When Jeremy Romo was packed off to prison in 2012 for illegal possession of a firearm, he says he was as healthy as anyone, a construction worker who ran three miles each weekday and five miles on weekends.
By the time he was released in July 2013, the 34-year-old Manteca man says he had become a physical wreck, unable to run, suffering from joint pain and consigned to a life sentence of taking expensive medications to combat the Valley fever he contracted while in prison.
A federal judge in Sacramento on Wednesday awarded class-action status to California prison inmates who allege that their rights are violated by what they say are widespread instances of race-based punishment.
Prison officials acknowledge they respond to outbreaks of violence by ordering sanctions, including sweeping lockdowns, that can last for months. They say every inmate is assigned a race or ethnic code: black, Hispanic, white or other, and at some prisons, inmates live in cells where their race is denoted by color-coded signs.
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature have been cutting down on prison overcrowding to comply with a federal court order, thus leading to a "realignment" policy that moves inmates from state-run prisons to county jails and a policy that may result in some early releases.
"[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can 'seize' and 'search' him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country."--U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
PARC is a prison abolitionist group based on Oakland, California committed to exposing and challenging the institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and classism of the Prison Industrial Complex. Learn More or Donate to PARC