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Take Action! California women’s prison denying basic needs to people in COVID-19 quarantine

May 19, 2020 - May 20, 2020


CDCR Guards Cut Off Communication & Access to Water as COVID-19 Cases Rise at California Institution for Women

Prison guards are mocking incarcerated people who test positive for COVID-19, denying people access to clean water, and removing access to outside communication according to multiple reports from incarcerated people in COVID-19 quarantine at the California Institution for Women (CIW). After increased testing of incarcerated people, the number of COVID-19 positive cases at CIW has dramatically escalated. Guards have responded by abruptly moving those who tested positive to one location after another without explanation, causing widespread terror. People moved to a designated “quarantine” area report that they have not been given clean water for days and have been subject to neglect and abuse. Many have been moved once again to another location where they have no access to communication. Guards have explicitly ordered them to not share information about these conditions with their families, advocates, or news media. See more details in this article.

Advocates from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and Survived & Punished urge concerned community members and constituents to call Governor Newsom and the California Department of Corrections to demand an end to COVID-19-related prison violence and to quickly increase releases, including executive clemencies.

On Tue, May 19 and Wed, May 20, call the following people and share the message below:
  • Governor Gavin Newsom at (916) 445-2841
  • Ralph Diaz, California Department of Corrections at 916-324-7308 x4
  • If the phone line does not work for the Governor’s office, please submit your comment here: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/


I am appalled about the treatment of people in COVID-19 quarantine at the California Institution for Women (CIW). I urge you to end the abusive practices that the California Department of Corrections calls “healthcare” and take the following actions:

  • Release all elderly (50+) & medically high-risk people to safe quarantine outside of prison.
  • Ensure that all incarcerated people, including those in COVID-19 quarantine, have daily access to food, clean water, and non-punitive medical care, including mental health care.
  • Provide cell phones to all people who have been quarantined in areas where there is no wifi or safe access to a shared phone. All incarcerated people, including those testing positive for COVID-19, have a right to maintain contact with their families and advocates.
  • Immediately and freely distribute non-diluted cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
  • Provide testing for all people who want to be tested, including everyone who has been exposed (i.e. cellmates of people who have tested positive).

Spread the word about this action on social media using the memes and hashtags below:



May 19, 2020
May 20, 2020
Event Category:


California Coalition for Women Prisoners
CA Survived & Punished
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