[Pnews] Psychological Torture Continues at CIW Women’s Prison in Corona, CA

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 31 10:40:40 EDT 2017


For Immediate Release - May 30, 2017
Psychological Torture Continues at Women’s Prison
Families, Advocates Demand End to Neglect & “Suicide Watch” Confinement
WHAT: Advocates and families will convene a vigil and rally at the 
prison, California Institution for Women (CIW), marking one year since 
the devastating death of 27-year-old African American, Shaylene “Light 
Blue” Graves.  Graves was imprisoned at CIW at the time of her death and 
was only six weeks away from release. For days, Graves begged guards to 
move her to a different cell when she felt endangered, but she was 
ignored by CIW staff.
WHEN: Thursday, June 1, 2017, 7:00-8:30pm
WHERE: California Institution for Women (CIW), 16756 Chino Corona Rd, 
Corona, CA 92880
WHY: Since 2013, at least 15 women have died at CIW as a result of 
multiple forms of psychological torture practiced by CIW staff against 
imprisoned people, such as ignoring desperate pleas for help and 
isolating people into “suicide watch” confinement. Despite changes in 
CIW’s top administration in 2016, reports of ongoing psychological 
torture at CIW continue. Advocates and families demand the end of all 
forms of abuse and neglect within CIW.
PRESS RELEASE:
On June 1, 2017, advocates and families will convene a vigil and rally 
at the prison, California Institution for Women (CIW), marking one year 
since the devastating death of 27-year-old African American, Shaylene 
“Light Blue” Graves.  Graves was imprisoned at CIW at the time of her 
death and was only six weeks away from release.  For days, Graves begged 
guards to move her to a different cell when she felt endangered, but CIW 
staff ignored her.  Since 2013, at least 15 women have died at CIW as a 
result of multiple forms of abusive practices which amount 
topsychological torture.  These practices include ignoring desperate 
pleas for help by imprisoned people in mental health and medical 
crisis.  Despite changes in CIW’s top administration in 2016, reports of 
ongoing psychological torture at CIW continue.
Sheri Graves, mother of Shaylene, has been working with advocates at the 
California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) to bring more attention 
to the human rights crisis at CIW.  “CIW staff failed to protect my 
daughter’s life,” she stated.  “The fact that Shaylene’s death is part 
of an ongoing pattern of disregard for human life at CIW makes this loss 
all the more devastating. Shaylene was an exceptional person with a big 
heart and so much promise. She was looking forward to her release and 
was working on her vision to begin a non-profit organization called Out 
of the Blue to support people coming out of prison. In memory of 
Shaylene and all of the people who have lost their lives at CIW, we 
demand full transparency, full accountability, and an end to these 
torture practices.”
CIW's suicide rate is more than 8 times the national rate for people in 
women's prisons, and more than 5 times the rate for all California 
prisons.  “Shaylene’s death is part of a pattern of neglect and 
psychological torture at CIW,” said Colby Lenz, an advocate at CCWP. 
  “CIW uses “suicide watch” confinement as another form of solitary 
confinement, which has been identified as a form of psychological 
torture by incarcerated people, human rights experts, and legal 
advocates.  As part of this torture, CIW punishes people in “suicide 
watch” confinement with intensive isolation that blocks them from visits 
and calls from families and friends.  CIW also regularly fails to notify 
families about the status of their endangered loved ones, including 
blocking access to their legal and medical files even after death.  
Currently, “suicide watch” is overcrowded and CCWP continues to receive 
weekly reports of suicide attempts at CIW.”
Shaylene Graves died shortly after 35-year-old Erika Rocha hung herself 
at CIW in April 2016 after being forced in “suicide watch” solitary 
confinement. “I don’t want any other family to go through what my family 
has gone through,” stated Rocha’s sister, Freida Rocha.  Advocates and 
families demand the end of all forms of psychological torture within 
CIW, including the end of “suicide watch” confinement practices.  As 
part of fulfilling the demand for transparency and accountability, the 
California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) should make 
available public reports on compliance with the August 2016 Coleman 
settlement court order regarding mental health services and suicide 
prevention protocols.  They also demand that those in confinement have 
full access to visits and calls from families and friends, and the 
immediate transfer of all medical and legal information to family 
members if their imprisoned loved ones are in life-threatening 
situations or have died while incarcerated at CIW.
womenprisoners.org 
<http://womenprisoners.org/mailman/listinfo/news_womenprisoners.org>


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