Welcome back to Calipatria under siege

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[Abuse] [Racism] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]

Welcome back to Calipatria under siege

In May 2006 inmates of all racial classifications were lulled into a false sense of security as the totalitarians blanket approach to punishment was lifted only to be used again disproportionately against one aspect of the inmate population. It is our belief that the blanket approach was to disguise this administrations racist tactics in their dealings with inmates. Now that it is applied to only one segment of the inmate population it is all the more clear. As is stated in my first "Calipatria under siege" report, the "Hispanic" inmate population of Calipatria suffer disproportionate punishment as opposed to the several other racial designations [MIM ed: we will use Latino instead of Hispanic, but in California prisons this is almost entirely interchangeable with Mexican]. Now with living evidence I submit this second "communiqué" from the front line that is Calipatria State Prison.

As stated in May 2006, the blanket of torture was lifted and tensions eased only to be complicated once again by a "skirmish" between "southern Hispanics" [MIM ed - prison label] and correctional staff, and though the blanket was not unfurled for a great length of time we believe out of sheer oversight and not from a merciful standpoint. The blanket of torture was lifted in exchange for a blanket of psychological warfare with reminders of the totalitarians power to inflict wounds both physical as well as mental as is mentioned in the latest skirmish and the subsequent disappearances of "southern Hispanics."

A return to "normal" program was beginning from total lockdown that began in July of 2005 where we were denied everything from yard exercise to canteen to adequate hygiene products to legal relief. Most services were said to be slowly re-implemented to the inmate population using a screening process where inmates were returned to a program status in accordance with prison behavior, the most programs/privileges to inmates who have the most appealing prison history and the least programs privileges with the least appealing history. This "screening" is a farce! It only applies to the Latino inmate population. Other inmates were afforded all programs and privileges immediately while the Latino population were/are subjected to this screening, where only approximately 5 Latinos from each of this sub-facilities' four general population buildings were afforded all programs and privileges on a weekly basis (approx 20 each week). The remainder were/are merely afforded canteen and package program access. No yard exercise, no vocation education, no work programs, etc., a continued punishment merely for being Latino. It's obvious this screening of those most willing to program has no bearing on the administrations decision of who to "release" or "gradually unlock" to full programs/privileges as all Latino inmates have and show their willingness to program in accordance to prison procedures.

This administration utilizes methods to deal with or remove the so-called "un-desirables" with several steps in the disciplinary procedures. For example, placement in the "hole" for those who seriously disrupt the programs or "C" status - a confined to quarters type punishment for those who refuse to work (to name a couple). My point is, that aside from the above mentioned individuals undergoing disciplinary procedures, the remainder of the 99.9% of Latino inmates have not committed a disciplinary infraction to warrant this ongoing punishment. Those who have committed a disciplinary infraction that are not removed to the hole or placed on "C" status have not committed an infraction of a serious enough nature to warrant this ongoing punishment.

Furthermore in September the blanket was unfurled once again when the entire prison population was placed on lockdown due to weapons being found and unfounded "intelligence" which allegedly stated the weapons were to be used to assault staff. In the beginning the entire institution was placed on lockdown with all programs suspended and searches of the entire institution conducted. The administration's racist policies surfaced in a statement by administration posted on the institution information channel for the inmate population to read, where it stated "certain segments of the inmate population continue to disrupt the program of all the segments."

At first reading nothing is amiss, until all the racial segments of this institution were released from lockdown and afforded all program/privileges. That is, except the Latino population! Now this statement by administration takes on new life. Now, "certain segments" means Latinos, where blame for the weapons and so-called "intelligence" is placed squarely on the Latino population. The weapons in question were not found on any one person, but in a common area accessible to all. Yet alleged "intelligence" was used to attribute the weapons to Latinos. It should be noted the intelligence used by administration is not refutable nor is there given any proof of its authenticity as it is "confidential." The Latinos thereby have no legal recourse to challenge said "intelligence" as fabricated, false or even to prove it's actual existence. Again, disproportionate decision followed with punishment based on blatant racial attribution of weapons said to belong to Latinos, based as stated on unfounded and unchallengeable "intelligence."

As of this writing, December 2006, the Latinos are again under the "screening" process prior to unlock of lockdown and access to all programs/privileges. And again in a manner disproportionate to the other races who were not subjected to the screening. As stated the entire Latino population, merely by being housed in this prison in the general population, is proof positive of each inmates individual as well as collective willingness, desire and goal to program in accordance to prison procedures, like that of other racial segments. (Calipatria is a 270 design prison - meaning less restrictive level 4 for level 4 inmates who have and are positively programming). Like that of the other racial segments, some individuals or groups have been alleged to have committed disciplinary infractions serious enough to disrupt programs where the said are removed from general population to the hole while the remainder suffer the residual effects of those infractions with lockdowns. Yet as stated above, the Latino population suffers punishment disproportionately.

One only has to view our objective conditions to see the racial overtones where Latinos as a whole are viewed as the undesirable elements of the prison population. But not undesirable for any disciplinary infractions committed as a whole but for merely being Latino. Where disciplinary infractions are committed by other racial segments of the inmate population are viewed as "isolated incidents," Latino disciplinary infractions are viewed as an alleged collective conspiracy and any and all weapons found are attributed to Latinos, allegedly corroborated by unchallengeable 'intelligence" notorious Calipatria State Prison.

The intensity of the psychological war has gained momentum and although raids, property seizures and disappearances have lessened, they continue none the less. And although by all outward appearances Calipatria is in compliance with inmates' rights, those of the Latino prisoners are denied, suspended or lessened and suffer the whims of a totalitarian administrative body. And although it's no longer 120 degrees outside, it is still cold in the shadow of the Green wall and the Latinos are still under siege.

MIM adds: This tactic of dividing the prisons along national lines is one of many used by the prison administration to keep prisoners fighting each other rather than uniting against a common enemy. Even the appearance of preferential treatment for one nationality over another can contribute to this division. Rather than focus on this inequality, MIM calls on prisoners of all nationalities to unite in fighting the unjust policies of the administration. The real enemy is the criminal injustice system, and unity behind bars will greatly advance our struggle against this enemy.