Transcript: Justice Now’s public comments opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as CDCR Secretary – June 19, 2013
Partial transcript of public comments by a representative of Justice Now opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at a hearing before the California Senate Rules Committee on June 19, 2013:
…The failure to implement viable strategies and reach significant de-population benchmarks has created an extremely hostile environment at the California Correctional Women’s Facility, where overcrowding from the VSPW conversion has led to a drastic shortage of basic human resources.
According to the most recent human population report issued by the CDCR, CCWF is now at 185% capacity, and CIW is suffering from a bloated population at 143% capacity despite the Supreme Court’s acknowledgement that a prison functioning at 137.5% capacity constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Imprisoned individuals report that there are 8 people to cells designed to hold 4 CCWF and that several individuals at CCWF and CIW are being held in administrative segregation not disciplinary reasons but there are not enough beds available to house them in general populations.
The overcrowding has created horrendous living conditions for those imprisoned at CCWF and CIW. Due to inadequate ventilation, mold, mildew, rust, and animal feces are producing medical emergencies that are remaining unattended because of inadequate medical access and care.
…One individual imprisoned at CCWF, who has chosen to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from CDCR staff, reports: “I have never experienced the amount of violence and unsafe environment as I have since being transferred to Central California Women’s Facility. I’ve encountered more violence at CCWF in 5 months than in 15 years at Valley State Prison for Women. There have been more attempted suicides here in the past 6 months than I’ve seen in my entire incarceration. As a trained mediator and peacemaker, I feel like people have been in an environment to fail. Rehabilitation is not even an option. I’ve witnessed staff set up fights and not assist inmates in trouble of being beat up. Bottom line is we’re not safe here. I would much rather be given the death penalty than continue to live like this. This environment is inhumane and depletes our hearts, minds, and soul.”
Our clients who have been recently transferred from VSPW to CCWF report being cut off from needed medications that they have been taking for chronic health problems and refused medical care outright.
This is a personal testimony: “Since being transferred from Valley State Prison for Women to Central California Women’s Facility in January, I have been ill due to prison doctors denying my chronic illness medication. The doctors say we are overcrowded and that they must cut down on medication distribution. This is a major issue. Many individuals at CCWF are suffering with symptoms that are dormant and now showing up after years of remission due to pervasive medical neglect.”
…We have clients that have testified that at least two deaths have occurred due to medical neglect as well as serious injury…
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