CDCr calls it modified program, we call it lockdown.
CDCr calls it “an experiment in forcing gangs to get along,” we call it a willful and deliberate set-up of violence: gladiator fights.
CDCr can speak all they want about not knowing what they were doing and having good intentions, but from every angle we look at what is going on in the prisons, this is systematic violence, period.
The officials and bureaucrats inside CDCr administration keep coming up with names for their policies that sound innocent, even hopeful: “Reintegration.” “Incremental Releases.” “Non-Designated Programming Facilities.” But we know what these are too. These are programs that have caused our men to be corralled in yards like animals with armed guards at every exit, set up next to people who have colluded with the prison officials, with our men getting blamed for the fights, thrown in the hole, with no way to contact us or the outside world.
CDCr, we see you for who and what you are. Because we have known you for decades and we have seen the evolution of your lies and your sneaky games.
In this article released September 24, 2019, CDCr and IG officials were “interviewed.” The officials explained that they were “allowing” members of different gangs into the same exercise yards, admitting that they were “experimenting” on our loved ones. CDCr uses the term gangs, we know that associations are the only protection our men have anymore.
Any attempt that we have had to legitimize protection – whether in the form of prisoner associations or Inmate Family Councils, we know attempts at transparency and accountability have only been made useless or hollow by CDCr.
We are wives and families of men who have done some wrong but who truly are the amazing, smart, and very peaceful people. But some of our men have been forced into fighting back against the system for decades now. Some of our men have been on hunger strike in the Pelican Bay SHU. Our men, because of their associations, recognized the Agreement to End Hostilities, which in 2013 was written to ensure full system peace amongst rival associations.
It was a peace treaty for our families, and therefore a tiny peace of mind for us, knowing that for just another day our men weren’t merely fighting for survival. Knowing that they had a chance to rehabilitate. We had hope then.
CDCr, you never wanted peace. You moved our men, separated our husbands from our families further. Put our men in solitary. Increased points and time for our men, retaliated on a daily basis by, messing with their food, their mail, their visits, their yard time, their program and stripping them from their dignity by harassing them daily with strip searches, etc.
CDCr, you knew exactly what you were doing when you created these conditions for violence. You are trying to keep our men down. We know that even after one torture ends, CDCr will keep attempting to break our loved ones!
We – ourselves and our families – are unbreakable. We see you. CDCr, you are exposing yourself. You will be held accountable for what you have done to our families. We are taking your secret processes and talks behind closed doors out into the open. We are the ones with power and control, you don’t get that anymore. Because we know what to do. We are women and mothers who have been living this life for decades now, we are members and builders of our communities, and now, we are advocates.
When we felt alone in this struggle we reached out to each other. Now we have heard all the families that have voiced out anger against CDCR’s words and disregard for accountability, and agree that this should have never started to begin with. Now we know what needs to be done, what we need to make happen in order to fix everything CDCr keeps messing up.
CDCr, Our love and our unity is stronger than your lies. We see every single falsehood you spin. And we are here to share the truth to the entire world, and together we are going to turn your system inside out.
This is only the beginning of the struggle. We are here to make sure our loved ones are treated as the human beings they are, with dignity! We are here to tell other wives and families that they are not alone – that we are here to work all together. We are not going to stop until our husbands and family come back home.