Activist led drive to scrutinize inmate fees

Good work, Lois! Thank you for your dedicaton.

From: Daily Hampshire Gazette
Created 08/11/2010

NORTHAMPTON – A Northampton woman played a role in convincing the Legislature to take a second look at a move to charge inmates fees in Massachusetts.

Because of her efforts, the proposal was put on hold and a commission is being formed next month to study the feasibility of the idea.

“This is an example of a simply punitive idea that passes overnight with no debate and no one even knowing about it, and then it takes 30 years to undo the damage,” said Lois Ahrens, founder of the nonprofit Real Cost of Prisons Project, based in Northampton.

Ahrens started a grassroots campaign as soon as she learned of the fee proposal, which in her view is an idea “bad in every way.” She said the plan would be devastating to inmates hoping to successfully re-enter society.

“Talk in the world of corrections is supposed to be about re-entry, leaving incarceration with some semblance of recreating a life” Ahrens said.

Hampshire Sheriff Robert J. Garvey applauds the Legislature’s decision to study the proposal more closely, agreeing with Ahrens that it came up late in the session.

“The most glaring characteristic of the people that come through here is that they are from the lower socioeconomic part of society,” Garvey said. “Incarceration is very difficult on the families, they make tremendous sacrifices. … “It would break your heart to sit in our lobby on a visiting day. The people who will get hurt most by these fees are the families on the outside.”

Debate began in May, when the House and Senate approved two different budget amendments that would allow sheriffs to charge daily costs, as well as additional fees, for services such as medical and dental care for inmates. When the two legislative branches could not reconcile the amendments, the proposal was sidelined by the joint House-Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The idea of charging inmate fees has been controversial, with critics citing a return to “debtor’s prisons.” Supporters say it isn’t wrong to make an offender pay for their crimes.

Nevertheless, more and more states are turning to fees and surcharges to support criminal-justice costs and close budget gaps.

Uniting versions

The House and Senate versions vary. The House amendment called for a daily $5 fee for inmates, plus additional fees for medical and dental services. The Senate version allowed for similar fees, but lacked specifics.

The new commission will study the issue and craft a reconciled version, or – as Ahrens and Garvey hope – reject the proposal completely.

Both House and Senate amendments agree that any outstanding debt should be forgiven two years after release, providing the person stays out of jail during that time.

But that is of no consolation to Ahrens, who says the policy would worsen the problems of people who are already marginalized.

“Whether the debt gets canceled in two years or six months, it doesn’t matter. It still shouldn’t be there, it is already a debtor’s prison,” said Ahrens.

From her work with prisoners, Ahrens said she believes most people incarcerated are not able to pay the fees proposed. She notes that people held in jails in Massachusetts are categorized as “presentenced,” which means they are waiting for their court date and have not yet been convicted of a crime.

“Most people are in jail because they can’t make bail or afford a lawyer,” she said. “They are there because they are poor, and on top of it all, they could end up waiting for trial for two or three months, accumulating these fees.”

Sheriff’s drive

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who backed the proposal, says he has long been in favor of imposing fees on inmates.

Hodgson said people not yet convicted, but held in jail awaiting trial, would indeed be charged and accumulate fees. He said the fees should be canceled if the person is found to be innocent at their court date. But if they are convicted, the fees attained from their time awaiting trial should stand.

Ahrens said she sees the fees as a rushed effort to create revenue, with inadequate consideration of how they affect a population that is already overwhelmingly poor.

“What good would it do the community of Northampton to have people who are trying to get their lives back on track and can’t work or get a place to live?” Ahrens asked. “What good does it do to help feed that cycle?”#On the other hand, Hodgson said he believes such people are a burden to taxpayers.

“The taxpayers need assistance, and if they (the inmates) don’t commit any crimes for two years after their release, their debt will be gone,” he said. “But if they do come back, they will be held responsible for the debt. It is an incentive to follow the rules upon release.”

Bristol fees

In 1998, Hodgson began to charge “cost of care” to inmates, which included co-pays for medical services, haircuts and GED tests. That kicked off a legal skirmish. A legal services group sued Bristol County, saying it was unlawful to charge the fees, though a Boston court later ruled in the sheriff’s favor.

In 2002, Hodgson instituted a second policy that began charging inmates $5 a day to cover costs of incarceration, which again prompted a lawsuit. This time, a Fall River court ruled that only the Legislature had the authority to impose fees.

Hodgson appealed, but the lower court’s ruling was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Hodgson continues to push the policy, noting that over $750,000 in fees were collected before the procedure was halted in 2004.

Read the rest here: Source URL: http://www.gazettenet.com/2010/08/11/activist-led-drive-scrutinize-inmate-fees

SOS: Suicide in Massachusetts state prisons


This comes with a shout out from Arizona Prison Watch; we’ve had some suicides of our own of late. Our condolences to the loved ones of these prisoners referred to below. Let us know if we can offer any support.

With 8th suicide, appeals for change in prison system

State brings in a specialist

Suicides in Massachusetts state prisons are occurring at a rate more than four times the national average this year, prompting advocates and inmates’ relatives to call for an urgent response from state officials — and spurring the Patrick administration yesterday to hire a suicide prevention specialist.

With the discovery of an eighth inmate found hanging in his cell at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater yesterday morning, Massachusetts prisons have reached a suicide rate of about 71 per 100,000 inmates so far this year, more than quadruple the average annual national rate of 16 per 100,000 inmates reported by the US Bureau for Justice Statistics.

Even if no additional inmates commit suicide this year, the eight deaths to date match the highest annual total in the past 14 years, according to Department of Correction statistics.

“To hear that so many people have committed suicide, it just boggles my mind,’’ said Antonia Chasse, of Westfield, whose brother, Ramon DeJesus, a 58-year-old convicted murderer, was found hanging in his cell on June 2 at MCI-Norfolk. “This is a place where individuals are being watched 24 hours a day.’’

Alarmed by the surge in suicides, Leslie Walker, executive director of Boston-based Prisoners’ Legal Services, said in a phone interview Wednesday that the state should rehire the suicide prevention specialist, Lindsay M. Hayes, of Mansfield, who worked on a plan for the Correction Department in 2007.
Late yesterday afternoon, Diane Wiffin, a spokeswoman for the prison system, said the department had indeed rehired Hayes, project director for the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, and asked him to examine each recent suicide.

In February 2007, following seven suicides the previous year, Hayes issued a 63-page report that found serious shortcomings in the state’s handling of inmates at risk for suicide. The state immediately pledged to comply with all 29 recommendations in his report, and suicides fell.

But advocates question whether the state has lived up to its promise. Inmates who spent time on suicide watches in the past two years, Walker said, told her that officials placed them in barren cells, made them change from regular prison garb into gowns, revoked routine privileges such as family visits, and deprived them of belongings, including books, mail, family photographs, and toiletries.
Hayes’s 2007 report had urged that such practices be avoided because they exacerbate a sense of isolation and discourage some inmates from reporting suicidal feelings, but Walker said they persist.
“There’s a lack of vigilance and compliance with Hayes’s recommendations,’’ said Walker, who added that she planned to write Commissioner Harold W. Clarke about what she called “an epidemic, a crisis’’ within the state prison system. In response, the Correction Department’s Wiffin said suicide prevention is a top priority and “we have made significant investments to protect the prisoners in our care.’’

The department has opened several relatively small treatment and behavior modification units for mentally ill prisoners and made cells more resistant to suicide, she said. All new prison employees undergo eight hours of suicide prevention training. Prison officials, she said, consult mental health professionals about appropriate possessions and privileges that inmates on suicide watches can have.
“Despite these efforts, eight prisoners, including one this morning, have tragically ended their lives,’’ she said. “While privacy concerns prevent us from commenting about specific cases, our initial reviews have found no common trends.’’

The state’s prison system has more than 11,000 inmates.

The inmate who officials said committed suicide yesterday was John Pappageris, a 51-year-old former Waltham man serving three to four years for breaking and entering and a concurrent one-year sentence for assault and battery on a public servant, Wiffin said.

He was found hanging in his cell at 5:15 a.m. by a correction officer and taken to Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton, where he was pronounced dead at 6:27 a.m., Wiffin said. Prison officials notified the Plymouth County district attorney’s office, as is routine with such deaths.
Pappageris was a client of Prisoners’ Legal Services, had a lengthy history of mental illness, and had attempted suicide several times before, according to Walker.

His aunt, Lucille Mahakian, of Watertown, said last night that Pappageris had never gotten over the suicide of his mother in 1971. He mutilated himself in prison and ate batteries, she said.
“They knew of his history with mental issues,’’ she said of prison officials. “He was on their watch, and this happened.’’

A Globe Spotlight Team series in December 2007 revealed deepening mental illness and misery behind the walls of the state’s prisons and identified numerous problems, including botched background screenings on suicidal inmates, missing mental health records, and skipped security rounds by correction officers.

Some advocates for inmates say this year’s increase in suicides tells only part of the story.
“The number of completed suicides is always the tip of the iceberg,’’ said Rick Glassman, litigation director of the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts, a nonprofit group that advocates for people with disabilities, including mental illness. “What lies beneath it is the number of suicide attempts and self-injurious behavior.’’

In March 2007, the center sued the state in federal court, alleging that hundreds of mentally ill prisoners were kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, leading to suicides and self-mutilation. The suit called on the state to build large special treatment units similar to those constructed in other states as a result of federal lawsuits.

In November 2008, Clarke told the Globe he expected the suit would be settled out of court shortly with the announcement of plans to build maximum-security residential treatment units. But a year later, lawyers for the prison system disclosed that the Patrick administration had shelved the plans because of the state’s fiscal crisis. The suit is pending.

In addition to wanting the state to bring Hayes back to study the latest surge in suicides, Walker and other advocates for prisoners want the Legislature to pass a bill to appoint a permanent panel to review problems in the prisons and recommend improvements.

State Representative Kay Khan, Democrat of Newton and a psychiatric nurse, has sponsored the bill in every session over the past 15 years but said it has gotten nowhere, largely because of opposition from the union that represents correction officers.

Khan said she believes top prison officials are doing the best they can but face daunting challenges: The vast majority of inmates have mental health or substance abuse problems, the state has cut prison budgets, and few lawmakers are interested in what happens in prisons.

Read the rest here.

Victory!- House-Senate Ways and Means Committee does NOT include jail fees in budget. Creates a Commission to Study Feasibility of Fees

June 24, 2010
A victory!
From: The Real Cost of Prisons

The House-Senate Ways and Means Conference Committee has chosen NOT to include either of the House or Senate Budget Amendments that would have allowed sheriffs to charge fees. Instead they have opted to form a commission to study the feasibility of establishing fees to prisoners. All of the budget amendments calling for jail fees have been defeated.

The next step is to remain vigilant as the Commission is established so that we can communicate our experience and ideas with Commissioners.

Many thanks to everyone who lobbied, called and wrote their legislators and to the legislators who opposed the Amendments.

Lois Ahrens and Nancy Ahmadifar

SECTION 177. There shall be a special commission to study the feasibility of establishing inmate fees. The commission shall consist of the secretary of public safety and security or a designee, who shall be the chair; the president of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association or a designee; 2 sheriffs to be designated by the president of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association, each of whom shall be from a different political party; the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services or a designee; a correctional system union representative; and a representative from prisoners’ legal services. The commission shall convene its first official meeting no later than September 1, 2010.

The commission shall make a comprehensive study of the feasibility of establishing inmate fees within the correctional system of the commonwealth.

The study shall include, but not be limited to, the types and amount of fees to be charged, including a daily room and board fee and medical co-pays; revenue that could be generated from the fees; the cost of administering the fees; the impact on the affected population; use of the collected fees by the respective sheriff’s office; method and sources of collecting the fees; impact on the prisoner work programs; waiver of the fees for indigents; exemptions from the fees for certain medical services; and forgiveness of the balance due for good behavior.

The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, who shall forward the same to the chairs of the house and senate ways and means committees and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public safety on or before March 1, 2011.

Senate Budget Amendment for $5 jail fees fails—the fight is not over!

May 28, 2010

Here is what happened last night in the Senate and NEXT IMPORTANT STEPS.
PLEASE MAKE CALLS AND EMAILS AND THEN FORWARD AND POST WIDELY!
Many thanks….
Lois

From: The Real Cost of Prisons

Budget Amendments:

487 the Senate Budget Amendment calling for a $5 a fee for jail and prison stays was defeated.

This is a VICTORY since if this Amendment had passed in the Senate, the House-Senate Conference Committee would have most probably agreed to a $5 a day fee.

Still, the fight is NOT OVER.

Amendment 445, a similar amendment to 487, was withdrawn.

Amendment 95 was ADOPTED. (See below for what was passed.)
Massachusetts prisoners are already required by statute to pay many fees, including victim witness assessments and court costs, medical care, haircuts, DNA testing, drug testing, and room and board fees for prisoners in work release programs. No specific fee amounts are assigned to this amendment. The amendment adds that 25% of the fees if collected, would be used help pay for a “cognitive behavioral treatment program.”

Next Steps:

The House passed Amendment 26 calling for $5 fees. The Senate passed 95 which does NOT detail specific fees.

The House and Senate will create a Conference Committee will most likely be comprised of the Democratic chairs & vice-chairs of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees and the Republican ranking members of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees. (4 Democrats and 2 Republicans.)

The House Democratic Chair of Ways & Means is Charles Murphy 617-722-2990 Rep.CharlesMurphy@hwm.state.ma.us
and
Barbara L’Italien (Democrat) 617-722-2380 Rep.BarbaraL’Italien@hou.state.ma.us

In the House there were two votes on Amendment 26 on April 29th and 30th.
Murphy votes YES on the first vote and NO on the second.
L’Italien voted YES on BOTH votes.

What to do NOW: PLEASE CONTACT Murphy and L’Italien— even if they are not your reps.

1- Call or email Murphy and thank him for voting no on Amendment 26. Let him know that IF (I repeat IF) any action needs to be taken that you would favor the Senate Amendment 95 but and against the $5 a day jail fee. (Sorry… IF you can’t in good conscience say/write you are favor 95 then please contact him, briefly say or write how harmful this will be to prisoners coming back home and to their families.)

2-Contact L’Italien- Let her know IF any action needs to be taken that you favor Senate Amendment 95.The Republicans will vote for the Amendment but as you know the rhetoric of “tough on crime” knows no party.

Additional people to contact:
1) Speaker of the House: Robert DeLeo, 617-722-2500, Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us
2) Sen. Steven C. Panagiotakos (D-Lowell) is the Chairman of Senate Ways and Means (Steven.Panagiotakos@state.ma.us or (617) 722-1630)
3) Sen. Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre) is the Vice-Chairman of Senate Ways and Means (Stephen.Brewer@state.ma.us
(617) 722-1078)

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS NOT OVER UNTIL THE DECISION IS MADE BY THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE!

Redraft JUD 95
COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL PROGRAMMING
Mr. Michael O. Moore, Ms. Jehlen, Ms. Candaras and Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended by the addition of the following new section:-

“SECTION X. Chapter 127 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after section 48A, the following section:-

Section 48B. The commissioner and the sheriffs for the various counties may institute a schedule of fees and assess said fees to inmates in their custody as follows:-
A daily cost of custodial care fee;
A medical sick call visit fee not related to a condition pre-existing at the time of incarceration;
A dental sick call visit fee;
A pair of prescription eyeglasses fee;
A pharmacy prescription fee.

Notwithstanding the above, the following services shall be exempt from fee assessment: admission health screening, 14 day health assessment, emergency health care, hospitalization or infirmary care, prenatal care, lab and diagnostic care, follow-up visits approved by health services, contagious disease care and chronic disease care.

No inmate shall be denied access to medical or dental care because of an inability to pay any fee.

Twenty-five percent of fees collected shall be used towards providing inmates with a cognitive-behavioral treatment program, included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national registry of evidence-based programs and practices, which develops moral reasoning skills. Such a program shall be proven to reduce future behavioral problems including recidivism incidents, as well as misconduct within prison facilities which pose a risk to prison staff such as disruptive behavior, fights, assaults, and possessing contraband.

Provided further that the sheriff may prescribe a fee to inmates in their custody assigned to house arrest program based on the person’s ability to pay, finances, household income, number of dependents and medical status.

Inmate fees shall be taken only from income earned by inmates employed on a work release program or for work within the prison. Inmates shall pay no more than 10% of their prison earnings for all fees. However, before any custodial care fees can be assessed, inmates must comply with orders for court ordered child support, court ordered victim restitution, victim witness fee, judgments for monies owed to hospitals, doctors and other healthcare professionals, judgment for money damages entered prior to the time of incarceration. If the inmate is not incarcerated within 2 years of their release from custody, this debt shall be forgiven. This section shall not apply to federal inmates, detainees, regional lock-up inmates, or anyone who has not been convicted for the crime for which the inmate is incarcerated.
—————————–

For those who have not read the excellent cover story, “Making Them Pay” by Maureen Turner in The Valley Advocate on the proposed $5 a day fee, here is the link:
http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=11816

CORI (Criminal Record) Reform Passes. (Next step lessening the time to seal reconrds)

Criminal records bill gets House OK
Would limit access to job seekers’ past
The Boston Globe
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff | May 27, 2010

House lawmakers yesterday approved legislation long sought by Governor Deval Patrick that would limit employers’ access to the criminal records of job applicants, a change that supporters said would make it easier for former convicts to find work and avoid a return to crime.

Moments after the bill passed, on a 138 to 17 vote, a throng of former offenders and activists who had been watching from the House gallery spilled into the halls of the State House, cheering and chanting. The bill was a priority for many of Boston’s ministers and others who work to reintegrate former offenders into society.

“It’s so nice to have a voice that’s heard,’’ said Cassandra Bensahih, an aspiring medical secretary from Worcester who said she had served six months for a drug offense.

“I’m not asking for a handout,’’ said Bensahih, a mother of three who said she had been turned down for jobs and for housing because of her record. “I’m just asking for a chance to prove myself. This is the chance.’’

The bill is a version of legislation that passed the Senate in November. Under both measures, felony convictions on a person’s record would be sealed and unavailable to prospective employers after 10 years, instead of 15 years under current law. A House-Senate conference committee must now iron out differences between the bills.

Misdemeanors would be sealed after five years, rather than 10 under
current law. Some crimes, such as murder and manslaughter, would neverbe sealed to employers. The House legislation, unlike the Senate
version, requires that sex offenses never be sealed, House lawmakers
said.

Both measures prohibit job applications from including questions about a person’s criminal record, although employers are free to ask about that during job interviews. That was known as the so-called “ban the box’’ provision and was seen as vital to giving former offenders a chance at finding work.

The measure cleared the House without any debate, after lawmakers spent more than five hours behind closed doors hashing out disagreements. The vote fell largely along party lines, although six
Democrats joined the majority of the House’s 15 Republicans in opposing the bill.

“I feel very strongly that we should be strengthening the [Criminal Offender Record Information] law and not making it more weak, and I feel that’s what this does, absolutely weaken the CORI law,’’ said Representative James R. Miceli, a Wilmington Democrat, who voted against the bill. “People who have a history might end up in positionswhere they shouldn’t be.’’

House leaders said the bill would reduce crime by giving offenders a second chance. One key supporter was Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat and House chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who said he had long harbored reservations about the legislation.

O’Flaherty said he had worried for years that the bill would make it difficult for public housing officials, who are also governed by the legislation, to screen out former convicts who pose a risk to society.But after studying the issue, he said, he learned that the chance of aconvict reoffending drops sharply after six years, so a 10-year limiton access to their records is reasonable.

The bill “makes a policy acknowledgement about rehabilitation, that turning a corner actually means something in our criminal justice policy,’’ O’Flaherty told his colleagues in the lone floor speech on
the issue.

A jubilant Steve O’Neill, executive director of Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement, said, “This is going to change things enormously, because now people get a chance to get their foot in the door and prove who they are and be considered for their merits before their demerits are counted against them.’’

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who has for years pushed for limits in the criminal offender record system and who has testified on the issue at the State House, released a statement praising last night’s House vote.

Read te rest here:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/05/27/criminal_records_bill_gets_house_ok/

Another suicide by a prisoner

Taken from: The Real Cost of Prisons

Each suicide by a prisoner gets treated as if it were aberrant act, not as a result of the prison culture of humiliation and hopelessness. In this instance, Leslie Walker blames the suicide of Michael Caputo on a cut-back of DOC “mental health” workers, as if they might be hired to make a difference in the life of someone with a life sentence. True, there are many more people locked in inhumane conditions who have serious mental illness, but it is the system as a whole—every aspect of it—that creates the conditions for suicide.
Lois

Inmate suicide brings criticism about health services –
Advocacy group points to recent state cutbacks
By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / March 31, 2010

A prisoners advocacy group voiced concerns yesterday over reductions in mental health services after a second inmate in less than two weeks took his own life at a Massachusetts prison.

Michael Caputo, 59, was found on the floor of his cell with a plastic bag over his head on Monday at around 1 a.m. in the medium security portion of the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, officials said. He was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m. at Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton.

Diane Wiffin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction, said Caputo was found by a guard making rounds that morning. The Plymouth district attorney’s office is investigating Caputo’s death.

Caputo had been serving life without parole since 1991 for first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of his estranged wife and her mother in Jamaica Plain. He was being housed in the general population in an individual cell, Wiffin said.

“The story in my mind is the recent reductions in mental health staff. The department is not equipped to deal with the influx of mentally ill prisoners,’’ said Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, which advocates on behalf of inmates for better medical and mental health care. “For one, Michael was a human being, and second, there is no death penalty in Massachusetts, so he was sentenced to prison for his natural life.’’
The rate of inmate suicide in Massachusetts is more than three times higher than the national average, Walker said. There were three inmate suicides last year, and there have been four so far in 2010, she said.

“Each incident is specific to the individual,’’ Wiffin said about the suicide rate. “You can’t eliminate risk, but you try and manage the risk.’’

A 2007 Globe Spotlight Team report highlighted a story of deepening mental illness and misery behind the walls of the state’s prisons, as part of a prison culture that included botched background screenings, missing mental health records, and skipped security rounds.

After a review of suicide prevention and mental health care efforts, the number of inmate suicides dropped from seven in 2007 to zero in 2008, but Walker said the decision to lay off 40 mental health staff last spring contributed to the increase in inmate deaths.

In another recent case, on the morning of March 20, Steven Carey, 62, a Chicopee man who had been in prison since 1976 for murdering a real estate agent, was found hanged in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

Women in House of Correction in Boston resisting!

From: NEFAC-New England
Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 11:25 AM

CALL TO ACTION – FORWARD WIDELY

Women at South Bay are being served bug-infested food, are forced to live in flooded cells, and daily face unsanitary and dangerous conditions.
Women are refusing meals and demanding that the situation immediately be put to rights.

Grievances have been filed about food infested with maggots*; rat droppings have also been found in prisoners’ food. The late rain may have been an annoyance to some of us, but it was flooding the women’s cells in the tower where they are held. One woman was given a plastic trash bag to deal with the leaks, which bag was soon filled with water. Another woman took to using her personal property, blankets, towels, sheets, and clothing to stuff up the leaks, all of which was soaked almost immediately. Even the ceiling of the visiting room was severely damaged by recent rain. The facility is fewer than 20 years old.

In response to the complaints, the institutional grievance coordinator declared the food and flooding situations “resolved,” despite the fact that the leaks have not been fixed and the food sanitation situation is merely being “investigated.”

Hidden in plain sight, this Boston facility is right off Mass Ave by Boston Medical Center. The repulsive conditions at South Bay are bad enough in their own right, but consider that the captive population is much more likely to have compromised immune systems, whether because of hepatitis C, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or an array of other conditions. For people suffering from chronic medical issues, South Bay’s filth is nothing short of a threat on their lives.

Call Sheriff Andrea J.Cabral this week at 617.635.1000, ext. 2100 and tell her that she is responsible for the health and wellbeing of those in her custody. An effective public relations machine is not enough. Demand that meaningful changes are made immediately with input from those women most suffering from the issues at hand. The two most important issues to the women inside right now are:

1. the food and
2. the leaky cells.

We encourage people to leave call back numbers and demand a response from the
administration. We also encourage you to write bostonabc@riseup.net and tell how your call went!

A woman wrote, “I just need some help. No one helps the women here.” Please prove her wrong!

*When one prisoner complained to a guard about the maggots in her food, the guard retorted that it was “protein.”