top
Central Valley
Central Valley
Indybay
Indybay
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Hog-Tied (The Transferring of Sophanareth Sok)
by Boston Woodard (c/o allianceeditor [at] comcast.net)
Thursday Oct 4th, 2007 6:53 PM
Journalist Boston Woodard tells us what is happening inside the prison industrial complex.
Hog-Tied
The Transferring of Sophanareth Sok
By: Boston Woodard

(This is a follow-up to "Foreign National Prisoners, Targeted For Out-Of-State Transfers" which can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/09/01/18445270.php )

While state prisoner Sophanareth Sok was visiting with his wife Samantha, four heavily armed and secured prisoner transport buses rolled into Solano State Prison to begin forcefully transferring "foreign nationals" to out-of-state private prisons.

In July1 the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) began forcing foreign national prisoners to a private prison in Mississippi in a weak (some say illegal) attempt to relieve over-crowding throughout the California prison system.

According to "official" information handed out to those foreign nationals directly affected, there are several reasons why some prisoners would not be transferred. Medical holds, mental health issues, and those with a life sentence are exempt from transferring. Also, foreign nationals with "demonstrated family ties" would not be forced to transfer according to information given to them. You'll have a hard time convincing Sophanareth Sok of that.

On September 17, 2007, Sophanareth, a young Cambodian prisoner, demonstrating no resistance, was forced face down outside the visiting area at Solano State Prison, handcuffed behind his back, his legs were then hog-tied with nylon "flex-cuff" restraints. A half dozen guards carried Sophanareth to one of the four waiting buses queued for the Sacramento International Airport for a non-stop, one-way flight to the Tallahachie County Detention Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi.

Back in August, Sophanareth took it upon himself to do something in an attempt to stop the transfers. He was mostly concerned about his wife Samantha and his other family members. He was also concerned about the families of other foreign national prisoners who were also being threatened by the transfers. It wasn't fair to them that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and CDCR officials chose to make the discriminatory choice to transfer only foreign national prisoners to the other side of the country.

Sophanareth organized approximately 80 foreign nationals of various nationalities to take part in a "Group Appeal" in accordance with the rules governing state prison operations in the California
Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, §3084.2.(l).

The appeal was filed under the "emergency appeal" statute; CCR-3084.7 § (l)&(2). The prisoner appeals process (law) was implemented more than thirty years ago for prisoners to appeal any departmental decision, action, condition or policy which they can demonstrate as having an adverse effect upon their welfare.

All the rules and policies in regards to filing the group Appeal were followed to the letter by Sophanareth. His attempt to legally register the objections to the transfers in a Group Appeal was met by the abusive handling of the grievance inherent in Solano's appeals office.

With time running out, Sophanareth inquired as to the status of the appeal after waiting more than two weeks. On September 10, 2007, the prison's Appeals Coordinator M.D. Corioso, informed Sophanareth, in writing, that his office had "no record of receipt" of the Group Appeal. Approximately four days after Corisoso lied about having no knowledge of the first Group Appeal, that very appeal (submitted 8/22/07) surfaced from the appeals office. Appeals Coordinator Corioso illegally held the initial Group Appeal (which was filed as an "emergency appeal" according to policy) until it was too late for the merits of the appeal to be heard. This is a convenient tactic frequently used by prison appeals officials and is a flagrant violation of the law.

A second appeal was immediately filed with a simultaneous letter to Solano State Prison's Warden D.K. Sisto. Log Number #CSP-S-07-02937 was issued approximately 48 hours before Sophanareth and dozens of other foreign nationals were to be forcefully transferred to Mississippi. The very next day, the appeals office (no doubt because of the warden's letter) sent S. Cervantes, CC-II Appeals "Specialist" to try and make a silent deal with Sophanareth to annul the group appeal he filed.

Sophanareth was told by Cervantes that if he would drop the group appeal and make it an "individual" appeal, he would be removed from the transfer list. When Sophanareth expressed his concerns about the 80 other signers of the group appeal Cervantes spewed, "We're talking about you, don't worry about them!" Sophanareth told Cervantes that he was already transpacked (personal property packed in boxes for shipping) and officially endorsed to transfer by the Institution Classification Committee (ICC). According to Sophanareth, Cervantes stated very clearly, "Don't worry, we'll go to a higher authority and get you pulled off the list."

Cervantes' offer (probably at the behest of Appeals Coordinator Corioso) was declined by Sophanareth. These dirty back door, or silent deals offered by the Appeals Coordinator are the easy way out when they are confronted with powerful, merit-filled appeals such as Sophanareth's that opposed the discriminatory transferring of foreign nationals.

On September 14, 2007, in a "Second Level Appeal Response," Sophanareth's Group Appeal was denied on baseless claims by Warden D.K. Sisto. In a not so surprising move, Appeals "Specialist" Cervantes refused to discuss the merits of the appeal as he is required to do, according to the California Code of Regulations 3084.2.(l). Maliciously ignoring the rules, Cervantes would not allow Sophanareth to represent the other signers of the Group Appeal as required by the rules governing Group Appeals under Title 15 policy.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed in the Solano County Superior Court describing the abusive and illegal practices of Appeals Coordinator Corioso, Appeals "Specialist" Cervantes which are condoned by Warden Sisto. The Writ asks the court to compel the warden to order Corioso to issue a log number on another appeal that would rewrite the entire appeals section of the Title 15, affording prisoners their right to a level playing field after filing an appeal.

California's Inspector General Matthew Cate has been notified of the appeals abuses at Solano State Prison. Inspector General Cate has been asked to intervene and launch an investigation into the abuses. More than forty pages of evidence was forwarded to the Inspector General to benefit an anticipated investigation by that office.

Sophanareth Sok stepped up to the plate in a noble effort to right a wrong that was leveled against a group of prisoners who were discriminatly targeted for these spurious transfers. For his efforts, Sophanareth's transfer was put on the fast track to further impede his ability to legally fight the transfers. He vowed to continue his fight (as difficult as it will be) from Mississippi to get back to California, his family and everything he has worked for to fulfill his desire for a successful release from prison.

###

Boston Woodard is a prisoner/journalist.

Boston Woodard, B-88207
CSP-Solano, 13-F-8-L
P.O. Box 4000
Vacaville, CA. 95696—4000

/////////////////////////////////////////////


Other Inquiries and investigations are continuing regarding the forced (some say racist) transferring of California's foreign national prisoners. The following highly regarded prisoner advocacy groups have expressed their opposition to these bogus transfers:

UNION
(United for No Injustices Oppression or Neglect)
Dr. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, CA. 95834

TIPS
(Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety)
Matt Gray, Director
P.O. Box 255456
Sacramento CA. 95865

Prison Law Office
Donald Spector, Director
General Delivery
San Quentin, CA. 94964—0001

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
Northern California
39 Drumm Street
San Francisco, CA. 94111


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
example of a good leadershipJenidaSaturday Oct 6th, 2007 10:21 PM
very proud of you sophanarethsammySaturday Oct 6th, 2007 10:16 PM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

donate now

$ 162.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network