A couple weeks ago I lost consciousness in my cell. At the time the ONLY garment I was wearing was my night-dress muu-muu. I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital for emergency treatment where stayed three days and two nights. During the hospital stay I wore the standard open-backed hospital gown. The two IVs in my arms seriously curtailed my ability to keep the back-side of my gown closed enough to keep from exposing even my sides let alone my back and rump. Shackles on my ankles further impaired my mobility.
Two guards were assigned to me at all times, and even though I was in a state of undress the guards assigned to me were almost exclusively male. A female officer was assigned to guard me on only one occasion. Oddly, that female officer stayed outside the room all night while her male partner spent the entire night alone in the room with me. Apparently, THERE IS NO MANDATE REQUIRING CDCR OFFICIALS TO USE FEMALES OFFICERS TO GUARD SEMI-CLOTHED FEMALE INMATES EVEN WHEN FEMALE OFFICERS ARE PRESENT AND AVAILABLE.
To be fair, most of the male officers recognized my plight and were professional and respectful. There is always one though who has to show what ought not be “permitted”. In the case of this exception he not only did NOT look away when I had to get up to go use the restroom, he openly laughed at me . After I made it into the restroom he unplugged the headphones from his phone to play the song, “If You Need Love”. (During his enire shift this was the ONLY song he played out loud.) To say the least I was outraged but felt too vulnerable to openly complain. When I locked the bathroom door he stopped the music. For me the damage was already done. I felt violated by him and I feared for my safety for the rest of his shift.
Understandably, hospital and prison administrations generally cooperate to place hospitalized inmates away from the general hospital population. For the vulnerable inmate it may seem at the isolation is simply another opportunity to experience abuse by a guard.
I would like to hear from others with regard to whether CDCR should permit male guards to have direct supervision of unclothed and marginally clothed female inmates especially when in public and semi-public settings such as a hospital. Do you think that there should be a mandate to require CDCR officials to use female correctional staff to guard semi-clothed prisoners, especially when such female correctional staff are clearly available? Why or why not?
Cindy Oakley #W44945
California Institution for Women
16576 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880
Categories: Cindy Oakley