Vacaville

CALIFORNIA MEDICAL FACILITY IS LOCATED IN VACAVILLE, CA,
HOUSING 2,512 PEOPLE.

Since March 2020, there have been 713 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 11 deaths, at this facility.

Stories from Vacaville

11/20
Worst medical
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Worst medical

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.

Caller: Yes, I’m at CMF, which is California Medical Facility, Vacaville. And I’m dealing with the COVID. I’m 59 years old, black man. And I’ve had prior asthma. I have all kind of medical things going on with me. And this is the worst medical facility that I’ve ever been to.

Dealing with any kind of medical concerns on the coast of California. I’ve been from Ironwood to here. And this is the worst place. Medical – I’ve just got seen, I’m in chronic care, and I just got seen by my doctor yesterday after a six-month wait trying to see her. And they’re using the COVID as an excuse to … Well for me, they’re using COVID. Because I’ve seen other individuals that was down there waiting for me as I got rejected seven to eight different times and being rescheduled.

I’ve seen other individuals that was there two or three times with me go see their doctor and take care of their problem while I was still suffering in my needs. But we don’t get no sanitizer on a regular basis. The last time I think we’ve been able to have sanitizer to wash our hands with, clean our hands with, was about four, about three and a half months ago. We have masks. They give us masks.

But you have to wash them and clean them. They only supply you with bar soap, so I don’t know if that’s really sufficient to really take care of any kind of viruses that may be on your mask. As far as the visits go, I seldom get visits, but I notice that other people, they’re going through it not being to see their families.

And I’m in a unit to where there’s not that many men, but we … We’re keeping the capacity eight, the capacity in the dayrooms is like eight people. As far as the close contact, following the rules of the six feet. And other that I mean you have some COs and they want to take their masks off like they’re above the law. And usually some speaks on it or I’ll speak on it.

And it hasn’t been that much of a problem. But you do have a situation where it does arise. As far as the men go, we pretty much keep each other in check about wearing masks because we realize that this, I realize that this is a serious matter considering I used to be a peer educator. But I’m living and trying to stay safe. And trying to see the next day.

Which I know is not promised, considering that all that’s going on out there. But as far as the virus go, it hasn’t spread it that tough up here. I mean I heard that maybe 16, 18, 20 people have contracted it. But they have them on a different floor in a whole different unit pretty much away from everybody and they’re on lockdown status, quarantined if you put it.

Like I said, trying to stay safe and do the right thing. And hopefully we’ll get over this and get by this virus situation soon with the vaccines that’s coming out. Hopefully it’ll be better. That’s pretty much all I have to say. Like I said, we’re – I’m at CMF and I thank you.

Worst medical

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10/20
Pursuing state torts
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Pursuing state torts

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.

In 2019, I was raped multiple times by a prison staff member. At the same time, my friend was sexually battered multiple times by the same person. We are both witness to what happened to each other. We did not immediately report, due to our fears of retaliation from staff.

In 2020, we both transferred out of that prison, and on September 1, 2020, we both filed formal PAGA complaints to CDCR. CDCR has already retaliated us by separating us where we were cellmates. We both fear and know further retaliation is eminent, as that’s how PREA works in CDCR. We will be pursuing state torts, and 1983 8th and 4th Amendment violation actions against CDCR and the staff member. This will be a very high-profile case.

With the passage of SB132 in CA, allowing trans incarcerated to be housed according to their gender identity, my friend is seeking damages from CDCR for its deliberate indifference to the serious risk to my friend because of them housing her, a female, in a male institution. My friend had placed CDCR on notice of her safety concerns in 2018, and my friend was eventually sexually assaulted by a male staff. My friend has reserved her legal rights.

I am bringing a 1983 action for CDCR’s deliberate indifference to my safety, resulting in me being a victim of five assaults by inmates and three assaults by staff. Prior to all of these, I notified CDCR multiple times, using multiple avenues, of my safety concerns; by verbal expression, by mail, by grievance, by my family contacting CDCR, and by my family contacting the ombudsman. I sustained physical injury, and a false rules violation report, and an extended stay in ASU.

The full story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Hi, I am a 27-year-old transfeminine non-binary person, she/her/hers/ms.

I write on behalf of myself, and of my friend, a 31-year-old female (mtf). She/her/hers/ms. We are both incarcerated in CDCR. Myself 8 years in on a 15 to life, my friend 11 years in on LWOP.

I’ve write to you seeking any type of assistance, from support, info, advice, up to and including legal representation for several high-impact, high-profile civil lawsuits we are undertaking.

In CA, marriage is a right guaranteed to all, regardless of gender. My friend legally changed her gender to female in 2018. I very recently applied for my gender change to non-binary. In CA the only restriction on marriage is that it is not allowed by proxy. My friend and I were, at the time of our initial requests, cellmates. However, CDCR considered us both ‘male’ based on our biological presentation.

CDCR informally denied us our to right to marry each other. By claiming we are same-sex, and using a 2013 CDCR memo subject “same-sex marriage between inmates”, as the basis for denial. The memo claims such marriages ‘are not permitted at this time’ due to ‘a legitimate penological objective.’ CDCR provides no evidence to support such claims. We are not same-sex, and in that ground alone, we have a right to marry. We will pursue this legally in order to secure this right. CA Supreme Court, 1983 claims ‘Monell action under 1983…” This matter is of high impact for LGBTQIA incarcerated folks, and their loved ones, on a national level.

In 2019, I was raped multiple times by a prison staff member. At the same time, my friend was sexually battered multiple times by the same person. We are both witness to what happened to each other. We did not immediately report, due to our fears of retaliation from staff.

In 2020, we both transferred out of that prison, and on September 1, 2020, we both filed formal PAGA complaints to CDCR. CDCR has already retaliated us by separating us where we were cellmates. We both fear and know further retaliation is eminent, as that’s how PREA works in CDCR. We will be pursuing state torts, and 1983 8th and 4th Amendment violation actions against CDCR and the staff member. This will be a very high-profile case.

With the passage of SB132 in CA, allowing trans incarcerated to be housed according to their gender identity, my friend is seeking damages from CDCR for its deliberate indifference to the serious risk to my friend because of them housing her, a female, in a male institution. My friend had placed CDCR on notice of her safety concerns in 2018, and my friend was eventually sexually assaulted by a male staff. My friend has reserved her legal rights.

I am bringing a 1983 action for CDCR’s deliberate indifference to my safety, resulting in me being a victim of five assaults by inmates and three assaults by staff. Prior to all of these, I notified CDCR multiple times, using multiple avenues, of my safety concerns; by verbal expression, by mail, by grievance, by my family contacting CDCR, and by my family contacting the ombudsman. I sustained physical injury, and a false rules violation report, and an extended stay in ASU.

Both my friend and I have suffered much retaliation for filing grievances, contacting attorneys and otherwise standing up for our rights.

Specifically, my friend filed two grievances and one staff complaint against a correctional officer. Ten days after my friend filed the staff complaint, correctional officer falsified a rules violation report charging my friend with ‘solicitation of bribery’ in retaliation for my friend’s complaint.

Further several of my friend’s due process rights were violated in her disciplinary hearing. Denied an impartial hearing. Denied right to call friendly witnesses, coupled with hearing officer failure to document such denial. Denial of a fair opportunity to defend herself. Where LIO author of charge was allowed to be present during entire hearing, interrupting both my friend and hearing officer, allowed to participate in disposition phase, including influence hearing officer to cease sanctions against my friend, after correctional officer stated ‘that won’t hurt her’ and hearing officer subsequently did increase sanctions.

My friend was found guilty ‘based on a preponderance of evidence’ where correctional officers’ report was only evidence. My friend is pursuing a state habeas for the RVR, as well as will pursue state torts against correctional officer and 1983 1st Amendment and retaliation claims.

12/20
Seeking release
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Seeking release

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.

I’m a high-risk, with underlying medical conditions such as coccidioidomycosis/valley fever, severe degenerative joint arthritis, pre-diabetes, hepatitis C. Also suffering from mental health conditions. I’m filing grievances, etc… seeking release to get home to my family. My release date is some ways off, yet with help I can gain a much-deserved parole soon. If you or anyone else decides to become familiar with my struggle, you’d be surprised and blessed in more than one way. I’m a knowledgeable, positive, facilitator, life skills coach, builder, healer, and helper, lover of life and people who love life.

I’ve grown into the man I’ve always meant to be, and I need to get out there with the rest of you and do good for our society and planet. If I were to lose my life to CDCR, it would be a great waste.

The full story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

I am a 58-year-old inmate/patient. I’m currently in captivity here at CMF Vacaville. I’ve been here since 2015, approximately. I’ve been incarcerated since 1995 for a horrendous act I could never carry out. I’ve never killed or seriously committed an act of harm on anyone ever in my life. Yet, accused and unjustly tried and convicted. I’ve served 25 years now.

I’m a high-risk, with underlying medical conditions such as coccidioidomycosis/valley fever, severe degenerative joint arthritis, pre-diabetes, hepatitis C. Also suffering from mental health conditions. I’m filing grievances, etc… seeking release to get home to my family. My release date is some ways off, yet with help I can gain a much-deserved parole soon. If you or anyone else decides to become familiar with my struggle, you’d be surprised and blessed in more than one way. I’m a knowledgeable, positive, facilitator, life skills coach, builder, healer, and helper, lover of life and people who love life.

I’ve grown into the man I’ve always meant to be, and I need to get out there with the rest of you and do good for our society and planet. If I were to lose my life to CDCR, it would be a great waste. I’ve got so much good to give society. Is there any way you can help me gain justice and freedom? I’d owe you my life and I swear you’ll never regret the deed. I’m so devoted to celebrating and sharing sobriety, life, recovery, compassion, care, solutions, and more. If you can be of any help to me please send me information, advice, and/or notify [redacted].

We are at an uphill battle, but with help God does bless us through us and our faith. I hope to hear from you in the near future. God bless you all and your all shalom.

01/21
Dropping like flies
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Dropping like flies

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This story was told by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.

Caller: I’m a prisoner at CMF Vacaville. The pandemic seems to be just overwhelming. There’s- there’s inmates dropping off like flies. Um- to the left of me, to the right of me, across from me. I mean, inmates sleep within three feet of me. They’re fallin’ off like flies um- 10, 11 inmates in the last seven days. I have underlying conditions. I live in fear of my life every day. I should have been out of prison. Please call if you can help me in any way. Please do. I need help. I need help. I’m not just- I need help. There’s truckloads of bodies. They’re sick and- they’re still sick. Thank you.

Please help, if you will. My medical conditions are underlying and life threatening. And no one seems to care. No one. And I need some type of help. Please, if you’re into helping us, please write me. Call the number below for help. Thank you.

Dropping like flies

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12/20
Everybody gets lonely
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Everybody gets lonely

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.

Our program has such a likening to the hole. First solitary confinement. As a trans person, it is certainly the safest housing a male’s prison could offer me, but everyone gets lonely. Twenty-three and a half hour lockdown, half hour given to us daily for a 15-minute phone call and 15-minute shower. No doctor visits, no psych visits. I’ve already been in the hole for seven months, so I’m kind of used to it. My fellow prisoners aren’t. They resort to yelling out of rooms for social interaction and joking about suicide to cope with their depression.

No lie, as I write this, I heard one man say “Man I’m going crazy. I’m going to hang myself.” And another man said “If you do, let me know. I’ll do it with you.” Sadly even though these men aren’t seriously suicidal, if they’d ask to speak with the mental health professional, the best they’d get is a psych tech yelling at them and their unit to ask how they are. Quarantine remember. And no one wants to talk to a psych on the TIAA where everyone else can hear.

The full story

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This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville. Click the play button again to hear their full story.

Hello,

I received a surprise letter from y’all and I enjoy writing so I figured I’d reply, ‘cause quarantine gets pretty boring. I’m a 27-year-old trans women and non-binary person, I prefer she, her, hers, Mrs. I’m Hispanic. My sexual orientation is pansexual. And I am currently engaged to my fiance who’s incarcerated at CSATF while I am in a single cell at CMF. I’ve been locked up for eight years, since I was 19 on a 15 to life sentence.

I’ve plenty of COVID-19 stories. From March through November, I was at California Institution for Men, otherwise known as Chino State Prison. If you have followed COVID-19 within CDCR, you’ll recognize that I survived the COVID-19 outbreak at the prison with the highest death rate in California. Indeed, as of the day I left, Chino had 1700-plus positives and 26 inmate deaths. I made it out testing negative the whole time, only because I went to the hole, ASU administrative segregation.

I spent 220 days in ASU at Chino, a horribly torturous place. Lockdown 24/7. Yard is offered three times a week but two issues prevented me from using the dog kennel CDCR calls a yard, safely. First to go to yard, one must submit to an unclothed body search, before and after, and be made to walk half naked in their boxers or in my case, a bra and panties, in front of all the inmates, staff and females. I refused to participate in their strip-show and prayed. So I was denied yard for 220 days.

Second, and most importantly, staff amongst many other failures, failed to sanitize the handcuffs and yard cages in between inmate use, even after a positive inmate uses them. You see, Chino like most prisons resort to the horrible practice of using the hole, solitary confinement, as quarantine for COVID-positive inmates. I’m sure one can imagine how such a practice only hinders testing as many inmates would rather tough it out than to go to the hole. No TV, no personal property, 24/7 lockdown, lack of social stimuli. Just you and your boxers, one book, and four walls.

Chino has military-style ISO person dorms, so that some activists and advocates such as myself took to calling Newsom’s COVID death camps. So of course coronavirus had its run of the facility. The day I left Chino, it felt like I was escaping a death camp. Just me, myself, all alone on a state bus, Greyhound style, and a 10-hour drive north to Sacramento. Now I write you from the California medical facility, where the whole prison just went on lockdown for a COVID-19 outbreak traced to a positive correctional officer who worked in my unit about a week ago. And now people in my single cell unit are testing positive. I think over the past two days, I saw five guys escorted out of the building by CRO’s in space suits, my funny nickname for full PPE. Today I took my fourth COVID test this month, thankfully negative each time.

Our program has such a likening to the hole. First solitary confinement. As a trans person, it is certainly the safest housing a male’s prison could offer me, but everyone gets lonely. Twenty-three and a half hour lockdown, half hour given to us daily for a 15-minute phone call and 15-minute shower. No doctor visits, no psych visits. I’ve already been in the hole for seven months, so I’m kind of used to it. My fellow prisoners aren’t. They resort to yelling out of rooms for social interaction and joking about suicide to cope with their depression.

No lie, as I write this, I heard one man say “Man I’m going crazy. I’m going to hang myself.” And another man said “If you do, let me know. I’ll do it with you.” Sadly even though these men aren’t seriously suicidal, if they’d ask to speak with the mental health professional, the best they’d get is a psych tech yelling at them and their unit to ask how they are. Quarantine remember. And no one wants to talk to a psych on the TIAA where everyone else can hear. Today as I write, CMF just locked down, ending out access to phones and showers. We were told a lot of positives came back last night and every CIO that usually clocks out at 10 p.m. was forced to stay till over 1 a.m. to assist in removing positive inmates and placing them in quarantine. I myself started to feel a small tight pressure in my chest today, so I’m praying it’s simply my anxiety.

Where I could go on and on about horror stories of lockdowns, COVID protocol failures, cases, death, as an advocate for social justice, I must look at the bigger picture of what’s happening to the inmate population. While I have done ASU time, plenty of level four lockdowns, I’m now at a level two low security prison where many have not. They’ve never felt solitary time, 24/7 lock downs, no access to education, therapy, self-help groups, job assignments, social or recreational time. Nothing. And I’m starting to see that it takes a toll. Substance abuse is higher, people are losing sober time to the fear, boredom, and uncertainty. The smallest things are triggering pent up anger in everyone. One can smell the fear and depression like a heavy chemical, and some of these prisoners will be released during these times, less prepared than they might have been were they given the proper services and support.

And speaking of releases, Governor-Dictator Newsom fools the public by showing he’s authorized approximately 10,000 prisoners. But if no one diligently researched public info, prison populations’ U.S. capacity, one would see that all of California’s prisons are still above 100% capacity, with some prisons nearing 120% reported capacity. The prisoners that were the majority of those released were young, health short-termers. Most of the CDCR’s elderly and high-risk medically inmates did not, will not, qualify for early release due to Newsom refusing to consider anyone with a serious or violent felony.

In fact, as of 08/19/20, CDCR admitted that out of approximately 6,200 such identified and inmates, it only released 15 inmates. How long? How many more needless deaths within CDCR’s walls until the public realizes the unjust torture that has gone on inside? Until mass incarceration, systemic and institutionalized racism, sexism and classism are all remedied and addressed by the abolishment of the prison industrialized complex, why should the catalyst that is COVID-19 be taken advantage of those of us inside to unify and stand against our oppressors while we have the public support?

To all the inmates, prisoners, convicts, comrades, myself and my fiance have started a grassroots anarchy movement, Bleed the State Anarchy. This is our call for the unification amongst ourselves. Our call to peaceful stance on activism, self-advocacy, and direct action against these highly centralized institutions, an abolishment of slavery and prisons. We’re here to educate you. Our union is more powerful than we imagine, but currently is weak due to the works of our enemies. Did you think I meant CDCR is our enemy? No. Prisoners are a prisoner’s own worst enemy. If only we weren’t at odds with one another, ah what a difference it would make. You must realize that we will allow the pigs to oppress us by dividing ourselves. We do their work for them. No more, now we stand as comrades. We want our freedom. You’ve heard it said in these dark times, if you want peace prepare for war.

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