from a CA women's prison: A strategy meant to break me fuels my passion for human rights

Amy Preasmyer's powerful article was just published in the SF Bayview. California Coalition for Women Prisoners has visited Amy for several years and supported her when she wanted to write about her recent terrible experience with Administrative Segregation at CCWF.

I am an inmate at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California. In April 2013, I and another individual were falsely accused of sexual assault and placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) immediately. I was forced to face the loss of my job assignment, property, good living quarters, placement and status in groups and organizations. I was forced to miss my scheduled final examinations for college and lost the privilege to shop, walk outside or even call home.

The federally mandated Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) protocols and the complexity of its consequences turned my world upside down in seconds.1 This protocol has no intelligence or consideration of the law or constitutional rights that the judicial system offers and in many cases merely lacks. Through PREA, I quickly learned the cruel conditions of Ad-Seg.

This false accusation under PREA meant I was abruptly removed from my bed late in the evening to face an extended wait and then a transfer to Ad-Seg. Upon entering my newly assigned chambers at 3 a.m., I found the toilet was backed up and a DD3 (EOP)2 had urinated everywhere prior to me, leaving extremely unsanitary conditions and aromas.

I was left with only a bedroll, a state issued muumuu and no panties. I was utterly distraught and in a mental state of haze and disorientation, not knowing the excessively degrading experience I would continue to face from that point forward.

The torture and anguish administered with each passing minute, the refusals, limitations, the sudden removal of rights and privileges, and the revisions established by prison officials reveals a clear abuse of authority and misuse of power.

CCWF Ad-Seg conditions and limitations include:

  • Inadequate (if any) legal assistance and resource access.
  • No phone access.
  • Canteen items removed from original packaging.
  • Absolutely NO educational or rehabilitation opportunities afforded.
  • No religious services.
  • No contact visits.
  • No means to properly disinfect and sanitize cells.
  • No sanitation in dayroom, hallways, and stairs even while escorts continually take place daily and frequently.
  • No efficient and proper mental health assessment, evaluation and tracking.
  • No razors to maintain feminine hygiene (30 day review).
And the list goes on.

Read the rest of her piece on the SF Bayview site.

And send her some love and light: Amy Preasmyer, X-29459, CCWF 511-19-4U, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla CA 93610.
This story will appear in The Fire Inside, the newsletter of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.