THE BLOOD IS ON CDC'S HANDS
CORCORAN IS A DEATH TRAP FOR PRISONERS WITH HIV AND HEPATITIS C
Since the beginning of October 2002, four prisoners with HIV and hepatitis C have died at the California State Prison - Corcoran (a prison with a long history of abuse and murder of prisoners). Several more have deteriorated over the past few months and are near death. California Prison Focus' demands for an investigation into these deaths and an assessment of medical care delivery at the prison, have been ignored by the disinterested warden's office and by the entire California Department of Corrections (CDC). As far as they are concerned, it's business as usual for a prison housing a large (and growing population) of seriously ill prisoners.
The last prisoner to die on November 19, was Wilfredo Ortiz, a transgender woman serving a "three-strikes" life sentence for burglary. Members of the HIP and TIP committees of California Prison Focus visited with her right before our demonstration on October 19 outside the prison. We began a concerted attempt to win her compassionate release from prison. Her lover inside also helped by keeping us updated. However, the CDC didn't think she met the criteria for release until a week before her death! By then it was too late. The medical social worker at the prison didn't even have the decency to call CPF after this prisoner died. We found out from Wilfredo's lover who was sobbing on the phone.
CORCORAN PRISON IS SHORTENING THE LIVES OF PRISONERS
WITH HIV AND HEPATITIS C! SUPPORT THEIR STRUGGLE TO LIVE!
We are still learning the details of the other three deaths. Most of these prisoners have advanced HIV and hepatitis C. However, none of these prisoners or their families were treated humanely during the last period of their lives.
Elmer Brown, a well-respected lifer who served many years as a representative of the Men's Advisory Committee at Corcoran, was denied his request to be moved to the hospice at the California Men's Facility at Vacaville. He wasn't even asking for a compassionate release! And his mother was denied a bedside visit because Corcoran has dying prisoners but no system for hospice care or pastoral care services. His mother came down to the prison the night that Elmer died. She was told that he was okay and she should come back in the morning. She found out the next morning that he had died.
Right now there is a growing population of seriously ill prisoners at Corcoran who face the same insensitive and callous treatment. There is a group of prisoners with HIV whose kidneys have failed who make the trip to the dialysis center three times a week. Most of the prisoners report being harassed at the dialysis site by guards. To date, none of the prisoners on dialysis have been given an appropriate renal diet at Corcoran.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE SERIOUSLY ILL PRISONERS AT CORCORAN!
Let the prison officials know that you demand justice for prisoners at Corcoran. Please take a few minutes and send the sample letter on the opposite side of this flyer or adapt your own. If you have the time, make a phone call.
The lives of the most seriously ill and vulnerable prisoners at Corcoran are at stake!
For more information, contact:
HIV/HCV in Prison (HIP) Committee and the Trans and Gender Variant in Prison Committee (TIP)
California Prison Focus
2940 16th Street, #307, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone / Fax: (510) 665-1935
PLEASE DELIVER IMMEDIATELY TO:
Edward Alameida, Director, California Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283
Phone: (916) 445-7688; Fax: (916) 322-2877
Michael Pickett, Deputy Director
CDC Health Care Services Division
(same address as above)
Phone: (916) 323-0229; Fax: (916) 327-0593
Subject: MEDICAL CARE AT CALIFORNIA STATE PRISON - CORCORAN
Hiv & hepatitis c positive prisoners continue to suffer medical neglect
Dear Director Alameida and Mr. Pickett,
We are both outraged and alarmed at the rising death toll of prisoners with HIV and hepatitis C at California State Prison - Corcoran. We are equally concerned that none of the four prisoners who died since October 2002, were approved to be sent to the hospice at the California Men's Facility at Vacaville, neither were any of them approved for compassionate release in a timely manner. Wilfredo Ortiz should have been evaluated for compassionate release months ago, not just one week before his death when it was too late.
It is inhumane to operate a prison with a large population of prisoners with life-threatening illnesses that does not provide adequate medical care. The Corcoran prison mission has always been high security not humane care.
We demand the following:
1. All prisoners with HIV, hepatitis C, renal failure and other serious illnesses be evaluated by specialists and provided appropriate medical care
2. All prisoners in the acute care hospital and the Chronic Infectious Disease Unit be evaluated immediately for compassionate release
3. All seriously ill prisoners be evaluated for hospice placement
4. Family members be kept apprised of their loved one's condition
5. Visiting regulations be promulgated to allow death side and round the clock visiting by family members
Your attention to these matters is of the utmost importance.