United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
California State Prison - Lancaster
As you know, Charles Hughes is the CCPOA chapter president at CSP Lancaster. He's been in the news for suing inmates who "assault" guards. People with loved ones in prison know that 99% of the guard assaults come after extreme psychological and physical abuse but this is irrelevant to Hughes and others.
Hughes has been in a power game with Warden Harrison at Lancaster over not allowing REAL guns to be carried by the guards in the gym. He says this puts the guards in harm's way. Of course the facts belie that accusation. People in the gym are usually the lowest level offenders so they pose no threat in the first place or they wouldn't be there. Mule Creek has no armed guards in the gym and there has never been an assault there, so why would Lancaster's gym need REAL guns?
Hughes is willing to carry power games to any level of abuse and he is a dangerous man with too much power.
The prisoners are his game board pieces to manipulate in these power games.
Once again, he is going WAY too far.
Lancaster is a sweltering hellhole in the middle of nowhere and visiting is almost impossible due to crowded conditions.
That should be an indicator to the families who visit there of what the inmates are now enduring as horrible living conditions.
But does Hughes care?
The Day Room which takes prisoners out of their 8x10 bathroom-sized existences that they must share with another person who may be mentally ill will now to closed.
200 men will be put in the Day Room as living quarters because the guards in the gym cannot have REAL guns is the story I am getting from reliable sources. Yes, the reason is that the guards have REAL GUNS in these housing units whereas they aren't allowed in the gym.
IN ADDITION, about 50 double bunks are being moved into the housing units, that are already cramped beyond humane limits.
This is going to cause great distress and unrest. The spread of disease is imminent as 300 men will now share three showers.
The prisons are not under the jurisdiction of the health department.
If any other "business" abused and put in danger people in this manner, the fire marshall would shut them down.
People in the dayroom in Lancaster are living in hell. The lights are never turned out, burning 24 hours a day.
The other inmates are being allowed to have Day Room right in their quarters so there is zero privacy.
They may not have locks on their lockers so they are completely vulnerable to having property stolen.
This is madness! This is totally unacceptable at the prisons are way too overcrowded due to a budget hassle between the Counties and the State, the inmates are being used as political pawns.
It is absolutely outrageous that non violent inmates are imprisoned at all.
What a horrible state of affairs we have going on here!
What are YOU going to do about it?
The California Department of Corrections really knows how to discourage those pesky visitors to inmates that keep trying to maintain family ties.
My first visit to my son in Lancaster was nothing less than a 24 hour traumatic ordeal, even though I have been visiting prisons for a decade. I cannot see how a first time family member could have even survived, let alone enjoyed it.
I believe the dramatic and cruel inmate transfers made by CDC have an underlying purpose to confuse the special investigations which are going on in state and federal probes. They can claim that they're "re-organizing this and that" with a goal toward better management but I'm not falling for this sleight of hand. There is no logical reason why Eric had to be transferred 6.5 hours away from his family, doctors and attorney.
Every inmate was moved out of B yard in Lancaster and several hundred inmates and their families, including mine, were callously ripped apart as inmates with sensitive needs and/or CCCMS classification (slightly mentally ill) were shipped off to this hellhole of a mismanaged prison. I have word than another 150 inmates are being shipped out of Mule Creek to God knows where. Instead of releasing inmates that have no business being in prison, our tax dollars are now being wasted with a confusing game of musical cells.
For years, I've been writing in the newsletter about the evil feeling I get each time I walk past Republican Senator Pete Knight's door in the Sacramento Capitol Building. Knight is the legislator most responsible for the mismanagement at CSP Lancaster. After what I witnessed yesterday, I can say unreservedly that what I always suspected about this black-hearted demon who caters to CCPOA and law enforcement unions came clearly into focus. By allowing irresponsible mismanagment in this den of human suffering, Knight has allowed Lancaster to be the filthiest, most poorly managed and dangerous prison I have ever entered.
For me, visiting my son is now a 6.5 hour trip EACH way as the prison is located 408 miles away. I am a technically disabled mom on a tiny income. So as I tell this story, keep in mind all the similarly affected mothers and grandmothers who must face these same challenges just to be able to visit their loved one in prisons throughout California. I should mention that the 6.5 hour trip is only achievable with two ten minute gas stops and at speeds of 70 mph. (or more). If you pause more than ten minutes twice, add that to the length of the trip.
We have a network of UNION subscribers at Lancaster Prison who had notified me that in order to get processed and assured of a having a visit at all, it would be necessary to arrive at the prison by 6 a.m. Such is not the case when visiting most prisons in Northern California. Except for a few holidays, visitors may arrive at most prisons at any time that visiting is available and be sitting across from their loved ones in about 40 minutes. This is not the case at CSP- LAC. The process of checking in takes more than three hours if one is to be assured of even getting a visit.
I departed at ll pm Saturday night and thanked God that I had a car that could endure the 816 mile round trip marathon. Most of these families do not have the luxury of a reliable car. So the 408 mile distance in itself is crippling for thousands of family members who might otherwise be able to provide some emotional support for inmates who are heavily psychologically tortmented 24 hours a day. Without this regular support from families, the inmates are destined to deteriorate further and further into depression and despair and to lose their wills to live.
As a native Californian, I have made that long trip down Hwy 5 many times in my life. At that hour, the drive is especialy boring, but I tuned in to talk shows and music and thought about the nightmare letters still needing to be answered in my daily mail. I was a disabled mom, traveling across the state with only a few dollars in my pocket, going to an unknown place of terrible repute in the middle of the desert in total darkness. I was doing what I had to do to help my son survive. I did not want to be there.
Could I have had made the trip a day ahead and stayed with some of the families in our network? Yes. But I had important business on Saturday and Monday to attend to, and so as with most of the single mothers and elderly parents making these trips, I, too, had limited time and limited money.
During all these years living in my home state, I had never had reason to take the Hwy 138 Palmdale/Lancaster turn off just past the Grapevine heading up over the hill before you reach Los Angeles.
It's a good thing I had enough fuel in the car because there wasn't a single gas station, restaurant or grocery store for the entire 60 mile stretch from the 5 to the prison going up Hwy 138. It was totally desolate with tumble weeds, sand and a place that just looked worse, even in the middle of the night, than I could ever have imagined in my worst nightmares.
There were two or three closed buildings that might have been restaurants during the day but I had been warned.
About twenty miles away I spotted CSP Lancaster. By this time, I have been on the road for more than six hours with only two ten minute stops to gas up. I know from our families at Lancaster that if I am not amongst the first 60 cars, I will have traveled all that way and not get a visit at all. I felt sorry for all those who would be coming to this hellhole who did not have this advance information.
There were several hundred huge floodlights illuminating this place so revolting that it defies description. I wondered what the electric bill must be each month as a I drove up to the gate where prison employees were already entering the facility without a single car being checked for contraband.
"Mornin' Officer" I said. "This is my first visit to LAC, where is the visitor's entrance?"
It was still pitch dark but he directed me to a side road and said that I would find cars lined up there. He told me that my trunk and glovebox would be searched going in and coming out of the prison. This was a new procedure than I had ever experienced at the other prisons where Eric has been caged. Level III prisons are supposed to be less restrictive but such is not the case at CSP-LAC.
I asked the guard, who was pleasant enough, where the nearest public restroom was located since I had just driven across 60 miles of barren land with no facilities and processing wouldn't take place for another three hours yet.
He told me that Friends Outside, Centerforce (a CDC funded group in a trailer) would be open by 9 am and that they would have a restroom but that I must wait in line in the dark until then.
Luckily for me, I had been warned about there being no toilet and had stopped taking fluids about 3 am. If you lose your place in line to go to the nearest town to use the restroom, you may not be able to visit at all that day.
408 miles was a long way to travel to risk being turned away.
At most prisons, the guards wear puke green uniforms and the inmates wear blue denim and/or chambray. So I already knew not to wear blue or green clothes or I would be turned away from visiting no matter how far I'd traveled. The used clothes in the trailer furnished by Friends Outside has saved many visits when the guards decide the color or style of clothing of visitors doesn't suit them, but it is a humiliating and time-consuming experience (not to mention maddening) to be diverted.
But at Lancaster, the guards do not wear green. They wear feces brown, appropriate for them, but this creates a different restriction on the colors that visitors may wear.
I was wearing a brown/rust shirt and had not thought about putting an extra change of clothes in the car. My heart sank. I needed to speak with Eric about legal matters and if I had to be sent to the trailer for some crappy clothes, that would delay my getting processed. Once so many visitors fill the visiting rooms, that's it.
I knew that the wires had to be out of my bra and all of the other hundreds of restrictions imposed on us as visitors but in no place in the recorded message or at the website does it state that the guards wear poop brown which means that we may not wear this color.
There is no consistency between all these prisons except for three facts.
1. They are all places of chaos and oppression completely mismanaged and,
2. None of the guards follow the Title 15 or D.O.M. nor do they
feel they even need to
3. The guards are on power trips and treat the families and if they are also inmates.
What was very comforting to me was to meet up with several UNION people in the line-up of cars about 6:30 am once the sun came up. I noticed how many young mothers were in cars with babies or small children in the carseats of worn out cars and empathized with what they must have gone through to get there at that ungodly hour.
I do not know everyone by sight (mostly by email addresses) so I am
certain that I have yet to meet face to face with many of you who have
not attended a hearing or protest.
At 7:30 am the gates of the prison finally opened and my car, glove box and trunk were thoroughly searched by a guard. I was asked if I had a camera before I was asked about any possible weapons in my cars. The guard didn't know me from Eve. This query about the camera did not sit well with me but I remained silent, wanting the entire experience to be just as everyone else would experience it. Had I been on a vacation and had the camera in the car with me, I wondered if it would be seized or if I would just be denied a visit. Cameras are more feared than weapons because in purgatory, they are a most potent weapon. I was given a blue form to fill out with no instructions about where to turn it in or where to go once I arrived in the parking visitors parking lot. I was following the other families lead in what to say and do.
Finally, I was allowed in and directed to a visitor's parking lot. It is nearly 8:30 am by this time, so the wait was two and half hours just to get in the gate in addition to the 6.5 hr. drive. My bladder was bursting. The two port-a-potties sitting out near the parking lot didn't look appealing to me, so I decided to wait until I entered processing. The inmate letters always describe their misery in not being allowed to go to the bathroom when they need to in many situations and I thought of the ones with Hep C and other illnesses who must have constant diarhhea. I thought of the disabled and elderly people who come to prisons and felt empathy and distress for us all.
One of the women collected all the blue forms IN THE PARKING LOT, not in the visitor processing room and gave these to a guard. This was different and I wondered about families who would arrive and not have a pen on them, how would they have been able to fill out the form and have them collected BEFORE entering the building? Another glitch that must happen regularly.
It was 9 am by the time I saw what looked to be an oasis in a desert more desolate than Egypt, the door marked "Women."
But everyone else had the same idea and had been suffering as I was and there was a line. My name was called while I was in the bathroom but I had to miss it as nature's call was just more pressing at that moment. We are human beings not machines.
The guard commented on my brown shirt and I was able to put it up next to his and point out that my shirt was rust and his was brown, but it took some doing to get past this obstacle.
Then a sequence of events happened that made me think I was at a tryout for Swan Lake except that the judges were armed. The guard told me to take my hand and pull out the waistband of my pants and run my hands all the way around. This just seemed goofy to me, a pointless exercise but I cooperated with my eyes crossed as UNION members watched me experience this degradation that they must endure every visit.
But this wasn't enough to satisfy the guards. I was asked to grab the rail (think forced ballet folks) and turn backward. Then I was asked to show the guard the bottom of my feet. I was wearing stockings and might have been embarrassed about the hole if I wasn't so angry at all my bend and stretch exercises. Remember that I was present when CCPOA advocates admitted during the Senate Public Safety hearing that less than 3% of drugs are brought in by family members. That same week guards at Lancaster were caught trafficking huge bricks of drugs but none of them were being searched and degraded in this manner.
My right ankle was swollen from the 6.5 hr drive and it was painful and difficult to shift all my weight to one foot. We do what we must do in order to be able to give our loved ones hope and a reason to carry on.
I did the dance and my reward was a stamp on the inside of my right wrist that was viewable under a black light. I would show this stamp several more times that day in order to gain access to each building and to leave the grounds.
I did not mention this check in ordeal to Eric as he would have been both angry and devastated to know what I went through just to visit him. I was on a mission to lift his very low spirits and nothing was going to stop me. I cooperated without a word of protest and fought hard for mental clarity and the positive attitude I would need to have when talking with my son.
Then we were herded on a bus with three steps so steep I could hardly board. I noticed carts for those who could only be just a little more disabled than I in order to board that antique bus but this would be another delay. One at a time, I climbed them slowly and painfully and said a prayer of thanks to God that I could reach the top. I wonder how many more years I will be able to make it through this rigorous visiting process.
I had noticed people with canes in the visiting room and my heart went out to them, as I wondered how many parents had endured the pain of those three steep steps of the bus just to reach the other side where their loved ones waited in cages.
My building came up and a guard took my driver's license and kept it. Damn it, I thought as it went into a pile with hundreds of other licenses. The families have told me that they are often given the wrong licenses when they depart. No telling how many get all the way home and find that they were given the wrong driver's license.
If I refused to surrender my license, I couldn't enter. In it went.
No one told me to take the form up to the front desk to get a seat assignment but I figured it out on my own.
"We must tell you that when the vendors are refilling the machines, you must clear out of that area and return to your seat" the guard told me.
At that moment, I didn't really understand the significance of this message delivered more as a command. "Your seat is A-7 by the window."
The next sequence of events was a little startling. I had not been clued in on the fact that the number of vending machines in this visiting room are inadequate to service the number of visitors on B yard. I saw a frenzy that could only be compared to the jungle's survival of the fittest.
At LAC they do not allow the inmates to pick out their own food. The inmates may not come near the vending machines so that they may make a choice which is the case at the other prisons and something the prisoners really enjoy doing.
So the women were piling dozens of food items out of these machines for their loved ones into the middle of each table as rapidly as they could. Paying huge prices for junk food with very little fresh food available at all in a buying frenzy which must net millions of dollars for the black hole of where all this cash goes. Nobody really knows at most prisons.
Suddenly it dawned on me that if there was going to be a sacred can of pineapple juice for Eric, I'd better get in there and starting getting his food. By this time it is 9:30 am and visiting lasts until 2 or 3 pm so if there is no food on the table, the prisoner is going to get mighty hungry.
I have a long standing policy that I never feed myself in a prison visiting room. I refuse to participate in the overpriced money gouge perpetuated on these mostly desperately poor families by CDC and their vendors.
I always buy something for Eric but he tells me that the pursuit of materialism is not as important to him as the war against these evil practices. I have noticed some women arriving with zero money in their clear purses and plastic bags in order to be able to even buy their inmates a soda.
Entrees are $3.00 except for hot dogs which are $2.50. There are only two microwaves for more than a hundred people. Everything must be heated and I saw no fresh fruit, salads or anything healthy at this prison. I have witnessed a few fresh items at other prisons, but not here. Junk food was all that was served and not even enough of that to go around easily.
No one else was holding back their money it seemed and the vending machines
ran completely out of everything several times as the families fed them
hard earned dollars.
I was next to be able to go to the vending machine, and kept waving at Eric all the way across the room as the minutes of our visit ticked away due to this unbearable incompetence and stupid rule that he couldn't stand there with me. My dollar was ready, he hadn't had a soda in six weeks and he likes them, so I was running the gauntlet for the tenth time that day.
Just as I was ready to step up for my turn in line, in comes an insolent punk and orders me to "SIT DOWN." I was about to ask him just why he had the idea that he could tell me what to do, when I saw everyone else sit down. The sacred re-filling of the vending machines that the guard had warned me about was about to take place.
I lost my 15 min wait in line. And the machines were overwhelmed again with families chunking in dollars for another 40 minutes before I had another chance to get Eric something to drink.
By this time, it is getting very stuffy in the room. As David might tell me, the CO2 levels are most likely off the chart by this time with no air circulation. I notice that the tables outside on a beautiful spring day have only one family sitting at them and that no doors or windows are open. With so many bodies in the room, any breeze would have been a welcome relief. This is a level III yard yet we were all treated with restrictions far worse than any other Level IV I have ever visited. Nothing compared to what visitors at San Quentin are put through of course, but unnecessary and oppressive procedures and conditions. All blessed and allowed by Senator Pete Knight I should remind you.
I remembered that this month a woman died in one of these visiting rooms because she became overheated and there was no medical care for her. It was nearly an hour before an ambulance ever arrived and the oxygen bottle was empty, so she didn't have a chance to survive.
I am noticing that some parents are holding the cool bottles and cans on the necks of their overheated little ones. The ice cream and coffee machines are broken.
There is no reason whatsoever why the doors and windows shouldn't be open on a beautiful spring day or why the inmates shouldn't be allowed to go outside on the patio designed just for their visits.
The windows remained shut, the room filled up, the vending machines emptied out and all I could get for Eric was a can of tea. Not much of a reward for 25 min of visiting time lost.
The take from the families must have been considerable the way they were all being taken advantage of with their frenzied purchases. So many of them have their entire lives consumed by the visits and this is the extent of their prison involvement.
I have often said that it will take losing ALL visits for the families to finally be motivated enough to organize so that reform through lawsuits and initative campaigns can be achieved. By ll am, I had been on the road and in the prison for twelve hours with no sleep, something difficult for a person my age to be able to do even under the best of circumstances.
One of our people had told me about an energy drink called "Red Bull" that is available in all the convenience stores. I have never been one to take any sort of drugs, even those prescribed just seem to sit in their bottles since I value my liver highly. I was given a four pack of Red Bull to take with me on the journey so around midnight I had one since the label boasted mega amouns of B12 and B6. It did not mention the amount of caffeine but it must have been huge because I was still solidly on my feet at ll am.
Red Bull got me through. All day long, the families were telling me stories. Here is a list of some of the comments, easier and shorter for me to share than putting them in the context of this journal entry.
"The woman who died was my best friend. They did nothing to save her. The Los Angeles Times wouldn't even write a story about it. We are all in danger here but the inmates are in the most danger. There was no doctor at the prison with thousands of people here."
"We came down from Sacramento and lost half our visiting time just getting in, this is terrible. The gas alone costs $80. I don't have this much money. What am I going to do, my son needs to see me."
"There are many gangs here, the inmates allow themselves to be played and pitted against one another by the guards. This prison is more dangerous than all of them except Pelican Bay, High Desert and one of the guards are following the Title 15 or the DOM. The Green Wall is everywhere in this prison"
"Homosexual activity is a macho thing here, especially among the black inmates. My husband said he has never seen it so bad. The AIDS and Hepatitis spread must be off the charts."
"The guards tell other inmates lies about what people are in prison for which is all it takes to get someone killed. The prisoners need to learn not to believe one word the guards say and stop killing people for them on the basis of lies. This is dangerous and deliberate. If they think that an inmate has the potential to be a leader, the guards will slander them to other inmates in an effort to get them killed."
"The inmates here have a lower education level than at most prisons. They have lumped a lot of mentally ill inmates together who are known to break from the psychological torture and then commit the worst crimes on one another. Nobody cares. We see a lot of death and cover up but are scared to death to talk to anyone about it."
"The inmates on B yard are supposed to be a level III but they have been on lockdown since arriving February 20 for no reason other than the institution's inefficiency."
Often the UNION newsletter that you mail into inmates is their only source of education. We have long known that our efforts provide hope and that we have prevented many suicides and senseless murders.
We know that it takes 6500 people willing to organize in order to do enough lawsuits and initiative campaigns and that CDC will do everything in their power to divide and conquer us and the inmates to prevent us from organizing.
We have an incredible challenge at Lancaster to stop this divide and conquer mentality but the families here are more desperate at some of the other prisons.
The war is in Sacramento and given the strain and expense of my visit (24 hours non stop on the road and in the prison) and $100 in gas and expenses, it isn't likely that they can attend enough of the important hearings.
It will not be easy to get their minds off the desperate individual cases of their loved ones up to the higher level where the solutions really lie. But there are at least 30 other sets of families who are suffering the same oppressive visiting challenges who live in Sacramento and will not have $100 to visit each week that can be active in the UNION's state level battle.
We have well infiltrated all the MAC committees and Inmate Family Councils, but so far these are organizations intended to keep the wardens aware of what is going on and really haven't been ineffective in actually making certain the laws are being followed.
The culture of CDC responds only to lawsuits and the legislators respond only to financed initiative campaigns and the well funded law enforcement unions that put and keep them in elected office. This is how the game is played. Families of prisoners do not know how to play the game so they are the political footballs, even though our voting block numbers at least 3 million people. Unless we organize and fund ourselves and do the proper activities, we are lost in this blackness.
You will recall all the telephone calls we made to the prison on Eric's behalf for 20 days straight. We were referred to a Counselor named Ms. Allen. She called no one back. Eric sought help from her and asked for permission to speak to her. Without knowing him or his case, but knowing that he has PTSD, she verbally abused him and ordered him to speak to her standing.
Eric told her that he would be happy to stand but that there is nothing in the Title 15 or DOM that requires him to stand instead of sitting. Her abuse over his truthful and respectful response was so intense that he had no choice but to write a 602 over it.
She never did return my calls as the UNION Director and very concerned parent after Eric was medically abused and in very bad shape during this cruel transfer period. I would like to know others experiences with this poor excuse for a counselor named Allen so that we can file a batch of complaints against her with the State Personnel Board if that is appropriate.
Eric is filing complaints and 602's but says the program directors that he works for are fairly decent people. I still do not trust anyone at a prison that allows green wall stickers on batons and tattoos, especially one located in that evil Pete Knight's jurisdiction.
Eric is not safe at this prison, nor is any inmate or visitor safe when lawlessness and unbearable incompetence are the only rules in force. There is no regard for the Title 15 or the D.O.M. at most prisons but this one in amongst the top four worst prisons in the State.
When I awoke this morning, every muscle and bone in my body ached from the strain of this 24 hour marathon trip. But you know our UNION philosophy. Cause pain, get pain and we have a great deal of writing and educating inmates and their families to organize so that we cannot be divided and conquered so easily.
The inmates should not stand up to these bullies, this is the total
responsibility of the family members to write to editors using maiden names,
organize embarrassing HUGE pickets if need be, and get the crowd to our
medical neglect hearing out on May 17.
If a couple of people call the Times over an upsetting event, that has no impact compared to calls from hundreds or thousands of people. We always have the power to make oppression important. It is when we fail to act to write or picket or CALL in large enough numbers that important events such as visitor deaths and dangerous conditions fall through the cracks.
Overall the Times does an excellent job for us. They cannot report what fearful people do not say or do. Keep it in mind that our silence is a huge part of the evil that goes on in the dark. There are ways to get around risking retaliation to your loved ones but silence is deadlier than making an effort to organize and bring it to light.
I have always told you that I understand retaliation as Eric has been destroyed by it emotionally and nearly killed twice in the last twelve months, and is now in a dangerous situation because he is my son and because he files complaints against guards and wardens.
However, fearful you may be about fighting back at your own prison, there is absolutely no excuse for not fighting back by writing to editors under your pen names and showing up to important hearings when called to do so. Recruiting others to write and protest and get out the vote are also key ways to fight back.
These are voting groups who oppress you and our forefathers gave us the means to overpower these demons simply by outnumbering them and putting our own representatives into office. Until we get together and do this correctly, we are at their mercy, so we must share the personal responsibility to educate as many inmates and their families about the need to resist guard manipulation and lose the gang mentality that keeps us from achieving our 6500 workers.
This means that newsletters must fill the prisons and these can only
be sent by family members who want to end these conditions.
Each time the television shows appear, it alerts families who do not know about us that we exist. So this public education and recruitment needs to be our highest priority unless we love these chains.
Our Show, Cayenne Common Sense is now playing on Channel 20 in the Santa Clarita area at 3 p.m. in on Thursday, April 8 and 3 pm on April 15. April 8 episode is
"Lockdowns Cause Mental Illness"
Please spread the word that everyone who has a VCR in this area should record and share a tape of the show with other families. We do not have the budget to be responding to all the requests we are getting for tapes, so many more people need to be distributing and recording the tapes that we do have so that we can reimburse our outlay through new subscribers.
We still have some people sitting on the shows!
As if there are going to be enough volunteers for these important hearings upon which their very lives and futures depend.
If you have an SVHS tape of the show in your possession, a great deal
of time and money went into making that possible for you to get it placed
in your community.
It is very important that you do not leave these expensive tapes in your car as the heat will ruin the film.
We now have dubs availabe, three shows to a tape for $18 each to cover the cost of 90 minutes worth of dubbing, postage and padded envelopes.
Tape 1 - First Three Shows
State Murder by Medical Neglect
Tape 3 - Second Three Shows
The Show 'Officials Violate First Amendment" is not yet ready for dubbing.
There is a 27 minute training AUDIO tape and a 27 minute AUDIO interview with Attorney Robert Bastian during the Eddie Dillard Booty Bandit case which will be ready for radio airing next week.
You cannot just work on your own case and expect to change laws and conditions. No legislator, lawyer or judge can rescue anyone.
B. Cayenne Bird, Journalist
Posted on Tue, Jan. 20, 2004
Stolen razor blades lead to Lancaster prison lockdown
LANCASTER, Calif. - More than 1,000 state prison inmates were in the second week of a partial lockdown Tuesday as guards searched for 100 razor blades stolen from the auto shop.
The single-edged blades, prized as weapons and as prison currency, were discovered missing Jan. 5 after someone forced open the door of the tool room in the auto body paint shop, prison spokesman Lt. Ken Lewis said. The auto body paint shop is part of the vocational training program at California State Prison, Los Angeles County.
No arrests were immediately made.
About 1,060 inmates of maximum security Facility B were placed on a modified program, meaning that they cannot receive packages, telephone calls or attend religious services, cannot use the exercise yard and must eat in their cells, Lewis said.
Guards had searched the yard and some cells and were interviewing inmates but had yet to find the missing blades, he said, adding that the search may continue through the week.
Lewis said he could not recall a similar theft. The blades make "the perfect concealed weapon" and may have been sold by the thief to other inmates for money, cigarettes or canteen items, Lewis said.
"When you're living in a maximum security prison it's not uncommon for inmates to arm themselves, because you just don't know when you might be a victim of assault," he said.
The prison is located about 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Letter from Jeremy B, who has had a broken leg since December, and yet nothing has been done:
Today is Wednesday, January 26, 2004. We took
all of our property to Receiving and Release. I am being transferred
to Corcoran on Friday. I was seen by the doctor on Wednesday 1/22/04,
but have not had the X-Rays nor the Leg Brace. The doctor ordered
Motrin 3X a day 600 mg. She (the doctor) was very angry that I was not
seen as an emergency case. While in R & R the Warden
There have not been any searches in our building. No canteen. No special purchases delivered to us (the typewriter you ordered last fall and delivered to Lancaster on December 10, 2003). Nothing given to us. We have been rushed thru classification and are being rushed out of here by the hundreds. I suppose I'll get the typewriter where I am going.
Yesterday I woke up hearing my cellie choking out his name. He tried to hang himself with a sheet tied onto the vent. After talking with him for approx. 10 hours, he tried it again. I then reported it to the Sgt. and he went to psy-mental health watch.
Praise the Lord, the transfer is a good thing for all of us. The neglect is so overwhelming that hunger, depression, and the begging for food, cigarettes, and the selling of our lunch items shows that a skid-row homeless appearance is a normal thing. The picking up of cigarette butts off the gorund is openly done and no one looks down on anyone who does it. At least I will have $40.00 to spend on my canteen when I arrive to the other prison and I should be able to make money as soon as I receive my typewriter. I plan to do my final appeal using the laws you sent. Thanks again.
As far as the books are concerned, mail them to Corcoran prison. I do need a Large Print Blacks Legal Dictionary. Then I should be on my way. As for as the other books you suggested, I would like to read something on Martin Luther King -- his writings -- anything else you and P. think I may need to prepare myself for writing a book.
Well, wish me luck. I'll be at Corcoran by
Saturday or by the time you receive this letter.
Prison death cause sought
Inmate's body found in cell
By Greg Botonis
LANCASTER -- An inmate at California State Prison-Los Angeles County at Lancaster was found dead in his cell Monday afternoon but officials still have not been able to determine the cause of his death.The 41-year-old man, whose name was not released because officials can't locate his family, did not appear to have suffered any trauma and coroner's officials are trying to determine exactly what killed him."
The deceased did have a history of IV drug use and a history of high blood pressure, so what we have here is a case of accident versus natural death," said Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman David Campbell.Prison officials said that at about 12:45 p.m., an inmate began yelling for an officer to come to his cell. When the officer arrived, the man said he thought his cellmate, who was lying in his bunk, was dying. The officer yelled to the man but got no response.
The officer called for prison medical personnel, who found the man not breathing and without a pulse. They tried to resuscitate the man while calling 911 to have an ambulance respond. The man was rushed to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 2:30 p.m.The man's cellmate was questioned but officials said they do not believe the inmate was involved in the man's death.
The deceased man was being held at the prison on a conviction for possession of a controlled substance."The whole thing is under investigation," said prison spokesman Lt. Ken Lewis. "Right now we don't know, pending the report from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, what the cause of death is. That's the first thing we need." Greg Botonis, (661) 267-7802 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
848 W Lancaster Boulevard Suite 101
Lancaster, CA 93534
Runner, Sharon Website
Lancaster District Office
747 W. Lancaster Blvd.
Lancaster, CA 93534
Phone: (661) 723-3368
Fax: (661) 723-6307
Sacramento, CA 94249-0036
California State Prison - Los Angeles County - Lancaster