United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

Mule Creek State Prison - Food Crisis


January 19, 2003 

Stand by for a full blown call to action!

We have a crisis at Mule Creek State Prison that has resulted in injustice to the MAC Chairman and others, and the inmates are afraid to eat, and I understand one young man has had surgery and is very sick. 

Jan 7. 

Food intended for facility B contaminated, evening meal considerably delayed while a substitute entree was prepared. 

MAC Chairman David Bristow and Vice - Chairman told by Sgt. Gentile that "it was only pubic hair discovered in the food this time." 

Food for sensitive needs is prepared on C yard and there has been multiple foreign objects including urine and feces discovered in the food for several years. 

When 87 inmates prepared their list of grievances for us to present to the Senate Rules Committee in June 2000, this complaint was included, so this is not a new problem, yet nothing is ever done about it. 

My son Eric Knapp wrote out a CDC appeal for the MAC chairman to submit on behalf of the Facility B population requesting transfer of the main kitchen to either A or B Facility or to designate C yards as strictly sensitive needs and reassign the inmates there. 

January 13 

The MCSP security and investigations S & ransack the cells of my son who wrote up the CDC appeal on January 7, the cells of the MAC chairman a and vice chairman.  They were told that they could not enter their cells. 

Legal papers were stolen and destroyed as well as typewriter ribbons obviously an attempt to keep the UNION and the media from being notified.  Obviously that idiot Warden Larry Knowles has no idea that we have a considerable number of families who report in from Mule Creek and from almost all prisons statewide. 

To hold a handful of men responsible for notifying the press is ridiculous! 

On l/ll/03 a prisoner bit into a sizable piece of rock and this was stolen, the CDC appeal written for the MAC Chairman on 1/ll/03 by my son was seized by Warren.  All of this to keep the press out I presume. 

David  Bristow, MAC chairman was thrown in the hole on January 13, he has been in there for five days now with no clothes for doing absolutely nothing wrong. 

The inmates are boycotting the evening meal, they are starving right now. We must take action on their behalf because they cannot fight for themselves, the repression at Mule Creek is so great. 

See other family communications below and in my next email I will give  you instructions of what to do in order for us to achieve remedy and massively alert the press and Robert Presley. 

In the meantime, advise the inmates that the purpose of our standing up for them on March 13 is over just such inhumane treatment. This situation is too urgent to wait until then....we must make the point that neither the press nor the families are going to be intimidated into silence - and the inmates will alert one another when the food is poisoned regardless of their stupid cover up rule! Stand by, be calm, we on it. 

B. Cayenne Bird 

UNION member Mary Bristow needs our help for her son the MAC Chairman who is very dedicated. We must put an end to retribution focused on MAC chairman who try and represent inmates.  This is why I say those jobs are suicide positions and that it is the families that must mobilize to do the fighting for the prisoners through writing, picketing, organizing a proper voting block. 

This poor senior is rearing David's four children, she is blind in one eye and can only read her newsletters by taking all of the little children to the local library.  We need to back her up and save the inmates lives at Mule Creek 


My name is Mary Bristow. I am writing in regards to my son David Bristow (nick named by all his inmate friends on yard B as HOSS). On January 12th or 13th 2003 during meal time an inmate informed David that he had found a piece of a razor blade in his food. David being the MAC Rep. took the inmates tray to the guard and showed him the foreign object. As David returned to his seat inmates asks "HOSS" what's in the food and David told them. 

Apparently there is some code that the prisoners know that they are not to tell other inmates when an object has been found in their food because they can be found guilty of trying to start a riot. David has been put in the hole, and left there for 3 days with only his underwear and T-shirt no clothes to wear until Thursday when I was aloud to see him. The Warden tells me that since David has been in the hole no more foreign objects have been found in the food and they believe David instigated someone to sabotage the inmates food, this is not true the very next day another inmate found a metal spring in his plate of food. 

            In six years David has not been in trouble. He has done his best to earn the rights to more privileges such as the reward of being moved from yard A to yard B. A job that he loves and he has never had a write up. David has been informed that he most likely will have 12 points added back to his point list, will be move back to A yard and worst of all will receive a write up in his file. I have been told that moving David back to yard A was for his own safety because inmates on yard B are mad at David this is not true many of the men on yard B keep asking for them to please let David stay as he is one of the first MAC reps and friend they have had that has tried to help them and he cares about their needs. 

David is not guilty of anything more than trying to keep his fellow inmates out of DANGER. Please HELP David to not lose the things he has worked so hard for and most important of all to not receive a write up in his records. We HOPE and PRAY that an investigation can be made by a party outside of the prisons own employees so that there can be no cover ups and the inmates can sit down to eat without wondering if they may die this day because  of some metal shavings, razor blades, pubic hair or blood being put in their food. 

Thank You, 
Mary Bristow. 

Hi Cayenne 

I do not know if I can be of much more help but the incident with the razor blades in the food started with one guy getting a piece of razorblade in his food.  He went up to get another plate and complain.  They took his tray and gave him another which he sat down and ate.  In the meantime another was being served and they hit the piece of metal and pulled the rest of the food. 

The first guy whose name my son has not been able to get was taken to the infirmary with pains in his abdomen.  They did a test which nobody knows the real name of but it is what they call the "shit strain".  From that test they found pieces of razor blade and discovered he had damage to the area above his stomach.  He was kept in the infirmary. 

They put him on antibiotics.  When he fought to be out of there, he was told not to say a word about any of the incident to anyone or he would spend many hours in the hole and could not come back to the infirmary.  They would not give him his medical report.  He was only on the yard for a short time and was taken to the "hole" for conspiracy.  He is in the hole now but they cannot find out what his name is. 

The mac rep (Bristow) tried to find out and was accused of inciting a riot because most of the yard refused to eat because of the incident.  So he is now in the hole for conspiracy. 

The food is a real mess there.  Evidently there have been having feces and urine in the food so most of the guys are afraid to eat. 

Not much help but that is all they have. 

Shirley  :-) 

I would also like to know how long the inmate who required surgery suffered before they transported him to the hospital.  My hunch is that he was in great pain for hours. 

Always give me names and CDC numbers people.  Tell the inmates to hang tough....we families are not going to fail to raise hell over this!  It is best not to eat dinner right now. 

On top of all this worry, CDC wants to take half of the money the parents are sending to keep their loved ones from starving.  It's going too far....it's too much....we are not victims, we're going to ruin a few bureaucrats day tomorrow and will keep on ruining coffee breaks until these men are fed. 


January 20, 2003 

Dear Cayenne, 

Any way you slice it, this razor blade incident is criminal.  Anyone covering up is a quilty as if they put them in the food themselves.  RIOT?  For trying to save their brothers lives?  I believe in prayer before eating but praying that the food does not kill  someone is surely not what asking for a "blessing over this food" was intended for. 

Most of us have a loved one incarcerated in a California prison of which there are 33 if I am correct?  I belive that if this was happening at the prison my son is housed in, I would beg and plead for families from every prison to come to his aide and all of the others housed there.  I am sure there is much going on in each prison that doesn't get out but this is blatently AWADW in my perception of the penial code.  Who is correcting the correction officers? 

I am sick of being treated like a child interrupting "Shakepear" when I attempt to ask a question of any given C/O on duty.   It is rare to have one actually listen to complete sentence before abruptly replying in a sarcastic degrading boisterous voice.  The reply not even close to an answer to the question I tried to ask.  How could it be, I was stopped mid sentence.  It appears to be a tactic to keep us in the dark like bumbling idiots wondering what to do on a daily basis but allowing us to do what they want without constantly being ridiculed with demeaning remarks.  "You have to.... YOU HAVE TO....YOU HAVE TO....(ask someone else...but you can't ask today because: 

1)  You already left that building 
2)  That person is not here today 
3)  That person will not be here tomorrow either 
4)  That person will not be here ever again... 
5)  You can't talk to him...you have to go through...Sgt., Lt., Captain., or       so and so (but never tell you how to reach so and so on what or what  yard, building, city, state, or country. 
6)  You must call the automated message (so we can jack you around for 30-to 40 minutes before we tell you "so and so is no longer at that extenson...call back and ask for information. 

Lockdown: emergency count...again today...we were sent home some after waiting two hours for count to clear. We barely got something from the vending machines and before it could be consumed, EMERGENCY COUNT.   This took place only on A yard and visitors were very upset again.  Some people only get a Sunday visit and we all know many drive 5 hours or more to get there. 

The void in the pit of our stomach and hearts eats us up as we take our cattle walk out of the visiting center with no information as to why we have to leave......no compassion.......just empty hearts, anger and frustration.  Imagine the road rage if hadn't developed coping skills.  I too choke back the tears and drive home. 

I would be glad to join in your mission to support the loved ones in Mule Creek.  I worried about your son wondering how you can continue your work without ramifications to your son but I see that it does have ramifications and I applaud you both for your mission on the inside and out. 

If we want help at the prison where our loved ones are in an intolerable situation, we need to be ready to be there for those at other prisons at their time of need.  Let us know how best to help Mule Creek inmates right now.  If you want bodies present I can present two. 

My prayers are with Mary and her son and you and yours! 


Dear Cayenne: 

Last time I visited at Mule Creek some of the regulars have been duped into believing things are better since they get to meet with Mike Knowles on a bi weekly basis on their complaints. 

Something Mike Knowles dreamed up to find out what is going on and these people do not seem to get it!  They seem to think that talking with the warden makes them special and their inmate will be treated better...Lord ignorance is bliss I guess! 

What does talking to a rock like Mike Knowles do?  Absolutely no good and they are not special cause they get to talk to him.  I hope now that they are able to notice the fact that things are not any better and that the warden is not doing anything to make it better. 


Dear Cayenne: 

Mule Creek MAC Reps are: 

MAC Rep           Scooter  Fields 
Vice Mac Rep     Bristow 
Secretary            Jorss 
Treasurer            Nix 
SGT at Arms      Cecina 

The razor blades were state issue razorblades.  SO it could have been anyone, guards included.  However the word is that the evidence has DISAPPEARED! 

The guy who is on suicide watch is apparently the one who said he swallowed a piece of razor blade and was bleeding from his rectum.  They accused him of having only  bleeding hemmoroids and that is supposedly why he was thrown in the hole because he was inciting a riot with his story. 

However, he is missing, so he is either in the hole or on at the hospital.  They are more worried about this getting out to the press than in solving the problem. We gotta fight back! 


January 21, 2003 

Mr. Presley, 

I am absolutely outraged at what is going on at Mule Creek!!!!! 

I'm picking up a pattern here.  David Bristow has been treated just like my son was a month ago at High Desert State Prison. 

David was a MAC Rep.  He was trying to remedy a life threatening situation with the razor blades found in the food. He was not trying to cause a riot, he was trying to save lives. Many problems with the food were reported in the past, but nothing was done.  This is not a new issue. 

MAC Chairman David Bristow, and the vice chairman notified the staff about the danger of the razor blade in the food, but Lt. Gutierrez allowed the feeding to continue for at least one full housing unit. 

Now the guards are retalliating and placing David in the hole with only his underwear.  What did he do wrong?  He wasn't starting a riot, he was helping to save lives. 

Dear Lord, what country are we living in????????    What would the health dept's response be to this?  Now a coverup is happening.  Same old story.   We are getting wise to all of this, and won't stand for it. 

Now, we have prisoners that won't eat the food, and are starving. 

Suggestion:    Since the Warden Larry Knowles, and the guards think this is to start a riot, and David is in the hole to start a conspiracy, They obviously think nothing is wrong with the food.  They should sample it before the inmates are allowed to eat it. That would solve the problem. 

I understand and highly commend the dedication of David.  He wants to help the other inmates, that is why he is MAC rep. He has never been in trouble in 6 years. David loves his job, and has never had a write up.  Because of this incident, he has been told that he will have 12 points added back to his point list, they will move him back to A yard, and have a write up on his file.  This is unheard of !!!!!!  What is really happening is retalliation. I am asking you to look into this immediately!!!!! 

The guards don't want anyone standing up for prisoners rights, and they will try to get rid of anyone that that tries to help the prisoners.  Don't you know this is helping to create peace amongst the prisoners, but the guards don't want that.  They like retalliation, and lock-down. 

What is being done about Lt. Guiterrez?  I'll bet he's not in the hole.  I'll even bet he's not eating the same food that was served to these inmates. 

This is another reason that I know that my sons beating was set up by the guards.  Very familiar story. My son was also taken off of a yard where everyone liked him. (except the guards).  He was punished by being placed in the hole, when he didn't do anything, and was beat up. 

This is part of the problem that Jerry Brown is talking about.  People are treated like this in prison, and let back out on the streets, with no rehab.  What do you expect? 

My son has learned so much in the last 7 months he's been in prison.  He's learned he is supposed to be part of a gang, and the gangs are against each other in prison.You're either black, or white, or hispanic,( who knows all of the rest)   We're Christians, and we believe we're all created equal, and to celebrate our differences. 

He's learned that if you won't be a snitch, and tell about others, the guards threaten you.  He's had his life threatened by several guards, officers, and higher authorities, because he had to file a lawsuit against the guards, for fear of his life from the inmates because the guards told lies about my son. Prison has tried to teach him not to help others, because of retalliation from the guards, but that won't work. 

This is what prison is teaching every other prisoner, they leave prison worse than when they arrive.  Someday most of these prisoners will be back on our streets with what they have been taught. This is what is happening in Oakland, you see the results.  What community is it going to happen to next, and next, and next? 

I must also applaud Governor Ryan for his 3 1/2 year study, that uncovered the fact that 60% of the prisoners are wrongfully convicted.  This is what has happened to my son, and so many others. 

Now, these innocent people are in prison, learning all of these wonderful things, and someday will be back in our general population.  What a pleasant thought. 

We are just a step away from a 3rd world country.  People don't realize that this easily can happen to them.  I'm living proof.  It's a living nightmare, and our government is doing this to us.  I pay more taxes every month, than a prison guard makes.  This is a very poor use of my tax money, and I don't like it one bit. 

I am determined along with so many others to get this message out to the public.  If we don't get it out, what will happen to our communities? 

I am asking you for an immediate resolution to this, for the safety to the other inmates. 

I am also asking you to stop the retalliation to David Bristow,  he has done nothing wrong. 

Thank you for your time 
Mardele Duarte 

January 22, 2003 

Mule Creek State Prison 
Warden Mike Knowles 
P.O. Box 409099 
Ione, CA 95640 

Subject:  Food Contamination 

Dear Mr. Knowles: 

I am writing about the serious problems of food contamination at Mule Creek State Prison.  This is an issue that you have already been warned that this was a serious problem, and you have done nothing to stop the contamination.  Some prisoners or staff cannot be trusted to work with food, as they are angry and seek retribution against anyone, and when no one is looking this would be a way of their getting back at the prison.  Then there are other prisoners that are totally trust worthy, and for some reason an evil system will punish the good prisoners, and give the jobs to the evil lying prisoners. 

U.N.I.O.N. Director, Cayenne Bird wrote to you as follows: "Poor food handling is one of the reasons why infectious diseases make any sentence to prison a potential death sentence.  This is not a light matter.  Health should be a priority and a great deal put into diets and disease prevention.  One way or another, the taxpayers are going to pay for this neglect. 

Not to mention the extra fights that hungry men and women can get into.  We wouldn't cage up animals and not feed them, give them proper medical and dental care, allow disease to be spread so easily." 

For the time being all prison workers need to be interviewed, and those who are not open and honest need to be removed from food handling.  All prisoners need to be supervised when preparing food, as well as prison personnel who may be the ones that are behind this food contamination—not prisoners. 

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. 

The problem with prisons is that they fail to do real investigations, in that outsiders not guards should do the investigation, interviewing all personal involved in the incident.  Then you might be able to get to the truth of the matter, and then take correct action and not punish those who are doing good work, such as David Bristow.  He needs to be removed from the "hole" immediately! 

You have already been told what the solution is by this statement, quoting:  "We feel that MCSP's main kitchen should be located on a sensitive-needs yard and operated by sensitive-needs inmates to protect us from the malicious and sadistic acts committed against us by inmates who do not have sensitive needs. We were informed by staff several months ago that an inmate on Facility "C" had been caught urinating in Jell-0 designated for Facility "B". We do not know how true that rumor was, but we frequently hear such stories which cause us great concern as a population for our health and safety." 

Both family and prisoners have been trying to get your attention to the problems at Mule Creek State Prison, and action needs to be taken immediately to remedy the situation.  That is your job to makes these decisions, and to take charge that this kind of activity will not be tolerated, and punish the perpetrators not the victims.  That would go a long ways in establishing your reputation as someone who gets things done, and not another do-nothing lazy bureaucrat just taking home a check. 

Please take action at once to remedy the food situation, the above quote by moving the kitchen would go a long ways to resolve this situation. 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. 

Sincerely yours, 

Janice D. Crumley 

cc: Robert Presley, Agency Secretary 
     Edward S. Alameida, Jr., Director, CDC 
     Senator Thomas "Rico" Oller 
     Assemblymember Tim Leslie 

Activity January 22, 2003 

First call to Presley's office 11:20 A.M. Talked to Linda.  She took my name, phone number and asked the purpose of my call.  After I stated it she said, "Thank you" and hung up.  (No "good-bye" -- just the hang up.) 

Second call to Presley's office 15 minutes later.  Talked to Linda again.  After identifying myself again I asked specifically for Presley's voice mail.  Without comment she transferred me to Harriet, Mr. Presley's secretary.  Harriet stated that Mr. Presley was not taking calls concerning Mule Creek but those calls were being handled by Ron Barnes who was in a meeting at the time.  Would I like to use his voice mail?  I said yes and when I got it had a choice between leaving my name and number for a call back or I could just leave a message.  I chose to leave a message and shared much of what I had written in the letter to Presley.  And then thanked him and hung up. 

My call to Michael Knowles was quite interesting.  I was told Warden Knowles was not taking calls regarding the food situation at Mule Creek but they would transfer me to someone in the counseling office.  This person did identify himself and I did not catch his name.  I did identify myself up front.  He had quite an interesting little tangle of words.  We discussed parts of my letter to Presley.  He said, cover-up? What cover-up?  I mentioned that this was the way our prisons were run.  He said which prison are you talking about?  I told him  Mule Creek and then mentioned that the federal government got involved in the Los Angeles area because of deadly conditions and the resulting cover-ups and specifically mentioned the Kevin Evans case (Twin Towers in L.A.).  And I said, that is what is going to happen to you people if you don't stop these deadly conditions.  I will ask the federal government to become involved because the courts have been clear about the legality of cruel and unusual punishment. 

    Almost sneering and in a sarcastic tone he said, "Well, how can you be sure anything a prisoner has to say is true?"  I said, "You mean to tell me that a prisoner cannot do anything but tell a lie?"  He said, "Basically, yes.  You have to remember the environment we are working in." I said, "I know well the environment you are working in and I know that when prisoner's across the state are saying the same thing to their families and the messages are coming through first as a trickle and then as a stream and then as a river and then as a tidal wave and the facts they are always the same -- then I believe them!" 

    He said, "Who ARE you?"  Do you have a family member at Mule Creek?"  I said, "No, I am a member of a group that is fighting for the end to medical abuse and neglect in our prisons."  He responded with his voice just dripping with sarcasm, "Then THIS is none of your business!" 

    I said, "I make it my business because I am a Christian and God places equal value on all lives."  He said, "Oh!  So you are a Christian!?"  I said, "Yes."  He said, "Well, I am not."  I said, "You aren't?  You are part of a prisoner counseling program and you are not a Christian?"  He said, "That was your first mistake.  You assumed I was a Christian and I am not.  In fact, I feel SORRY for you that you are a Christian."  (He was really sarcastic at this point.) 

    With that I told him that every individual, whether they believed in God or not, was a party to murder when they knowingly turned their back on people whose lives were at risk and who needed medical help (or preventive measures) to protect their lives regardless of what mistakes they may or may not have made in their lives and that it was his duty as a citizen to do what was needed to contribute to the health and welfare of others when he was in a position to do so.  I said, "Would you pass that message along to Warden Knowles?"  He said, "No.  I will not because first of all this is NONE of your business."  I said, "Would you tell me your name again?"  He said, "No, I won't."  I said, "Well, then . . .  I was up front with you and told you my name and I would be willing to tell you again.  But you are so ashamed of what you have had to say to me that you will not identify yourself to me again?" With that he hung up. 

    I was not in tears when I got off the phone but I noticed that I was trembling with anger.  I remained courteous throughout our phone conversation and in control of my words and thoughts --but what a verbal sparring match.  I hope this individual thinks at least a bit about what I had to say to him concerning civic responsibility and I hope God has mercy on his soul. 

    And as for any journalists who may be reading these remarks, I would like to say that this sort of attitude is rampant throughout our so-called "correctional' system.  The place is run by knuckle dragging Neanderthals.  We are long overdue for sweeping, lasting reforms and Warden Knowles is responsible for the people he hires and the tone he sets. 

Sandy Forbes 

Subj: Deadly Conditions at Mule Creek 
Date: 1/22/2003 11:47:06 AM Pacific Standard Time 
From: Winkapeep4@cs.com 
To: rpresley@yaca.corr.ca.gov 
CC: jenifer.warren@latimes.com, afurillo@sacbee.com, dweintraub@sacbee.com, henry.weinstein@latimes.com, abock@ocregister.com, Rightor1 

Dear Mr. Presley: 

    The unsafe food conditions at Mule Creek as well as other California prisons are a public health disaster.  UNION (United for No Injustice or Neglect) has alerted you in writing previously of the deadly conditions to no avail.  Now we learn that razor blades have been found in the food at Mule Creek!  And Lt. Guiterrez actually permitted prisoners to continue eating even after this fact was known by him?  This hard hearted, callused decision translates into attempted murder in my view.  Anyone who knowingly allows these kinds of conditions to continue or who makes lame excuses for what can be sensibly fixed is party to a criminal act. 

    State sponsored medical neglect and food so harmful as to pose a risk to life must come to an end and quickly.  This is truly madness.  David Bristow discovered the razor blades in his own food at Mule Creek and alerted other inmates of the danger.  For this he was thrown into the hole without his clothes for attempting to incite a riot.  And what of poor inmate Ramole who actually was harmed by unknowingly swallowing this food.  He is on "suicide watch?"  Give me a break! 

    We have seen this type of systemic cover-up many times before.  The types of things that are happening are not isolated instances.  Dreadful, unnecessary things are happening every single day, every hour, every minute, indeed every second within our so-called "correctional" system.  Most, if not all of these events, could be prevented with an ounce of common sense.  We are running, at taxpayer expense, filthy cesspools of neglect and abuse where humans are caged as part of our human bondage industry.  Every person who is a party to these acts and the subsequent cover-ups are guilty, whether they be our own Governor, Warden Knowles, Lt. Guiterrez, or yourself -- Mr. Presley! 

    Cruel and unusual punishment will not be tolerated.  The courts have been crystal clear as to these legalities.  It continues only because of the secrecy that shrouds your department.  On March 13, UNION members will march in protest to lift this shroud of secrecy. 


Sandra Forbes 
Valencia, CA 

Dear Cayenne: 

I sent a email to Mr. Presley to help get my dad and all the guys on the B yard at Mule Creek State Prison better food.  I am sending and asking for help from newspapers too.  It is very bad and they need help and so do I.  My grandma says there is not much she can do so I am trying to get other people to help.  Here is the letter I sent to Mr. Presley.  Please help and maybe he will listen. 
Thank you, 

Dear Mr. Presley, 

I am writing to ask you to help the people who are in prison and cannot help themselves.  My dad is not a bad person even if he is in prison.  I am 16 1/2 and will be an adult in another 18 months.  I want to help to keep him alive so when he gets out we can go fishing again together. 

There are some bad things happening with the food where my dad has to eat.  This time they found razor blades in the food.  The food is always getting things in it that are gross.  People will get sick and they will die.  My grandma says you can help and that is why I am sending you an email to ask you to fix the problem.  The problem is at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.  It is on the B Yard. 

My dad will eat TV dinners.  They are not real good but at least they would be safe for him to eat.  Please do what you can to keep him alive.  My grandma is really worried about him and all the other guys who are in with him.  Some of them are good guys and I know some are not so good.  But they do not deserve to die from bad things in food. 

Thank you for helping any way to make it better.  Grandma says I cannot write my last name because my dad might be punished because a couple of guys who tried to help have been punished already, so I can only sign my first name but when I am an adult I will sign my whole name and fight to get things better. 



Dear Mr. Presley: 

There were razor blades in the food requiring at least one inmate to possibly be operated on January ll, and the Warden's only response to this was to punish the men who alerted the other inmates. 

We want all of the inmates to be given their clothes back, to be released from the hole immediately, and all of the items and documents, typewriter ribbons and legal documents belonging to Eric Knapp returned to him immediately. 

Ramole, who apparently ingested some of the razor blades and they have him on "suicide watch" or in the "hospital".  What it really is, amounts to seclusion to keep him from talking to the press.  But the UNION is on to all of this.  They can run but they can't hide from us, we are everywhere. 

We want David Bristow and Ramole  released from the hole immediately and that punishing people for alerting the UNION and the press of such a dangerous situation is unacceptable. 

All of the charges and point drops against the MAC chairman David Bristow and the victim "Ramole" are to be dropped immediately. They are to be let out of the hole immediately. This is psychological torture and we're not standing for it when they are repeatedly victimized and their lives are at risk. 

Margie Fawcett 

Dear Mr Presley, 

Re: Mule Creek Food Poisoning 

You have admittedly one of the most difficult jobs in California, dealing with a most  difficult and oppressed group. That, however, is no excuse for ignoring the bewildering poisonings that have recently occurred at Mule Creek Prison. 

Correctional personnel must be held to high standards of behavior. If prisoners misbehave, COs must not respond in kind or by neglect, but they must do the right thing. Modeling bad behavior only illicits bad behavior. If foreign objects are inserted into the food then immediate action is required. Your officers are responsible for the health and well being of their prisoners. Their immediate  responsibility is to remove  or correct what is harmful and restore a healthful and peaceful environment. 

Inmates who alert COs to dangerous circumstances must be respected, not punished in the hole. This is not only common sense but the kind of behavior expected from professionals. We family members of the UNION expect professional attitude and behavior from the men and women who secure our prisons and to whom we pay professional salaries. 

I expect to hear from you about the measures you are taking to insure professional behavior from all correctional staff. 


Marge Driscoll, LCSW, Social Worker and Mother of an inmate 

Dear Secretary Presley: 

You've got to do something right now about the dangerous food situation at Mule Creek.  Ten to twelve days ago food prepared at the Yard C kitchen for Yards A and B contained razor blades.  Meal service was not immediately stopped upon their discovery, and when Mac Chairman David Bristow tried to warn fellow inmates, he was thrown into the hole.  Another inmate, Ramole, who reportedly ingested pieces of razor blade, was also put in isolation. 

There are two serious issues here: 

1.  Prison food must be safe to eat; it should also be more appetizing and plentiful, but at minimum it must be safe.  It should be prepared on each yard for that yard's consumption and the guards should eat it too as a safety measure. 

2.  Retaliation against inmates who register complaints or seek to protect their fellows from danger is unprofessional and unconscionable.  Prison management cannot continue to operate in a vacuum.  The public, the press, and administrators such as yourself must flood our prisons with light so that guards' actions are held to an acceptable standard and conditions in prison are thus safer for them and for the inmates.  Get David Bristow and Ramole out of the hole immediately. 

D. Jimenez, Santa Rosa, CA 

Mr. Presley: 

After trying repeatedly to reach you at your office, I have resorted to trying to reach you by email.  The incidents over the past few months MUST be brought to your attention and NEED your IMMEDIATE attention!!! 

What is it going to take to get your attention and focus to right the problem with B yard inmates being subjected to feces, urine, hair, and the latest razor blade pieces in their food.  Mike Knowles does not seem to care.  This has been brought to his attention numerous times and the results are that he has people, like the victim of the razor blade incident, Ramole, taken out of his cell and removed from the area.  David Bristow has been thrown in the "hole" because he tried to keep others from being injured.  Others, like Eric Knapp have had their belongings ransacked and have threatened with conspiracy for trying to get something done about the horrid food situation at the prison yard B. 

These men are human beings regardless of what they have done.  They have mothers, fathers, children, extended family and friends who are tormented over the inhumane circumstances these men in yard B live under.  You are ultimately responsible to see that the wards of this state are guarded and kept safe.  This is NOT SAFETY.  How can you keep turning your head as if nothing is going on when I personally know that you have been advised of the situation?  Are you a human being?  Are you a Christian?  What more evidence do you need to take action and have the yards changed so that B yard prepares their own food?  These men are in protective care, however there is NO PROTECTION. 

I for one am ready to take more action.  I for one am going to the press and anyone else who will listen until action is taken by the state of California to protect those you are charged with protecting.  The men are caged, unable to fend for themselves and what is happening is criminal.  They do not deserve this.  You are a person with education and you know that at least some do not deserve to be behind bars but even the ones who do deserve it will be back in society and what do they bring with them.  They are being treated as animals and they will act like animals.  Reap what you sow...and what we are sowing in the prisons in the great state of California is a disgrace to the State, a disgrace to the human race. 

I ask you to take action today STOP PASSING THE BUCK and right the wrongs at Mule Creek State Prison.  You have the power and you can do it.  Perhaps a call from you will wake Mike Knowles up and get him to take action to keep the men safe before many lawsuits put the state further in debt.  I am appauled at what is being done to prisoners in the name of justice.  There is no justice in poisoning food or tampering! 

Rita Barnes 
San Diego 

Dear Mr.Presley, 

I am writing you today because our loved one's imprisoned in the California Department of Corrections are being poisoned and are slowly starving to death.  The issues with the tainted food DOES NOT ONLY exist at Mule Creek State Prison but also at California State Prison Los Angeles County. 

Inmates at CSP-LAC on "C'" Yard have become ill from undercooked food and from unidentified chemicals in the food.  The spread of diseases such as hepatitis are much more rampant when you allow such acts to continue. Inmates don't want to eat food with God knows what in it but some have no choice when prices are outrageously high for food in canteen and some inmates have no family to send them money and prison pay is less than slave wages. 

Some inmates already have enough health problems and not eating is only making things worse in the long run for both the inmates and CDC. My husband spent some time in Ad-Seq which is on "A" Yard also known as the "Honor Yard," his food there was cooked right, bigger portions and much better than that on "C" Yard, why is that?  Why is the food different from one yard than another? 

At California State Prison Calipatria contaminated food was also an issue until staff stopped identifying what food was going to what yard after inmates on the sensitive needs yard found razor blades in their food. 

There are simple solutions to this problem if you just admit that food is being tampered with. 

Michelle Olson 

Hi Cheyenne, 

Just spoke with Mr. Presley's office.  The secretary was very friendly and told me that mr. Presley was on another phone and she passed me to Ron  Barnes.  He took 15 to 20 minutes  assuring me he had received 15 to 20 pieces of correspondence yesterday and was on this.  He has spoken to the warden and that there is an ongoing investigation.  Mike Knowles spoke to the yard yesterday informing them that the food situation is being investigated and that they can eat without fear now.  Mike Knowles advised Ron Barnes that NOBODY was injured in this incident!  I said that I knew that one person at least was injured and went to the infirmary.  I told him that others are being harrassed and that must stop and they need to be returned to their units so the whole situation can be resolved.  He told me that they are working on that very thing.  He told me he has worked at Mule Creek and knew the system there.  He was pleasant throughout the conversation no matter what I said.  I kept my cool also.  He did not rush me and answered all my questions but did not know the results of the investigation.  He will be putting out a statement at the end of the investigation.  I looks to me like the inmates will be blamed and nothing will result from this. 
I ended with the statement that the yards need to be changed around and the B Yard needs to be responsible for all the food for all the yards since it is clear that C Yard is not responsible.  He still did not know what will happen.  But I do feel for a short time they will watch things so nothing happens to incite us for a few days anyway. 

My next call is to Mike Knowles.  I'll let you know the results of that. 


January 23, 2003 

Cayenne: The latest newsletter was beautiful.  And, yes!  It would be great if that kid's Dad lived to be able to go fishing with him again but with the current management and hazardous conditions all does not look good.  I will pray for Scott's Dad and for Scott and  his Grandma, too, and hope that gives them at least a little comfort to know another Grandma truly cares. 

Also, about my tangle with that rude counselor at Mule Creek . . .  The things he said to me seemed almost unbelievable!  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and that encounter, coming from a  prison counselor, seemed bizarre to me ~ almost surreal. Pity the poor prisoner who must deal with an idiot like that.  And I'm afraid in the prison system, idiots abound. 

Last evening I read my written summary of that encounter to my son who just shook his head and said to me, "You expected something different?"  I said, "No.  But it helps to know the enemy and this kind of attempt to be demeaning and to devalue me as a caring and responsible person is the sort of thing that prisoners in California deal with every single day. It is that almost brutal tearing away at the soul that they must endure. But I can protest this treatment, and give a tongue lashing and walk away from the abuse, and even laugh at the abuser and shame him.  I can challenge him and refer to him as a "knuckle dragger," after the fact, and live to fight another day through my writing without fear of retribution ~ whereas an inmate caught in the jaws of the system must suffer and endure and wonder if the next meal just might be the one that kills him." 

I think that in terms of mental well-being, it is that endless fear that causes the most damage.  It is the first thing the prisoners think about when they wake up in the morning and it is the last thing they think about before they go to sleep at night.  They never know what is to happen next and to dare to ask brings punishment from correctional officers who are basically bullies.  To have our prisoners come out of these situations as well as they do is a testament to the love of their families and to the human spirit.  Hopefully, with God's help, we can keep them alive and well and we can begin the healing process before they are released. 

We ask only that the state do their part with safe, healthy food. My friend at Calipatria sends me wonderful, fanciful menus.  He says there is no relationship between the menu and what is actually served and that portion sizes would not feed a sparrow, let alone healthy men. 

God bless you, Cayenne, in all that you do. 


Mr. Presley, 

I am writing in regards to the food poisoning at Mule Creek State Prison.  I 
am a concerned citizen, a journalist, and the wife of an inmate.  I often 
write about the deteriorating conditions in the prison system. 

The situation at Mule Creek must be fixed as soon as possible.  It's bad 
enough that foreign objects were found in the food, but the treatment by 
staff regarding this incident is unacceptable.  Inmates Bristow and Ramole 
should be released from Ad. Seg. as soon as possible.  All property should be 
returned to Eric Knapp. 

Correctional personnel must be held to high standards of behavior. If 
prisoners misbehave, COs must not respond in kind or by neglect, but they 
must do the right thing. Modeling bad behavior only illicits bad behavior. If 
foreign objects are inserted into the food then immediate action is required. 
Your officers are responsible for the health and well being of their 
prisoners. Their immediate  responsibility is to remove  or correct what is 
harmful and restore a healthful and peaceful environment. 

Inmates who alert COs to dangerous circumstances must be respected, not 
punished in the hole. This is not only common sense but the kind of behavior 
expected from professionals. We family members of the UNION expect 
professional attitude and behavior from the men and women who secure our 
prisons and to whom we pay professional salaries. 

I expect you to do the right thing and see that this situation is corrected. 

Jo Ann Fawcett Richards 

    Mr. Presley, 
        I see you are doing your tortoise imitation again- just pulling your head into your shell and waiting for the danger to pass. Well, just STOP IT! It's not going to work. It is not what you are paid to do. You are paid to work. 
     Your first job is to order frozen dinners for the inmates on A and B yards at Mule Creek. 
     Your second job is to order the kitchen to moved to those yards so they are responsible for their own meal preparation. 
     Your third job is to immediately stop punishing the MAC committee members and return them to their cells and all of their possessions. You might want to take a lesson or two from them on how to work for others and how to care. 
     We'll be seeing you on March 13th if can be bothered to come out of hiding. You have jobs that are too numerous to count. You shouldn't be getting paid if you can't be bothered to work at them. 
                                         Nolene Stuart 

January 26, 2003 

Update from one of our families on Mule Creek 

Dear Cayenne: 

Your son Eric was seen yesterday so that you know he is alive. 

Bristow is still in the hole.   No word on this or anything except everything is under close wraps now.  The warden (Knowles) did not speak to the whole yard as I was informed he did. 

The inmates say if he spoke to anyone it might have been the MAC committee but no word is out on it.  They were sent a message stating that the meals are being set up in such a way that the people working cannot tell who is getting the food.  But  C yard inmates  will just wait until it is on the carts and then they WILL know where it is going so this is not safe.  That brilliant idea was from a year ago and nothing is new. 

An assistant warden (He does not know the name) came and sat down at the table with my loved one and took one of their trays from the stack.  He ate the food with the men.  The inmates thanked him for coming to the meal as it was the first meal in as  long as he remember that they got full portions!!! 

The inmates also thanked him for making him feel safe in eating for once because he felt sure extra precautions were taken so that nobody from the outside got poisoned or anything in their food.  The assistant was pleasant and only said thank you back.  Most of the guys  are only eating things like bread or prepared foods that are not prepared at C yard to keep.  Any mixed stuff like what they mostly get is not being eaten at this time. 

Everyone is afraid to speak up if they know anything because of the punishments that have already taken place.  So the news is very tight.   Our calls are only hope, it is hell in there for the inmates and usually nobody cares. 

Dear Mr... Presley, Once again I write you about neglect and abuse at your 
prisons. Today it is about Mule Creek prison. The reports from the U.N.I.O.N. 
of  food being laced with glass, razor blades, metal springs ,seamen and 
pubic hair are far from exaggerations.Unless prepared from a kitchen from 
outside the prison I see no other way to remedy this problem. 

If this were found in the schools lunch program, or another state run program 
it would have been shut down, and outside meals brought in. In addition 
lawsuits would blanket your desk. Which still may happen. What I hear from 
female inmates is that they won't drink the milk as it comes from the prison 
industry, and the kitchens are overrun with rats and unsanitary conditions 
that would not be tolerated from a public food supplier such as Mc Donald's 
or Burger King. 

Also retribution to inmates that file complaints for such abuses must end. 
What you must realize is that the public will be made aware of the abuses 
from inside prison walls. Families of inmates will organize and fight back. It 
may be rouge guards inciting these abuses but it is you and the wardens that 
will be held responsible. 

Frank Courser Union Member. 

January 27, 2003 

Letters to officials and media

This letter is written hopefully to make you and the public aware of the the life-threatening situation at Mule Creek and other prisons regarding razor blades and other foreign objects in the food and retaliatory punishment of MAC members whenever they stand up for inmates. 

I am a member of the U.N.I.O.N. and these very disturbing facts have been reported to me. There were razor blades in the food requiring at least one inmate to have surgery. The Warden’s only response to this was to punish the men who alerted the other inmates. His response to the matter is unforgivable. 

An inmate, Ramole, who apparently ingested some of the razor blades is reported to now be on "suicide watch" or in the "hospital". What it really amounts to is seclusion to keep him from talking to the press. Punishing people like David Bristow, a MAC member, and Ramole for alerting the U.N.I.O.N. and the press of such a dangerous situation is unacceptable. Eric Knapp, who wrote the appeal for the kitchen to be moved to either A or B yard had it stolen from his cell when it was ransacked along with his legal papers and writing equipment. 

Give all of the inmates back their clothes, release them from the hole and return all of the items; documents, typewriter ribbons and legal documents belonging to Eric Knapp. 

Cover up should not be the first priority. The safety of all the men should have been the first priority and David Bristow deserves a medal, not punishment. 

All of the charges and point drops against the MAC chairman "David Bristow" and the victim "Ramole" should be dropped and let out of the hole immediately. This is psychological torture and not acceptable when they are repeatedly victimized and their lives put at risk. 

The sadistic treatment of inmates in the zoo you call a prison system, is unconscionable. The more inhumane you treat the inmates the closer you come to a riotous rebellion. These people are not animals. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are members of families who love them---.punishment is never descreet. It flows like an infectious pain to the family, the community, the nation, the world and most of all it flows to you and your family as one of the elite who profit from the insane system of misery. 

Donald E. Ward 

Dear Cayenne: 

As a former inmate your news letter RED FLAG DAY!  Brought back the horror I lived through, during my 5 years in State Prison. I was the MAC Chairman for several years. But I started out in the kitchen checking food temperatures, cross condemnations, portion control, etc.. Without any results except getting rid of RED DEATH! ( Mystery Meat) That is what we called it. It is a lunch meat, it has an artificial red dye, we as inmates knew better not to eat it, it gave you very bad stomach pains, we would give it to the cats (animals) on the yard even the cats would not eat it. 

Your news letter is so accurate. Kitchen managers (Free staff) always gave the inmates 4 oz ladels rather then 6oz ladles to cut down on portions served. 

The issue of not serving fresh fruit? Reason being their concern of pruno being made only a small portion of the inmate population is making pruno! This blanket punishment due to a small portion of the inmate population is wrong. If you get caught making Pruno you get a serious 115, extra time, more points privileges taken away, like visits and more. 

When you make pruno it gives out a strong odor, if the guards did their job they could eliminate this problem. Instead of siting in there housing office. Denying nutrition because one or two people might make pruno is terrible. 

Now the sack lunches we ate? you are correct, it is nasty. I know through personal experience that the meat and food product sits out on the back loading dock for hours before being refrigerated. Then hours more between breakfast and lunch. 

I tried to change this problem by checking food temperatures, portion control. I had 13 years as a 
restaurant manager before I went to prison for a nonviolent crime. Training inmates in the kitchen, sorry but Ha Ha, that is almost impossible. 

In the kitchen bathroom there is no soap or toilet paper! Inmates take it because they only give you one roll of toilet paper for a week! It you get sick from the food you can go through the toilet paper in two days which happens often. 

Hepatic C! I went into prison negative for hep C and came out positive. But by the grace of GOD my body fought it off only 15% of the people who get it beat the disease. I am not an IV drug user or engage in male sexual activity. So I am not sure how I caught it. Sanitary conditions are bad everywhere inside the prisons. 

The inmates who write to you are telling the truth. The president State of the Union speech last night spoke about prison issues one issue being visiting. I hope things can change. I came out alive even thought I came out disabled via medical neglect and Civil Rights violations not to mention just plain old callousness and vindictiveness. I pray my Lawsuit wins. I have always told the truth even when convicted of my crime of Joyriding in which I served 5 straight years is there JUSTICE or JUST US! 
Charles W 

Dear Mr. Presley: 

I ama member of a large church Prison Ministry. Inmates and inmates families often contact me with 

Yesterday I called your office and was told Mr. Ron Barnes would be the contact for the complaints I had received from family members of inmates about the contaminated food being 
served to inmates on B yard at Mule Creek. 

He said he had received about 12 calls and thought the group called U.N.I.O.N. were somewhat hysterical 
(his words) and that an investigation was underway. In fairness I do know the group and we have common goals in many instances. 

Mr. Barnes assured me that there was a plan to prevent reoccurrence of the spoiling of the food but was not specific as to how it would be done. The most logical would be their own 

I also asked if the men who uncovered the contamination were placed in the hole. He indicated 
they were and their role was being looked into. I failed to register my concern and now request that 
these men not be punished for what amounts to as their duty has human beings. Indeed 
this is a circumstance that would qualify for a "Heroic Act" (lifesaving) under the CDC rules and possibly sentence reduction. 

The families also complained about food handling. I asked Mr. Barnes if all food handlers were tested for illnesses such as Hepatitis, TB,, and HIV. 

His answer was only if the inmate requested the test or showed symptoms. 

I assume he is correct but am stunned by this answer. The spreading of Hepatitis is known to be rampant in our prison system and these people will return to society as carriers. Their medical bills 
will be enormous and fall on the state even disregarding the life threatening disease of the inmate himself. All personnel must be checked and trained on proper handling to stop this epidemic. 

The last item we discussed was the quantity of servings. Inmates observed a severe reduction in 
amounts and use of smaller ladles resulting in the men being hungry. Mr. Barnes spoke of the heart healthy diet, designed by dietitians, and compliance with federal guidelines. I would say that the safest prison is one that is well fed. 

Prison Minister. 

CC: opinion@sacbee.com 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 

I am amazed that it has taken this long for anyone to notice that California's prison budget is out of control. Stephen Green of the Dept of Correction would lead us to believe that it is necessary to have a prison system that sucks 9% of the total state budget. He states increased labor. He's right! 

The Governor gave The prison guards a 33% pay raise. Yes pay raises during a budget crisis? Eighty guards made over one hundred thousand dollars this year! Why does the Department of corrections need a 160 million dollar headquarters during a budget crisis? 

Mr.. Green cites medical cost. Yes because of unsanitary conditions in our state prisons, hepatitis 
B and C have spread through out California's prison system. And we incarcerate many elderly and dying inmates. The Governor has refused parole to almost all. They need all the warm bodies they can get. 

Overtime is another factor. Prison lockdowns cause much of the overtime, and the lock downs last sometimes for months. But the real reason is that tough on crime laws are popular with politicians and are fueled by campaign contributions by the California correctional peace officers assoc. 

Laws such as the three strikes law have caused the prison population to grow 554% since 1980. The California correctional peace officers brag about this on their web page.

They are the largest special interest group in the state and were the top campaign contributors to Gray Davis. No wonder Gray Davis just announced he will spend 1 billion more on new prisons and improvements. Its time our lawmakers take a good look at California's criminal justice system . 

Frank Courser 

Dear Cayenne: 

Also I am told that Ramoz did not have the cut you open kind of surgery he had a piece of razer blade loadged in his rectum and they had to go into remove it techinically is not surgery but it is called a surgically procedure. Also David filled out a 602 form and they the guards would not accept it send it or file it for him whatever they do with it. 

The warden told David yesterday that they got someone to file an 812 - an enemy report against him - so he iss never going back to the B yard where he belongs.  Things are bad. 

Thank You & God Bless, 
Mary Bristow 

Dear Cayenne 

. . .Anyway the bad news I am sending you saddens me but my son just called to say things are bad at Mule Creek.  It seems they have done so much hard work at convincing the guys that Bristow is all to blame for this incident that many have been duped into believing it.  I am not liking the sounds of things at this point.  Too many lies are being told.  My son says the guys are afraid, do not know what to believe and only a few are trying to get things settled down and telling them that they are being played like a fiddle.  New incidents have occurred but it is hard to say what  is true and what is lies because the stories are so inconsistant.  My son talked with Eric and says he is doing okay but still does not have his things back and the news is he will never get them back. 

Now I sent food in from Walkenhorst last Friday and they called me the same day to verify.  They said the food was going out that day.  My son still does not have a ducet for his box.  I have sent boxes several times in fact one at Christmas time and it only took 3 days to get there that time during the busiest time of the year!  My son says they are holding the boxes so the guys cannot get food from outside.  They are trying to force them to eat there and take their chances.  Now they are again saying that they are going to stop all boxes from coming from home and will only accept from Walkenhorst, however they have not given him his box and it IS from Walkenhorst.  They are also bringing up the SMOKE FREE INSTITUTION thing again.  The guys are being threatened, psycologically tortured, and brain washed and my son said the bad part is that some of them are being taken in but all of it.  In a nutshell: 

Threats to stop all food from coming in.Threats to allow only Walkenhorst and little of that.Threats of taking away Cigarettes.Blatant lies that Bristow and Ramole did this NOT Yard C. 

Right now they are locked down again because of the fog so stress is high, men    cannot get to work, holed up too long, tempers flaring, total chaos, afraid to eat, afraid the  people they have trusted (Bristow and Ramole) have tried to hurt them! 

Rumors, rumors, lies, promises, threats......lead to more and more problems. 

My son is aware of what is going on as he has been at Mule Creek for awhile and he says it has been one thing after another.  The laundry has been ripped off from B Yard when they have to send it to C Yard.  The laundry has come back so bad that even the person in charge has sent it back because it stench was so bad (the laundry had been urinated on and sent back to B Yard)  New sheets and clothing has been sent back with holes, cuts and stains.  The smell is nausating.  The food is just another incident in a string of many.  It is everything that has to do with C Yard and he says just plain common sense says Bristow cannot be doing all this!  He says they are trying to force him into saying he did it but my son says that is not going to happen so he does not know what they will do with him.  There has been talk of moving half of B Yard to C Yard and half of C Yard to B Yard but nothing has happened yet. 

The news is not good and not getting any better.  My husband is out of town and will not be home until Sunday but he is going to call Knowles on Monday and write him a strong letter to follow up as he has had it.  He is going to inform him that this whole thing is stressing me out and that he is not only trying to see that my son stays alive and somewhat healthy but he is trying to keep his wife alive and free from so much stress.  He has already checked into having him moved closer to us but he found out that if my son gives up his PC status to move closer to us that he could actually be moved to a level 4 institution or anywhere in the state because their theory is that he cannot dictate to the state where he is placed and asking for a place near us is of no concern to them.  They did tell my husband that there are no level 2 institutions near us anyway so I am not sure what games they are playing with that. 

I guess I have rambled on enough but wanted to let you know that things have NOT improved one little bit.  We NEED MORE PHONE CALLS to Presley and KNOWLES.  They think we will give up and stop calling.  That is why they are threatening the men so we will stop.  WE MUST LET THEM KNOW WE WILL NOT STOP!!!  They are trying to divide and conquer the men and they hope do the same with us.  Please, Please do not stop, do not let them win.  Our loved ones are being tortured!!! 

Thanks Cayenne for hearing me, 
U.N.I.O.N. Member with family at Mule Creek 

From Mary Bristow's Letter: 

"Also David filled out a 602 form and they the guards would not accept it send it or file it for him whatever they do with it." 

Sandy's comments: 

Prisoner's are supposed to be able to file 602s as part of an established grievance procedure unter Title 15.  The refusal to file it by David's guard is a common practice in California's so-called "correctional" system.  In other words, the ability to file a complaint on any topic that may be troubling the prisoner and to receive at least an acknowledgement that their concern has been received and hopefully addressed by those in a position to do something the problem depends entirely on the guard's mood and whim of the moment. 

Guards do this to create a sense of hopelessness and to teach inmates a lesson.  My friend who is incarcerated actually saw a guard tear up a  completed 602 in a prisoner's face, something that person had labored at for more than an hour as he did not write well, and then laugh at him and dared him to write another.  All this was done while other prisoners were watching.  In fact, the prisoner was actually speaking for the entire group of inmates who all had the same complaint. 

Grievance procedures are an accepted practice whenever sound management practices are in place.  This allows problems to be solved in a methodical and logical fashion and also allows for the venting of emotions -- in other words it becomes a "safety valve" of sorts.  In the process problem solving takes place.  It also becomes an educational tool and those in positions of authority are given a chance to make reasonable and necessary changes, if possible.  It allows for the free flow of information.  It helps to get at the truth. It is a civilized process. 

As you can see, in the prison culture, the object is not only to shut down and lock up people, but to shut down and lock up information.  Warden Knowles does not want the grievance procedure to work.  In fact, he has little use for sound management practices. He is a knee-jerk manager who responds only to crisis and isn't intelligent enough to understand how this process could have a positive outcome. This is because he is a lousy manager and the knuckle dragging Neanderthal he has employed as his guard is not much better.  Surely we can do better!! 

Also from Mary's Letter: 

"The warden told David yesterday that they got someone to file an 812 - an enemy report against him - so he iss never going back to the B yard where he belongs.  Things are bad." 

Sandy's continuing comments: 

    The technique of having another prisoner file against David in this way is also common practice.  It happened to my friend at another facility.  I was able to get a copy of Title 15 mailed in to him in small batches. Guards had repeatedly refused to allow him to see a copy once he found out that one existed.  Since my friend has a photographic memory, and since Title 15 regulations were violated at almost every turn, he quietly spoke to the men about these things and urged them to file 602s and request their rights under Title 15 . . . Well, you can imagine the rest! 

My friend was not thrown in the hole but he was separated from the larger group.  Apparently another inmate had filed an 812 -- enemy report -- against him. (He did not even know thhis person.) It was a convenient way to separate my friend from the larger group and a slick way to control the flow of information between prisoners. 

Hello Union People 

This is Mary Bristow. I am writting because I recieved another letter from my son David informing me that both wardens went to visit David telling him they were going to give him another week in the hole to write a written confession of his guilt. He is not going to say he did something that he did not do there will be no confession to anything and or course if they don't get what they want from him they will ship him out far enough away that his elderly mother and 4 children will not be able to make the trip to see him. 

Also David found out that Ramoz has been shipped out to the a prison in vacavile for mental patients and to keep him quiet. So i don't know how we can get more on him or his story. 

thank you, 
Mary Bristow 

February 6, 2003 

To:     Rightor1@aol.com
CC:     rpresley@yaca.corr.ca.gov
Sent from the Internet (Details) 

Dear Mr.. Presley, 

Your inaction in dealing with medical neglect,food contamination,mail theft and other problems that plague California prisons will make you a party to the lawsuits that are soon to come. Information gets out and is confirmed from both the men's and women's prisons. 

You are foolish to think you will avoid  this. Hundreds of UNION members are documenting the neglect, food contamination mail theft and how you try to cover it up. The United States Postal Service has also received it share of complaints and will do there own investigations.Water contamination in many of the prisons will also surface as a monster for you. 

When the health department gets a chance to inspect your kitchens in California prisons the mice and rat droppings will force you to feed the inmates from outside services. Guess how much that will cost! Not two dollars and forty-five cents you spend today. If you really spend that much.You can fix it or be the one to blame for it. 

Frank Courser Escondido, Ca. 


Our appeals to the Center for Disease control have been heard!  While my talks with them are in progress it is still recommended that both inmates and their families keep the reports of unsanitary and inhumane conditions, medical neglect going into them at the address below.  They will naturally respond to the areas where they get the most complaints. 

We still have a problem with Mule Creek Warden Knowles. 

Knowles has gathered the men together to tell them that he is shipping Bristow out of protective custody even farther away from his elderly mother and four children.  I believe there is grounds for a lawsuit here but to endanger and psychologically torture someone who alert the men of yet another food poisoning is just an outrage. 

Does Knowles expect to continue to transfer inmates when the heat is on?  Has this been the way he has handled things before?  How many other wardens shift prisoners like musical chairs as a method of control?  Wouldn't it be easier to address the problem?  How long have they shielded themselves from addressing the issues and finding real solutions? 

Dodging the truth, denying the facts, bearing false witness and resorting to cave-man like bullying tactics (forced confessions) are responsible for the smoke and mirrors illusions which have the potential of becoming every taxpayers worst nightmare. Ultimately they will  pay for the lawsuits. 

How does one learn a better way if one resorts so quickly to force and is allowed to get away with it?  One doesn't learn, of course. To learn, one must be open to criticism.  Knowles will remain stuck forever as a "dumb brute" who only knows how to travel the same well worn rut. It is time for the brutality to end. 

So we will continue our phone calls to both Knowles and Presley to let them know we are not backing away from this situation.  And, we will continue to alert the Center for Disease Control and the National Corrections Group as well as the media of the terrible unsanitary conditions that are spreading disease like wildfire. 

It's a good day to call them both and remind them that we don't like this cowardly punishment of Ramoz, Bristow and Knapp and that by seizing the UNION newsletters, which they are attempting to do thinking they can "stomp us out", they are violating First Amendment rights and break the federal laws about mail handling. 

We have many members with loved ones in Mule Creek and we aren't going to be "stomped out" by guilty and inhumane knuckle-dragging neandrathals.  What this does is just compel families to organize even more rapidly as they see that voting those responsible out of office is the only way to save the lives of their loved ones. 

How can one reason with someone who has bone where a brain should be located? 

So, let us all call again today and tomorrow, email me when you've done it.  They construe silence as consent or as a victory. We'll not have it, and I think that the UNION ought to give a special award to these men who have been so severely punished for notifying other inmates, their families (who are us) and the press. 

They are heroes to live under this constant stress and they deserve an award. 

Here are the two numbers, dial, dial, dial. 

Call the Warden Knowles and Presley once again for double emphasis and complain about the lack of acceptable action. Next time we have a problem, they will remember how many of us called. 

This is his phone number. 


The second phone call will be to Mule Creek Prison Warden Michael Knowles so that he can simply feel our numbers. 

This is his phone number. 

209) 274-4911 

Send your letters to report unsanitary conditions and abuse in California prisons, jails,juvenile halls to these two agencies.  The power of numbers makes a difference to draw attention to emergencies. 


Send your letters to this contact person.  Let's put up the red flag. 

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 

Send E-mails to:  mmwrq@cdc.gov

February 12, 2003 

Dear Mr. Presley, 

The saga at Mule Creek State Prison continues..... What areYOU doing about it?  Your response thus far is inadequate to say the least.  You have listened to Warden Knowles and perhaps some of the guards but... have you followed up or talked with the men who are living through this nightmare?  Fear of eating due to tainted food and human wastes, threats due to ruined linen after it has been sent to be cleaned, property destroyed and retailation are ongoing.  Bristow still has not returned to his cell.  Now we have another, Eric Knapp, who is taken half clothed from his cell and placed in the "hole" and later the news is that he is in the infirmary in serious condition.  Does that seem like the problem is solved?  Retaliation never solves anything. 

You may join in holding down and locking up prisoners but you cannot stop the families of all who are housed in the prisons in the great state California from joining in an effort to do the Christian thing, the right thing in notifying anyone who can help to get the elderly out of the prisons, the mentally ill out and the rest treated as humans, not psychologically tortured, abused, set up for bodily harm and more from the guards who are paid better wages than those who pay those exhorbinate wages.  The taxpayers of this great state. 

Unless you stop all communication to and from that prison you will NOT stop the information from flowing and neither will Warden Knowles.  Families are joining together in distress and more families become involved with every incident that occurs.  There has been no resolution from those who are charged with protecting these men.  The more crisis, the more we will get together to help one another through the inhumane treatment of men who have NOT been sentenced to death but are being put in great danger from disgusting food incidents to ruined linen and much more from the warden and guards at Mule Creek State Prison.  This is supposedly the MODEL prison but the things that are taking place there are far from humane. 

Again I ask what are YOU doing to stop this crisis and return things to normal.  Locking inmates up and shipping them from the prison is not the answer to solve this problem.  It is too far out of hand now and unless you step up to the plate and investigate the truth of this whole situation, more will become involved and it will cause the budget deficit in this great state to grow even bigger.   The warden nor the guards are going to confess to what they are doing.  The inmates know and so do the families and loved ones of the inmates.  I am guilty of turning my head to some of the abuses but this time things have gone too far.  You are paid to oversee and PROTECT the inmates no matter what their crime.  Do your job, that is all I ask and get the situation resolved as it has gone on for far too long now.  No more retaliation, no more injury, infection, health hazards, lack of medical attention for any inmate in our prison system! 

Disgraced by our system, 

Rodney Dale 
San Diego, CA 


 Mule Creek Torture of Eric Knapp

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

 Mule Creek Grievances

Mule Creek Chronological Facts

 What Inmates Eat

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