A few years ago we met Yolanda R. at Central California Womens Facility (CCWF). Yolanda grew up in Los Angeles, and had never been on a farm. Upon her incarceration, Yolanda was assigned to work on the farm at CCWF. Soon after she started, there was a terrible accident and Yolandas head was run over by a CCWF tractor. Luckily, Yolanda survived, but she and the woman driving the tractor were both disciplined! Neither Yolanda nor the woman driving the tractor had received adequate training for this potentially dangerous work.
Prisoners who work have rights to Workers Compensation. Yolanda was compensated through this program and she received job training when she was released from prison. But she should never have been asked to work without adequate training.
We know many, many women prisoners who are doing dangerous work with inadequate training. During this International Working Womens Month, we demand that ALL prisoners have access to safe working conditions and a living wage! For her perseverance and courage in the face of a most terrifying injury, we dedicate this issue of The Fire Inside to Yolanda R.