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  #1  
Old 02-06-2011, 09:50 AM
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Default Knowing What To Do And Yet Not Knowing If It Will Work

If I had not been to prison and done the 14 years I spent in the Texas prison system, it probably would not upset me like it did and it upset the hell out of me. My older sibling of 57 years of age is assigned to a unit in the northern part of the state there in California. He has recently stated that his living situation has gotten so bad that heís ready to go to the hole or lock up, just for the sake of being put in a one man cell by himself. This is someone who has spent 28 years in prison there in California on this sentence and he is not weak of heart or afraid to face the fire. This is a guy who is the epitome of a convict that has seen some hard times while carrying the ball & chain and stood toe to toe with the best of them for better or worse.

Itís about the effects of doing time in there and the way it beats you down when you stay a long time and keep that ďrebel yellĒ demeanor about you. He claims heís living in 5 man dorm that at the moment has a total of 12 people housed in it. I didnít think something like that was possible in the California Dept. Of Corrections. I thought CDC was beyond stooping that low in terms of the standard it would allow itself to be brought to regarding housing standards and staying in compliance with federal regulations. I want to believe that he is lying to me for the sake of getting his way and making waves, butÖIíve been there and I know from the time I did in Texas that what goes on inside is often a well kept secret to those on the outside.

Heís in the jam that he finds himself because of the choices heís made about the way he carries himself in there; itís that simple. I know what the deal is and why. If you spend 28 years in prison, you have the chance to make the best of what prison has to offer if youíll stop & think about what you do before you do it. People who have done a lot of time have the ability to gain some favor among rank and the prison admin if theyíll humble themselves a little bit and go with the flow. Not entirely or among all, but things could be considerably better for him if he were not bent on being ďJohnny JackassĒ all the time.

Iím committed to doing something to help. He wants to be to be put in a single cell to do his time. He wants to be left alone even it means being put in Ad. SegÖ Where parole is concerned, I think he has given up on the possibility of getting out anytime soon or perhaps even at all. After almost 30 years in there, itís not hard to see why he would feel that way. Keeping hope alive in oneís heart can be a hard thing to do when itís been one way for so long, that anything different in the future is hard to consider. Itís all he knows and when itís all said & done, heís at the point to where he simply wants to be left alone.

I know what I want to do in this situation and I will even go so far as to say that I know what needs to be done, butÖ.the odds of seeing it through are probably not good. Thereís more to be said for who you know than what you know in situations where getting something done in prison are concerned. Iím faced with a situation that Iím sure many of you have felt the same way about in perhaps different circumstance and for different reasons. Itís hard when you hurt for someone on the inside with the willingness to try and help, only to learn that you can go so far with the power you have and the ability to see the solution through.

Sometimes, the hardest part is not looking back at where it all began. I donítí see a guy that wound up in prison because of a murder he committed on the Russian River back in the early 1980s. I donít see a guy who had a drug problem that led to a life of bad choices & consequences. Iím his brother and I was there with him in the tender years, the vulnerable years, and the innocent years. His first 16 years of life were spent in a world that he didnít make at the hands of a mother & father that brutalized him, victimized him, and destroyed his ability to cope before he became a man. Only to become a man that would spend the majority of his adult life in prison at the hands of a penal institution among the many penal institutions of the world that are for the most part immune to the needs & concerns of doing what is right of the people they oversee.

You spend enough time in prison and you learn that the simple things can mean so very much. Not falling asleep at night hungry, lying down in a bed within a cell or dorm thatís a place to live as opposed to a place to suffer, and not being constantly reminded or told that the reason why you have less than others is because youíre condemned and loathed by society are just a few. Those things out here in the Free World that we take for granted are issues worth fighting for in the name of our loved ones imprisoned that cannot fend for themselves.

There are those who will say ďthey brought it on themselves and in the end, you reap what you sow in this lifeĒ. There are those who are so self centered, they havenít got time for anything thatís not about them and so they donít have anything to say because the truth is they donít care. And then there are people like you & me here on PTO who have a big enough heart to care about our loved ones on the inside and the willingness to make the effort to see that they are treated fairly.

Itís one thing to say that you have family in prison, but the real question is are you willing to be family to them when they need you most no matter where they are? No one at that unit in northern California knows there is someone named Firebrand 1800 miles away in Dallas, TX just right now, but you can bet they will by Monday.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2011, 11:23 AM
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Could he simply refuse to cell up in his dorm? It may mean ag-seg but what the hell.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:55 PM
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He can just 'roll up' the problem is, that that might only get him out of that dorm temporarily. My son was at CSATF and they housed 8 in cells built for 4. They were intentionally racially mixed, and some guys refused to bunk with another race, so they would get sent to ad seg, but the problem is after 30 days they put them right back in the same place, they didn't transfer them. Or..if they put him there cause his points dropped, he could get in a fight and get some more points (but if he's trying to parole that wouldn't be a great idea)

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Old 02-07-2011, 05:51 PM
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Welcome to California prisons.

Yes, the overcrowding is that bad. In some places I believe they are still using triple bunks - and if that is the case, don't be surprised if he tells you there are 15 men in a cell meant for 5.

I've been fighting for my son for 4 years now. I have made a few contacts in CDCr admin in Sacramento that have been helpful. ONLY because I scream and yell and copy my letters to attorneys and the press when I feel like it. I document everything and keep everything they write to me. My son has gotten copies of as much of his UHR as he can get.

I have the email addresses, phone numbers, job titles on most CDCr employees - so if you need some of them - let me know.

I am sure I am viewed as a royal P.I.T.A. by CDCr, but I don't care. They do not ignore me any more. They have learned that I just keep going higher and higher over their heads when they do.

Good luck with your fight - because I know it will be one.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:08 PM
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It would be just as easy to go to lock up and he has done that a number of times before. Parole is not something he has been optimistic about or appears to be at the moment, but at some point I would think it has to be an issue that is worth doing some good for the sake of having one day.

Yes, the battle is long when it comes to influencing decisions among the prison admin and there is a ton of people to go through along with a lot of head games.

Vernon is assigned to California Medical Facility in Vacaville among the general population and I think what he is going through is no accident. It’s the end result of an effort on his part to get closer to his daughter who lives in Monte Rio which is close to Santa Rosa. Things have not gone well for him overall since he transferred there and he went more as the result of trouble than anything else.

I called the unit today and tried to speak to a couple of people in particular, but I couldn’t reach them and I’m not surprised. I wonder whether or not if it would be better to try and speak to someone in the Warden’s office, but maybe not.

I appreciate the support and direction. I’m sure I’ll be contacting or PMing some of you about this. It’s been a long day.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:23 PM
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to call is one..... to write the other.... a call can be refused, not answered, they can let you wait.... but if you write, they have something written. if there is no answer, refer to the first mail and send it registered....

and aside this, your brother needs to know you are working for him at the outside..... it helps to stay a bit more patient.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebrand View Post
It would be just as easy to go to lock up and he has done that a number of times before. Parole is not something he has been optimistic about or appears to be at the moment, but at some point I would think it has to be an issue that is worth doing some good for the sake of having one day.

Yes, the battle is long when it comes to influencing decisions among the prison admin and there is a ton of people to go through along with a lot of head games.

Vernon is assigned to California Medical Facility in Vacaville among the general population and I think what he is going through is no accident. Itís the end result of an effort on his part to get closer to his daughter who lives in Monte Rio which is close to Santa Rosa. Things have not gone well for him overall since he transferred there and he went more as the result of trouble than anything else.

I called the unit today and tried to speak to a couple of people in particular, but I couldnít reach them and Iím not surprised. I wonder whether or not if it would be better to try and speak to someone in the Wardenís office, but maybe not.

I appreciate the support and direction. Iím sure Iíll be contacting or PMing some of you about this. Itís been a long day.
Shush is right. Something in writing is proof you did something. If you have names - I will see if I have their email addresses. I can also get you the email address of the warden. You should copy anything you send to the warden so they cannot deny knowledge of it. Of course, keep all emails in a separate file so you can bring them up and forward them at will.

I will be tied up most of tomorrow, but if you need anything, let me know and I will try to get it for you.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:53 PM
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I wish you lots of luck with this. Yes, the overcrowding is that bad in California. There have been many news stories about this and the riots that result due to the overcrowding.
I correspond with many sick inmates at that facility. The conditions are beyond what we could imagine.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:54 AM
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Firebrand.. Good luck. Im ten minutes from Vacaville- that place is Huge..
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:49 AM
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I live in Vacaville and I spent 2 years in CMF. The conditions there are miserable. Not because of the inmate population. The prison conditions are horrible. Only place I have been that were worse were San Quentin and Old Folsom. More people need to speak out on these issues and attempt to effect some change. Seriously ill inmates are sometimes better off in a regular prison than at CMF.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:08 AM
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Yesterday I spoke with someone who is counselor there at the unit about his situation and she said that there is no way he will be moved to a single cell. She was polite and went so far as to go get him and allow us to speak on the phone over a speaker. I noticed a little bit of chatter in the back ground until I got to the part about contacting the ACLU in Sacramento on his behalf and then all of the sudden it got real quiet.

Reaching someone at the ACLU on an administrative level is not hard to do. Reaching someone who actually addresses complaints or what direction to take in a matter like this is very difficult. The line is busy or no one answers at all it seems. I spent quite a bit of attempting to make contact, but have not been successful thus far.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:47 AM
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I have been told that copying letters I write to attorneys or the press will delay answers because they have to run it by the legal department before they can respond.

HOWEVER, I have found that you are more likely to GET an answer if you do this. My son has medical and mental health issues, so many times I will copy my letters to the attorneys for the Plata or Armstrong suits.

I have also warned them that if anything happens to my son, by his hand, by another inmate or by employees of CDCr - I will consider it murder by the state because they have been warned that he is at risk - and I will pursue it as far as I can to hold each and every one involved responsible.
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