Tear Down the Statue of Liberty, CA Prison Abuse is Outrageous Prisoner with family ties hog-tied and forced onto transport
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” These are the last five lines of the sonnet that hangs in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Abusive Transfer Destroys Another Young Family Needlessly
This is something you probably won't see on the Discovery Channel tonight at 9 pm Pacific Time, October 7, 2007 as Ted Koppel reports on California State Prison Solano. Check your local listings for the time it will air in your area.
Imprisoned Journalist Boston Woodard and Sophanareth Sok came to me and they cried out for help. An out-of-state transfer into slavery with no visits allowed from family members again, possibly forever, taken against his will even though he met the criteria of demonstrated family ties, was more than Sok could bear alone.
But I did not have the volunteers to call a massive picket beneath the governor's window since we just had a big rally there last month on Sept 7 to support the sentencing commission laws SB110, AB160 and compassionate release for sick and dying prisoners AB1539. The media will not cover this story unless hundreds of people show outrage that it happened in Sacramento where the war is located which is unlikely. Thousands of horrible events are flying under the radar of the media and I am so pressed for time that I cannot inform you of even 1/10000th of what is taking place that would make God himself cry.
I knew that not enough of the people losing their sons and husbands as slaves to private prison corporations would come to protest outside CDC(r) Director James Tilton's window for fear of being arrested as illegal aliens. I could not write a check to hire a lawyer for Sok and the other families affected as I am an unpaid volunteer and we can barely keep our 28 lawsuits in progress or basic supplies on hand.
Other lawyers paid well by CCPOA tried to stop this grave inhumanity of out-of-state transfers but failed to do so. There are so many Republican-appointed judges in power that the entire system is corrupt from arrest through parole and full of cronyism. These private prison corporations that the Governor is dealing with have been successfully sued scores of times for abusive slave labor practices involving prisoners. That didn't stop Governor Schwarzenegger from selling able bodies to them instead of releasing non-violent or sick and dying prisoners or changing unconstitutional sentencing laws.
I have never witnessed in 40 years of being journalist such pain as I've seen at the hands of our government during the past nine long years. I am simply numb from watching so many young people deliberately destroyed and sometimes murdered by callous bureaucrats who are breaking the laws. Yes, the bureaucrats are breaking our California and US Constitutional laws and getting away with doing so.
And the most frustrating part of all is that these human rights violations are done with the full cooperation of the families affected. "It's just too hard to organize and set up our own voting, writing suing group" some say.
We might as well tear down the Statue of Liberty because she has no meaning anymore. The Republican politicians have nullified everything that we hold sacred and our silence and inaction continues to worsen the situation, particularly here in California during this prison crisis.
I watched yet another a family be destroyed with what happened to Sophanareth Sok and I wonder if Ted Koppel or anyone of national prominence will ever know about, let alone report on this sad day at Solano Prison.
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.