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Jackson Demands Answers About Inmate Sterilization

Questions How Federal Authorities Were Unaware


Friday, July 12, 2013
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California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, co-chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, signed a letter demanding to know how the federal receiver overseeing California’s prison system didn’t know that female inmates were being sterilized by prison doctors. One hundred and forty-eight women have been sterilized since 2006 without following the state’s strict legal requirements.

“Pressuring a vulnerable population – including at least one documented instance of a patient under sedation – to undergo these extreme procedures erodes the ban on eugenics,” stated the letter, which was signed by Jackson and 19 others. “In our view, such a practice violates Constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment; protections that you were appointed to enforce.”

Forced sterilizations of California prisoners and mental patients were banned in the 1970s. In 1994, the legislature passed a law requiring that any prison sterilizations be cleared by a panel of statewide medical authorities, on a case-by-case basis.

<b>HOW THE HECK?</b>  State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson wants to know how federal officials overseeing California’s prison system missed the coerced sterilization of nearly 150 women inmates.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

HOW THE HECK? State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson wants to know how federal officials overseeing California’s prison system missed the coerced sterilization of nearly 150 women inmates.

Last week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released an exposé revealing that 148 prison sterilizations – tubal ligations – had occurred since 2006 and perhaps another 100 were had been performed since the late 1990s. According to the report, many of the female inmates contend they were pressured and coerced into these operations by prison medical officials. Also according to the report, prison medical officials targeted inmates they deemed likely to return to prison and those who’d had multiple C-section births already.

Since 1997, the state has paid nearly $150,000 to have these procedures performed on women inmates. Dr. James Heinrich, who performed many of these procedures in Valley State Prison on Chowchilla, has been quoted as stating that this was not a large sum “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children.” The letter Jackson signed was directed to the federal government because since 2006 California’s prison system has been under a federal receivership – state prison populations so far exceeded California’s prison capacity it constituted cruel and unusual punishment in the eyes of three federal judges.

Under that federal pressure, California Governor Jerry Brown successfully pushed a measure (Assembly Bill 109) that’s shifted about 10,000 of the state’s least violent prisoners back to their counties of origin for oversight and rehabilitation. In addition to the overcrowding, federal judges have also been adamant that quality of care for the mentally ill within California’s prisons poses a serious Constitutional problem. In recent months, Governor Brown has unsuccessfully argued that California prisons have been sufficiently reformed that the receivership can be lifted.

In that context, the letter Jackson co-signed to Federal Receiver Clark Kelso seems like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it demands an accounting of how federal overseers were asleep at the switch when it comes to the tubal ligations. Whether they were coerced or not, there’s no record that the state law requiring strict oversight of such operations was complied with at all. On the other hand, the Jackson letter highlights additional shortcomings on the part of state prison officials. “Over the last three years,” the letter reads, “the Senate has asked repeatedly for information regarding these procedures and the policies under which they occurred. We have yet to receive a full explanation from your office on these procedures, despite a claim by investigative reporters that records show your office has been aware that sterilizations were happening.”

The issue of forced sterilization is especially raw in California, which led the nation in such operations with more than 20,000 between 1909 and 1964. California was such a pioneer of eugenic social policy – designed to weed out “defectives” and other undesirables – that Nazi Germany looked to California eugenicists for advice in the 1930s.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Thank you for not letting this scandal disappear Sen. Jackson.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 5:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Jackson needs to ask why her Democratic state legislature has done nothing to remedy the ACLU closure of state care facilities decades ago, and instead left vulnerable people in this state to live on the streets.

Get focused, Jackson. Do something that matters this term. Re-open state care institutions. Now.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 9:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

1. A state care facility is funded housing in an institutionalized setting run by the state - very similar to the state hospitals in the past that provided a high level of service for those deemed unable to care for themselves on their own. With all the necessary protections appropriate for this type of government run operation.

2. No one is forced into these settings or deemed "undesirable" - those are your words; not mine. Stay focused on the problem. The public guardian's office has procedures already in place to ensure only those unable to care for themselves have a safe setting for their lives, which presently do not exist. due to state legislative inaction now for decades post the ACLU release of all residents of former state care institutions. Nor are there residential treatment facilities for chronic street addicts who are also dangers to themselves, and to others.

3. A very large amount of money is currently spent on failed response programs from increased police work, the over-burdened, under-funded criminal justice system, and revolving door social programs which have only grown the problem; not curtailed it. The secondary effects of street people taking over down town business districts and discouraging a healthy commercial climate are also a cost factor to consider in the failure of the present management of this population.

4. One Flew Over the CooCoo's Nest was not a documentary.

5. The state, not the city or the county, has the obligation to care for those who are too vulnerable amongst us. Then law enforcement can take care of the rest who abuse lawful community standards for public conduct.

6. You sound worried; why is that? Why are you against getting care for those in need?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I see your phony Chumash wisdom is getting blown off of other blogs too, SW.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is better than "King Kong vs. Godzilla".

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The only point that Foo raised that I can't comment on for my lack on knowledge is that the ACLU caused the problem, but if this turns out to be the case, I wouldn't be shocked. Was it Reagan's fault?...the ACLU's fault?...both?

Either way, Reagan has been getting the blame for the masses of mentally ill people on the streets for decades, yet I have never seen any serious attempt to correct this problem. California is overwhelmingly a Democrat-controlled state, and has been so for many years, so why won't they correct the problem Reagan is alleged to have caused, unless there is an ACLU/Democrat alliance, (possibly in bed with Reaganites) making sure it doesn't happen?

Spiritwalker: When one's behavior makes it impossible for others to go through their day without being able to do so in peace, that person needs to be in a controlled environment. While your points about the treatment of people in mental hospitals is a good one, the overall issue of achieving a balance between individual rights and the good of society-at-large should not be ignored.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The point being lost is: these women were involuntarily sterilized. Where do you draw the line? Can the Kardashians be put on the waiting list?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 5:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ACLU filed the lawsuit that forced Reagan to take action that led to the closure the state institutions. There was also a belief at that time that the current pharmaceutical drugs could be dispensed at out-patient facilities, that would normalize lives that had required institutional supervision. Never worked that way.

As Hilary Clinton famously said, does it really matter who this came about at this point over 40 years later? Now we have ACLU suing cities who don't do enough to enable people to live on the streets. That is equally unproductive.

Yes, at least 30 years of non-action once it was learned both the drugs failed to work as promised and the release of far too many who should never have left an institutional care facility, has caused grievous harm.

The problem is simply too large for any one city to be charged with solving. Santa Barbara valiantly stepped up to the plate and all we did was become a magnet while other cities step aside to let us handle this sub-population alone. It has bankrupted all other basic duties of our city.

Please see the backlog of unfunded city infrastructure maintenance and unsustainable employee compensation debt if you need proof our priorities got wildly distorted trying to solve this problem on our own.

Point is there is a problem. Santa Barbara cannot solve it. The state has to step in and that means Das Williams and Hannah-Beth Jackson need to make this a state priority. Now. Not tomorrow.

Yet they have not even put this on their radar at any level. Which makes you wonder why they claim to be our "local" elected representatives being so tone deaf to this major local problem.

Additionally, we now have a generation of new people living on the streets who were not even born when Reagan was forced to act on this issue. So STILL using the Reagan card is a 100% senseless waste of time, even if it were true.

There is nothing compassionate about leaving people too frail to care for themselves on the streets. You cannot mainstream each and every one of them. State care facilities are the only sensible answer. And they worked very positively in many settings in the past. That is what we emulate.

Start with those who clearly are incapable of making safe choices for themselves who exist on the streets right now, and include the chronic addicts and substance abusers who create an unacceptable underworld for themselves and the criminal enterprises on our streets that support their habits.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 6:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker: I agree with what your saying about the "anywhere but here" comment, in fact I agree with everything you just posted except (unless I'm interpreting it incorrectly) that you don't feel *any* homeless people should be in an institution. Clearly, many of them are throwaway kids, (mom's boyfriend doesn't want them are is sexually abusive etc) and people who grew up in S.B. but cannot afford the insane basic costs of living. Some however, are mentally ill, and while outpatient treatment is the better way, if a person is screaming at strangers and defecating on sidewalks at High Noon, how is *not* putting them in a supervised setting a good idea?

Also: (at the risk of repeating myself and as Foo said) the Reagan card gotten quite old.

Until Santa Barbara actually becomes affordable for those who live there--and stops bowing down to the almighty tourist industry--it won't have the infrastructure to help the Least Among Us, and by "help" I also mean creating a system where a person can put in an honest 40-hour week and have something to show for it besides being destitute, and the collective S.B. attitude of "if you can't afford to live here, go to Bakersfield". After all, *someone* has to mow their lawns and work at their gas stations and if *they* can't afford to live there, who will do this?

Simple economics: Open up the paper, see how much jobs are paying, then see how much housing is.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 10:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would add to Spiritwalker's Lompoc/S.B. comparison that Lompoc actually has an infrastructure that isn't all about tourism, and is much more affordable.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 10:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What's wrong with sterilization? Germs are a bad thing, and when you get sterilized, you don't have germs.

Sterilized environments don't spread diseases.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 1:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with you 100% spiritwalker. (I'm serious.)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 3:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish I could have gotten my tubes tied for free! I did have insurance when I finally got it done. Would've done it in my teens if I could have.

I am for civil liberties; I respect the argument. I'm generally liberal, but reproduction is a hot button issue to me, because I don't understand the desire to do so. I was born without the desire to reproduce.
Human breeding is totally out of control; we don't need more people. How and why do people have kids they can't afford? One? Okay. Not good, but what are you going to do. More than one? WHY?! Yes, I am prejudiced about this and I admit it and I don't care about the skin tone of the babies. I never wanted any, and I have great difficulty in empathizing with those who do. Even worse is having a kid whom you cannot make literate on your own, before they get to school. Does anyone read to their kids anymore? It's just one step in good parenting. If you don't have time to read to them and spend close time with them, you may well be creating more "lost" children. I'll never understand.

geraldbostock (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 4:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I know I went way off-topic. Of course what is addressed here is illegal. I do wish that birth control, including long-acting, were subsidized, or free. I've done my part in work, volunteering and donating.

geraldbostock (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 4:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How many vasectomies were performed? Any?

geraldbostock (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 4:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

America has always been a country or rights, duties and obligations. It has never been "free" to do anything you want; always within limits along with plenty of duties and obligations all its residents also have to honor.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Every year as required by a federal grant, the street people population is counted and characterized. You need to know how they define "residency". Apparently any stay more than 24-48 hours can be called a SB "resident". This is why this must be a state solution; not a local one.

It is well beyond our city's capacity to handle this; plus carrying the "rich" identity of our Hope Ranch and Montecito neighbors who in fact escape the fiscal and social burdens of this misnomer identity. The city itself which is in no way "rich" and the vagrancy issue has tapped us out to the material detriment of all other city issues.

Read the profiles of the upcoming city council candidates today in the NewsPress and you will quickly learn which ones want to keep more of the same; and which ones are now dedicated to changing things for the better.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 10:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dump Hotchkiss, the Prohibition Candidate

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nice to have your perspective, SW. Run with it.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good grief, there are plenty of high paying jobs in this town, between all the public education institutions (this is a college town), Goleta R&D, county and city administrative jobs, health care industry, - all it takes is the right skill set to do very well in this town.

Myth that gardeners don't also do very well for themselves or housekeepers. Many send large checks to families back home, and live modestly on the remainder. Get all the facts before you start this meme again.

Students provide much of the low-skill, low pay part time service industry jobs and two people banking their minimum wage jobs can buy a condo or a manufactured home in this town. Or many other choices in average commute distances.

Yes, students are a fungible work force that will always fill in the cracks for many of these low-skill, low pay jobs because this is what students have long traditionally done and again they are happy to get these flexible jobs. Win-win.

What is missing is having economic common sense, a long-range game plan, a savings ethic and the willingness to sacrifice for a reasonable goal for more than a few moments --- like years. Instead it is easier for too many who come here empty-handed to demand someone else hand them what they wants, but do not do anything themselves to earn it. Your complaints are falling on deaf ears.

If 17% of all city housing is mandated for low-income, and there are over 2000 shelter beds, so who exactly are the "least amongst us" that are not getting cared for in this town?

The prices in this town are not insane for its location. In fact within the city in many neighborhoods they are very affordable. Just look at the jobs that are listed in the NewsPress and get the skills so you can apply for any one of them and comfortably call SB your secure home.

Displacement from one's home town is very, very common. Think how lucky you were to have grown up here, compared to all the other places people have had to call home. Yes, sometimes you just don't get it all.

So get out there and find a way to make it work without the demands the entire city should be turned upside down to suit your needs, wants and desires. You are losing time, the more you wait for someone else to pass you a handout. Go buy a manufactured home and start building your equity ..... now.

Let' pretend houses in SB cost zero. How many would be left over after they were all given away for nothing? Even that would not be good enough to meet the demand.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You get the job first, last and always. Then you choose where you intend to live. America is and always be a very mobile country. Get into farming or farm work, if you want to stay in Lompoc. Plenty of people find plenty of jobs in this high ag labor area.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 6:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I ain't gonna work on Foo's farm no more.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 9:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That is the point SW, there are jobs in this area. Other people are taking them; why not you? And you can make it in Lompoc on minimum wage. Try harder. Don't let those who do, make you look like a whining slacker.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 11:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Scandal? What a nice organized word for medically compromising another human being. How to tie up a chaotic mess of egotistical meglomania, chaotic degradation of another, the ultimate in discrimination short of killing. Nice you all 32 comments have all details relevant to your own safe world tidied up.

Now, let's find out who auhtorized money to pay doctors, nurses, operating room staff, orderlies, lights camera and action and take them down. If your mother had b een one of these unfortunates - you'd not a word to say about it.

Gain prospective.

Janwindsong (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Female castration has been one of the 10 most common surgical procedures in America. Look it up. Most women submit to this voluntarily, and even eagerly when it is called a hysterectomy.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 6:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are the perfect spokesperson for sterilization foo.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 6:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok: Agreed, also for the right of the certifiably insane to freedom of speech.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 22, 2013 at 12:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can we get back on target here? I want to know if spirityanker was a botched sterilization procedure. That would explain a lot.

Sincerely, Priceless........

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 8:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Actually, yes... if birth control or abortion had been "legal" in 1962, I probably wouldn't exist." So because your mother chose to keep you you choose to demean women??

"But, that STILL doesn't explain why we're wasting $160,000 a year on your pathetically worthless, bimbo, airhead, clueless ass."

You really have a hatred for women don't you. Is that because your inadequate in bed or just a pathetic human being that can't help yourself when it comes to making yourself look like a fool???

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Can we just stick with ONE name? I have to keep changing the name plate on my desk...........

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foofighter:
Santa Barbara County reported a total homeless population decrease of -62% from 2005 to 2011. HUD

Salinas, Monterey and San Benito reported a total homeless population increase of 70% from 2005 to 2011. HUD

San Luis Obispo County reported a total homeless population increase of 669% from 2005 to 2011. HUD

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/26/5142...

SB's decrease in the number of homeless, and Salinas, Monterey, San Benito's, and SLO's increase must be because
"Santa Barbara valiantly stepped up to the plate and all we did was become a magnet while other cities step aside to let us handle this sub-population alone"

Based on data reported to HUD by organizations that conducted the biannual census of homeless 2005-2012

Thanks, foo, I'm glad I don't have to rely on the NP for misinformation

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 9:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh no , pesky facts have been introduced. There goes our baseless fearmongering and bigotry.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 9:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agreed 14noscams; & yeah, foo is NP, wonderfully zany.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2013 at 7 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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