Violence & Medical Neglect at CCWF

For Immediate Release – Monday, November 23, 2015

Imprisoned People, Family Members and Organizers Speak Out

Press Contact: Dolores Canales, Family Unity Network, (714)290-9077  or Hannah McFaull, Justice Now, (415) 813.7715

Sacramento – On November 11th, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and were kept without water, food or restrooms for eleven hours. The group was illegally kept in administrative segregation without a lock up order and have been denied health care support for the injuries caused by these officers. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.I just want to let them know that we have been physically abused, sexually harassed,” said Stacy Rojas, “and that this was just wrong. They used excessive force, totally used excessive force against us and we need help.

The public acknowledgment of excessive use of force and deadly use of force by police has increased throughout the nation. Video recordings of interactions between the police and the public have increased significantly in recent years as technology has improved and the number of distribution channels has expanded. This is not an option open to people experiencing violence from guards behind prison walls and any attempt to speak out is often met with retaliation and increased force.

Our communities in and out of lock up have lived experiences with biased policing — ranging from racial profiling, to excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force”, stated Patrisse Cullors co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. “We hear about it more and more in the communities we live in, but rarely hear about the traumatic ways that it manifests in the California prison system. Stories like Stacy’s are happening everyday inside of California prisons and jails with little to no measures taken by authorities to keep people safe and hold law enforcement, such as prison guards accountable.”

Advocacy organizations working with people in women’s prisons are familiar with reports of abuse and violence, like that experienced at CCWF last week. The California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Justice Now, the Family Unity Network, the TGI Justice Project and others regularly provide legal and medical advocacy support following incidents of violence perpetrated by correctional officers at women’s prisons.This group of organizations and Stacy’s family members are requesting an independent investigation of the violence and excessive use of force used. They are requesting medical care and safe housing for Stacy and all those involved. The group also demands an end to the violence imposed on women, transgender people, gender nonconforming people, and communities of color within the California prison system.

“My sister is at the end of a fourteen year sentence and it seems as though some would wish to take that away. This has never happened [to Stacy] before. We have never had fear for my sister’s life”, said Adriana Rojas. “My sister Stacy Rojas’ constitutional rights have been violated by being stripped searched by male guards, assaulted by means of kicking and stomping, taken outdoors in near 40 degree weather, threatened with rape, humiliated, placed in holding cages for nearly 12 hours, and deprived of food and water.” Albert Jacob Rojas added, “They were denied medical attention and denied the right to speak to internal affairs. We ask that anybody who cares about human rights and women’s rights please join us in demanding justice for all.”Family members and advocates are calling for:

  • An immediate independent investigation into the violence and excessive force used by guards in this incident.

  • Suspension of guards involved pending investigation.

  • Comprehensive medical treatment for injuries sustained during the incident.

  • No retaliation for speaking out against this abuse.

Take Action Against the New SF Jail!

Do you think the new SF jail is good for children?

Last week Supervisor Eric Mar said he “can’t under clear conscience support” what he called “a step forward towards expanding the prison-industrial complex in this country.”  Due to Supervisor Mar’s bold opposition, the full Board of Supervisors must vote on supporting the county’s application for state funds to build the new $700 million dollar jail.  Join me in demanding that the Board stop this wasteful project now!

One main argument Sheriff Mirkarimi is using to justify his new jail is it that we need the new space to provide family reunification programs.  As a person who spent ten years locked-up away from my children, I know first hand that the best outcome for children is to not lock their parents up in the first place.  When I was in the county jail my kids didn’t want to come visit because they had to sit across a piece of glass, and weren’t able to touch me.  They didn’t understand what was happening.  It’s much less damaging to see mommy at home than mommy in jail.

Tell the Supervisors to Oppose the New Jail NOW!


Come voice your opposition at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

October 22d at 1pm, Full Chambers, City Hall, San Francisco. 

The Sheriff and Board of Supervisors President Chiu are supporting a resolution to approve the county’s grant application for jail construction funding.  Because the grant application doesn’t commit The County to building the jail a number of supervisors have said they will approve the grant application and reserve the debate over the jail for a future date. They have 90 days after receiving the funding to decide if they will take it or not. We know the County is unlikely to turn down millions of dollars from the state, if they get the money, so they need to hear from us NOW.

Please share this message with friends, family and organizations in San Francisco and help us build an even larger voice of opposition to this expansion plan!

In solidarity,


Misty Rojo

California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Justice Now and member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget



Please Sign Prop 9 Petition- Do Not Sentence YOUTH to Life Without Parole!

The following is an E-mail sent to us by Gail Patrice:
Right now, juveniles in California can be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. It is a sentence to die in prison. The US is the only country in the world that applies this punishment to youth under the age of 18.
Several hundred teens have been sentenced to life without parole in California. Under the current law, not one of them will ever have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have turned their lives around and can safely re-enter society.
If Senate Bill 9 is enacted, California will set up a strict process for a judge to examine these individuals? lives when they are older and determine if they are rehabilitated and remorseful. If so, they will then have a chance to earn parole after serving a minimum of 25 years.
We ask our legislators to pass this important bill during the upcoming vote.
That’s why I signed a petition to The California State House, which says:
“As a concerned Californian, I urge you to give youth the possibility of a second chance. Please pass Senate Bill 9.”
Will you sign this petition? Click here:

The current state (demands and progress) of the Pelican Bay Struggle: Message: People need to remain focused, and continue to apply pressure on CDCR via letters, emails, fax, etc.

Authors: T. Ashker, A. Castellanos, Sitawa (s/n Dewberry), A. Guillen
Pelican Bay Short Corridor Update
(December 2011)
A Shout-out of respect and solidarity ? from the Pelican Bay Short Corridor ? Collective ? to all similarly situated prisoners subject to the continuing torturous conditions of confinement in these barbaric SHU & Ad/Seg units across this country and around the world.
This is our update of where things currently stand and where we?re going with this struggle ? for an end to draconian policies and practices ? summarized in our ?Formal Complaint? (and many related documents published and posted online, since early 2011)
As many of you know? beginning in early (2010), the PBSP ? SHU Short Corridor Collective initiated action to educate people and bring wide spread exposure to ? the (25+) years of ongoing ? progressive human rights violations going unchecked here in the California Department of Corruption ? via dissemination of our ?Formal Complaint? to 100?s of people, organizations, lawmakers, Secretary Cate, etc? wherein, we also sought support and meaningful change.
The response by CDCR ? Secretary Cate was ?file an inmate appeal? (collectively, we?d filed thousands); therefore, after much reconsideration and dialogue, the collective decided to take the fight to the next level via peaceful protest action ? in the form of hunger strike.
With the above in mind ? beginning in early (2011)? we again sought to educate people about the ongoing torture prevalent in these prison systems ? solitary confinement units; and pointing out our position that ? the administrative grievance process is a sham, and the court system?s turned a blind eye to such blatantly illegal practices ? Leaving us with no other meaningful avenue for obtaining relief, other than to put our lives on the line and thereby draw the line and force changes, via collective peaceful protest hunger strike action.
We believed this was the only ? fully advantageous ? way for us to expose such outrageous abuse of state power, to the world and gain the outside support needed to help force real change.
We requested support in the form of ? asking people to write letters to those in power? we received more support than we ever expected ? in the form of letters, rallies, and hunger strike ?participants? ? more than (18,000) similarly situated prisoners and some people on the outside!
All united in solidarity, with a collective awareness ? that the draconian torture practices described in our ?Formal Complaint? are prevalent across the land; and that ? united in peaceful action, we have the power to force changes.
The hunger strike actions of (2011) achieved some success, in the form of ? mainstream world wide exposure ? solid, continuing outside support ? some small improvements to SHU/Ad-Seg unit conditions ? and assurances of more meaningful ? substantive changes to the overall policies and practices re: basis for placement and amount of time spent, in such units ? a substantive review of all prisoners files, per new criteria ? and more change to the actual conditions in such units.
However, this fight is far from over! Notably, the second hunger strike action was suspended in mid-October ? in response to top CDCR administrator?s presentation that the substantive changes be finalized? would be provided to ?the stakeholders? (this includes our attorneys), within 60 days for comment. To date, CDCR hasn?t produced anything re: SHU/Ad-Seg policy changes; and PBSP?s Warden has not even replied to the (2) memo?s we?ve sent him concerning ? additional program ? privilege issues, per core demand #5 (see footnote #1 below)
Naturally, many people are not happy about CDCR?s failure to abide by their word ? again ? and they are asking? ?what?s the next move in this struggle??
Based on our collective discussions, our response is ? people need to remain focused, and continue to apply pressure on CDCR, via letters, emails, fax, etc? summarizing the continuing core demands ? immediately! There?s real power in numbers!! (see addresses to contact below, at footnote #2)
It?s important for everyone to stay objective and on the same page ? remember? united we win, divided we lose. And, if we don?t see real substantive changes within the next 6 months? we?ll have to re-evaluate our position.
Additionally, now is a good time for people to start a dialogue about changing the climate on these level IV mainlines? As it stands now, these lines are warehouses, with all the money meant for programs ? rehabilitation, going into guard pockets.
It?s in all of our best interests to change this in a big way, and thereby force CDCR to open these lines up and provide all of us with the programs and rehabilitative services that we all should have coming to us!!
Respect and Solidarity,
T. Ashker, A. Castellanos, Sitawa (s/n Dewberry), A. Guillen
-Dec. 2011-
Footnote#1: To date, we?ve received zero improvements re: core demand #5 ? while Corcoran and Tehachapi have gained on canteen and dip-pull up bars ? which, is all good. This is an example of what we pointed out in our ?Formal Complaint? re: disparate treatment at PBSP-SHU compared to other SHU?s.
This is also a typical CDCR attempt to create discord and disruption to our unified struggle?we?re certain this feeble move will fail because all of us understand what our main objective is ? an end to long term torture in these isolation units! It is our fundamental right to be treated humanely? we can no longer accept state sanctioned torture ? of our selves! (and, our loved ones!) and we remain unified in our resistance!!
Footnote#2: Addresses of people to write
1. Tom Ammiano, Assemblyman 2. Governor Edmund G. Brown
Capitol Bldg. Rm# 4005 State Capitol, Ste #1173
Sacramento, CA 95814 Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone# 916-319-2013 Phone# 916-446-2841
Fax# 916-319-2113 Fax# 916-558-3160
3. CDCR ? Secretary Matthew Cate 4. Carol Strickman, Attorney at Law
1515 S. St. Ste. #330 1540 Market Street, Ste. #490
Sacramento, CA 95811 San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone# 916-323-6001 Phone# 415-255-7036
Fax# 415-552-3150
All inmates writing to these people should be sent ?confidential mail? and anyone outside of prison, supporters, family members, etc? please write and also email.