Women Prisoners Convicted by Drugging

...the Daisy Jane Benson Story

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Daisy Jane Benson...1995

    My name is Daisy Jane Benson.  I am an inmate at the California Institute for Women in Southern California.  I have been locked up for 12 years now and at this prison for 11 years.  I am the founder of an organization called "Women Prisoners Convicted by Drugging."

    In June, 1987, I caused an accident with a hand gun that ended my friend's life.  As horrible as it is to be responsible for ending another's life, I feel everyone accused of a crime should have the right to tell his or her side of the story in a court of law.  This is my story, and I would like to share it with you.

    On June 16, 1987, I turned myself in to the Clearlake Police Department after causing a fatal accident.   I was very upset because I had killed my friend, Elaine.  But, I freely spoke with the police in an attempt to explain the shooting.  I was crying and very upset after twice being informed that my friend had died and then being told that she was still alive.  My reaction was very normal for the situation.

    I was asked to give blood to test for drugs, which I did freely.   The test showed that I had no drugs in my system.  I was then taken to the Lake County Jail in Lakeport, California and within one hour after my arrival to jail, the jail nurse handed me a cup of pills and told me to take them.  I was not sick or injured, in pain or hysterical, nor had I asked for the medications. I was never seen by a doctor.

    I did what I was told and within an hour I was dizzy and very disoriented.  My mind was imprisoned behind a wall of chemicals.

    I never requested the following drugs, which caused me to lose control of my thoughts, feelings, and sanity:  **50 mg of Elavil 2 times per day; **600 mg of Nalfon, 4 times per day; **4 teaspoons of Phenergan; **1500 mg of Robazin 4 times per day; and **Tylenol #3 with codeine, 4 times per day.  All of these medications affect the central nervous system as one of my most effective witnesses, Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist from Oakland, truthfully testified.  The net effect of the drug combination in my system was to induce a state of psychosis, a living hell from which there was no escape.

    In November, 1997, correctional officer Kate Folk, a 16-year veteran of the Lake County Jail, advised the court that she was the booking officer in 1987, and that she saw no illness or reason for me to be given the drugs after booking.   Officer Folk also testified that she tried to stop the drugs by going to the medical officer and informing him that I was being drugged.  Officer Folk was told to mind her jail duties and leave medical decisions to the medical staff.  She told the court that on many occasions she administered drugs to inmates because she was ordered by the medical staff to do so.

    Sharon Stevens, a drug counselor for the Lake County Jail, also testified that as she visited the inmates in the jail, she had witnessed my being over-medicated.  Ms. Stevens testified that other inmates were over-medicated as well.

    Ms. Harr, the nurse from Lake County Jail, was called before the court to explain why she had medicated me every day that I was in the county jail, waiting to go to trial for murder.  Harr was asked who had ordered the drugs and for what purpose.  Her answer was "IT WAS PROTOCOL TO DO THESE THINGS!"

    Judge David Herrick agreed that I did not request these drugs;   that I did not give informed consent for the above-mentioned drugs or the "treatment."

    In fact, I had refused "treatment," and my reward for doing so was to be stripped naked and put into a rubber room, where I cried and begged for someone to give me something to cover my naked body.  I cried and begged them to stop doing these things to me.

    Only when I promised to agree to take all the combinations of mind-altering drugs was I allowed out of the rubber room and given back my clothes.

    THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE INFORMED CONSENT!!!

    After a hearing involving 20 or more court appearances, Judge David Herrick denied my writ for a new trial, saying that to believe all the evidence he would have to conclude that a conspiracy existed at the Lake County Jail.  Writ Denied!

    I have appealed this decision.  My appeal is pending before the California Supreme Court, case # A082099.  My lawyer's name is Donald Lipmanson, of Navarro, California.

    This could happen to anyone.  Never think that you are safe from government-sanctioned abuse and coercion, no matter what protections are guaranteed in a State's Constitution or our US Constitution.

    Because of my experience, I have helped form a group called "Women Prisoners Convicted by Drugging (W.P.C.D.).  Over the past nine years, I have received hundreds of letters from all over America from survivors and inmates like myself telling me of their forced drugging by the state.  I am informed by Dr. Terry Kupers that Amnesty International is investigating this issue due to the many complaints from incarcerated Americans.

    I welcome your feedback and views and your help in stopping forced drugging on anyone anyplace in the world.

Daisy Jane Benson

W# 28860 Miller B 132L

16756 Chino-Corona Rd.

Frontera, CA 91720                             June 16th, 1999

Note from Rick (Patrick Crusade Webmaster):  My wife, Andrea met Daisy Benson years ago at CIW.  I was introduced to her in 1993 when Andrea told me of the effort to organize women who had been the victims of forced drugging in California's various county jails while awaiting trial.  Andrea herself had always been bitter at having been drugged into near dementia in the Riverside County Jail.  To make matters worse, she had been forcibly held down and injected with the use of dirty needles and syringes, causing her to contract Hepatitis B.  (You may have read the accounts in Andrea's Story.) She had always assumed that she had been singled out, but to her shock, upon meeting Daisy, she soon learned that forced drugging of women is a common practice, and an illegal means of crowd control, much as is practiced in mental hospitals and some nursing homes.

In 1993, a US Supreme Court Ruling seemed to promise relief for these women.  However, it soon became apparent that in the particular case, ("Riggins v Nevada"), the ruling was so narrow so as to only benefit Mr. Riggins.  The Court did leave open the possibility that the would expand their ruling in subsequent cases, and described the effect upon a jury of seeing an incoherent, obviously drugged defendant as the equivalent of forcing a defendant to stand trial in jailhouse garb.

Daisy's denial by a small-town judge was a shock and a disgrace, yet, the hearing, ordered by the California Supreme Court would have yielded no citable precedent had the writ been granted.  With Daisy's case now back before the State Supreme Court, there is real hope that Daisy will light the way for victims of forced drugging all over California.  Should they also deny her a new trial, a Federal Court is bound to step in.

I hope to get further updates from Daisy as her case progresses.  Please check back for further information and updates.

The following are logos designed for "Women Prisoners Convicted by Drugging designed by Daisy.  You are welcome to post them on your site as a link to this page!

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Webmaster's Update: 1/8/2000:  Although this does not directly pertain to the drugging issue, Daisy sent me a letter from California's State Senator Richard Polcano regarding the sexual harassment and assault of women at the California Institute for Women at Frontera, where Daisy is currently housed, and where Andrea was housed for the 1st 15 years of her incarceration.  Over 30 Staff and Correctional Officers were dismissed from that prison for offenses ranging from rape of female inmates to sexual harassment.  In a retaliatory measure, Warden Susan Poole instituted a property seizure policy that would have removed most of the women's TV sets, and many other personal effects.  She attempted to dress the women in drab attire so as to make them less sexually alluring to the male staff.  As Polcano stated, this is reminiscent of the archaic attitude that rape victims are responsible for their own victimization if they dress too provocatively!   Please click on the thumbnail images below to read this good Senator's letter in full to Warden Poole:

Senator Richard G. PolancoD-Los AngelesSenate District 22

"Dendron" is a psychiatric rights organization that works to fight involuntary psychotropic drugging both in prisons and mental hospitals.   They have embraced Daisy's case, and have helped her through the legal system to where she's at now.  Click on the logo below to review their programs.

Since 1990 Support Coalition has successfully broken the silence about psychiatry's forced human rights violations... without losing our sense of humor. We say "Heal Normality, Naturally," Resist forced psychiatric drugging! Zap back at forced electroshock! Support Coalition promotes humane, empowering alternatives through an independent non-profit federation of more than 70 grassroots groups in 11 countries.

Psychiatric Survivors & Allies UNITE!

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