California gulags, er, prisons

California gulags, er, prisons

The LA Times has been running a series of articles on the atrocious, brutal conditions in California prisons – much of it due, in my opinion, to the previous Governor, Democratic Gray Davis, who took lots of money from the prison guards union – they were his biggest contributor – and then ignored their brutal treatment of inmates.

Whether Schwarzenegger will make changes, well, let’s hope so. This prison-industrial complex where contractors get rich from building prisons. where guards make 70k a year, where private industry employs prison labor and pays them 25 cents an hour, well, lots of folks are getting rich off this – and the prisoners get brutalized.

California prison guards let prisoner bleed to death

All through the night, the howls kept coming from the cell of inmate Ronald Herrera.

More than one guard at Corcoran State Prison thought something was terribly amiss. Herrera wouldn’t stop screaming late Sunday, and he had covered his cell window in a curtain of toilet paper soaked in blood.

The next morning, the howls had given way to silence. As a new shift made its checks, a guard saw what he said looked to be “raspberry Kool-Aid” streaming out from the cell. Inside, he found Herrera slumped over on the floor, lifeless.

On Wednesday, Kings County and state investigators began a probe to determine if Herrera’s death resulted from criminal negligence by prison staff too busy watching the Super Bowl.

Disarray in juvenile prisons jolts capital

Already grappling with a staggering budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger faces a growing consensus that the state’s vast prison system is dysfunctional, corrupt and plagued by violence.

This week a series of reports hammered the juvenile system on all fronts, including the “decrepit” condition of its facilities, the “stunning” level of violence within its walls, and the substandard medical and psychiatric care it provides wards, as young inmates are called.

A junkyard for young lives

California’s youth prison system is a violent place where juveniles and staff live in constant fear of attack, according to a set of confidential reports that also criticize the correctional system for substandard medical care, psychiatric counseling and schooling.Youth prison system unsafe, unhealthful, reports find

This issue is finally getting major media attention. Finally.

Another facet of California prison, Special Housing Units (SHU), are particularly medieval and grotesque. Inmates in SHUs are denied any human contact. Speaking is not allowed. You spend 23 hours a day (or more) in a tiny cell. You can be put in a SHU solely because a guard says you associate with gangs. No actual proof is needed. There is no appeal. Simply speaking to a gang member can put you in a SHU. And again, there is “no human contact” while you are there.

To me, this is just another form of torture. No one should be treated like that. It says somethig ugly about America and California that we have prisons like this. And in the words of someone who was in one, when they finally let you out, you’re a “walking time bomb”.