Group of human rights defenders requests IACHR for thematic hearing on California prison situation

August 25, 2013

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 2013 by OAS, web

(Commissioners of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – Photo: OAS)

By letter of 23 August 2013, addressed to Dr. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a group of human rights NGOs [National Religious Campaign Against Torture, California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, California Prison Focus, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, Disability Rights Legal Center, Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, American Friends Service Committee (Western Region), ACLU National Prison Project, Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes, Fair Chance Project, Center for Constitutional Rights, Justice Now, National Lawyers Guild, San Diego Committee for Prisoners Rights, The Real Cost of Prisons Project and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law] requested a thematic hearing with a focus on people incarcerated in California prisons.

The context of the letter is explained as follows: “Public policy debate in the U.S. has recently focused on the urgent need to reduce extended sentences for non-violent offenders, particularly those involving controlled substances. In August, the U.S. Attorney General publicly acknowledged the misguided nature of mandatory minimum sentences and stated the administration’s intention to reform these policies. While debate on this issue is salutary and continues in the spirit of the Declaration of Antigua Guatemala “For a Comprehensive Policy Against the World Drug Problem in the Americas” adopted at the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States this past June, sentencing reform alone will not redress the grave and institutionalized violations of rights in California and U.S. prisons.”  and the letter addresses the following topics in more detail:

Overcrowding and racial disparities in California prisons

Widespread and inadequately regulated use of solitary confinement

Punitive response to hunger strikers

Violations of the rights of juvenile detainees

Abuses of people in women’s prisons including coerced sterilization

Request for thematic hearing

 

for full text see: San Francisco Bay View » Appeal for hearing on California prisoners to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States.

 

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