We are beyond anger and disgust. Why you ask? Well let us begin to rant! Back in 2004-2005 when we were known as ‘Inmate Activists” we were inundated with prisoner mail. Letter that told of sickness, suffering and lack of medical care in California State prisons. Letters that also told of needless deaths. Prisoners dying when not sentenced to death. One issue we heard of time and again was Valley Fever.
We took action, writing to Human Rights Organization, Center for Constitutional Rights and Center for Disease Control. We enclosed the numerous letters. We sent a packet to then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. We went to the press and started a petition. People were DYING needlessly from a very treatable disease. We knew that Pleasant Valley Prison was built on a former dump and that the construction of the state hospital behind PVSP was causing major outbreaks. The media picked it up…but mostly, we were met with silence. A deafening, deadly silence.And standard form letters!
Currently, 8 years later, Valley Fever still remains a serious issue. A deadly issue that we pointed out YEARS ago! California state prisons, as far back as 1919, have been particularly affected by Coccidioidomycosis. In 2005 and 2006, the Pleasant Valley State Prison near Coalinga and Avenal State Prison near Avenal on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley had the highest incidence in 2005, of at least 3,000 per 100,000.The receiver appointed in Plata v. Schwarzenegger issued an order in May 2013 requiring relocation of vulnerable populations in those prisons.
CDCr is yet again stalling. Just this morning an article in The Independent has the blaring headline California: Prisoners at Avenal and Pleasant Valley prisons demand move as valley fever death toll rises. CDCr wants to WAIT until December, when the CDC will conclude its ‘study.’ REALLY?? Governor Brown MUST stop cowering to the CCPOA and do the right thing, now- move the prisoners that are most at risk.
The facts are in, people are DYING. CDCr not only is this a blatant disregard for LIFE, it is a form of EXTERMINATION. This is NOT how you handle overcrowding-by allowing folks to suffer and die.
And no one had better say, “oh well, those folks, they are in prison, they deserve what they get.” What would you do if it were YOUR loved one, sick and possibly dying?? This is a gross human rights issue and cannot be ignored any longer.
If you are not outraged, you are NOT paying attention!!
California: Prisoners at Avenal and Pleasant Valley prisons demand move as valley fever death toll rises.
Thousands of inmates at two California prisons may be transferred to other facilities, to avoid the threat of a condition known as valley fever.
On Monday a San Francisco court heard that since 2006, the potentially deadly infection, caused by an airborne fungus, had killed more than 30 prisoners and afflicted hundreds more at the Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons, both in northern California’s San Joaquin Valley. Eighteen of the deaths occurred in 2012 and January 2013 alone.
A lawyer representing inmates argued that 3,250 of the 8,100 inmates at the prisons ought to be moved immediately to prevent further deaths. The state, however, wants to transfer just 600 of those at most risk, while experts from the US Centers for Disease Control carry out tests to determine whether the dust that carries the deadly fungus can be reduced. The study is due to conclude by December. The judge is yet to make his ruling.
The fungus originates in the dry soil of the region where the two prisons are located, which has seen a significant rise in cases of valley fever in recent years. Between 1998 and 2011, the annual number of recorded infections in California rose from around 700 to more than 5,500. Only around half of infections produce symptoms, which for the most part resemble flu. In some instances, however, the infection spreads from the lungs to elsewhere in the body, causing blindness, skin abscesses, lung failure and death. Studies suggest that black and Filipino prisoners are more vulnerable to valley fever than others in the state’s overcrowded prison system.
Via The Independent
- Our View: Shield staff, inmates from valley fever (mercedsunstar.com)
- California Prisons in the News (prisonreformmovement.wordpress.com)
- California objects to moving 3,000-plus inmates due to valley fever, says more study needed (prisonreformmovement.wordpress.com)
- SF Judge Considers Moving California Prisoners Over Valley Fever (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)
- Attorney argues state prisoners should be moved over deadly fungus (appeal-democrat.com)
- Valley Fever May Lead to Transfer of Thousands Of California Inmates, Delays Show A ‘Callous Disregard For Patient Health And Safety’ (hngn.com)