Prison CDCR Agency Secretary Tilton Confirmation Hearing Is Online The size of the human bondage industry in California will jar you
James Tilton's confirmation hearing as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections which was held on July 11, 2007 before the Senate Rules Committeee is online and well worth viewing, Warning: It's scarier than an old episode of the "Twilight Zone" to witness a full-scale police mobilization with our tax dollars.
Everyone with a loved one in prison or people who care about the billions of education and human services dollars being robbed from taxpayers needs to review this hearing more than one time. Most people in the know can easily see the smoke and mirrors being billowed up the tailpipe of the various legislative committees. You can see that the newly appointed CDC(r) Secretary James Tilton talks intelligently about reform, but most of what he says are empty words. What is missing, of course, is his real action which is why the Federal Receivership is absolutely necessary.
It was difficult for me to get in all of the UNION families' complaints but I did show up to give voice to the voiceless in opposition. You can see Senator Perata was cutting off all who tried to voice anything negative. The other prisoner advocates were testifying in support of Tilton (say what??) but they all had some reservations and conditions.
It takes courage to go sit up there in that opposition seat especially in view of retaliation and purposeful lack of access that is often imposed upon those who speak out but we didn't get prison reform on the table by being too nice. You can see who is completely missing in action at this hearing as well.
Please note that Senator Perata actually believes that the ombudsmen can and will take care of the family complaints. In my experience, maybe one out of one hundred situations get taken care of by ombudsmen and nothing of a serious nature! So, there is a huge breakdown of communications about the ombudsmans' effectiveness that needs to be bridged by communications from the family members.
There were only two people there in opposition to Tilton's confirmation, myself and a mother who testified after me. As I have said many times, 99% of all our problems come from too much silence and dependence on "advocates" who aren't really doing the job. I did not call the UNION people to action on this one. We could certainly have overflowed the meeting room just as we did the Prison Cap hearing on June 27 which stunned everyone who always believed that the families of prisoners were too lame to organize and mobilize.
We must choose our battles and some of these email groups need to get off their duffs and get involved and show up instead of leaving all the work to us.
you will need the Windows Media Player 10 which is free to download
click on "webcast" in the upper left hand corner
click on "search archive" on the left
put in the date with no dashes or slashes 071107
type in Rules
once the program loads, drag the slider over to exactly 53 min. 45 seconds where the hearing begins. I encourage you to take the time to watch all of it, twice if possible so you can get the innuendos and see past some of the smoke and mirrors. My testimony followed by one of the prisoner mothers begins at exactly 02:06:53 - Two hours, six minutes and 53 seconds
After I pointed out during the hearing that laws are being routinely broken by all those who work for CDC(r), including the agency secretary, I personally gave Tilton our UNION letter of opposition which we not only faxed in advance of the hearing but handed out to each person on the Committee just before Tilton's testimony began.
I attached the detailed statement of the laws currently being broken by CDC(r) link and those in elected office who allow it to take place to each committee member as well as Tilton. Now no one in CDC(r) or the legislature can claim ignorance of the laws they are violating while hypocritically locking people in cages for far less serious crimes.
Keep on posting while I am working on my next column about the significance of this week's events.
Make no mistake, all prison reform is coming from the lawsuits filed by Prison Law office backed with our decade-long outcry of hard news stories exposing preventable deaths, riots, diseases and unbearable incompetence that is returning people much sicker to their communities than before they were incarcerated. The UNION families have caused a new day in prison reform to emerge by filing 28 more lawsuits for wrongful deaths and abuses, something the bureaucrats never dreamed could happen.
The other two ways to achieve reform besides lawsuits are through the initiative process if and when 6500 workers are trained and ready to go with enough funds raised in advance as well in ONE organized group. And, at the ballot box by electing people who are really going to turn down donations from law enforcement labor unions. That will mean funding must come from our side of the issue if we are to have representation.
The prison guards are very upset that families of inmates are being educated as activists in the UNION and are out registering the poor to vote as well as posting regularly as the news sites. If the poor all voted, we would live in a different world and none of the injustice and oppression would be allowed to exist. Apathy and ignorance of how the system works continues to be the biggest block to reform.
I have plenty more to say about what transpired at the confirmation hearing in a column I am working on now but in the meantime, please tune into the hearing and watch it with no interruptions.
Don't forget that our bill AB 1539 to release permanently disabled and terminally ill prisoners is coming up before the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 16. Our Mark Grangetto lawsuit needs attendance in Hanford on August 23 and/or 24. Don't agonize, get active in the UNION and help us organize and mobilize the voting block large enough to take back our state from law enforcement labor unionsThe UNION is a newsletter that teaches people how, when, where to fight back and our alerts page is here, even for non members who aren't subscribed to the daily newsletter. If you're not writing and organizing, you're not fighting back
B. Cayenne Bird is a 45-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. A descendant of Mary Todd Lincoln, and General Andrew Porter, she is passionate about human rights and criminal justice issues. A mother and grandmother with advanced degrees in Journalism, Liberal Studies, and Humanities (Cultural Anthropology) she has focused on prison reform making great strides in Calif. supporting the landmark Plata-Coleman case for a decade which resulted in major prison reform. She writes scholarly articles too but prefers op-eds.