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Photos from Chowchilla March for Women Prisoners
Over 400 people from all over California descended on the rural central valley town of Chowchilla to protest the horrendous conditions in the notorious prison , Central California Women’s Facility. Close to 4000 women are warehoused in the facility designed for 2000.
Chowchilla Freedom Rally
by Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners (http://www.womenprisoners.org)
On Saturday, January 26, 2013, over four hundred people from across California rallied, marched and chanted to protest extreme overcrowding, deteriorating healthcare and constant lockdowns in the women's prisons in California. Overcrowding at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) is now at 189% of capacity with eight women being housed in cells built for four. An 81 year old woman was told by a doctor, “You don’t need treatment, you’re old. You’re going to die anyway, you don’t need any tests.” The crowd demanded an end to gender discrimination and unconstitutional overcrowding. The rally was organized by a broad based coalition and included many groups and individuals from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the San Joaquin Valley. Rallies in solidarity were also held at women’s prisons in Philadelphia and London.
As part of the protest, posters from the exhibit “Prison Nation” (see http://www.political graphics.org) were mounted on one of the wire fences surrounding CCWF. These posters artistically express the devastating impact of mass incarceration and the persecution of political prisoners in the United States. “Obama Give Me Five” was one of the striking posters that was displayed and viewed with interest by participants in the rally.
The following article, published in the Fresno Bee on Jan 24, 2013, provides a compelling perspective about the pressing reasons behind the protest. It was written by Angela Davis, activist and author and Windy Click, a formerly incarcerated woman now active with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (http://www.womenprisoners.org).
Rallying to end women's prison crisis in California
By Angela Y. Davis and Windy Click