“We inside cannot vote. We cannot lobby Sacramento. All we want is to live… Will you hear our pleas for humanity and dignity?” A statement written by women in California’s prisons.The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is planning to convert Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) into a men’s prison. Instead of releasing thousands of women who are eligible to go home, CDCR is planning to transfer them to them to the two remaining women’s prisons: Central California Women’s Facility and California Institution for Women. This conversion and the crowding of women—including pregnant and elderly women—into facilities that are already far above capacity will intensify by horrific proportions the medical neglect and premature death already rampant in women’s prisons. Cells that were designed to house 4 now house 8 and will house 10; the overflow of people will be packed into day rooms and gyms.
Although California passed an Alternative Custody bill for women in 2010, to date fewer than 20 women have been deemed eligible for release under this bill. Over 700 people at VSPW and CCWF have already signed petitions to stop this conversion plan and the transfer of people in women’s prisons to other overcrowded facilities.
To read a statement written by people in women’s prisons opposed to the conversion and demanding relief, visit www.jnow.org.
Other organizations who endorse this petition are:
All of Us or None, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, San Francisco Bay View newspaper, Redwood Curtain CopWatch, Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community, Community Futures Collective, LEF Foundation, Coalition to Free The Angola Three, Solitary Watch and Community Works West.
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