison and sign up for job training programs so that they are out of prison in 5 years or less.
8. All prisoners over age 50 should be given a lifelong pension of at least $3,000 per month, rising with the cost of living annually, free medical care and free housing. If they cannot live on their own, they should be housed in group housing.
*****
We are receiving this prison-concentration camp promotion program from the Democrats, who have a super majority in the state legislature and could therefore easily stop funding the torture isolation programs and implement all of the items suggested above immediately. We also have a Democratic governor and in San Francisco, a Democratic sheriff promoting prisons. If you have had enough of this nightmare, change your voter registration now to the 2 parties opposed to the prison-industrial complex, Peace & Freedom Party and the Green Party. You can register online at:

https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/

For more information, see:
http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/
http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/about-us/platform/full-platform

http://www.cagreens.org/
http://www.cagreens.org/platform
http://www.gp.org/index.php
http://www.gp.org/index.php/what-we-believe.html