U.N.I.O.N.
United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
 
 
 
 
 


Press Release for August 27, 2006 Protest

What it was all about


Our Protest appeared on the National AP Wire Services, newspaper, radio and televison

Salinas Protest AP Wire Articles

Large feature article in Salinas Californian

Letters to Editors Published After Protest


Letters to Editors written by UNION
families about visiting abuses

Article About Abuse to Rev. Bird
in American Chronicle

Article Announcing Protest in American Chronicle


This was the follow up Press Release


The UNION has been fighting visiting abuses since 1998
View our other protest at Lancaster CSP -LAC


Forms to File Citizen's Complaints against Abusive Guards - Each one must be investigated


Where to file other types of complaints


Prison Reform for Dummies What's Right and What's Wrong


List of Columns written by Rev. B.Cayenne Bird


If you appreciate this campaign and the rest of the UNION website, please donate or subscribe to the daily online newsletter now! The UNION is only as strong and effective as the NUMBER of people who will help us write, protest and get out the vote for people who are going to represent us. Join us today!



 

A UNION Action Against broken family ties caused by California's prison policies

  • August 27, 2006
    The Protest was covered by the Salinas Californian and Associated Press. UNION Director Rev. B. Cayenne Bird is interviewed here by journalist Sunita Vijayan.

Salinas Valley Prison Protest Decries Visiting Abuses to Families

 

History was made on August 27, 2006. Elderly and ailing Mothers and other family members of the UNION confronted the notoriously abusive Salinas Valley Green Wall Prison Guards.

On Sunday, August 27, 2006 U.N.I.O.N. family members of prisoners demanded the firing of Visiting Sgt. K. Nuckles This is the first time a successful protest was ever held at Salinas Valley Prison and Ca. Training Facility, two prisons on the same grounds.

One of the most shocking points of this protest was the prison's attempt to intimidate. There was an incredible police presence behind the walls that the media could not see. This tactic worked on other protesters in the past, but not the mature mothers and fathers and other family members of the UNION.

To view some of our other campaigns since 1998 www.1union1.com/index.htm.

Or email Rev. B. Cayenne Bird


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At the beginning of the protest, a team of UNION members with loved ones inside Salinas Valley distributed information to more than 100 family members parked alongside the road IN THE DARK. Mostly young women with children, elderly parents and other family members must line up beginning at midnight to get a visit due to the ridiculously long processing time it takes. While these family members are lined up, there is no place nearby for them to use the toilet.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

After waiting all night long, and traveling from long distances at a cost that is beyond the means of most people who have lost a loved one to prison, Visiting Sgt. K. Nuckles and her team finds any reason to turn the family members away. This denied visiting due to selective and arbitrary enforcement of vague policies is a cruelty that is used as a form of retaliation. Other times it is used as a power and control game or to limit the number of visitors going inside. Visitors may not wear green, brown, blue, white and there are many restrictions on styles which are ridiculous and demeaning.Sometimes the families are strip-searched, especially if they have dared to simply question policies.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When the gates finally open at 7 a.m. only those at the very beginning of the line will get a chance to be processed by approximately 9:30 a.m. The penal code guarantees prisoners 12 hours of week of visiting but this isn't happening at Salinas Valley and most other prisons statewide because of the hours-long processing time. There is no oversight to make certain that the prisons obey the Title 15 and the D.O.M. The families are treated as if they are criminals. Little children are interrogated by guards wearing guns, mace and carrying nightsticks.

 
The signs say "More Windows for Ad Seg Visits" and "Let us say Good Bye to our loved ones.  Once a prisoner becomes ill and goes to the hospital, all visits end. Hundreds of prisoners have died while there their families are denied final visits to them.  This type of pain is something that the family unit will never be able to forget and it happens daily at prisons throughout California.





The UNION banner, a gift from a Head Start Program in 1999 is a reminder that the callous state policies punish little children who are  separated from their mothers and fathers by uncaring bureaucrats. 


Photojournalist Scott McDonald of the Salinas California interviewed group leaders and family members about their issues UNION Director Rev. Bird had written about visiting abuses, especially to Hispanic families in her column at American Chronicle on several occasions for the year preceding Sgt. K. Nuckles' personal attack on her. When UNION members learned of this false accusation, typical of what they do to prisoners at Salinas Valley Prison, a large protest drawing attention to these routine abuses was the only alternative possible. The Green Wall is known for accusing the prisoners of a wrongdoing, then all the guards cover it up in a "code of silence." One lies, the other swears to it. An appeal to CDC Director James Tilton has yet to be answered.





Some 30,000 children may not visit their own parents across broad categories of the penal code even though their crime may have had nothing to do  with a child. There are not enough windows for those housed in cruel "Administrative Segregation" units to be able to get a regular one hour visit  behind glass.   Those in "the hole" need visits more than regular prisoners because they are locked in a cell the size of a small bathroom 23 hours a day. Typically these prisoners are mentally ill.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nora Weber, whose son is being tortured at California State Prison Corcoran stood,  at the age of 66 years, in the freezing cold, damp  weather with major health problems for seven hours. Her sign says  "Stop the Prison Torture"  She has appeared before Senate Committees begging for help for son but received none.  Finally she had no choice but to file a lawsuit and still the neglect continues.  Her son Mark Grangetto, who was born with brain damage, weighs less than 100 lbs due to deliberate starvation by the prison guards.  He is denied a wheelchair and forced to crawl around in his cell like an animal.  Nora is denied visitation, he may not call her. No one will help her find relief, not even the new Receiver has taken action on her desperate in-person plea.  Her son was stabbed twelve times at Salinas Valley Prison after he testified in one of the medical neglect lawsuits.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Once a prisoner becomes too sick to make it to the visiting room, that is the end of their relationship with their families.  If they become too sick to fill out forms, their parents  and brothers and sisters will never be able to see them again.  Family ties are vital to the health of mentally ill prisoners who have no business being sent to prison in the first place. The UNION is working to have all 27,000 mentally ill prisoners taken out of the dysfunctional criminal justice system and put into hospitals so that they may heal. The mentally ill are often beaten by the guards for being unable to follow the rules then locked away so no one can see their injuries, not even their family members

 
One family was protesting because their son and brother has been on lockdown for more than a year at Salinas Valley Prison.  He may not call home and they cannot visit him.  Often mail  is blocked, especially when the guards have beaten or caused a prisoner to be injured because they "can't follow the rules"  Prisons aren't hospitals, they are places of torment that are breaking family ties.  If and when a prisoner is released, he has often lost his wife and children, his relatives have died and he is much worse off than before incarceration. This does not benefit the public safety in any manner.

 
Most citizens might be asking themselves why anyone would tolerate this type of abuse and not file lawsuits against the State. In 1996 the State of California changed laws that essentially eliminated the right to visit and turned it into a "privilege." The families of prisoners in the past were known to be too uneducated and fearful to organize into a voting lobby strong enough to file lawsuits, or elect or re-call people from office. The UNION's work is educating people that they have the ability as voters to get together and make dramatic changes when the number of active writers, protesters and voters exceed the law enforcement labor unions who capitalize off their suffering. More lawsuits are planned as the UNION grows.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The UNION is a coalition of groups and individuals who work to better conditions for the prisoners and teach the poor how to vote people out of office who are purchased by law enforcement labor unions such as CCPOA. There are now 3,000,000  voters attached to a state prisoner. UNION subscribers are clergy from almost every religion, teachers, nurses, social workers, doctors,  attorneys, journalists, retirees, secretaries, bank tellers,  members of large labor unions all of whom who have lost a loved one to the devouring prison machine.  More than 200 protesters from every occupation, race and religion joined in over the six  hour period that the protest took place.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

At one point during the day, the line of desperate signs made by the families of prisoners went all the way to the freeway offramp. The prison guards at various institutions have been caught numerous times bringing in bricks of drugs but their Volkswagen-sized lunchpails are never searched. The UNION works to make searches of guards mandatory since they are the primary source of the drug trade - not the visitors. On those rare occasions when a visitor does have contraband, it is in very small quantities, how much can a body cavity hold. The families ARE NOT the source of the abundant drug trade yet they are treated as criminals and harlots, even elderly women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This  family may not visit their son and brother because he is too sick to fill out the papers.  He is a young man who will never see his family again due to these harsh and unconstitutional policies.  Cruel and unusual punishment is business and usual statewide.  The bureaucrats make absolutely  no effort to correct such problems and there is no place to go in an emergency.  The results of this unbearable incompetence are suffering, death, and lawsuits, all due to callousness and a lack of humanity.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

These are a few family members of Larry Saldivar who died June 17 at Mule Creek Prison, Ione.  It happened just after another statewide filth disease hit twelve California prisons due to an epidemic of Campylobacteriosis.  Once they learned of his bad condition, he family begged for medical help for Salidivar which was denied.  They were not allowed to visit even in his final days, he died in pain and alone. Saldivar did not have a life sentence but that was the result. The UNION has inspired 27 lawsuits which helped to bring about the current efforts toward medical care reform.  Hundreds of people died unnecessarily and the problems have yet to be fixed.  There is no place to go for help in emergencies and the media is banned.  The lawsuits are buried across many budgets in a multi-billion dollar human bondage industry set up by political voting machines so that law enforcement will have employment.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The National Association for the Mentally Ill from Butte County (NAMI) with millions  of members nationwide were well represented at the protest.    Many UNION members are also members of other large groups such as NAMI and major labor unions such as the Operating Engineers and Communication Workers of America.  Members of  the Nursing and Teachers' Association as well as members of the clergy were also present. The goal is to get the 27,000 mentally ill completely out of the prison system and into hospitals under new agencies other than CDC or the Department of Mental Health. These two failed agencies do not deserve to be expanded with millions of dollars more in taxpayer funds.  A new agency should be created that focus on healing the sick instead of mindlessly punishing them.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some of the mothers were too ill to stand up all day. The stress of losing someone to the prison machine causes a lowered  immune system. Most of the parents of the prisoners are always worried sick, until they have developed serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, all of it due to intentionally-inflicted stress.  At least half the prisoners have a life-threatening disease as well, most of this suffering is preventable.  Chairs gave some relief as the weather went from freezing to baking in the hot sun within a few hours. These mothers are organizing out of desperation.


 
Nora Weber wears a look of determination as she makes her sign, "Stop the Prison Torture."  She went car to car in the dark at 6 am asking the other family members to join the UNION and stopped every car passing by to give them a flyer. 


 
 
Imprisonment touches the lives of millions of California voters who have learned that law enforcement labor unions have purchased the lawmakers and put them into office.  Desperate appeals fall on deaf ears.  There has been no response to the UNION from James Tilton,  the Director of the Department of Corrections to appeals or anything even acknowledging the protest.  If necessary the UNION families are prepared to protest at his office next as they have protested other Directors in the past.

 
Salinas Valley turns people away for wearing white, gray, blue, green, brown, all the normal colors that people wear. IF the Friends Outside trailer has their size in donated, used clothing in clown colors of Orange, Yellow and Red, located on the far edge of the prison property, too far to walk to, the family may go through the lengthy waiting process again. At this point most families are so upset they just leave, totally stressed out.

UNION protests over the past decade have been numerous and the media always turns out full force since four California journalists have a loved one in prison. The media has been unconstitutionally banned from covering what actually goes on behind the walls since 1998 but thousands of families of prisoners have been trained to report all deaths, disease outbreaks and riots directly to the media.


Police Presence
Was Extreme Overkill Designed to Intimidate Us 
But it Didn't Work. We stayed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The media couldn't see the heavy police presence from the road. An entire field was set up behind the walls with card tables that said "Riot Control Training Day"  All police agencies were notified well in advance that the protest would consist of about 200 mostly ailing and elderly mothers.  It was held on Sunday which meant that the overtime costs to the taxpayers were most likely huge.  This was money wasted that the taxpayers will likely never know about, so typical of the California Department of Corrections



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Highway Patrol Jackboots were dressed in full riot gear at 6 am when the UNION "mamma bears" arrived.  The prison sent a guard on the back of a pick up truck to take video of the protesters in an effort to intimidate  everyone to leave.  The UNION is comprised of mature professionals who simply waved and smiled at the cameras.  Someone noticed a Green Wall tatoo on the arm of the guard with the video camera. They were waiting for any excuse to use their weapons.

As the day wore on, the sun became hotter and hotter.  The CHP stayed huddled and told everyone not to come on "their" side of the street.  At one point an elderly lady in her late  60's tried to cross the road to get a group shot with her camera.  At that point all these jackboots took out their plastic handcuffs to capture her.  She came back got into her car drove around the block and went inside the prison (she's an approved visitor) and got her shot of the crowd without them ever realizing what happened. Older people do not respond well to intimidation tactics on property financed with their tax dollars and improperly managed in their name as Californians and US Citizens.

 


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