Article by Crescenzo Vellucci for the Davis Vanguard. Excerpt below:
The CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation has, according to a pending lawsuit and speakers at a rally Wednesday at the agency’s downtown offices, engaged in “sexual and gender-based violence, including homophobia and transphobia.”
About 60 demonstrators participated in the two-hour long rally, and asked legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild Sacramento Chapter to be on hand because of concerns that they would be profiled by the state, and those they cared about behind the prison walls would be retaliated against.
Their fears had more than a little merit – people from inside the department repeatedly took photos of them, and then ran back inside. And the California Highway Patrol, which usually ignores these kind of peaceful rallies, maintained a constant vigil with patrol cars and officers, who often waded into the crowd to seemingly harass participants.
Sponsored by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and Young Women’s Freedom Center, the #MeTooBehindBars rally was billed as an opportunity to “expose how the prison system uses sexual and gender-based violence, including homophobia and transphobia, to target people who they incarcerate,” according to organizers.
The accusations are damning.
In a lawsuit filed nearly two years ago, former Gov. Brown, Secretary of the CDCR, the Warden of the CCWF, a former warden and more than a dozen current and former correctional officers are named as defendants.
The complaint, filed on behalf of current and former prisoners, specified two assaults at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla. The lawsuit claims that correctional officers “used physical force, sexually harassed, and used homophobic and transphobic insults” who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming (GNC) or queer.
Allegedly, those assaulted were not provided medical treatment for their injuries, but were put in so-called “isolation cages where they were subject to further sexual humiliation and denied access to bathrooms.”
The attacks as described in the pleading are disturbing.
Read the full article.