[Pnews] Continued Action Needed - Central California Women's Facility Deteriorating Conditions

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 14 11:07:11 EST 2021

    CCWF Conditions Deteriorate: CCWP's Open Letter to Prison Officials
    & Legislators-  Continued Action Needed


          Please continue calling & emailing, updated demands below and
          target contacts available at:

*bit.ly/CCWF-Action <http://bit.ly/CCWF-Action>*

We are extremely concerned by how CCWF is handling this explosive 
outbreak of COVID-19. In just two weeks, COVID-19 cases rose to over 
500, making CCWF among the top cluster of cases in CDCR prisons. The 
prison’s ineffective protocols and gross negligence have put many people 
in danger and caused unnecessary stress, confusion, and fear. For many 
of the people incarcerated at CCWF, their everyday experience is now one 
of chaos, extreme discomfort, and terror, where policies appear 
inconsistent and in many cases non-existent, and where there appears to 
be nothing in place to alleviate suffering and the very real threat of 

In particular, we are concerned about the following:

  * People in quarantine are not receiving regular medical check ups,
    including those who are returning from the hospital. This is a
    priority need. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 *need
    regular medical attention.* We demand that CDCR provide urgently
    needed healthcare, including mental health care, to people in
    quarantine at CCWF.
  * Across the institution, CDCR is implementing  chaotic moves, moving
    people from room to room, across units, and across yards with no
    clear plan or communication and often without any warning. Some
    people have been relocated as often as three times in two days.
    These moves mix the sick with those who have tested negative and
    cause panic and disorientation among people who are already sick and
    overwhelmed. CDCR must *implement a clear plan that minimizes
    movement* and allows people to recover in a more calm environment
    with adequate health care services.
  * With each move, people are forced to pack quickly and abandon their
    property, including legal paperwork, with reports emerging of staff
    removing belongings from people’s rooms in their absence without
    clear mechanisms for retrieval. These displacements can seriously
    impact individual’s BPH hearings and legal cases.
  * We have heard multiple accounts of staff harassing, mocking, and
    shaming people who have tested positive. People have also
    experienced threats of retaliation and have been issued 115s for
    speaking up about the conditions that they face. We demand *an end
    to retaliation against incarcerated people who are fighting for
    life-saving changes to their quarantine conditions.*
  * People in quarantine are not being provided consistent access to
    communication. This includes access to phones as well as to
    electricity to charge tablets, both of which are critical to
    maintaining contact to support networks outside, and critical to
    mental health during a crisis. CDCR must *ensure access to
    telephones, tablets, and electricity* so that those placed in
    quarantine can maintain contact with their loved ones.
  * Conditions inside quarantine units are dusty and filthy. CDCR must
    *provide access to showers, laundry, clean N95 masks, gloves, and
    sufficient amounts of disinfectant* and cleaning supplies for people
    in quarantine.
  * We demand that CDCR do everything possible to *expedite releases for
    medically vulnerable and elderly people regardless of conviction*.
    In light of the worsening outbreak, CDCR must also enforce mask use
    by all staff and mandatory sick leave for staff who show any
    symptoms of illness and/or who test positive for COVID-19.

We urge you to seriously consider these issues and to implement 
increased oversight of staff in all units during the pandemic. We are 
particularly concerned about treatment in the COVID-19 quarantine units, 
where staff bias and fear may be contributing to mistreatment. We are 
also concerned about the risk of retaliation for incarcerated people who 
are reporting mistreatment.

Since CDCR’s  announcements in March and July of 2020 that they would 
reduce the population to prevent the spread of infection, we have been 
troubled that there is no significant action to expedite releases for 
the most medically vulnerable people in CDCR prisons, including CCWF. We 
ask you to make every effort to convey this urgency to Governor Newsom 
and CDCR leadership, and to do everything in your power to support 
expedited releases. In particular, we encourage you to make full use of 
the 1170(d)(1) resentencing process by encouraging your staff to make 
recommendations, especially for those most at-risk to the deadly impacts 
of COVID-19.

This is an urgent situation that must be addressed. We have continued to 
document these problems and concerns since the onset of the pandemic and 
now, nearly a year later, find that very little has been done to prevent 
the spread or mitigate the impact of this deadly pandemic within CCWF. 
We urge you to act immediately given the increasingly dire situation 
that people face in your facility.

See the CCWP website 
for more detailed accounts of the unacceptable and unsafe conditions.

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