New Prison Rules Change Guarantees Violence toward the Mentally Ill
Dr. B. Cayenne Bird

Dr. B. Cayenne Bird is an ordained minister and a 37-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. She volunteers her time as founder and director of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect UNION. The UNION is active in prison reform and criminal justice issues. She is a mother and grandmother and focuses on human rights and restorative justice. She is also the host of television series "Cayenne Common Sense" and publishes a daily online newsletter to subscribers. 

 Some of the most irresponsible, pointless and cruel treatment policies that the California Department of Corrections has put in place are designed to punish the mentally ill via "Rules Changes". I refuse to recognize their all new title which adds the word "Rehabilitation" until I actually see that any is taking place. 

These changes are not made through the legislature. Most of the Democrats would likely never cooperate with such inhumane and unlawful concepts. The worst damage to prisoners is done rapidly through the guise of Emergency Rules Changes so that resistance cannot mount. Of course, there is no emergency, it's just the way they can get these horrific actions done rapidly. Most of the journalists miss this process entirely which I believe is the intention of CDC(R) taking this route. 

The language that CDCR uses is in my opinion designed to purposefully confuse anyone who would dare question their absurd rules changes. It is intentionally obscure, intimidating and over the heads of most inmate families as well as journalists. The pages cannot be copy/pasted to you, another block in disseminating what should be public information. 

So that means you must go to the link and click on the proposed regulations change regarding inmate classifications if you want to see what atrocity they're about to commit now. 

Today, June 29, 2006 is the final date for public input on one of the most dangerous rules changes I've witnessed in more than a decade as the advocate for prisoners.

Even though CDC(R) is well aware that there are many non-violent sex offenders, most of whom are mentally ill, if and when they are actually guilty of any offense at all. All it takes for a conviction in this particular category of crime is an accusation. There need not be any DNA or actual witnesses and such accusations happen too frequently in divorce and child custody battles. So often, the sex offenders are guilty of a much lesser crime if and when they are guilty at all. The prosecutors love to build their careers on this type of case because it causes the public to be fearful and few will stand up for a sex offender, so it is an easy conviction for them to achieve.

Still, there are some mentally ill people who have acted out heinous crimes, although not as many as the Republican politicians would like us to all believe. It is the duty of the Department of Corrections to keep all prisoners safe, even those who are mentally ill sex offenders but this has never been the case.

This latest rules change is but one example of a move that is will result in death or injury to those prisoners who fall under this classification.

When I first read the proposal, I could hardly believe my eyes. The text can be viewed here. 

The other inmates in the yard will certainly beat, maim or kill those inmates with that "R" designation on their CDC number or inmate housing card. The CDC will put thousands of inmates lives in danger if they standardize the application of the "R" suffix to inmates CDC numbers. Many families will more than likely file law suits against the department if their loved one is hurt and or killed because of this irresponsible act which serves no valid purpose. The fiscal cost of such endangerment will be in the millions of taxpayer dollars but the human toll will be immeasurable

ICDC(R?) must house all of those whom they are exposing as "targets" on their own yards or own prisons so that they do not become a victim of prison violence. 

Let's not forget that many of these inmates have families they need to get to when they finish serving their time. There are one million women and children connected to "sex offenders" in California alone and when all this political blustering and endangerment is taking place, no one is concerned about them.

When and if these inmates parole they will need to be able to finish rearing their children. They will need to deal with the scrutiny of having to register as a sex offender, a mark that destroys them for life.

How can we expect them to become productive members of society when the politicians and CDC(r?) officials make every effort to bring them more harm. 

At this time, there are 30,000 children who are denied visits with their mothers and fathers across broad categories of penal codes, even those that did not involve a crime against children. This is a "rules change" that damages children but it targets the mentally ill, a classification of inmate who needs the most family support. 

The memo posted there at the CDC site states that inmates with specific sex crimes will carry the designation but the department did not elaborate as to which ones.

Are they referring to all inmates with sex offenses or just those with offenses that involve a minor? In either case, even child molesters have rights in prison to be kept safe.

Many other sex offender inmates are first time offenders that just simply, made a mistake. They shouldn't have to fear for their lives, stay in lock up or go on lock down just to be able to survive their prison stay. Prison is already a place that is too violent due to the divide and conquer methods of CDC(R?),

They cannot control this violence as it is, why are they,adding one more reason to create or promote more violence.. 

They are also expanding the recognition of a prisoner by assigning them the "R" suffix if a prisoner is found guilty in a disciplinary hearing with an offense equivalent to a PC 290. Their original admission to prison may not have been for a sex crime on a PC 290. If they are found guilty of the equivalent while serving time in prison they will also be assigned an "R" Suffix for the remainder of their stay in prison. There is no justice in the Kangaroo courts conducted in prison, the guards make up offenses on a daily basis and there are no consequences brought about for them doing so.

Regarding a "guilty disciplinary hearing assignment of the "R" suffix.", I do believe that before they can make their guilty disciplinary action stick there would have to be charges brought by the District Attorney and prosecution under PC 290 would have to be pursued through the Courts.

Otherwise, the CDC will be completely bypassing the due process of law, and the opportunity for an individual to be heard by a jury of their peers. If the CDC can make such a charge under PC 290 stick against a prisoner, by only a disciplinary hearing, without the due process of law, in a Court of Law, then believe me when I tell you that this is by far a more serious prison administrative procedure than the general public could ever believe possible. 

Such an act that could be charged against an individual outside the Courts, and without a Court charge of guilty would be "in fact" eliminating all constitutional rights of an individual. 

It also brings into question what would be required of this prisoner once they are released from prison? Would they have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life just because a disciplinary hearing by a group of prison personnel who claimed the prisoner was guilty of a "specific sex offense" reportedly equivalent to PC 290 while serving time as a prisoner in a California State Prison? 

The above statements leave a big hole for a very big question mark. Surely a case in the making for the U.S. Supreme Court. I know the CDC employees believe they are above the law. I wonder if they are so arrogant now-a-days that they will actually attempt to bypass, at every level, the U.S. Court of Law? 

Such statements written by the CDC are shocking to my imagination. The old saying goes "if you don't get caught I guess you got away with it." I do believe that is the theory the CDC(R?) is based upon. 

The NEW "R" SUFFIX FOR PRISONERS stated in a nutshell. 

It definitely means anyone convicted of PC 290. At receiving of that individual into a prison they will be assigned an "R" suffix. It also states that anyone found guilty at a disciplinary Hearing will also be assigned an "R" suffix. 

CDC statement for purpose of change; For easy recognition by prison staff, and prevent these prisoners from re-offending or escaping while in custody. 

This would also keep a prisoner from having a low level clearance to work in any job where the public is involved.Those prisoners would be given higher points when entering prison to prevent them from having this low level clearance. 


PC 290 is any misdemeanor or felony conviction of a sex offense that requires registration as a sex offender for life. 

They are also expanding the recognition of a prisoner by assigning them the "R" suffix if a prisoner is found guilty in a disciplinary hearing with an offense equivalent to a PC 290. Their original admission to prison may not have been for a sex crime on a PC 290. If they are found guilty of the equialent while serving time in prison they will also be assigned an "R" Suffix for the remainder of their stay in prison. 

The CDC claims that they have not updated their PC 290 "Specific Sex Offenses" list of prisoners since 1987. This change in Administrative policy will require updating this list and all those found eligible to be on this list will be assigned an "R" suffix. 

A very dangerous change for the person who is trying to lay low in prison as a charged sex offender, do his time, and get out on parole. Whether the person was guilty or not the "R" suffix will carry a big recognition for everyone. Even the parole board members will be aware of the "R" suffix classification. Such a rules change is going to cause great prejudice, injuries and predictable murders.

This is a clear, and very obvious indication of acknowledgment that the prison personnel administrators in the California prisons are remaining entrenched in punishment, and ignoring any possibility of rehabilitation. Introducing this administrative change is a giant step backwards into the days of the SCARLET lettering of women. Regardless of who the perpetrator of the sex act was the woman became the target being forced to wear a SCARLET -----"S" for all to see and stone her at every opportunity. This lettering was intentionally set forth as a method of public recognition to ensure gross punishment. 

Punishment is also the purpose of the classification of the "R" suffix attached to a prisoners record. It is truly a sad day for California and the U.S. when we pride ourselves on deliberate and intentional methods of punishment/torture. 

Judge Lawrence Karlton recently ruled in a large lawsuit settlement that $600 million should be given to CDC(R?) with which to build "mental hospitals" on the prison grounds.

How can failed agency that has created more mental illness than it has ever cured, an agency who is makes people much sicker than before they were incarcerated be trusted to "heal" those who need it?

The recent report by the National Prison Commission is that California should get the 27,000 state prisoners and thousands more in jails completely out of the system. They cannot follow the rules. This is why they are classified as mentally ill.

Giving an agency that would even suggest such a "rules change" another $600 million is a bad move. They don't deserve another dollar, especially when their main intention is to build more ad seg and isolation units which greatly endanger the public safety by driving the prisoners completely mad.

Go down to inmate re-classification. 

Write in your objection to this rules change by 5 pm today, June 29, 2006 and mention it in your letters to editors where you encourage the voters to get mentally ill prisoners into more healing facilities. My opinion is that we need a new agency to administer the state's hospitals in and out of prison completely separate from CDC(R?) and their cohorts The Department of Mental Health.

People have asked me what I would do to the reform the prisons, I have made hundreds of recommendations over the past decade which fall in line with those made by the National Prison Commission. The first thing I would do is fire every guard, prison official and warden because the human bondage industry is an abomination.

The second thing I would do is release all non violent offenders, the frail elderly, those who are terminally ill.

The mentally ill should be put into hospitals and the focus should be on the prevention of mental illness and substance abuse.

I would change the sentencing laws and focus on removing only those who are the most violent from society. The prosecutors and judges who are using people as stepping stones for their careers ought to be ashamed of themselves and held accountable for lying, distorting and withholding evidence. One size fits all laws such as three strikes should be stricken from our books. Each case should be tried individually and a better investment in investigations and lawyers for the poor would yield more justice.

Restorative Justice has an incredible track record of success whereas Punitive Justice has an astonishing track record of failure. What would Jesus do? Therein lies the answer to prison woes, Building more will not protect us, and those who have earned parole need to be returned to their families.

The Governor has ended the lives of three men, two of them mentally ill and the other one elderly. He would likely be in prison himself as a sex offender if not for his millions, there are naked photos of him all over the internet. He should not be leading campaigns to punish sex offenders with his personal history as this is hypocrisy. 

If people wish to become famous and get elected at the expense of mentally ill people, I am hopeful that the voters are going to see through this and take action at the polls in November. I am voting for Peter Camejo myself and the rest of these candidates really do not understand criminal justice and methods of being smart on crime.

Please write in to voice objection to this email address before 5 pm tomorrow June 29  

or fax to (916) 358-2636


Regulation and Policy Management Branch (RPMB)

It's a good idea to copy a journalist on your letter because the reports of what takes place at these rules change hearings never matches what actually transpired there. The system is corrupt and inhumane arrest through parole.

Please register the poor to vote as liberals and be certain to bring 20 people in your car as they are the brunt of this political posturing which has claimed thousands of lives and continues to rip apart and destroy innocent families each day that the voters allow this sex offender hysteria to build.

Reverend B. Cayenne Bird

You can read the Prison Commission Report Summary or the Full Report at this link. Our UNION families submitted reams of documented evidence and fully cooperated in its studies.