[Pnews] CCWF Women's Prison - A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Oct 18 11:43:13 EDT 2013


    A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights
    <http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/>

October 16, 2013
*http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/*

/*by Amy Preasmyer*/

I am an inmate at Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) in 
Chowchilla, California. In April 2013, I and another individual were 
falsely accused of sexual assault and placed in Administrative 
Segregation (Ad-Seg) immediately. I was forced to face the loss of my 
job assignment, property, good living quarters, placement and status in 
groups and organizations. I was forced to miss my scheduled final 
examinations for college and lost the privilege to shop, walk outside or 
even call home.

The federally mandated Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) protocols and 
the complexity of its consequences turned my world upside down in 
seconds.^1 
<http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#footnote_0_43092> 
  This protocol has no intelligence or consideration of the law or 
constitutional rights that the judicial system offers and in many cases 
merely lacks. Through PREA, I quickly learned the cruel conditions of 
Ad-Seg.

This false accusation under PREA meant I was abruptly removed from my 
bed late in the evening to face an extended wait and then a transfer to 
Ad-Seg. Upon entering my newly assigned chambers at 3 a.m., I found the 
toilet was backed up and a DD3 (EOP)^2 
<http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#footnote_1_43092> 
  had urinated everywhere prior to me, leaving extremely unsanitary 
conditions and aromas.

I was left with only a bedroll, a state issued muumuu and no panties. I 
was utterly distraught and in a mental state of haze and disorientation, 
not knowing the excessively degrading experience I would continue to 
face from that point forward.

The torture and anguish administered with each passing minute, the 
refusals, limitations, the sudden removal of rights and privileges, and 
the revisions established by prison officials reveals a clear abuse of 
authority and misuse of power.

CCWF Ad-Seg conditions and limitations include:

    * Inadequate (if any) legal assistance and resource access.
    * No phone access.
    * Canteen items removed from original packaging.
    * Absolutely NO educational or rehabilitation opportunities afforded.
    * No religious services.
    * No contact visits.
    * No means to properly disinfect and sanitize cells.
    * No sanitation in dayroom, hallways, and stairs even while escorts
      continually take place daily and frequently.
    * No efficient and proper mental health assessment, evaluation and
      tracking.
    * No razors to maintain feminine hygiene (30 day review).

And the list goes on.

I was subjected to this treatment for an investigation evidenced as 
false. I am forced to start over when thrown back into general 
population, and CDCr holds no accountability, doesn't right their wrong, 
nothing.

They remain unaccountable and unmoved by the loss, humiliation and 
set-back I endured those countless days and nights. They failed to offer 
guidance, leadership or assistance in reinstating my original program, 
assignment and the positive participation within my community I was once 
commended for.

Further, the cost to arrest, charge, investigate and re-house us was 
absurd. No precautions were taken toward California's budget and its 
continued economic crisis. Nonetheless, I was guilty until proven 
innocent, a constitutional right broken and overseen based on 
"protocols," but in reality, it is because everything changes behind 
these walls.


      I was subjected to this treatment for an investigation evidenced
      as false. I am forced to start over when thrown back into general
      population, and CDCr holds no accountability, doesn't right their
      wrong, nothing.

In a world of hardened minds, poverty, misunderstandings and violence, 
PREA offers a tool for manipulation of the system, its institutions, and 
all of those within it.^3 
<http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#footnote_2_43092> 
  What is disturbing is that the woman who filed the accusation under 
PREA sought -- and ultimately was rewarded with -- a transfer to 
California Institute for Women (CIW), the only other institution where a 
woman serving a life sentence term can be housed. In addition, there was 
no disciplinary action for her false allegation or restitution for 
expenses incurred behind it.

I was sentenced as a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole 
(LWOP), and there was an enormous capacity for me to change my life as I 
matured from adolescence to middle age.^4 
<http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#footnote_3_43092> 
  It is unnerving that my opportunity for rehabilitation and education 
was jeopardized and challenged by a protocol set forth by CDCr, the very 
department that stands firm on their claim for rehabilitation and education.

Yet, those are among the first things denied when we are placed in 
Ad-Seg and hold the greatest ramifications on our future successes. 
These are all a result of the system's damages.


      In a world of hardened minds, poverty, misunderstandings and
      violence, PREA offers a tool for manipulation of the system, its
      institutions, and all of those within it.

Must we wait for more victims before we seek and support a change? Or is 
CDCr simply waiting until PREA is manipulated in a way that damages 
them, society's example of law-abiding citizens?

Had this woman falsely accused an officer, would that officer have been 
arrested and forced to relinquish rights pending results of the 
investigation into the accusation? Would the employee suffer a wage 
loss? Would disciplinary action and consequences be rendered to the 
accuser once charges turned out to be baseless? Are you waiting until 
you have to rebuild your life or are you supporting to seek change now?

After being subjected to this methodical strategy meant to break me for 
a mere investigative purpose based on false allegations by another 
inmate later evidenced, I have chosen to embark on another journey to 
overcome and refuse to be their puppet or their statistic. I will not 
allow CDCr policies or standard operating tactics to make me stray from 
rehabilitation, education and future re-entry into society. As many say 
-- that is NOT an option!

I defy the daily systematic obstacles set in place to make struggles 
become failures. There is no expectation of success and, through this 
ignorant assumption, I am empowered and influenced. What was intended to 
discourage has fueled the passion and participation in the Human Rights 
Movement for humanity and peaceful resolutions when faced with 
resistance behind bars and in the systems of injustice.

If we believe, we can achieve. Together we can make a difference. 
Support restoring lives and the need for change NOW.

/Send our sister some love and light: Amy Preasmyer, X-29459, CCWF 
511-19-4U, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla CA 93610. This story will appear in 
The Fire Inside, the newsletter of the California Coalition for Women 
Prisoners <http://womenprisoners.org/>./

   1. Fire Inside's editorial note: Enacted by Congress in 2003, PREA
      (P.L. 108-79) sets protocols to prevent, identify, respond to and
      monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated or detained people in
      custody. PREA aims to address sexual abuse as it may occur between
      inmates or may be perpetrated by correctional facility staff.
      Grant funding is available at both the state and local level of
      government to implement PREA. PREA also mandates that information
      on rape and sexual abuse be collected and made available as part
      of the monitoring provision of the act. For more information, see
      http://nicic.gov/prea. [?
      <http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#identifier_0_43092>]
   2. Fire Inside's editorial note: EOP stands for Enhanced Outpatient
      Program, a program designed for inmates who are categorized as
      having a disability that makes it difficult for them to interact
      with the general population in prison but not so serious that they
      require inpatient care. DD3 is a designation within the EOP
      classification. [?
      <http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#identifier_1_43092>]
   3. Fire Inside's editorial note: This occurs in a context of severe
      overcrowding following the conversion of Valley State Prison for
      Women (VSPW) to a men's prison, as over a thousand women and
      transgender prisoners were transferred from VSPW to either CCWF or
      California Institute for Women (CIW) in Corona, outside of Los
      Angeles. CCWF is currently functioning at close to 200 percent of
      its design capacity. [?
      <http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#identifier_2_43092>]
   4. Fire Inside's editorial note: According to the ACLU, there are
      approximately 2,570 children sentenced to LWOP in the United
      States, including children sentenced as young as 13 years old. The
      United States is the only country in the world that sentences
      youth to LWOP. See
      https://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/juvenile-life-without-parole. [?
      <http://sfbayview.com/2013/a-strategy-meant-to-break-me-fuels-my-passion-for-human-rights/#identifier_3_43092>]

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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