PRESS RELEASE ON FCI DUBLIN SEXUAL ABUSE

Over 100 Advocacy Groups Demand Action from U.S. Department Of Justice To End Rampant Sexual Abuse At FCI Dublin.

Dublin CA 

Over one hundred advocacy organizations from across California and the United States have sent a public letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding that the agency take immediate steps to address systemic abuse at the Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin (FCI Dublin), a federal women’s prison in Dublin, California.

The public letter comes after federal prosecutors have charged four FCI Dublin staff with sexually abusing people in their custody over a period of several years, and in the wake of a recent investigation by the Associated Press which revealed a deep-seated “culture of abuse” at the facility.

The signatories–which include the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, Centro Legal de la Raza, California National Organization for Women (NOW), Color of Change, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, The Sentencing Project, Project South, and Survived and Punished – call on the DOJ to take immediate action to address the root causes of this abuse and support incarcerated survivors. The groups demand that the DOJ:

  • Launch an independent, comprehensive investigation into staff abuse and complicity in abuse, including retaliation against survivors and their supporters;
  •  Create of unmonitored lines of communication for incarcerated people to report staff misconduct to an external, independent organization;
  • Release individuals who have been impacted by staff sexual abuse into the community;
  • Provide accessible, comprehensive medical care, including mental health care, to incarcerated survivors of staff abuse.

Diana Block, a longtime advocate with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, emphasized: “We know that the arrest, conviction, or incarceration of a handful of bad actors will not bring justice for survivors of abuse at FCI Dublin. The DOJ must take swift, sweeping action to address the institutional culture that allowed staff to perpetrate this abuse. Survivors and community organizations must be involved to break through the closed, toxic culture and conduct of FCI Dublin and the  BOP.”

Deyci Carrillo, an advocate with Centro Legal de la Raza, added: “It is impossible for FCI Dublin and the BOP to correct these egregious violations themselves. This is the third time in three decades that FCI Dublin staff have been publicly accused of sexual abuse. In the last several years, survivors who attempted to report abuse were discouraged or prevented by facility staff, and others who did report faced retaliation. Survivors are extremely vulnerable, and a disproportionate number of those impacted by this abuse are immigrants who live with the threat of deportation after incarceration. The Department of Justice must intervene.”

Advocates are awaiting a response from DOJ officials, and will continue to push for immediate, systemic action.

DV and LWOP Survivor Marisela Andrade handed over to ICE!!

DV and LWOP Survivor Marisela Andrade handed over to ICE!!

Early in the morning on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, the California Dept. Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr) transferred CCWP member Marisela Andrade over to ICE agents instead of releasing her on parole.

Marisela, a survivor of domestic violence and a LWOP sentence, was expected to be released on Sunday, Dec. 5th, from the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla after more than 14 years in prison. Friends and supporters were ready to pick her up and help her get to the Fresno Reentry program she was assigned to. Instead, CDCr cruelly handed her over to ICE. She was held overnight in a temporary ICE detention center in Fresno that had no beds or decent sanitation facilities.

Marisela is now in Aurora, CO, where our compañeras Patti Waller Medina and Gabi Solano were also held. Her immigration attorney will be filing a Release Order in the hope we can bring her home to CA to continue fighting for legal status in the US.

We must pass the Vision Act (AB 937)! This would prevent the cruel double punishment of all people who have completed their sentence or are released on parole from facing detention and deportation.

#STOP ICE   #Pass The Vision Act!

SEND Marisela SOME LOVE:

     Marisela Andrade De Zarate                                                             A#074-816-783
     Aurora ICE Processing Center
     3130 North Oakland Street, Aurora, CO 80010
     (303) 361-6612

 

 

Caring Collectively for People
in Women’s Prisons

We monitor and challenge the abusive conditions inside California women’s prisons.

We fight for the release of women and trans prisoners.

We support women and trans people in their process of re-entering the community.

 

And… thank you to everyone who joined our special virtual event honoring founding CCWP member, Charisse Shumate!
Watch the event recording here.
Learn more about Charisse and her life’s work here.

 

CA Approves $7.5 million Reparations for Sterilization Survivors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2021

CONTACT:

California Coalition for Women Prisoners: info@womenprisoners.org

Aminah Elster: aminah@womenprisoners.org, 415-255-7036 ext. 314

Hafsah Al-Amin: hafsah@womenprisoners.org, 415-255-7036 ext. 314

California Approves $7.5 Million to Provide Reparations to Survivors of State Sponsored Forced Sterilizations

Sacramento, California (July, 2021) — On July 12, 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom approved a state budget that includes $7.5 million to provide reparations to survivors of state sponsored forced or involuntary sterilizations under California’s eugenics laws from 1909-1979 and to survivors of involuntary sterilizations in women’s state prisons after 1979. Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was instrumental in ensuring that the allocation was included in the state budget.

California is the first state to provide reparations to survivors who were sterilized while incarcerated in its state women’s prisons. California is the third state in the nation to provide monetary compensation to survivors who were sterilized under state eugenics laws. 

“The legacy of California’s eugenics laws is well-known and the repercussions continue to be felt,” said Laura Jimenez, Executive Director, CLRJ. “As reproductive justice advocates, we recognize the continued impact these state-sponsored policies have had on the dignity and rights of poor women of color who have been stripped of their ability to form the families they want. No amount of monetary compensation will ever remedy the wrongs committed but this bill is a step in the right direction in the state taking responsibility to remedy the violence inflicted on these survivors.”

Between 1909 and 1979, California sterilized at least 20,000 people under State law — accounting for one third of eugenics sterilizations nationwide. People with disabilities, Latinas, women, and poor people were disproportionately targeted for sterilization.

Staff Attorney Carly A. Myers stated, “After 4 years of advocating for reparations, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) is heartened that California has taken a necessary f step towards ending its legacy of eugenics. We are hopeful this marks a turning point in this State’s treatment of people with disabilities and others who have been targeted for reproductive oppression.”

Although the State repealed its eugenics law in 1979, coerced and forced sterilizations continued in State prisons into the 2010’s.  Attorney Cynthia Chandler, who has spent the last two decades advocating for imprisoned sterilization survivors, points out: “Forced and involuntary sterilizations have never stopped in California.  Lack of government accountability for its eugenic past made possible the contemporary sterilization abuse in CA prisons and more recently in the Georgia Irwin immigration detention center.”

Between 2006 and 2010, a state audit revealed that at least 144 people, the majority of whom identify as Black and Latinx, were illegally sterilized during labor and delivery while in custody in women’s prisons. 

“The California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) hails this groundbreaking reparations program for incarcerated women and trans people who suffered involuntary sterilization while in California prisons,” stated Aminah Elster, CCWP’s Campaign and Policy Coordinator. “We hope this victory paves the way for other BIPOC communities to achieve additional forms of reparations in response to centuries of state sanctioned violence and abuse.”  Elster went on to comment, “CCWP and the co-sponsor organizations are committed to ensuring that all the eligible survivors of sterilization abuse are notified and able to apply for compensation under the program.  We are in touch with many incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who should be eligible for compensation but there is a lot more outreach that needs to be done.”

Coerced sterilization of people in women’s prisons was the subject of the feature-length documentary, Belly of the Beast which was released in fall 2020. “I’m thrilled Belly of the Beast contributed to this historic moment and we will continue to shine a light on our nation’s dark past until these heinous practices are eradicated,” says Director/Producer Erika Cohn. The PBS re-release, in celebration of this historic victory, starts today on PBS.org: https://www.pbs.org/video/belly-of-the-beast-7puv5r/ and will be streaming for free through the end of July.

Sterilization survivor and film participant, Kelli Dillon, who is also the founder of the organization Back to the Basics says, “To this day, many survivors who were sterilized while in prison still don’t know that their reproductive capacities were stolen from them. With the launch of reparations, we will finally receive justice that we have fought so long for and the healing process can truly begin. It’s time.”

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This budget request was co-sponsored by Back tothe Basics Community Empowerment (B2B), California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), California Latinas forReproductive Justice (CLRJ), and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), in collaboration with the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab.

Gwen Levi Freed by Judge thru Compassionate Release

commondreams.org

Gwen Levi’s Release Reveals Persistent Cruelty of Mass Incarceration—Biden Must Use Clemency Powers to Stop Spread of COVID-19

July 6, 2021


For Immediate Release

Tuesday July 6, 2021, 4:13pm EDT

Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Criminal Justice and Democracy Campaigns at Color Of Change, issued this statement after a federal judge granted compassionate release to 76-year-old Gwen Levi:

“After weeks of legal battles and hard-fought advocacy from her family and supporters, Gwen Levi is finally free. Ms. Levi, a 76-year-old mother, grandmother, friend, and cancer survivor, was serving a sentence on home confinement, due to the dire health concerns in prison facilities at the height of the pandemic. But after she missed a call from a case manager during a computers skills class that she believed, with good reason, she had been approved to attend, Ms. Levi was deemed an ‘escapee,’ once again ripped from her family, and returned to jail — where she faced a high risk for COVID-19 infection and even death — on a technicality. Today, this judge’s ruling confirms what we’ve known all along: mass incarceration is a threat to health, safety, and basic human rights of Black communities, particularly in the midst of a global health crisis.

“However, for nearly 4,500 people 65 years and older, who were released to home confinement due to COVID-19, the threat of re-incarceration remains. Not just as a result of these draconian technical violations, but as the result of a legal memo issued days before Trump left office, stating that people would be returned to prison once the pandemic is declared over. For months, we have urged officials to rescind the Trump administration’s legal memo and keep elderly and immunocompromised individuals at home. But because of their inaction, thousands are at risk of being returned to prison like Ms. Levi was. Now, the only way to protect these individuals is with presidential clemency. We — along with nearly 50,000 Color Of Change members who’ve signed our petition — are urging President Biden to use his clemency powers to stop the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons, protect the sick and elderly, and keep them home.

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Clemency for Gwen Levi

After spending 16 years incarcerated in federal prisons, Gwen Levi was finally home.

Released to home confinement last June, Ms. Levi spent the past year reconnecting with her sons and grandsons, helping to take care of her elderly mother, volunteering at advocacy organizations that provide critical services for incarcerated people, and perhaps most crucially – increasing her chances of staying safe from COVID-19 as a 76-year-old cancer survivor. 

But one year after her release, Ms. Levi was sent back to prison. 

Why? Because she missed a phone call from her case manager while she was in a class to learn computer skills in order to get a job as an essential worker. 

Ms. Levi was one of thousands of people, deemed “low risk”, and released from federal prison to finish their sentences on home confinement last year due to the increased threat of the pandemic in prisons. The vast majority of those released were elderly and living with preexisting health conditions, often exacerbated by the lack of healthcare within the prison system. 

But even despite the 99.9% success rate of home confinement, the Trump Administration used its final days to issue a legal memo that would not only force people to return to federal prison, but also require people to pay their own way back. 

We tried to move the Department of Justice to rescind the memo, but were met with silence. Now Ms. Levi is back in a cage. 

Now is the time to call on President Biden to use his powers of clemency to release Ms. Levi from prison and protect 4,500 others just like her who are at risk of being sent back when the pandemic is declared over.  

It’s clear that this is about punishment, not public safety or rehabilitation. Ms. Levi was trying to better herself and as a result was sent to live in a cage.

If the Biden Administration won’t grant clemency to Ms. Levi and keep 4,500 people at home – he will be presiding over the fastest expansion of the federal prison population in history.

This is not what we voted for. 

Ms. Levi deserves better, and she needs our support. 

Add your name to the call for justice. Let’s move President Biden to grant clemency for Ms. Levi and 4,500 others on home confinement.