As recently blogged here and here, there are problems brewing at Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) LaPalma Correctional Center, under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to warehouse approximately 3,000 prisoners.
It appears as if the vendor, Trinity Services Group, has so seriously compromised the Kosher meal program that some prisoners are beginning to refuse the degraded, unkosher food despite the wardens' threats to throw them in the hole as "hunger strikers" - and the CDCR's promise to make sure that one of the most outspoken of the California prisoners "never leaves Arizona" (in case you missed it, that was here): Messianic and Orthodox Jews persecuted at CCA's LaPalma prison.
These men are pretty brave for putting themsleves into my hands now, because I'm going to raise some hell about this and they're the ones still in the line of fire (let me know if anything hits you, guys...). There's a whole bunch of people who should be ashamed of themselves for turning ablind eye to the constitution - not the least of whom is LaPalma Warden Jim MacDonald.
Before it got this far, you see, the prisoners took this up the internal chain of command, assuming the warden would act to enforce CDCR policy and California law in the end... He didn't. So they appealed to all sorts of other people, like CCA Chaplain O'Dell, at CCA HQ in Nashville, who seems to be unconcerned. This letter was sent 1 1/2 year ago.
They also wrote to CDCR food department employee Laurie Maurino, who never responded:
They reported the issue to the American Correctional Association last fall - also no response. Guess you can't really count on the police to police the police...
And finally they even tried the Governor, Jerry Brown, through this well-articulated letter from Annie Santiago, the wife of Messianic prisoner Kenneth Santiago. Guess Jerry doesn't have anyone in his office who handles constituent mail, though - or maybe they just don't care about their mail from families of prisoners. Or perhap they're in on this as well - who knows where the prison contract kickbacks go?
In any case, they should all know now that when you ignore prisoners trying to address violations of their religious rights, chances are they'll just get louder. I'm told that when virtually every other civil liberty and human right has been stripped from you, you don't compromise too easily when told to surrender the tenets of your faith - and these fellows won't.
Here's the letter to good old liberal Jerry. Thanks for caring, buddy.
Anyway, no one has to do anything just now - the ball is back in CCA's court, and I'm just laying out the evidence. We'll call on you when needed - thank you for your support.