Because of a "horrible" dream that Sonny's brother (Danny) had the other night, I decided to go and visit Sonny today to make sure the dream hadn't been prophecy.
I am happy to report that he is doing great (despite having some medical issues we are dealing with and STILL trying to get him moved to the new medical facility).
We had a couple pictures taken, but for some reason they won't load onto the page here. Not sure why but I will work on it when I get some free time.
Well, I am now a California girl :-) I am living in Stockton and my battle continues to advocate for not only Sonny, but other inmates who are not being given the treatment they are entitled to by CDCR - mostly ADA/DPW issues. I don't imagine I'm going to be making too many friends in CDCR, but I really don't care - as long as I don't start seeing any blatant signs of retaliation against me or him because of my "interference". (I can't help but wonder if some of what is happening righ now is in fact retaliation).
They want to move Sonny to R. J. Donovan in San Diego. 9 months ago when they first wanted to move him there it was announced that they could not accommodate his needs there, so he was sent to Valley State Prison in Chowchilla instead, where they said they could accommodate him and other inmates who are considered "high risk".
Now, for some reason, VSP can no longer accommodate him but RJ Donovan can.
He has had many health issues while at VSP and I have been very vocal in my advocacy for him - not making many friends in the process. But, ask me if I care what CDCR thinks of me :-) I will continue my fight.
People can contact me at email@example.com of you have any questions, suggestions, or are willing to help make phone calls/write letters to "the powers that be CDCR" and I will be sure to give you all the details and addresses that I can. Especially if you have somebody in prison who is not being treated fairly or their health is suffering because of inadequate care, alone we can't do much, but together we can make them listen.
I haven't written much because not much has been happening to write about.
I have spent a good part of my time looking for work, not leaving me much time for the site. But things are looking up so maybe now I can spend more time here.
We have continued to fight some battles with CDCR - and have actually made some progress. Not sure if it was our doings, but I would like to think so (I try to get as many people involved as I can, if enough of us are making noise it's liable to be looked at a lot quicker than if it's just me making my phone calls and sending out emails/letters).
They now have ADA tables back in the visiting rooms at Valley State Prison - making it much easier for inmates/visitors in wheelchairs to sit comfortably and actually be able to reach the table to eat, play cards/games, etc.
Now we need to work on the price of the food in the vending machines there. ($7 for what they call a "Bacon lover's cheeseburger" that has one tiny little piece of gross looking bacon curled up on a burger that makes McDonalds look gourmet. And they call the inmates the thieves!!!)
We are also trying to get people to come forward and be heard about medical diets. CDCR has Kosher, Halal, Native American and vegetarian diets available for those requesting them, but they don't have medical diets that would benefit inmates with health issues, such as diabetes which is better controlled by more high fiber foods and less carbohydrates.
We will continue to fight - no matter what the battle may be.
I know there have been a few visitors who have not signed the guest book, or become members. If you return, or are a new visitor, please feel free to join us and stop in and say hello, leave comments (or criticisms - we read and respond to everything).
Sonny says to pass on big hello from him to you.
Things still aren't going as fast as we hoped as far as getting Sonny moved to the new medical facility in Stockton. For some reason CDCr is dragging their feet with him - even though they admit that he is a medically high risk inmate. But yet he still remains at Valley State Prison.
I'm starting to believe that because of our being so vocal about his need to be moved that they are doing this on purpose. ( I do think that eventually though they will move him, if for no other reason other than to get us to shut up and leave them alone :-) ) Because of our vocalizations we have managed to get a few things changed, not just for Sonny but on behalf of other DPW/ADA inmates at VSP
I will continue to write my letters and make my phone calls until he is finally moved - even if it's not to Stockton but to another medical facility where he can get proper treatment without them saying they can't find any paperwork on some of his issues in his file and changing his medications, only to have somebody find the pages after he gets copies of everything and shows it to them (Funny how they appeared after that).
If anybody has any ideas on people I can contact on behalf of Sonny and his being moved to a medical facility, please share them with me. Or if you know of a lawyer/group of lawyers who are involved with inmate medical issues, give me their names so I can write to them and see if we can get them to light a fire under the butts of whoever is in charge of getting an inmate transferred - anything at all that might be of help for us. Sonny and I would be forever in your debt if you could find that one person that could make it all happen for him.
Sonny's brother (Danny, aka Skippy) visited him at Valley State Prison and is sharing these pictures taken in the visiting room with us. Thank you Danny.
I got to visit with Sonny at VSP - sharing our picture with you here. (I took a picture of our pictur because Idon't have access to a scanner right now. Will put beter quality one here when I get it scanned in). He's such a handsome devil :-)
After years of California dreaming, I'm finally making it a reality. On Saturday, June 8, 2013 I will be leaving Massachusetts, driving across the country with my cat, Pinecone, and moving to CA. I can't wait to get there.
Over the years, Sonny has shared with me stories of things from when he was on this side of the walls. Some are funny, some are heartbreaking, but all are his. I am going to start sharing some of them with you - in a new section under the link "Sonny's life stories".
I will put them in as I get them from him.
They are in no particular order, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
I would like to welcome all new visitors and invite you to become members, sign the guestbook, leave us a blog - just say hi if you want.
If you would like your own bookmark or postcard, drop me a line and I will gladly mail some to you. I may be biased, but I think they look rather great :-)
This site is dedicated to youth incarcerated, beaten, abused and made to suffer long term 24/7 solitary confinement, inside a system of injustice that has failed, not them alone; but, all members of society.
Sonny was recently transferred to Valley State Pison in Chowchilla CA.
His new address, which has not yet been changed in the books is:
Dwight Abbott T88033
Valley State Prison
PO Box 92
Chowchilla, CA 93610-0092
I'm sure he would love to get mail
Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14)
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
While the public clamors to know the dirt about public lives – the politicians who preach moral values but cheat on their wives and children, the athletes who talk about the virtues of exercise and diet, but take performance-enhancing drugs in order to win at all costs, the “celibate” priests who prey on the young boys, and occasional girls, who serve them, and so on – an entire world exists in this country that few show any curiosity at all about, and often turn away from when exposed to its ugly “reality” the world of temporary (and permanent) enslavement behind bars. (Was there ever a more obfuscating oxymoron than “juvenile justice” as the system uses that term? Has there ever been a more misleading euphemism than the term “corrections” to define what happens behind the locked doors of juvenile halls, county jails, or state prison systems?)
While most Americans were righteously shocked about the abuses heaped on Iraqi prisoners by American guards at Abu Ghraib and other American-run prisons abroad, they remain willfully ignorant about equally barbaric treatment by Americans on Americans here at home. As Dwight has written: “I have been left naked, handcuffed to cell bars above my head, left with only the tips of my bare toes touching the concrete floor, and blasted with water from a fire hose until water filled my lungs and I knew I was drowning... I've watched men get pulled from their cells and forced to receive a 'shock treatment' as punishment for being 'uncooperative.' I've looked on as guards took a prisoner to the fifth tier at San Quentin State Prison, handcuffed his wrists behind his back, chain his ankles together, knock him to the concrete floor and proceed to drag him by his feet down five flights of steel steps, leaving the inmate horribly bruised and bleeding, impressing upon those of us who watched from their cells what happens to those among us who don't follow the rules.” This is the reality of our prison system, a national disgrace that begins with the abandonment of our responsibility to children – all children – because they become what we make them. Tragically, the conditions that Dwight Abbott endured and wrote about in I Cried, You Didn't Listen are not a thing of the past. We still allow our children to be subjected to adult behavior that, if we were to read about it happening in another country, we would piously cluck our tongues, shake our heads in disbelief, and smugly pretend that we are better than they.
While most Americans were righteously shocked about the abuses heaped on Iraqi prisoners by American guards at Abu Ghraib and other American-run prisons abroad, they remain willfully ignorant about equally barbaric treatment by Americans on Americans here at home. As Dwight has written: “I have been left naked, handcuffed to cell bars above my head, left with only the tips of my bare toes touching the concrete floor, and blasted with water from a fire hose until water filled my lungs and I knew I was drowning... I've watched men get pulled from their cells and forced to receive a 'shock treatment' as punishment for being 'uncooperative.' I've looked on as guards took a prisoner to the fifth tier at San Quentin State Prison, handcuffed his wrists behind his back, chain his ankles together, knock him to the concrete floor and proceed to drag him by his feet down five flights of steel steps, leaving the inmate horribly bruised and bleeding, impressing upon those of us who watched from their cells what happens to those among us who don't follow the rules.”
This is the reality of our prison system, a national disgrace that begins with the abandonment of our responsibility to children – all children – because they become what we make them. Tragically, the conditions that Dwight Abbott endured and wrote about in I Cried, You Didn't Listen are not a thing of the past. We still allow our children to be subjected to adult behavior that, if we were to read about it happening in another country, we would piously cluck our tongues, shake our heads in disbelief, and smugly pretend that we are better than they.
In a lawsuit filed against California's statewide juvenile prison, the California Youth Authority in 2003, the state entered into a “Consent Decree” rather than fight the allegations in the lawsuit (Farrell v. Cate), among them:
· “It is common practice within the CYA for staff and/or guards to slam a ward down, pull his arms behind his back, force a knee into his back, and use excessive amounts of Mace or other chemical agents even after the ward is restrained.”
· “Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment are common within the CYA. Staff are routinely indifferent to wards' pleas for protection from those who have assaulted them.”
· “The use of long-term lock down as the sole response to gang violence results in more physical violence because wards are simply locked in their rooms for weeks or months with no programming.”
· “Many CYA lockup rooms are filthy, with dried mucus, blood, and/or feces on the walls, unusable toilets, and broken windows.”
· “Wards on lockup are often fed only 'blender meals,' which are entire meals that have been put into a blender and liquefied and then fed to the ward via a straw through his or her cell door.”
· “CYA wards spend an alarming amount of time in segregation. The CYA's policies and practices are so excessive as to violate accepted professional practices, particularly for wards who are mentally ill and/or suicidal.”
· “CYA admits that it fails to provide even minimally adequate mental health care to its wards.”
· “Wards typically receive only a fraction of the educational program to which they are legally entitled.”
· “In 2004, a videotape was released in California showing two teenagers face down on the floor with their hands handcuffed behind them, being straddled by two burly guards beating and punching them in a California youth prison in Stockton.”
(You can read this entire commentary by Michael Kroll in Dwight's book, CONSEQUENCE: the aftermath - available for sale on the "BOOKS" link).
A constant work in progress, this site is about truth, exposing an abusive, dysfunctional system that has, since its conception, failed not only those children intrusted to it, but a society that believes that the Corrections Department administrators are good stewards.
Undoubtedly there will be the many who question. Please do not hesitate to do so. Who but Dwight Abbott, after 52 years in a cell smaller than a studio apartment bathroom, now serving 4 consecutive life sentences leaving him without hope of ever again breathing on this side of the high barriers behind which he languishes, could know the prison system more personally?
Webmaster, Karren Kilian, will collect all questions left here for Sonny, or other Abbott family members, and as quickly as it is possible get answers, if any there are, and publish them here.
Prison of heartaches, anguish and tears,
where there is no hope, only fear,
This graveyard for many,
this shame on all,
where I exist,
back unbent, standing tall,
Fortress of madness and frustration,
bastions filled with untold pain,
I challenge again, again, again!
I dispute your authority
over my life, my soul,
hidden behind fungus covered granite walls,
smelling of spattered blood and mold.
Your foundation of rock and steel were laid
by sadists long gone;
your torch kept burning
by Devil's spawn.
Fuck you, your threats,
oppression, solitary cells and greed,
enough of my blood you have let.
I promise, a day will dawn,
upon which alarms will toll,
The Reaper has come to collect
for the senseless destruction of souls.
As sure as the Eagle takes flight,
vengeance will resound,
taken by men
whose lives and souls you bound.
I'll savor my moment,
you sadistic whore!
Knowing a “moment” is all I'll have,
before a bullet takes me to the floor.
Ah, what the hell, San Quentin,
I'm too old, far too much blood has flowed,
I'll give you what you would not,
mercy instead of a show . . .
Dwight Abbott, 2009