United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

Letters to Dr. Ward, Center for Disease Control and Prevention


January 30, 2003 

John W. Ward, M.D. Editor 
Epidemiology Program Office MS C-08 
Center for Disease Control and Prevention 
1600 Clifton Road 
Atlanta, GA 30333 

Dear Dr. Ward: 

Re: Deadly Conditions at Mule Creek 

    Attached is a copy of an e-mail that I sent to a Mr. Presley who is in charge of prisons and jails in the state of California.  A copy was sent also to Warden Knowles who is in charge of a prison called Mule Creek near Sacramento.  They claim an ongoing investigation.  I can assure you, the California Department of Corrections is incapable of an objective self-examination, let alone the ability to correct itself. 

    An Ombudsman for the state, Ken Hurdle, has assured us that if there is a problem it is an insignificant one.  He has stated in an e-mail reply that on one occasion prison staff "was made aware of hair in some food and on another occasion a rock was discovered in a serving of cooked beans (this could probably happen in one of your better restaurants).  On another occasion and 
most recently, pieces of a broken razor blade was discovered on an individual's food tray.  Early indications have revealed that this was an overt act by two individual inmates." 

    In the first place, more than four individuals have now found such hazards hidden in their food.  One 70-year-old man found wire in his food shaped like a fishhook.  Two other inmates were recently injured from ingesting razor blades.  In the second place, these denials and attempts to 
blame the very prisoners who alerted the others of the danger are an outrage. Because certain prisoners steadfastly refused to be a part of the cover-up, they are now being punished. 

    As a point of fact, the "hair" found previously in the food was pubic hair (this was not the first time) and the "rock" found in the beans was glass.  It has not been unusual for the men to find other things such as feces, urine and semen as a matter of routine. 

As for the claim that this is something that could have happened in one of your better restaurants?  For shame!  We are not talking about one of your better restaurants and even the slightest comparison between prison fare and "fine dining" should be met with derision.  Attempts to portray prison food as adequate, or in some instances even superior, contribute to the myth that prisoners are living the good life.  These are real life and death issues and denials and cover-ups, including efforts to force inmate confessions in order to avoid correcting the situation or to shift blame for these wrongful deeds makes those involved (prison officials, guards, ombudsmen, politicians) a party to criminal acts. 


Sandra Forbes 

January 29, 2003 

John W. Ward, M.D., Editor 
Epidemiology Program Office MS C-08 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
1600 Clifton Rd. 
Atlanta, GA 30333 
Fax: (404) 639-4198 

Re: California State Prisons 
 Mule Creek State Prison Food Crisis 

Dear Mr. Ward: 

I am a non-family person who has been writing to prisoners in the California Prison system.  All of the prisons are not handling food in a proper manner, and I'm getting complaints that much of the food is not fit to eat, is cold, contaminated, or such small portions that they do not have enough to eat. 

Presently at Mule Creek State Prison, we have written, made phone calls, and instead of an investigation they have the victims in the 'Hole' or Lockdown, and one man the whistle blower, they are trying to get him to admit to something he did not do.  I don't know who is doing the contamination, it could be staff or prison inmate workers. 

I have been working with U.N.I.O.N. [United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect], and have put all the letters and E-mails up on this Website: 

California has the Fox guarding the henhouse, and the investigations done by guards go no where, as they are not seeking the truth of the matter, they find someone to blame and that is the end of it. 

I write to an Inmate Michael Lanning who has been in three prisons, High Desert, Calipatria and San Luis Obispo Men's Colony.  He wrote, "In the year I was at HD [High Desert] I lost 13 pounds! on lockdown food.  I left county at 160. I left HD at 147.  Calipatria was a little better, I left at 155.  Now I am at my heavyest, which is still underweight for my height.  I'm at 167.  That's 20 lbs over HD!"  He is quite tall so this would be thin for him.  But this demonstrates that they are not being fed enough food, and they are hungry all the time. 

The situation at Mule Creek is quite serious, and there have been more injuries and it was not caused by those on lockdown, as another man has had metal or a broken razor blade in his food, and it is reported that he has been hospitalized.  This needs an immediate investigation from an outside source, as California is not able to fairly investigate itself. 

I wrote to Warden Knowles, quoting:  "The whistle blowers need to be returned to their jobs, and not be punished because they did the right thing, in trying to save lives.  You have things reversed in that you punish the good people, and let the perpetrators go free to do their dastardly deeds again."  This was prophetic as another victim has emerged, and these men were still in the hole. 

Their typical investigation is going to talk to the perpetrators, or find some poor inmate they don't like to blame, beat and force a confession from this inmate.  This goes on all the time in prisons and jails all over the country, and many times it is the guards themselves that instigate these activities.  Those inmates who do the dirty work get perks, and the poor inmate victim is beaten and sometimes even murdered. 

The California Prisons are over crowded, and in need reform which we hope will soon be coming. Until then we would appreciate an investigation, and not just a look at their fancy paperwork, but real hands on talking to the inmates in a safe environment. 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. 

Sincerely yours, 

Janice Crumley 


Robert Presley, Agency Secretary 
Various Interested Parties

Mule Creek

 What Inmates Eat

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