When Sean first got transferred to Corcoran State Prison from Calipatria in early summer 2013 it seemed like a pretty well run facility. The way he described it seemed OK as far as prisons go. Nothing major to complain about. No drama or issues. From my perspective in the visiting room things seemed better than Calipatria. We were given our full 6 hour visit without much hassle, we were allowed to sit outside on the patio at picnic tables. We would take our food and drinks out there and basically be outside all day. All in all if you must spend some time in prison this sounded like one that you could at least find tolerable and structured.
Corcoran Prison has become a much different place since the new warden, David Davey, began in 2014. It is scary how quickly it has gone downhill. What I hear from Sean lately concerns me for his safety and well being. I am shocked at how the officers are allowed to treat the inmates, what they are able to get away with. There is no one making sure the officers are doing their job correctly. There is no one making sure the inmates are at least given the opportunity to go outside and get some physical activity. There is no minimum standard of living.
Aside from hearing about uncomfortable living conditions such as consistently cold showers, the roof leaking into the cells on the top tier, being forced to lie down in the dirt for 45 minute stretches when the alarm goes off on the yard; I am also hearing about frequent fights, riots, and stabbings occurring. An inmate was shot by an officer and died recently. Power outages for days at a time have become common place due to electrical issues as well as for mystery reasons, leaving Sean with no way to heat his food or water for tea, watch TV or do much after dark. The control panel in C building completely broke down after maintenance came in November 2015 and Sean was informed it would take at least 3 weeks for the new one to arrive. During this time the inmates were simply stuck in their cells with no phone calls or yard since opening the doors manually was just too much effort for the officers.
The visiting areas have also become something more broken and desperate. Once I get in the prison gates it always takes a long time to get Sean to the visiting room since the officers do not make escorting inmates to visiting a priority which they are supposed to. We are no longer allowed to even go outside, the only option is sitting at a table which we must share with other people. We are crammed in among many. The bathrooms are rarely equipped with adequate supplies such as toilet seat covers, soap, and paper towels. Without soap to wash our hands this becomes a health and safety issue. There is no feminine hygiene products machine and we are not allowed to bring any in with us which means if you have a 6 hour visit and you are on your period- good luck! This is just completely absurd to me and evidence of the system’s complete lack of respect for visiting families.
The bottom line is that Corcoran State Prison is violating their own rules and standards and something needs to be done about it. Someone needs to be held accountable. -Emelia
NEARLY 6 MONTHS SINCE SAN FRANSISCO 9th CIRCUIT COURT HEARING- STILL WAITING