Women in solitary

March 7, 2015

From the March-April 2015 issue of News & Letters

I truly appreciate your newspaper as it keeps me well informed on the movements throughout our systems. I’d like to comment on the article in your last issue, “What Solitary Means” (Jan.-Feb. N&L). It is no better in our women’s SHU (Security Housing Units). Days turn into weeks, years, to where you lose all sense of being.

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I am a life prisoner at CIW (California Institution for Women). I’ve been in the other level four prison and I must admit that here at CIW we are locked in more than we’ve ever been in the other level four. And this prison is supposed to be an honor to be in.

The warden only cares about herself looking good as she parades “Sacramento” [state officials] through. I notice she never shows them our true inner living and the running of the housing units aside from the honor cottages. Talk about the drug abuse. That’s so obvious. They turn the other way.

What about the women killing themselves or attempting to? It’s always about “It’s the inmate.” I say: look deeper into your staff and work on the problem from the staff on up. Then and only then will the population calm the violence within.

—CIW life prisoner

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