CCWP Takes Time to Reflect

In early February, CCWP’s Northern California and
Bay Area branches spent two incredible days in
Guerneville, California at a retreat center high
above the redwoods. Getting away from the hustle
and bustle of our daily work allowed us to
connect with each other, reflect on our work in
2003, develop plans to move forward in 2004, and
develop a more comprehensive political analysis
regarding how women’s prison issues fit into
larger political contexts. Highlights included a
session on the history of the prison justice
movement in California, a re-evaluation of our
mission, values and principles, a creative
writing and art exercise, and everyone seemed to
appreciate the hot tub as well!

It’s Your Health! Prisons: Threat to Communities

Pam Fadem
Prisons are a threat to the good health of our
communities, and this affects women in particular
ways. The newspapers sometimes scream out the
most outrageous examples of bad care and denial
of health care in prison: the woman who died of
an asthma attack while waiting for a visit from
her family at CCWF in Winter 2000; the man who
died of starvation in Feb. 2004 in the Substance
Abuse Treatment Unit at Corcoran; the man who
bled to death when his dialysis shunt was poorly
taken care of also in Feb. 2004 at Corcoran; and
finally, Charisse Shumate, one of the founders of
CCWP, who died in Aug. 2001 after years of no
care and bad care for cancer and sickle cell
Too many of our sisters- and our brothers- are
going into the prisons relatively healthy, and
coming home permanently disabled, chronically ill
or not coming home at all, as the examples above
expose. This is why a class action suit about
the systematic lack of medical care was filed by
women prisoners against the Calif. Dept. of
Corrections (CDC) [Shumate et al. v. Wilson et
al]. Bad medical care, whether deliberate or
incompetent, is also a form of violence when it
is part of the accepted day to day life of any
community. Once people get that State number
after their name, the CDC interprets it as a
license to disregard and deliberately abuse the
health of all women and men behind the walls.
CCWP joins with health care activists on both
sides of the wall in condemning prisons as a
threat to the health of our communities. Many
diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C and
tuberculosis disproportionately affect
communities of color. When our family and
community members are incarcerated these
illnesses go untreated or are mistreated and
spread rapidly inside the walls. When people
return home again, this lack of care feeds the
epidemics on the outside.
The violence of the prison system itself is a
serious health problem, from sexual assaults to
the isolation from community (inside or outside
the walls) that leads to an increase in mental
illness and suicide, especially in the special
housing units. Beyond the direct impact on the
people who go to prison, the disappearance of
thousands of women and men, particularly in
communities of color,has a devastating impact on
the children left behind and the ability of
communities to survive.
There is a window of opportunity right now with
the public exposure of the brutality of the CDC,
the appointment of the new oversight
administrator and the hearings sponsored by State
Senators Gloria Romero (Dem, LA) and Jackie
Speier (Dem, SF). We need to make sure that
similar attention gets focused on the prison
system as a public health menace!
This is a shout out to all health care workers,
families and other people who are in touch with
prisoners. We need to talk to each other, share
information and work together on empowering our
communities through peer health education and
other health care strategies, as well as on
building a public health campaign demanding
health care as a human right for all people and
an end to the mass incarceration of communities
of color and poor people.

Transitional Tips:Hope Haven Transitional Shelter for Women

Doris Mitchell
The Hope Haven Transitional Shelter Women’s
Program provides shelter, room and board,
counseling, and referral services to homeless
women. The shelter offers stability in housing
while allowing the residents to offer emotional
support to each other. It is respectful of
residents’ autonomy and provides as close to a
real-life scenario as possible. Other services
include direct resource referral for housing,
physical and mental health care, education,
training, employment services, and case
management. This program accepts homeless women
18 years and older who are not currently abusing
drugs or alcohol and desire an opportunity to
transition back into the community as productive,
responsible, and independent women. They provide
all meals. The cost is $400 per month, and the
director is willing to work with women with
financial hardships due to being recently
released from jail or prison. The home is
located at 900 Alabama Street, Vallejo, CA. Send
all inquires about joining this program to:
Sharon T. Spencer, President/Executive Director
Hope Haven Transitional Shelter, Inc.
164 Robles Drive #A7 PMB 178
Vallejo, CA 94591
707-554-9781 or 707-712-2563
Rosewood House Transitional Housing
Rosewood House opened in October 2003 to help
women transition from treatment to making it on
the outside. They target women from jails and
prisons in order to help them build the life
skills needed to be self-sufficient on the
outside. The program offers sustained living for
women while they receive job training, begin new
careers, work on family reunification and
reestablish financial viability. Rosewood House
will provide a limited aftercare program as well
as classes, group sessions, recreation programs,
access to AA, NA and other 12 step programs, and
spiritual growth opportunities. The cost of rent
at this home is a very low 20% for your income as
a monthly fee, once the resident finds
employment. No food is provided, so residents
must access local food banks to accommodate their
daily meals. The home can accommodate 6 women
and has a waiting list, so that it is necessary
to contact Susie Foreman well in advance of your
release so that you may be placed on the waiting
list. Send all inquiries to:
Susie Foreman, Program Manager
Youth and Family Services
508 Alabama Street
Vallejo, CA 94590
* * *
Gettin’ out soon?
Need resource information?
Write to CCWP’s Freedom Bound program with your
release date, county and city in which you will
be residing. We will send you resources to help
your transition.
Freedom Bound – Outreach Coordinator
1540 Market Street, #490
San Francisco, CA 94102