WelcomeTo My World

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

ENDORSE Stmt denouncing medical abuse in Cal. prison strike

This is urgent: Please endorse this letter (pasted below and attached) if you work in healthcare, and circulate to others as well. Return endorsements to info@kersplebedeb.com.
Dear Comrades,

i am emailing you looking for people who work in the healthcare field, as i am involved in putting together a letter from healthcare providers to denounce medical abuse and neglect occurring in the context of the current California prisoners' hungerstrike. The details of what is going on are laid out below, if any of you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch and let me know.

For those of you who are healthcare workers, i am writing you to ask you if you could QUICKLY email me to endorse the below statement (also attached), and also circulate it in your networks and healthcare workers to email me if they will endorse it.
This is one of those situations where things can change from day to day, and where time is potentially a life-and-death factor. For that reason, we are looking to get endorsements BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY, THURSDAY, JULY 25th. Please email me (info@kersplebedeb.com) your and any other endorsements, and let me know if there are any organizational affiliations that can be used for identification purposes, before then.

Please also send this along into your networks, along with my contact information and this introductory note (or a note of your own, whatever you feel would be better).

thank you for your support and solidarity in this,
-karl kersplebedeb



For the third time in three years, thousands of prisoners in California are currently on hunger strike, protesting the widespread use of punitive long-term solitary confinement in the Security Housing Units (SHUs), in some cases for over 30 years continuously. (1)

The current strike began on July 8, and over 1,000 prisoners have now gone over two weeks without food, supported by over 30,000 who abstained from eating for shorter periods. Two years ago when the 2011 California prison hunger strikes mobilized over 12,000 people at their peak, the State agreed to make significant improvements in prison conditions; but has not carried through on most promised changes, particularly regarding use of long term and indefinite isolation.

As healthcare providers, we are issuing this statement to register our concern with reports that appropriate medical care is being denied the hunger striking prisoners. While there has been a concerted attempt by the authorities to censor the strikers to keep the strike out of the news, dozens of letters from affected strikers at a number of prisons have gotten out to supporters repeating similar details of medical neglect and abuse:

* Medications are being withheld in an attempt to coerce prisoners into abandoning their protest.

According to attorney Marilyn McMahon, pain relief medication in particular is being withheld, "even if it's medicine that should not be cut abruptly, but instead tapered off." In one case a patient with heart failure has had his medications discontinued on the dubious assertion that he doesn't need them because he's on a hunger strike.
* Prison medical staff are required to monitor the health of prisoners on hunger strike, yet we hear that some institutions are violating this protocol, including not weighing the hunger strikers as required. There are also reports that nurses who are required to conduct daily checks are simply advising the prisoners to drink a lot of water. In other cases physicians have been dismissive of patient complaints, prisoners in need are being refused care and ignored, and in some cases even mocked by the very healthcare practitioners they are supposed to be able to depend upon for care.

* Some prisoners have told the prison authorities that they are refusing solid foods only, but CDCR refuses to provide them with liquid sustenance other than water, and guards have even confiscated any such liquids that they had in their cells.
* Many prisoners have indicated that they are not being provided with medical release form #7385, which they need to send to their loved ones, family members or to outside supporters so that these people on the outside can access their medical records.
* Several prisoners have been reclassified as "not on hunger strike" because they have been accused of having food in their cells. This means that they "have to start over" and go 9 consecutive meals before being considered on hunger strike again, regardless of whether or not they have in fact broken their strike. Determining who is on hunger strike in such an arbitrary manner means that prisoners who may not have eaten for weeks will be dropped off the list for medical oversight.

Similar denial of appropriate medical monitoring and medications occurred during the 2011 prisoners' hunger strikes, and led concerned medical professionals to issue a statement condemning such coercive neglect as both unethical and illegal under California Penal Code Section 673.(2) Furthermore, such acts of deliberate indifference to a patient's serious medical needs constitute a violation of prisoners' Eighth Amendment Constitutional rights.

Today, we the undersigned find ourselves tragically having to echo the statement of two years ago, in registering our grave concern about these allegations, and in strongly urging Receiver J. Clark Kelso and the California Medical Board to investigate these claims. We urge CDCR to ensure that no prisoner on hunger strike be disciplined or threatened with the denial of medical care, that prisoners not be denied liquids, vitamins or any other form of sustenance they are willing to take, and that they receive appropriate medical care. We demand all medical professionals uphold their code of ethics and maintain the highest standards of care for all their patients - be they incarcerated or not.

Finally, we call upon Governor Jerry Brown and CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard to enter into good faith negotiations with the prisoner representatives, and to respond to their demands, in order to end this crisis before lives are lost.

(1) The prisoners' original five core demands are: 1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse; 2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria; 3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement; 4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food; 5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates. These are elaborated in more detail on the Prisoner Hungerstrike Coalition website at http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/the-prisoners-demands-2/.

(2) California Penal Code Section 673: "It shall be unlawful to use in the reformatories, institutions, jails, state hospitals or any other state, county, or city institution any cruel, corporal or unusual punishment or to inflict any treatment or allow any lack of care whatever which would injure or impair the health of the prisoner, inmate, or person confined; and punishment by the use of the strait jacket, gag, thumbscrew, shower bath or the tricing up of a prisoner, inmate or person confined is hereby prohibited. Any person who violates the provisions of this section or who aids, abets, or attempts in any way to contribute to the violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

The complete text of the 2011 Medical Providers' Statement can be found online at http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/medical-professionals-support-the-hunger-strike/

Rnb-local-pp mailing list


Free All Political Prisoners!

No comments:

Post a Comment