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Media Alert *** Memorial/Demonstration at Chowchilla Prison
by HIV In Prison Committee (hipcomm [at] excite.com)
Wednesday Jan 24th, 2001 10:09 AM
Activists and Family Members Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell For the Living Saturday January 27th at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
AD-HOC COMMITTEE TO SAVE THE LIVES OF WOMEN PRISONERS

* MEDIA ADVISORY * MEDIA ADVISORY * MEDIA ADVISORY *

For Immediate Release: January 24, 2001
For More Information Call: Lauren Leslie, (415) 255-7036, x318
Judy Greenspan, Pager: (510) 321-7697
Cassandra Shaylor, (510) 839-7654, x2#

JANUARY 27 DEMONSTRATION AND MEMORIAL IN FRONT OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WOMEN'S FACILITY TO PROTEST RECENT DEATHS OF NINE WOMEN PRISONERS

January 24 - A coalition of human rights and prisoner advocacy organizations will hold a memorial protest for the women prisoners who died at the Central California Women's Facility on Saturday, January 27, 1 p.m., in front of the prison on Road 22, near Avenue 24, in Chowchilla.

Family members of some of the women prisoners who died will attend the protest and speak about their loved ones. Speakers include: Pamela Coffey, daughter of Pamela Coffey and Donna Christopher, mother of Eva Vallerio. Advocates will hold a memorial service to the women who died inside the prison. There have been nine deaths since November 8 of last year.

"We will commemorate the deaths of the women prisoners who were victims of continuing medical neglect at CCWF and fight for the lives of the women inside. Women prisoners are entitled to decent health care," said Lauren Leslie of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. LSPC was one of the law firms that brought the class action lawsuit against medical neglect and abuse, Shumate v. Wilson, against CCWF and another women's prison in 1995. The suit was dismissed in August 2000.

"We will not tolerate any more deaths at CCWF," said Karen Shain of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. CCWP and other groups including LSPC, California Prison Focus and Justice Now, presented policy recommendations to upgrade women prisoners' healthcare at the January 17 hearing conducted by the Senator Richard Polanco's Joint Committee on Prison Construction and Operations.

"Women prisoners should not have to die inside from substandard medical care. They should be granted compassionate release and returned to the community," commented Cynthia Chandler of Justice Now.

"We have been fighting for medical care at this prison for over seven years. It's tragic that women are still dying from criminally negligent care," said Beth Feinberg of California Prison Focus.

Carpools to the protest are being organized from many areas of the state and will leave the Bay area at 9:30 a.m. from the Safeway at Church and Market Streets in San Francisco and the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

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