Unjust Life Sentence

From Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Why did Michelle Taylor get such an excessive sentence? Nevada law imposes a mandatory life sentence (with parole eligibility after 10 years) for the crime of lewdness with a minor under 14. The prosecutors had discretion to charge her with any number of crimes that carried different penalties, but they chose to prosecute her under this law. The prosecutors also refused to offer Michelle a plea deal. No one knows why.
Click here to watch a portion of the sentencing hearing.

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AROC and ASATA release statements on homophobia, racism, and Islamophobia

29 March 2010
Today, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) each released the below statements on connections between homophobia, racism, and Islamophobia.
from ASATA: “…the people–queer people, South Asian people, Muslim people–can reclaim our agency and work to end homophobia and Islamaphobia in the same breath.”
from AROC: “…we are working for the liberation of all peoples, and see our movements as inextricable from each other…”

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Federal 3 Judge Panel Rules on Prison Overcrowding
California Must Reduce Number of People in Prison

On Monday, February 9, a tentative ruling was issued by the federal three judge panel stating that overcrowding is primary cause of the cruel and unusual conditions in California state prisons, and that they plan to order the state of California to reduce the population by roughly 55,000 people in the next 2 to 3 years. The ruling lists changes to parole practices, increasing “good time credits” for prisoners, and alternative sentencing as possible ways to reduce the population, all of which have been considered by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Governor in recent years. The Governor declared a state of emergency in 2006 because of the ?severe overcrowding? in California?s prisons, causing ?substantial risk to the health and safety of the men and women who work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in them.?
This ruling is a major victory for prisoners, their loved ones, and advocates who in the face of retaliation and deliberate indifference from the CDCR have continued fighting for their constitutional and human rights.
However, the State plans to immediately appeal the decision to the Supreme Court which will mean that it will be some time before a population cap will be put into effect. It is vital that our communities continue to raise public awareness of conditions inside and organize to hold the system accountable to the suffering and death it has caused.
CCWP will continue to organize with people inside and their loved ones and advocates outside as this situation unfolds.
If you are interested in being involved with these efforts, please contact CCWP at 415-255-7036 x4 or at info@womenprisoners.org.

Rally for Prisoner Releases Friday December 19th 8:30 AM

On Tuesday, November 18th the Federal three-judge panel began a month of hearings in San Francisco to deal with the continuing issue of prison overcrowding and the cruel and unusual conditions it creates for people imprisoned in California. We had an amazing rally on the first day of the trial with roughly 50 former prisoners, loved ones of prisoners, and our supporters demanding prisoner release and an end to the inhumane treatment of people inside.
This Friday December 19th will be the last day of these hearings and we want to make sure the voices of our loved ones inside are heard and let them know that the only solution to prison overcrowding is prisoner release!
The overwhelming defeat of Proposition 6 (he so-called “Safe Neighborhoods Act”) sent a strong message that the public does not want to spend millions of more dollars on a failed prison system. Proposition 9, billed as a victims rights initiative, passed but only due to a well-funded media campaign filled with misleading information. Unless we challenge it now, prisoners will be incarcerated well beyond their mandated sentences.
Join loved ones, friends and advocates for people in California’s prisons to demand:
PAROLE ELIGIBLE PRISONERS NOW!
RELEASE LOW-RISK AGING PRISONERS, INCARCERATED SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, AND MEDICALLY INCAPACITATED PRISONERS!
STOP THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT OF PEOPLE IN PRISON!
INVEST IN COMMUNITIES NOT IN PRISONS!
For more information about the rally, contact us at 415-255-7036 x314 or info@womenprisoners.org
For more information about the hearings, see the following news articles:
San Francisco Chronicle-November 18th, 2008-Prison Overcrowding Blamed for Health Woes
New York Times-December 7, 2008-Judges to Decide Whether Crowded California Prisons Are Unconstitutional
San Francisco Chronicle-December 15th, 2008-Jammed By Neglect

Maafa Awareness Month Events Organized by CCWP Advisory Board Member Wanda Sabir

October is Maafa Awareness Month. Maafa is a Kiswahili term for disaster, calamity or terrible occurrence. This term has been used to describe the European Slave trade or the Black Holocaust. For the past 12 years, this month is a time for the San Francisco Bay Area community to reflect on the legacy of slavery, its economic, political and social impact on the region and nation, and the residual psychological effects on descendants: perpetrators, victims, and beneficiaries. Maafa Awareness Month is a time to look at how Africans or Black people, in particular, can heal from the trauma.

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Mother Infant Facility Under Investigation

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation?s (CDCR) Family Foundation Program in San Diego, which allows women prisoners to be incarcerated with their children, is under investigation for severe child neglect and abuse by the San Diego Police Department. The investigation began in January when incarcerated mothers and their family members contacted Legal Services for Prisoners with Children to report the severe lack of medical care for their children. Child Protective Services is also investigating Family Foundations for its treatment of the children living there.

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Family Visiting Day 2007

CCWP held its third annual Family Visiting Day event this past February, providing transportation from both Oakland and Los Angeles to Central California Women?s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women, both in Chowchilla, to the loved ones of prisoners in each institution. The response this year was bigger than any previous year showing the enormous desire of women, transgender and gender variant prisoners and family members and loved ones of these prisoners to visit one another. This huge response also illustrates the absolute need many have for assistance in getting to the prisons, as the cost and distance of the trip is often prohibitive, especially considering the disproportionate number of people from poor communities and communities of color being locked up. The fact that we received information for over 800 visitors while we had the resources and capacity for only 170 shows how much this opportunity means to people in California women?s prisons and their loved ones on the outside.

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Fire Inside Tenth Anniversary Event

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the CCWP newsletter The Fire Inside. A celebration of this occasion was held on November 7, 2006 at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco. This amazing event featured author Alice Walker as our guest of honor who read from her recently released book We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For and shared her thoughts on the prison industrial complex, the oppression of political prisoners in the United States, and the current state of our world.

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