B. Cayenne Bird
Letters in Support of U.N.I.O.N.

This page is in response to the slugfest instigated by Matthew Gray because the UNION won the compassionate release of Beverly Diaz after a campaign since February, 2003.  Attacks on the UNION Director, B. Cayenne Bird have angered many people who have worked very hard to build a voting group that is the key voice for inmates and their families in California.  As a legal person, I am alerted when, where and how to help people by the UNION newsletter. Like all the UNION subscribers, I work from my heart.  There are no paid volunteers in our group.  The good of the cause is the most important thing to us.  We may attack politicians but infighting with people on our side is not something we like to do as it wastes time and takes away from our campaigns and projects.

UNION people who attempted to post to the PRUP email list were not allowed to do so.  The attacks on our work invalidated many hardworking volunteers.  Most of these email lists are not  doing activism that includes projects such as protests, press conferences, mailings, a television and radio show and lawsuits, getting out the vote for candidates who are against prisons and harsh laws such as the UNION has done since 1998.

This is the other side of the story.  We must look at hidden agendas in such attacks and realize that Heidi Jones works for the DHHS and Lanie Vanatter is a former prison guard who had a mental breakdown.  B. Cayenne Bird is a reputable journalist and organizer and has donated her time without a salary to give voice to the voiceless tirelessly since 1998.

The compassionate release of Beverly Diaz happened because of Cayenne's new television series "Cayenne Common Sense" where we brought Beverly's now deceased mother, Ann Kilitz on the air to describe how she was ignored as she begged for her daughter's life.  Cayenne also allowed Beverly's children age 10 and 19 to ask the public for help.

Within two weeks both doctors signed a compassionate release but Edward Alameida turned it down several months later.  Cayenne told him that the UNION was going to picket his office and draw attention to this obviously case of murder by medical neglect.

Matthew Gray is named as one of the people who ignored the appeals of dozens of people to help Beverly Diaz, which he did AFTER the compassionate release was granted.  The UNION Newsletter documented requests to Zimmerman in Assembly member Jeff Denham's office (60 of us went there on March 13 and begged for mercy for Beverly when a transplant was still possible) - and we documented dozens of requests to Matthew Gray and others that were totally ignored.

It is a historical event that a compassionate release would be granted two months before the expected date of death instead of two days.  Instead of everyone sharing our joy at this important victory, the UNION and B. Cayenne Bird have been bashed out of petty jealousy and a total misunderstanding of our communications network.

April 9, 2004

Well, I prefer not to be long winded spideriixs, as this is all volunteer time for me here and my schedule is backed up, but there are so many misunderstandings and false statements that I am taking the time to respond out of respect for the posters. I have published more than 1000 articles over my career, owned my own publishing company for ten years in Orange County which was listed with Brad and Dunstreet, done a great deal of organizing. Additionally, have television and radio shows running in a series statewide that was just picked up by the Cox network. My school chums know that my maiden name was "Cox" just to give you a clue.

If you'd like to read a few of my published articles, this is the website where some of them are posted.


and the television and radio shows are playing statewide, these are recent productions in addition to the daily newsletter where we share responses and letter to the editor examples.

If people were getting the communication of media professionals - not just mine - that they must organize and mobilize to have a voice, we wouldn't have all these harsh laws in place or all the budget cuts. So never let it be said that I fall down on communication, although I cannot always be here to post to you and answer questions.

The UNION is a newsletter that teaches people to organize. We coordinate at least three pickets and attendance at important hearings each year, inspire lawsuits by finding pro bono attorneys when we can - seven subscribe - we answer at least 500 inmate letters peer week.

We have many subscribers who have been involved for six years who spend hundreds of dollars on printing, postage, and the necessary costs of activism.

Producing and distributing our television and radio shows has cost us $3500 so far but we know that public education is vital to reform. So we all donated our time to produce our regular series. It sounds simple but many volunteers are required to do these shows in the high quality fashion that we achieved. None of us are rich, so we must gather money to send out the high quality special tapes to the television stations, buy the postage for each one as the series moves from channel to channel (100 channels, eight shows, it's about $600 just to distribute each show with no salaries being paid).

This is just one of our projects.

Last March 13 we did a protest at the Capitol in the middle of the week that cost us $1000 to put together. This included renting tables and equipment, printing flyers (more was spent by families who distributed flyers to bring the crowd that MUST appear before the legislators take anybody seriously). We had to prepare 50 press packets of many pages each since we did one picket to cover a number of bills that we wanted to support or oppose.

You cannot have activism for free. But all the people who participate in the UNION work are volunteers. None of us have EVER taken a salary. Let's get that straight.
It is necessary to have money for expenses just to answer mail and send literature into inmates who are all looking for $50,000 worth of free legal help which no group in California can provide. 

Most email groups do not answer inmate mail, we do. We want them to know they are suffering because their families have never set up a real group to that can hire lawyers and activists so that the work can actually get done.

ACLU pays their lobbyists and lawyers, clerical staff and this is common sense. But not even they can afford to do all the fighting that needs to be done due to constant shortages of funds and volunteers. This is the fault of inactive family members that NONE of these groups can really do lawsuits, initiiative campaigns, provide enough legal services.

Funds and volunteers are vital if there is really going to be activism.

Passing email can be done for free, but passing email back and forth does not do one thing to help our cause unless there is going to be a lawsuit, initiative campaign, ad campaign for public education, massive pickets for media attention to back up what is stated.

Wanting reform and paying for and working for reform are two different things.
We had eleven campaigns that people wanted us to work on in January.
We had to do a vote to determine the top five due to limitations of funds and volunteers. These were all life and death issues that deserved work and investment of time and money but all the groups are short what it takes to be really effective
And of course, there is no large voting group that can elect candidates to office and pay for their campaigns.

Some of our oldest subscribers have worked 50 plus hours a week as volunteers since 1998. We grow forward but it has cost the best of us a lot of time and money doing thankless work. 

Cesar Chavez went through this for many years before the hippies and students came in and set up the United Farmworkers Union which at one time had 20,000 dues paying members who finally did have the teeth it takes to do things right. The problem in that cause has always been ignorance and apathy, poverty, problems similar to ours. Had the hippies and students not come in and set it up, UFW wouldn't exist While there are still challenges, even the most uneducated farm worker knows they must organize, mobilize, raise money, recruit more strength and show up to calls to action. They know that the size of the crowd is the proof of their strength.

There are not 20 farmworker's groups. There are not fifty teacher's unions. We are suffering oppression because of our failure to organize enough workers and raise enough funds to take care of our own business.

We do not have the volunteers to answer 500 plus emails a day or 500 regular mail letters from inmates per week, so we have restricted ourselves to subscribed, committed people only. We are simply a communications system that keeps the media and legislators informed on a daily basis of what our credible families are reporting from behind the walls We do a lot of work for everyone but it is all done for no pay.
Some UNION people are heads of other groups such as large churches or labor unions - we have many teachers, professors, health care workers. 

We try to support their activities on our behalf as much as possible. We are limited only by the number of active volunteers and the funds we have for campaigns, as is any group in all of America.

This is backwards thinking to criticize raising the funds it takes for activism and you need to examine the hidden agenda of anyone who would do that - what they are telling you is not to do protests, lawsuits, initiative campaigns or media campaigns.
This cannot be a friend to inmates who would teach not to organize and fight back properly.

We are always short on funds to meet the emergency requests coming from every direction so we restrict ourselves to those who are sincere in supporting and helping with our work. The journalists may not belong to a group but they may "subscribe to a newsletter" and with 45 journalists on our list for a decade, and my status as a journalist, we are naturally going to protect our business from the CDC people on the internet.

We do not want our battle plans all over the internet and we want to protect our writers and fighters as much as possible from retaliation against their loved ones, so we do it this way by subscription only.

One lady bought $30 worth of bubble envelopes to pay for her annual subscription, another bought $30 worth of copies to hand out at her prison. That's how we do it, pay for supplies. The newsletter is so large that it costs quite a bit for subscribers to mail it into their inmates but often this is the only education that inmates are receiving on how to organize and mobilize.

We have saved lives and given hope to inmates who are otherwise suicidal but we could not mail this huge newsletter in every day for $30 a year.

We would do many more campaigns if the money was there. Groups that only pass email really aren't making much of a difference.
Four steps are required.

1. Writing to editors at least once a week, 150 word letters that address items currently in the news. The media always read their email and mail. Politicians do not read email

2. Showing up when called three times a year to show our numbers and our ability to organize to the legislators. Otherwise they do not fear lawsuits, initiative campaigns or recalls. The size of the crowd determines the size of respect we're going to get for the issues at hand. No crowd? No media coverage, no clout.

3. Recruiting others to write and show up until we find those 6500 workers who are always on standby alert. CCPOA only has 28,000 members but they raise $2 million per month to keep their campaigns in force and hire 22 lawyers, scores of p.r. people. We outnumber them as 3 million people are hurt by injustice connected to state prisoners alone. This does not include jails, juvenile halls or the federal prisons. They can organize, we have not, so they're in charge of our lives. 

CCPOA puts out a call to action to their phone tree and can bring 1500 picketers out anywhere in the state in about three hours. It takes the families of prisoners months to bring out a couple of hundred people. We are all suffering due to an inability to organize and respond with crowds when needed. We only call three pickets a year because that's all we can afford but many more are needed to address and stand up to all the problems.

A small crowd means nothing to these bullies who understand the power of funded voting groups.

4. Getting out the vote. When someone will represent us, the UNION people know to bring ten people each to the polls in an effort to get people elected CCPOA has its members sitting in the legislature in elected office They paid for their campaigns. These are the same people who are going to vote on our issues. So what do you think their vote is going to be? In our favor, no! Never. We have to fight fire with fire or be the victim of larger, smarter voting groups.

Write to editors, show up when called, recruit others to write and show up, and get out the vote. A simple formula but almost no one besides us is doing it If they were the problems wouldn't exist as we would have hundreds of lawsuits filed and ads blasting away on the radio. We have achieved this current prison blow up simple by alerting the media on a daily basis of our complaints. But it may not last long and it is a continuous process. Other groups understand these basics of organizing and activism and do it every day AGAINST you. Beating out the families of prisoners is too easy. You can do something about that fairly easily.

But not without some time and some money required to cover expenses of lawsuits and campaigns. What ulterior motive would anyone have to urge you not to do this necessary work for reform? Are they really on your side when they tell you not to fight back or criticize the work of those who are fighting back? There are hidden agendas everywhere. Too many groups out there run by people with no loved one in prison at all.

I support any group who is truly picketing, writing to editors constantly, doing public education campaigns, lawsuits and intiative campaigns when they are in our best interests, but we only have so many projects that we can handle as volunteers in the UNION. Our feeling is that we carry too much of the battles and could do more with more support. But as a group, we are a lean, mean, fighting machine and we do not fight with each other. We support one another.

There are warden confirmation hearings coming up. It would be nice not to be the only person testifying against these devils this year. A great deal can be headed off at the pass when people are paying attention and responding at the right time.

I have never seen one other group or person except us (ME) stand up and state all the reasons why a warden shouldn't be confirmed. This delivers the message to the legislators and the media that everyone must be happy and that these wardens are doing a good job. Silence is deadly. If more people were testifying, they wouldn't be able to torture the inmates of the leaders so easily. If more people were testifying and reporting abuses to the media, we wouldn't have two year lockdowns happening that nobody knew about.

We have a lot of work that needs to get done but we are only as strong as the number of people who respond to the calls to action.

You need not be a subscriber to the UNION newsletter to help with the important work that affects your life We post what is needed on our alerts page. Doesn't mean that we are going to have the money to pay for a good campaign but we do keep everyone informed. The trouble is that we have too many people out there who think someone is going to rescue them, some group, judge, legislator and of course only a large voting group can effect a rescue. That's what we're striving toward.

As far as wanting everyone on our lists and overburdening ourselves with too much email, that is not our goal at all. We want committed workers who understand that our only way out of this mess is by contributing the time and money it takes to really fight back. Otherwise we're carrying dead weight which wastes our time and resources.

We are gathering support for a large, class action lawsuits to stand up against visits. We hope that with 3 million people connected to inmates there will be 2600 people willing to get together and get this done

There are 30,000 children who may not visit their fathers and mothers until they reach the age of 18 years old. Now the base for support of lawsuit is larger.

We don't care who gets it filed, but we're making an effort because no one else is doing it. With seven volunteer lawyers in our ranks, we think we can put this together but it won't begin until we see 2600 people ready and willing to back it.
The more who participate and support class action lawsuits, the cheaper it becomes to hire real legal work done, which is what we need here You never see CCPOA or the Crime Victims groups depending only on pro bono lawyers.
If that's the case, we'll never win anything.

These lawsuits take a lot of time to coordinate, but we need to do it, so let's expand the 1150 names we have and take it the rest of the way.

Fight back or be a victim the choice is yours. The law firm will collect the money when we get the backers together, we're not gathering funds yet and won't until we know that people are really going to carry a small share of the load for a real fight.
2600 x $20 each is $54,000 - that's how we need to think in order to get things done, in large numbers.

We all need to recruit more workers to whatever groups we think are the best. Then we won't have to be the political footballs any longer. It's a choice we have to make. 

B. Cayenne Bird

Letters in Support

I have known B. Cayenne Bird for twenty years and I would like you to post this story to your list
if you will.  There was never a finer and more generous person born on the face of the planet
than this mother and grandmother, who has sacrificed so much to give the prisoners and their
families some respect and education on how to throw off their chains.  This garbage going around
on the lists is by people who ought to be questioned.  I have been a subscribing journalist since 1998.

There is a picture of me at our last rally on March 13 at the Capital at this website.  I am the tall guy with the gray hair in casual clothes.  You will notice the high caliber people who surround this fine 
lady, many of them donate time who have no loved one in prison.  One of those people is me.  I highly resent this attack on our work which has benefited everyone.  I wrote this last April when Cayenne’s son was being tortured because what she teaches people is a workable way to end all the oppression.

She is targeted because she is the most brilliant person about organizing in California.  Her education of the journalists greatly elevated and exposed the entire cause.  Not many professional organizers would have put up with the nonsense she has endured.  She doesn’t want quantity of people surrounding her, she wants quality people who understand true organizing.  You never see her criticizing individuals unless they are politicians or officials on our payroll as taxpayers who aren’t doing their jobs. I like the information she gives to us in a concise format.  It is the only way that we as journalists can know what is going on in the prisons. 

She holds people accountable and teaches them that they alone are responsible for being taken seriously because they can show numbers, raise money so they can qualify for grants, do lawsuits and initiative campaigns regularly because thousands of people share the financial load.  I have paid for printing out of my own pocket, volunteered my time, and there is no one more dedicated, who struggles more for the good of the whole than B. Cayenne Bird, a person who just set a milestone with the release of Beverly Diaz.  If there was no UNION, there would be almost zero voice for prisoners at these Senate Hearings.

What a dumb thing to slap the volunteers who carry everyone.

By Jerry Baker, Columnist

Posted in the UNION Newsletter  August 6, 2003

Dear Frank, 

First of all I want to thank you you so much Frank for all the support you and Cayenne have given me and going beyond the call of duty in everything you've done for me.    My children are so grateful that you and Ms. Bird have invited them to do the segment on Aug. 19th to speak on my behalf. 

They will each be bringing their own copy of a letter to Gov. Gray Davis and each will be bringing a picture of us. You have been so kind to me. I will always hold that close to my heart.

I  truly believe if each human being gave an outreached hand of comfort and support that life would have meaning for everyone, regardless of how poor, how sick or how overwhelming the tragedy in our life have become. 

It is people like you and Ms. Bird  and the countless others that whose names I do not know  who over time have helped  bring justice to the little people in life. 

I am making a pledge if my life is spared that I will devote my self and service to a good cause for those that have been treated unfairly. 

Your friend 

Beverly Diaz

To:  matthew.gray@sen.ca.gov
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 10:04 AM

I want to thank you for all the pre-publicity on that particular episode of my show.

You are one of the stars of it and people will really want to tune in to see how your viciousness and callousness is exposed.  So keep on promoting and tell people to check their local cable channels, different episodes air in different areas, I have no control over programming or editing.

Everyone is a volunteer, including me but you are PAID to do an important job.  I suggest you get your priorities straight as we are bound to see an even higher death toll in the prisons from these deadly flu strains.

There is a pox outbreak and quarantine at CSP Lancaster that is fatal to already compromised prisoners.

A staph outbreak in the gym at Pleasant Valley Prison is reported.

Another report is that two workers in the kitchen at Folsom Represa have active Hep C. 

You need to get your priorities straight kid.  Your negligence is taking too many lives.

Beverly's legal case for willful negligence and medical neglect is rock solid.   YOU, 
Matthew Gray are one of the culprits identified here several times a month on this case

You have egg all over your face.  It would be better for you to use whatever authority 
you MAY have to help instead of to hurt people.  I can't and WON'T stop the lawsuits
but there is always the possibility that you will be named in more, so why not attend
to what is really important here.  Assuring the safety of all California inmates.  You're on
the taxpayer's payroll in a job that is obviously way too big for you.  Abusing authority
and coming in at the last minute, bashing us with lies. 

Your notes across the internet have caused even more complaints and pleas for help that
you've ignored to arrive.  While you are just one of the problems up there, rest assured
that people do know what you've done and haven't done.  I suggest you go for help
to someone in authority because we have been documenting all your excuses for not
saving inmates for some time.  You need to expose the problems instead of covering
them up and pretending that because you are powerless, they do not exist.  This would
be the humanitarian thing to do.  This would be the right thing to do.  Is your ego more
important than the welfare of the inmates and the suffering of their worrying families?

Think about the impact of your inaction's and get your priorities straight.  You will be
held accountable Matthew Gray for your actions and your inaction's.

B. Cayenne Bird

December 6, 2003

I am anxiously awaiting your public apology to B. Cayenne Bird and encouragement for people to get plugged into the UNION.  Your statements were not only slanderous but grossly inaccurate.

Prisoners and their families never had such effective advocacy as they've had from someone is well respected by journalists everywhere and feared by those who oppress you. She has often demonstrated courage, strength and leadership even when her own son was nearly killed because she has a plan that is workable to put an end to CCPOA.

Matthew Gray has been named in at least four lawsuits for his willful neglect that resulted in inmate death or permanent injury because of the UNION's careful record keeping.  One of those cases of neglect is Beverly Diaz which is well documented in the UNION newsletter step by step, possibly as many as 100 appeals to both he and Zimmerman in Jeff Denham's office. This pressure to end willful neglect comes from the UNION on many fronts.

We legal people need a trustworthy person such as Cayenne, whom I have known for years,  to alert and bring large turn outs of people in order to influence judges and legislators.  Recently, in the only high profile case where prison guards were on trial, the UNION volunteers made a loud statement that people do care about rape in prison.  Without this cooperation, we cannot put this costly trials in the public eye.

If each family with a prisoner sent her $1,000 each, it would not be too much to ask. However, I know for a fact that the UNION is very active and struggles for money.  It is a ridiculous notion that you can achieve lawsuits, initiative campaigns and large pickets with no funds.

It is not Cayenne Bird who fails you, it you who fail her.  You will notice that the people of the UNION are well educated professionals who are committed to the simple back up actions that she needs which has prevented things from becoming far worse.

She wins the bills.  CDC Director Alameida has decreed changes without authority to do so. The UNION has gathered more than 600 names to participate in a class action lawsuit. Thousands of people can easily file a lawsuit at any time for about $20 each.

You'd better hope, pray and help Cayenne achieve that database of 6500 people because until it happens, you will suffer more and more cuts and oppression. 

You have slandered the best mind in the movement but you have also slandered the work of a few thousand people who have knocked themselves out to create a proper voting machine.
It is a scary situation to appear on all these bills with the law enforcement unions writing big checks to buy off the legislature.  But the one person who is there the majority of the time, who has been criticized for standing up for the "bad" people, the one person who has given many of them a conscience and educated the press to a "healing" approach is the person you attacked yesterday.

B. Cayenne Bird.

Another person you attacked with your libelous accusations is me, someone who volunteers hundreds of hours per month to assist this group.  I hope that you are getting my message here.  Your ego should not be bigger than the greater cause.  Issue the apology and build the UNION coalition with funds and volunteers for the good of everyone.  Your insults come at a time when we are gathering support for an important class action lawsuit.  The UNION is waiting for 2600 people to pledge support because they are tired of carrying everyone on their back

She's not weak and the release of Beverly Diaz is evidence of that, but Matthew Gray was notified by dozens of people in February when a transplant was still possible. You need to give public apology and credit to Cayenne and the UNION people who work so hard.  Saving lives is a daily occurrence for her and she has clout because she is skilled and courageous journalist.  As I said, your ego shouldn't be a factor in this full-fledged apology that we are all waiting to witness on all the lists.

You need the UNION and Cayenne's leadership a lot more than she needs you if these battles are to be won.  Passing email is not fighting battles.

Please copy me.  I'm very irritated with this undeserving libel and slander.  You should all order a subscription to the UNION newsletter so you can learn what to do to save yourselves.  Forget egos and rally around your best advocate.  With this flu epidemic, the death toll is going to be high and doing a big protest right now might save lives.  You effectively told people not to come.  Undo that big mistake right now.

Do you know the difference between good and evil?  The right and wrong thing to do?

Paul Godsend


Please don't print my name in the newsletter but I want the UNION people to know that the efforts you made to get Robert Presley to recognize the problems in prison with lockdowns and food was used to fire him.

As you know most of the legislature and media  are tuned into your struggles.  It came up when the decision was being made whether or not to keep him how he treated the UNION families and ignored your requests.  So, you all caused him to be fired, although there were other factors.  You wouldn't know this unless I let it out so please withhold my identity, but I think it is important.

I need to tell you that Hickman is as pro CDC and CCPOA as Presley. As long as you all keep cracking the whip, he won't get away with the abuses but cracking the whip is necessary .  Everyone saw the professional way you conducted yourselves, went through the channels.  This is another feather you can put in your cap which is more like a headdress of achievements at this point.  Good for you.

Whenever we think of the leading prison advocate, we think of you and Matthew Gray is a kid who has a lot of growing up to do.  Don't get discouraged.  The level of maturity and intelligence in your group is well known and feared by those who are bringing forward bills. They do not want you to testify against them with your clear logic on statewide television, that's for certain. All of you have my sincerest respect. 

Sent from the Senate


I am sorry you are warning people about the UNION. I have been a member since 1998 when it started and Cayenne has personally helped me when my loved one was at High Desert.  Only the UNION and Patrick Crusade helped me back then. 

I live in Virginia so I am not involved in California Activist Politics over who gets what credit.  I don't really care who gets credit.  I just know who helped me.  I flew a few years ago to CA to attend SHU hearings in Sacramento because my loved one is now in the SHU at Pelican Bay.  Cayenne was there along with other UNION people who had loved ones in the SHU and they spoke. 

 Rose Braz was there, Corey Weinstein was there and they spoke. I believe the Friends Committee people were there also.   Loved ones spoke but I saw no other groups.  I never appealed to Matt Gray for help but I did contact the ombudsmen and after I did things only got worse for my loved one.  I know Cayenne worked hard on the Beverly Diaz case.  I wrote letters months ago regarding her release. 

Maybe Cayenne does not work as you do or as others do but she does work.  Her work helped my loved one get transferred out of that hell hole of High Desert and believe it or not I would much rather see him in the SHU at Pelican Bay than at the hell hole of High Desert.  All of the back biting and fighting among groups helps no one.  If you don't agree with her methods or people don't agree with your methods so be it .  Remember the important thing.  WE are all fighting for our loved ones in the best way we can.
Linda C

Sarah posted my comments to a couple of these email lists and she was told by Heidi Jones to "go start her own list" and taken off.  Isn't that a slap in the face to so many hardworking people in the UNION?  And so pointless and off base, totally uninformed.  Let's hope that when the smoke clears that enlightenment happens.  Thank you for standing up for our UNION. 


I have Hep C from prison, I have medical records showing that I did not have it when I entered
into the prison system.

And upon release I tested positive for Hep C. I think I caught it via contaminated surgical equipment. (I never used I.V. drugs). I had many minor surgery's for a wart on my finger, inmates in the medical  dept. stated to me that most of the time the machine that sterilizes the equipment does not work.

So put me on that list for a lawsuit. Also what is the Statue of Limitations for filing a lawsuit just as this.

I think it is a year from the date you contacted the disease or a year from the date of discovery.

Long time UNION member (since 1998)

In The Struggle: Charles Wesley

P.S. My Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against C.D.C. is scheduled for trial in February 2004. I hope  the UNION knows how important it is that you all come to back me up. I was turned away from the  clinic VHS 64 times and ended up permanently disabled. It is rare that we have a lawsuit but medical  neglect is torture. The UNION is my home base of supporters and has kept me going through  many trials.

God values faith, our trust in Him, above every other character quality that a Christian can  develop. And how do we develop faith? By spending time in the presence of God through prayer  and applying His Word and His promises to our everyday lives.


How can you possibly write such warnings about Ms. Bird?  I can state unequivocally that she is one great lady!  She has taught a number of helpless people to act and stop sitting around complaining.  She listens and gives a helping hand where needed.  She has stood up for all inmates and chosen to devote her life to righting the wrongs that occur daily in the lives of inmates and their families.  She is a TEACHER.  She is a MOTIVATOR.  She has stood up ALONE against the wrongs that CDC has thrown out.  Where were you when she was standing up against the atrocities?     In the few short years that I have had to deal with CDC and prison policy, I have seen more and more rights or privileges taken from those who are helpless to help themselves behind bars.  Men are living on buses, being bussed from prison to prison just ahead of the next inspection.  Men are housed (I should say stacked up) in gyms without any help with sanitation.  Visiting rights have been taken.  Phone calls have been limited.  Visiting days have been cut.  Packages are taken from inmates.  Unsanitary conditions abound.  Families are being punished as well as inmates.  What have YOU done to right these wrongs?  I have seen this myself.  I am not taking Cayenne's word on this,  I have experienced it.  I have seen her in action.  I have witnessed her pen and speeches.  She is an advocate.  She is visible, not sitting behind a computer or setting up a pretty site online.  She is writing, talking, acting, moving, motivating, stirring and she knows the real truth about what is being said.  Yes, she has a sharp tongue at times.  Good for her.  She has guts!  We need more people like her. 

Shame on you for trying to take away from the inmates, from the families of inmates by putting her down in your words to many folks who might not know the truth.  Every one of us need to stand up and speak up for what we know to be wrong.  We need leadership and I have not seen it from you.  Please join in the fight for the inmates and families instead of being destructive to a woman who has suffered at the hands of CDC right along with the rest of us who suffer as we watch our loved ones lose weight, battle with illnesses and suffer at the hands of calloused guards who are not strong enough to stand up and be accountable.

Use your time more wisely as this is more than a waste,
Shirley Wetherwax
San Diego 

Dear Cayenne,

I am glad you brought up the fact that ALL organizations have expenses. Postage, gas, sending  money into the inmates for assistance for them, copying and going places for recruiting. It also  takes TIME, and time is money. 

And, yes, labor unions have dues for that reason. People always think their reps and staff make  a lot.......they don't. They would make MUCH more on the business end of it working for companies  if money were their motivation. 

We would be wise to fund raise and to apply for a grant. That will involve more bookkeeping  practices and audits, but not having resources makes inadequately strengthened groups. And you  are SO correct, a portion of labor union funds DOES go to political party activities and lobbying  funds. These are "volunteered" funds by the union members who understand that nothing  changes unless we can make our voices heard at the legislative arena. Union members are  allowed to place that portion designated for "political" activities into another donation if they 
are offended by using money to influence our lawmaking........and that's the real world. Labor  unions do much more than bargain for raises and benefits, they are attempting to alter our laws to  support workers and their families in society in general.

And we have bills to pay also. Unfortunately, the world operates on this concept of exchanging  gifts and services by a third designation......money. None of us are in a position to donate  endlessly, and most of us use our money for projects. 

I think Heidi was horribly unfair in her attack and it offended me for all of us. I would be happy to  give Matthew Gray his acknowledgment-- what did he do? I didn't see him on any of our activities.  Was he hiding in the sidelines?  Come out where we can see you and thank you then, or stop  "crabbing" about it if we forget to mention you.

Astraea Kelly, Respiratory Therapist



BTW, not that accuracy ever mattered to you, but some time ago I was
promoted and am now the Deputy Chief of Staff.

I expect you'll want to take credit for that as well...


Dear Cayenne:

I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to the Bolander family. CDC does not know how to handle the mentally ill and our many UNION battles over this abuse over the years are evidence that the bill in federal congress is desperately needed.

Would the Bolander family be interested in contacting others so that we can build a list supporting a lawsuit for abuse of the mentally ill?  I think that even those of us who do not have a mentally ill person in prison understand the dangers of careless double celling and of making the mentally ill agitated and violent.

You're right about one thing, we need to file about 20 lawsuits and everyone should be reaching out to others.  If the Bolander family will cooperate in assisting with mailings I have the names of people with mentally ill inmates who should be mobilized to help us.

Ending visiting for thousands of children over alleged actions of one mentally ill inmate is an outrage and we should do something about it, which we are trying to do.  But let's recruit some of these new people to help in reaching out on this topic too.

I would like to know of everyone who has asked Matthew Gray or any other senate aid or legislator for help and been turned down so they can join in one or more of our lawsuits as witnesses.  It's time we held these people in charge accountable for the people who are suffering and dying on their watch.

I recall that you begged Matthew Gray and Senator Vasconcellos for help for Charles Wesley years ago when he was still in prison desperately needing surgery and they didn't come through. I hope Charles named them in his lawsuit!  Maybe we don't win against these callous "leaders" but anytime they are forced to sit in a courtroom chair before a judge for their actions and inaction's of willful neglect, we have won something very important.

Susan Randall

The UNION folks worked on this campaign to release Beverly Diaz for nine months beginning in February, 2003.

Dozens of pleas were issued to Matthew Gray for help and at least 60 people visited Senator Jeff Denham beginning in February 2003.  Several lawsuits are being filed against Matthew Gray for callousness in answering inmate complaints, including one where my son was nearly killed at Mule Creek earlier this year.

Frank Courser and I spent thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars fighting the bill proposed to make a law that transplants would officially be denied transplants in the last session.   We did the first letter campaign months ago.  The filming of the television show resulted in the actual compassionate release from the two doctors.  Before that the answer was no.

 But we weren't the only ones.  Harvey and Lettie Baker assisted in many, many ways, Astraea Kelly worked hard on this campaign, Matthew Gray told Ann McNulty that she was stupid when she appealed to him to help.  At least 60 people crowded into Denham's office and begged for mercy for Beverly.  Sarah Chappell made a passionate plea that day and later.

It was a tremendous group effort and since we are by subscription only for active writing, picketing, suing, recruiting, voters, you cannot know what we do or do not do.  But we are now six years old.

The UNION is usually the only voice for inmates in showing up in the legislature.  There are many inmate email groups but they do not picket in Sacramento, bring crowds to hearings, file lawsuits or do actual activism.

We were the only people to show up the Dillard trial to back Rob Bastian recently.  He is witness to our entire campaign for Beverly Diaz as well.

Yes, I have my own television show, I have been a journalist for 35 years.  Ann Kilitz Beverly's dead mother made her last trip to appear on it with Beverly's children this summer.  We filmed a l/2 hour segment and poor Beverly's mother named every person that she had begged for help and was ignored.  We have documented MANY complaints where Matthew Gray has been responsible for a permanent injury or death due to callousness but he is not the only one.

He was also callous to the notification that John Bolander expected to be killed this summer after his accusation of child molestation ended visits for thousands of children and their inmates.  I was the only person to show up to battle this bill which DID NOT turn into a law, but did turn into a "rule."  There was no one else there to stand up for this but little ole' me.

I did a television show about Bolander which did air and his entire family are active supporters of the UNION.

The threat of a picket of Alameida's office and senatorial assistance, a nine month campaign, and television shows which are currently being edited but very clear on the 3/4 tape (Frank has only a VHS) will tell this story.

Additionally, I have filmed eight other shows with dynamic guests all of them UNION folks.
So as people who never write a letter to editors, never show up to important hearings, file a lawsuit, maintain a database of committed writers and protesters fail to organize, it isn't wise to throw stones at the one group who is always there fighting on behalf of inmates since 1998.

People must take the personal responsibility to picket in Sacramento.  That is where the war is located.  The legislators find it quite amusing that the families of prisoners cannot bring 1000 people to stand up for inmates, cannot find the 6500 necessary to do initiative campaigns, write to one another instead of to editors.

But they know this is not the case with the UNION.  And Matthew Gray is a very lucky young man that I don't print all the letters that have arrived about deaths and suffering that he caused by not following through.

We have gathered 630 names for a class action lawsuit over the visiting and new packages policies.  To change a rule requires a lawsuit.

To change a law requires an initiative campaign.

We do not have in-fighting in the UNION.  Our people are doctors, teachers, nurses, social workers, four journalists who write about and assist with our campaigns, lawyers, public defenders and I, personally have been published on a multitude of issues.

So, the UNION did in fact achieve the release of Beverly Diaz and why did Matthew Gray take nine months to get around to it?

I have never taken a salary for my work as a professional organizer and journalist on behalf of inmates.  And as I said, the only people I ever see showing up to hearings are Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU, Friends Committee on Legislation and myself.

Email groups cannot achieve reform unless they are going to do lawsuits and initiative campaigns.  But in 1998 when I entered the prison reform movement, there were no journalists writing about abuses at all except for Mark Arax who has quoted me many times over the years.

I invite you to get serious about organizing, we do have cooperating groups and clergy in the UNION but writing and showing up for picketing is key to showing that everyone has the intelligence to properly organize the large number of people necessary.

Our lawsuit for visiting and packages will go forward when I see 2600 workers.

If others have been injured due to callous aides in the legislature, I urge you to contact me for the federal lawsuit we already have in progress naming 85 CDC employees.

Lawsuits and initiative campaigns is the only language that carries teeth.  We are doing that on behalf of everyone, and yes, we did force the release of Beverly Diaz.  It's historical!  Letter campaigns to politicians and officials are thrown in the garbage can (although we did one for Beverly last Spring).  1000 people at a picket is never ignored.

The current flu epidemic which we've been preparing for and alerting legislators about will claim many lives of inmates who already have weakened immune systems.  If I see enough participants we would like to picket to back up the  demand I made to Alameida's office for disinfectant, more sanitary food handling, and a number of other vital health care issues that will minimize the death toll.  Compromised inmates cannot survive some of these deadly strains of flu that have already claimed the lives of eleven children and sickened thousands across the country.

The soldiers have been coming home sick.  The inmates are vulnerable.  There is an outbreak of staph and Pleasant Valley State Prison in the gym.  This is not a time for silliness but a time to pull together and show that we do have the ability to organize large crowds and file lawsuits for preventable crises such as the one that is currently upon us.

Beverly Diaz knows how she became the first person to be released.  Both she and her mother have written us numerous letters of thanks.  We get many complaints, as many as 500 per week, and there is no way that we can do a campaign as extensive as this one for everyone.
But I have always thought that with 8000 plus cases of hepatitis being spread EVERY YEAR in California's prisons that we as citizens need to unite and make certain the transplants are available instead of "politically" denied.

Some people pretend to be advocates.  Some people actually are, I rest my case.

B. Cayenne Bird

Everyone in the UNION knows that we struggle for money but we are a newsletter on purpose. And what I donate to the cause in terms of funds and time isn't any of your business.  We are not a 5013C organization, most of our individual members put up the $1000 it takes to do a picket correctly.

I don't see you at the Senate Heidi Jones standing up for prisoners.

Nor do I see you teaching people to write editors because they would tell me if that was happening.

I don't see you coordinating pickets in Sacramento or bringing groups to important senate hearings.

You didn't help us gather 66,000 signatures to Amend Three Strikes last summer.  My son isn't incarcerated on three strikes but I helped three campaigns that were doomed to lose from the very beginning because there weren't enough people involved.

The UNION is larger than you think, but it doesn't really matter to me who achieves the 6500 necessary to do lawsuits and initiative campaigns, or who goes up to these tedious meetings in the Senate.

Do you know that we stopped 60 bills in the last session alone that would have made things far worse?  I didn't see you up there for even one meeting Heidi Jones.  I don't think this is laziness on your part, it is a lack of experience with how the system works.

Insight without the PROPER action is worthless.  Until they see enough people mobilized, galvanized, not broken up into 500 little groups, capable of raising enough funds to do lawsuits and campaigns, there will be no threat.

If you buy a news subscription to the Bee or the LA Times, do you have a right to see their books?  Isn't this looking the gift horse in the mouth?

There is no group in California that has enough funds and volunteers to do things right.  My income is from disability income.  I have arthritis in my wrist and back. As I said, I have never taken money from inmates or their families for personal use and there are many people close to me.

I live in a little two room place in the foothills outside Sacramento.  When the legislature is in session the parking alone costs me $90 per month not to mention the 80 miles round trip in gas and wear and tear on my car.

I am not attacking your work but I don't see you setting up a well funded, picketing, writing to editors (letter campaigns to officials are a waste) suing, recruiting,  mobilized organization gearing up to do initiative campaigns and lawsuits which are necessary.

I have never met you, have no idea what you look like, you have never been a part of the UNION or the ridiculous letter you circulated would never have been posted.  As I said, our energies are much more than sending email back and forth to one another.

There is no rich prisoner advocate, give me a break!  What are you thinking here! 

Yes, when CAVC ran out of money, we stepped in a bought more petitions for everyone but that is because one of our members mortgaged their house to do so.

We are only as strong as the number of people who want to take the information and do something with it, only as strong as the number of people writing regularly to EDITORS, doing pickets at the Capital, doing campaigns and preparing their readers for activism.

I don't see any other group doing that or even maintaining a database.  Until this gets done, we are all stuck, so you'd better wish us luck for the good of us all.

And what do you want to do about this flu and staph outbreak?  Just sit on the sidelines and watch inmates die because not enough people made noise at the capital where the war is located?  How smart is that?


The UNION is a newsletter, a communication system whereby people subscribe to it.  Since I am a professional organizer and well-published journalist, I teach people when, where and how to REALLY fight back.

I owned the newsletter long before my son went to prison and Matthew Gray and John Vasconcellos were subscribers to it as well as most of the journalists in California whom I have known for decades.  The newsletter was in existence years before 1998 when I became more than just the newsletter publisher but also an advocate because no group in California could call a decent picket in SACRAMENTO, where the war is located.

We have actually done one campaign after another which has benefited everyone.  I, however, do not like to get tons of email and snail mail from people who are always begging for help but have never really created an organization that can provide that help.

We now have 39 journalists, four of them have prisoners inside, who subscribe to the newsletter and have for years.  They carry most of your battles and we supply them information of what is going on behind the walls since the press is banned.  They may not belong to a "group" ethically, but they may subscribe to a newsletter.  So that is why we are the UNION newsletter. We value our journalists.

In 1998 I began donating all the proceeds from my EXISTING newsletter to my personal following as a long time journalist to pay for printing and postage and our pickets at the Capital. We usually have four or five a year.  We must rent tables, do press packets, print and distribute flyers, pay for hotel rooms for speakers, etc. We are not just passing email.

But nobody in the UNION gets a salary and in fact, we have all spent thousands of dollars of our own personal funds, money we didn't really have to spare to fight for others,  to build ourselves to where we are today. 

But officially the UNION is a newsletter, I am a journalist, publisher and a volunteer and that is the way it always has been, and Jo Ann Galvan was our record keeper for several years before Susan Randall took over as database coordinator in 1999.

Our system has always been the same.  Yes, we kick  people out who don't write letters to the editors or show up to pickets four times a year, who never recruit others to write and picket or help with any of the work.  Inaction is why we have all these problems!  We are about action!

And some of those people I kick out for sitting on the sidelines get sore with me for insisting they carry some of the load.  But the only reason in the world we have all these problems is because the same 500 people are fighting all the battles, writing all the articles for public education, paying for everything, filing all the lawsuits (we have three in progress right now separate from the class action lawsuit we're planning) while others pass email back and forth to one another.  There is no group in California with adequate funds and volunteers to be effective.

I am not here to fight individual cases for people although sometimes I do that from the goodness of my heart for those who are hard workers in our UNION.

I am simply here to publish a newsletter and teach people how, when, where they can fight back. My family and I have paid a high price for doing that, believe me. But it is the people of the UNION who have struggled to organize and done the campaigns for the most part. 

The key  journalists all follow the newsletter, and have for many years,  as well as many legislators.  It is a good place to confront people who aren't taking care of business. Inmates often die because their appeals for help are never even read by the politicians.  But we have no petty infighting because we're too busy writing to editors, planning our next protest, filing lawsuits and keeping ourselves very well educated on the current issues.

I believe there are 6500 people who want their loved ones out of prison or at the very least want them in the most comfortable and safe conditions possible.  That many workers can change any law, recall any politician but less than that cannot.

Because there are only 150 days to qualify items for the ballot. 

Most of the original people are still in the UNION, we protect one another and stick together, we're friends and have been through a war together. And we've created the crowd many times, gotten out the vote when a candidate is representing us, helped and supported others with their rallies and made a big difference.

Saving lives is routine for us as our journalists are very responsive to our press releases and articles, most of the letters to the editor you see printed out there are ones that we wrote.  Because that is my rule, if I am going to spend 3 hours a day writing a newsletter then subscribers need to write in to editors who will always listen when they get 200 letters on the same topic.  Knowledge without action is worthless.  So we write to editors every week.

We're effective because we do a great deal more than just pass email to one another.  But until there is one group of writing, picketing, voters who can bring ten people each to the polls (there are 3 million people MINIMUM connected to inmates)  to put people into office who will represent you, until there are 6500 workers who can raise the money for initiative campaigns or at least 2600 people who will share the load of class action lawsuits, we are all stuck.

Recently we started a campaign where our core UNION folks renewed their commitment letters, about 157 have arrived the past two weeks, more are on the way.  I think we are the best group of volunteers in California.  Five LA Times journalists have been very close to us for a number of years, the San Jose Mercury News, the Chronicle, the New York Times, the Reporter always publishes our articles, BBC, Kron 4, Ecobyte News, The Justice Express, Justice Denied Magazine, many, many more depend on our alerts.

So think before you bash people who are always there for everyone, and think about why we have had one victory after another and not much wasted motion like some of these other email groups that never sue, never picket in large crowds, never challenge the legislators, never do get published which is vital to public education.  Anytime I kick people forward it is for their own good.  When one group brings together 6500 people, the legislators will recognize our movement.  Until then, we are no threat and we are going to suffer the most cutbacks. They know that the UNION knows how to really organize and has the press plugged into us everyday, so we ARE taken seriously.  We are a threat, other groups are not. Naturally, we are going to get bashed.

We've done a great deal of good.  But the point is that we are all volunteers carrying the bulk of the battles as others sit on the sidelines and don't help us.  This is what the legislators count on, apathy and ignorance on how the system really works, by groups who are powerful and funded.  As I said before, it isn't wise to bash allies. Why not study our system and past campaigns (about 1% of them are posted at the website).

We are for subscribers only and no threat to all the email groups.  I don't want to waste my time on passing email back and forth to people who aren't truly organizing.  Once that gets done right, our troubles will be over.  Did you know that if each inmate sent ten friends and family members to fill up their cars with ten more people the potential combined vote that we have is 16 million - enough to elect anyone?

We are the voting group.  The communications system.  The press came to us during the fires for reports on injured inmates since CDC was blocking everything.  The reason the press plugs into us is that many are my personal friends whom I knew long before my son was arrested.  This should not threaten anyone but be a welcome vehicle.  Sometimes I get criticized for fighting for "criminals."

Less than 6500 organized workers - that means on one database committed and standing by ready to write to editors, picket, sue, recruit others, raise money for initiative campaigns can force reform. So when my messages about ignorance and apathy get rough, that's because our true enemy is our failure to properly organize a scary, large, funded voting group.

Nothing else gets any respect from the lawmakers.  Nobody is operating up there out of compassion, the law enforcement and other groups buy them off, pay for their election campaigns so naturally the bills they write are going to be for those special interests.  We outnumber everybody but it doesn't count unless people are properly organized.  This is the one thing that almost every other type of group in California can easily do but not families of prisoners.  They knock one another down and attack the effective individuals in silly power games.  This has been going on for twenty years.

But not in the UNION.  We're too busy fighting back.  An apology would be nice and circulation of both my responses to all the lists that you bashed us on would be helpful.

Lives are at stake with this flu and other dangerous diseases raging out of control.  We need to picket. Who will join us in an effort to minimize the death toll?  Some of our families from San Diego and Los Angeles would rather hire a homeless person to stand for them for $30 since the trip costs them about $150.  We know that small pickets are a joke to the legislators.  They know how many ACTIVE people it takes to do initiative campaigns and be a serious force. So that's why we have that rule.  But our own folks are very nice looking middle aged and elderly folks mostly and I prefer to have them because they know the issues.  Still, crowds are necessary for the media and the legislators to take any cause seriously.  These are some of the things I teach in the UNION. I didn't have to take the time to explain but I thought that since the information was incorrect that I would, for the good of us all.

My television and radio shows and the newsletters are more than I can handle.  I have ten grocery bags full of mail backed up here that need answering.  We need a whole lot more support in order to do more good work out there.  But one thing I do not need is hundreds of people begging for help when they didn't care enough to build the proper organization that could really provide the help.  That's why the prison guards have control of your life.  They did this. You should see all the horrible stuff coming out of Alameida's office simply because they think you can't organize 6500 people into one effective group. You're going to be shocked.  The UNION is far from being the enemy.  We're the Calvary.

B. Cayenne Bird

Everyone in the UNION knows that we struggle for money but we are a newsletter on purpose. And what I donate to the cause in terms of funds and time isn't any of your business.  We are not a 5013C organization, most of our individual members put up the $1000 it takes to do a picket correctly.

I don't see you at the Senate Heidi Jones standing up for prisoners.

Nor do I see you teaching people to write editors because they would tell me if that was happening.

I don't see you coordinating pickets in Sacramento or bringing groups to important senate hearings.

You didn't help us gather 66,000 signatures to Amend Three Strikes last summer.  My son isn't incarcerated on three strikes but I helped three campaigns that were doomed to lose from the very beginning because there weren't enough people involved.

The UNION is larger than you think, but it doesn't really matter to me who achieves the 6500 necessary to do lawsuits and initiative campaigns, or who goes up to these tedious meetings in the Senate.

Do you know that we stopped 60 bills in the last session alone that would have made things far worse?  I didn't see you up there for even one meeting Heidi Jones.  I don't think this is laziness on your part, it is a lack of experience with how the system works.

Insight without the PROPER action is worthless.  Until they see enough people mobilized, galvanized, not broken up into 500 little groups, capable of raising enough funds to do lawsuits and campaigns, there will be no threat.

If you buy a news subscription to the Bee or the LA Times, do you have a right to see their books?  Isn't this looking the gift horse in the mouth?

There is no group in California that has enough funds and volunteers to do things right.  My income is from disability income.  I have arthritis in my wrist and back. As I said, I have never taken money from inmates or their families for personal use and there are many people close to me.

I live in a little two room place in the foothills outside Sacramento.  When the legislature is in session the parking alone costs me $90 per month not to mention the 80 miles round trip in gas and wear and tear on my car.

I am not attacking your work but I don't see you setting up a well funded, picketing, writing to editors (letter campaigns to officials are a waste) suing, recruiting,  mobilized organization gearing up to do initiative campaigns and lawsuits which are necessary.

I have never met you, have no idea what you look like, you have never been a part of the UNION or the ridiculous letter you circulated would never have been posted.  As I said, our energies are much more than sending email back and forth to one another.

There is no rich prisoner advocate, give me a break!  What are you thinking here! 

Yes, when CAVC ran out of money, we stepped in a bought more petitions for everyone but that is because one of our members mortgaged their house to do so.

We are only as strong as the number of people who want to take the information and do something with it, only as strong as the number of people writing regularly to EDITORS, doing pickets at the Capital, doing campaigns and preparing their readers for activism.

I don't see any other group doing that or even maintaining a database.  Until this gets done, we are all stuck, so you'd better wish us luck for the good of us all.

And what do you want to do about this flu and staph outbreak?  Just sit on the sidelines and watch inmates die because not enough people made noise at the capital where the war is located?  How smart is that?


Dear Heidi, 

I have worked with Beverly and her family for over a year on her case. It was brought to my attention by my girl friend Lisa Connelly who is serving a life sentence under the three strikes law for a gram of meth. I speak with Beverly every week and sometimes twice a week. Beverly's mother Ann and Beverly's daughter Karma and Son Michael met me in San Jose and we all drove to Sacramento to film a production for Cayenne's show "Cayenne Common Sense" about Beverly's plight. I think it matters little about who takes credit or not except for the fact that  Beverly comes home! She is my friend! 

Cayenne Bird did in fact hold a rally in Sacramento where 150 people showed up.  WE did in fact walk the halls of the legislators and approach Jeff Denham on his bill that was later pulled that would end transplants for inmates. She did in fact contact Mary Wallace of the organ transplant center in Oakland for their official policy on transplants to inmates. The show is currently in editing and we are depending on volunteers since it is very expensive to pay editors.

None of us have control over programming and it will appear on different cable channels in different time slots.  There have been nine episodes of Cayenne Common Sense filmed.

She has been working for days to find help in it's production so it can be released. Beverly's mother Ann passed away last week. Up until just a few weeks ago, It was only Cayenne myself and Justice now, I met them at the prison, working to help Beverly. I listened to the phone messages from Edward Alameida's office. 

The email was dictated from that message. It is time all the ego back biting politics stop! Let's all work together to win these battles! I belong to FACTS,  CAVC and the UNION. I do as much as I can to win the freedom of my loved one and I will continue to do so. It is this attitude of trying to belittle someone that is trying to do the same thing we are all trying to do. " Save our loved ones" must end. Please learn the facts before attacking any one in the future.

Frank Courser  Friend of Beverly Diaz. 

Please feel free to write Beverly yourself if you have any doubt.

Beverly Diaz W#89591 
VSPW, C2-29-4L 
Chowchilla, Ca. 93610

Subject:  Beverly Diaz 
Date: 8/7/2003 3:13:18 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Ann Kiliz 
To: Rightor1@aol.com 


1. Dr. Forest Follett -HEAD OF MEDICAL AT VSPW.


I also wrote to Heidi and the Network on which that message was posted and let her know that the UNION and you and Frank in particular had everything to do with Beverly's release.  I strongly urged all readers that only large numbers of people working together will have impact on prison issues reform.



This rivalry is inspired because Matthew Gray's callousness in the situation is now fully exposed.  Beverly has grounds for a multi million dollar lawsuit due to medical neglect and I hope that she names him.

These email groups do not know how to properly organize.  It all falls apart when you ask them to do something other than send email.  Which is why we are all stuck without proper teeth, funds or ability to do initiative campaigns and lawsuits.

The media belongs to the UNION because you are brilliant, dedicated and we are all so grateful for the many lives you've saved and for giving us a voice.  Standing behind you for six years now and not wasting time in other groups. Why don't we get in a wrestle with the people on these lists a little bit to teach them what needs to be done.  They have no idea who we are or what we do.  A little heated debate from many of us shows that the UNION is not just one person.  Is there anyone who is on all these silly email lists? 

Susan Randall

Cayenne re the slugfest

WOW   -- what a fight with a "slug."  (So sue me. I call Matthew Gray a slug because he is one.  That's my opinion and I have a right to it.)

Matt really had this tongue lashing coming.  I, too, am repulsed by the actions of those who claim to help -- who posture & preen in this regard -- but who in reality are basically cowards because they cannot confront those who are most in need of confronting. 

He wastes his time trying to buffalo and bully you. We have been around this world too long and know buffalo crap when it is in our midst.  Wouldn't it be great if he had stomped and snorted and bawled out those criminals who hide behind badges and sit behind desks playing video games at CDC instead of you -- a mother, grandmother and mama bear whose only goal is to set right some monumental acts of wrongdoing?

As for me!  Call me "mama dog."  Have you ever noticed what great mothers dogs are?  They are attentive, tender, nurturing and thorough.  At times they are a bit irritable when in the protective mode -- that's for sure.  But if they don't call attention to problems, wrong doings (or impending disasters), who will?  I am proud to be a mama dog and wear that distinction with honor. And I have taught my sweet, gentle, loving Christian daughters that there are times in life when they will be called upon to be strong in this way, too. 

I do believe someday Matt will see the error of his ways.  His eyes will need to be opened so that he can see.  His ears will need to be opened so that he can hear. He will need once again to find his soul.  Negligence is criminal.  It may indeed take a lawsuit to help him see how calloused he and others have become.

He tends to himself by licking his wounds now.  But nothing compares to the wounds of those incarcerated in  the California prison system and the suffering they have endured.  Once he is less focused on himself and his own feelings and especially his pride, he will see that there was much he could have learned from you and much more that he could have done to help ease the human suffering.  He has missed so many opportunities for change. 

There comes a time when one must look back on one's life and ask what one's contribution has been.  After Matt has had more years to mature, he will understand what you and I are talking about.  Of that, I am certain. 


 December 12, 2003  Excerpt U.N.I.O.N. Newsletter

Do you know that instead of working on issuing disinfectant for each prisoner, demanding masks for kitchen workers and preparing for this onslaught of deadly flu that has the life of at least half the inmate's in jeopardy, Matthew Gray spent the day making a fool out of himself.

He called the television station after circulating on the internet that the tape of Beverly Diaz' dying mother didn't exist and then told them a pack of lies.  But out of the other side of his mouth he told everyone and the station's p.r. director that we were selling it, which we can if we wanted to after it airs.

Of course, dubs are not yet available yet.  And we can collect any amount we want to pay for the production costs, hundreds of thousands of dollars if we wanted to raise it.  So far everyone has been a volunteer on my show, including me.  And the stations are anxious to air the series statewide. 

He has made a fool out of himself with the false accusations he has made and his efforts to stop the show from airing since he is one of the callous people named for not helping or responding to dozens of appeals to help Beverly Diaz.  This is why he has spent several days bashing us all over the internet instead of taking care of State's business on our payroll.

Matthew Gray is a vicious, uninformed loose canon who is desperate and abusing his authority.  He doesn't care about the cause or how many thousands of people depend on the UNION as their only voice - he just doesn't want the world to know what really happened here and will do anything in his power to stop our organizing.

You should know that nobody wants the families of prisoners to find those 6500 workers because that would be the end of the oppression, 70% of the prison industry and a few politicians that we would be capable of recalling.  6500 properly organized and mobilized workers could turn this entire thing all around.

Matt Gray, aide to Senator Vasconcellos spends day bashing UNION, calling TV stations  telling them no video exists regarding statements made by Beverly Diaz -- an inmate  dying inside prison.  Beverly was promised compassionate release as she has been given 6 mos. or less to live. UNION has been actively involved in her release.  So far she is still in prison although officials gave Cayenne 
word that she was to be released in two (2) days.  That was at least 10 days ago.

Cayenne has asked Matt Gray to stop the bashing and concentrate on the flu epidemic which will hit the prisoners hard as many have already lowered immune systems.  Instead he has filled the Internet with lies and tried to get other prison reform groups to turn against her.  I have seen his emails and the many from people like Heidi and Lucky Lil (people from other groups that he is feeding misinformation) and these missives are filled with vitriol, half truths, false assumptions and twisted lies.  One is that Cayenne is working solely for the release of her own son. That is patently false.  She has always preached "one for all and all for one."  Another is that she charges $30 per month for subscribers to the UNION newsletter.  The cost is $30 per year (that breaks down to $2.50 per month) and most of that goes to buy stamps and supplies to send mailings in to prisoners.  She takes no salary for herself.  He is claiming that she supports herself through the sale of her newsletter and the reason she wants 6500 supporters is so that she can live in style.  The reason she wants these many supporters is so that we can successfully do initiatives when needed and can hire lawyers to do lawsuits.  It is not fair to ask them to always do things pro bono.  Matt appears to be in the pocket of the guards union and probably tied also to the likes of Michael Knowles whose modus operandi has always been divide and conquer.  Michael has a long track record of cruelty and motivates through fear.  It is time to remove them both from the public payroll as they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.


As the volunteer coordinator of the UNION database since 1999, there are some misconceptions that I would like to clear up.

We are a newsletter on purpose because we have top journalists in the country who read B. Cayenne Bird's reports daily.  Journalists may not "belong to a group" but they may "subscribe to a newsletter."  We fax cases to the media sometimes, often send out press releases as we are always doing one project or another.

I am someone who has volunteered 50 hours a week for several years because I know that there is no group in California that REALLY has a full database of volunteers trained how to picket and write letters to editors every week, and how to get out the vote for candidates who might really represent us.

Every project we do, even mailing newsletters into prisoners is paid for by people who subscribe to the newsletter.  Cayenne teaches us how, when and where to do our own fighting. We are the Coalition group that publishes an online newsletter, practices people on how to do proper protests three or four times a year.  We are dedicated and ALL VOLUNTEERS.  Bashing us is self-defeating since we are the only ones standing up for inmates and their families at these legislative hearings 95% of the time.

These other lists are only passing email back and forth.  They are not writing 150 word letters to the editor every week.  This is necessary to keep our issues in the media.  The press depends on us to know what is going on in the prison.  We report in deaths to Cayenne, a 35 year respected journalist, mother and grandmother and she puts our reports in the newsletter.  The media is banned.  During the fires, they wanted to know if inmates used as slaves were injured.  The legislators also send us announcements, although we do not consider ourselves a newsletter for them, we know they are reading reports from the families.

We do not print garbage but we will answer when ridiculously attacked by people who are never at these hearings or teaching people how to truly organize.  You CANNOT be for inmates and their families and be against the UNION newsletter.  Most media in California are only even carrying prison news because of the one journalist who opened it all up - B. Cayenne Bird.  If not for her friends and longtime contacts, our issues would rarely if ever have been covered, which was the case in 1998 when we started the UNION.

She knew the media long before her son was ever arrested and brought her friends into help us all.  How unselfish!

Our best subscribers are the journalists, teachers, nurses, social workers, college professors, people who do not have to be asked twice to properly organize.  They belong or have belonged to other unions where they must pay $500 a year and do the normal work of organizing - writing, protesting, recruiting, getting out the vote.  This is the education we are talking about, the ability to organize.  We are not talking about general education!  This is something that certain people in certain occupations know very well and they do not have to be asked twice to do it!  This is how our system runs, by groups, not by individuals.  The UNION is a group of friends who have a common interest in helping others.  Some have prisoners, some do not, but we are ALL volunteers, ALL good people.

So for $30 per year,  people get a big newsletter everyday that teaches them the issues, gives them expert qualified editorial advice from an experienced political, criminal law and human rights journalist who knows what's really going on,  knows when it is time to show up on a bill or stand up for ourselves in any threat that comes our way.  Cayenne is a volunteer advocate that we could not afford to hire, one who has years of experience and intelligence.  We have had one victory after another simply by taking one or two campaigns at a time and hammering on them until they're done under her incredible leadership.  We do this with very little funds but all we are officially is the newsletter.  We save lives everyday of the week but we don't have to do it.  We give people hope, especially the inmates who family members mail them in the newsletters but we don't have to do it.

We cannot donate more because there is no group in California, including us, that EVER has enough funds and volunteers to do lawsuits, initiative campaigns, pay staff and hire lawyers.  We are stressed to the max carrying everyone on our shoulders when there are 3 million people hurt out there who should be helping!  Imagine if everyone sent someone to picket what a crowd we could create to show the media and legislators that not everyone is too dumb to organize, something they count on when making budget cuts.

This failure to properly organize is due to ignorance and apathy, illiteracy and inaction, which are our enemies.  There are  government "plants" out there who will do anything to keep 6500 workers from ever coming together.  That's because once that happens, a citizen's group can put an end to 70% of the prison industry if they're willing to write, protest, get out the vote, raise money for campaigns and lawsuits, and act like real activists. 6500 people can change any law or recall any politician.   Until this happens, we are all STUCK where we are, in the mud.  In 20 years it has never happened because the "leaders" have encouraged division, there are too many small groups out there who just pass email and don't help with the work.

Crowds in protest must not be less than 1000 before the legislators will believe the families of prisoners have the intelligence and care enough to truly organize one group.  Until we can do this, show the crowds, we are considered a joke.  They know that it takes 6500 workers to change one law and/or do a recall.  6500 active writing, picketing, voting, recruiting workers - other groups do this everyday and so we can we.  We grow every year.

I have personally learned so much from B. Cayenne Bird that it has changed my life and given me great relief that I can get published, I can make a difference and her fighting "can do" spirit is a lift to me everyday.  She is a person like the rest of us who happens to be talented and experienced in an area where few have knowledge.  But she is disabled, struggles with poverty and has many opportunities to write books and do paid speaking engagements that she turns down for us.  We should not only be grateful but do everything in our power to back her up.

Now let's talk about the accusation that we withheld 66,000 signatures during the three strikes fiasco last year. 

We were approached late in the campaign to help CAVC who had run out of funds they said.  They were down to their last few petitions and had no more money, and had gathered less than 14,000 signatures with only a couple of months left. The campaign was already lost.

Cayenne has told everyone for years that it is very unprofessional to start an initiative campaign until the 6500 workers are assembled, trained and the money is raised in advance.  This is only common sense because there are only 150 days to collect signatures.  6500 x 200 people equals the l.3 million signatures require to get things on the ballot.  6500 x $200 each equals the $ l.3 million minimum needed to pay for even one initiative campaign.

A blind person could see that the campaign was doomed from the first day because neither the funds or the volunteers had been gathered in advance.  There were people passing email but less than a handful even working at gathering signatures.

Cayenne consulted with us.  Neither she nor many of us who are volunteers have a loved one in prison under three strikes, we all have different interests but we realize that we have help one another even when something isn't affecting us directly.  Cayenne teaches us that it is better to do campaigns one at a time so each cause always has 6500 workers.  Yes, we have thousands of people out there who read email but across all these groups, about 500 people do all the real work and that is why we often lose the important campaigns.  Cayenne has showed up to every important hearing and fought hard to amend three strikes even though she is not personally affected by this law.  Do you hear me, we helped even though we do not have loved ones sentenced under this law.  That is important to know!

Cayenne told us straight out in the newsletter the day that we were asked to help that there is no way that this campaign could be won.  She wanted us to help out to teach others how to do an actual campaign and to test out everything she had been teaching us.  We have helped each time we've been asked to gather signatures and donate time and money to amend three strikes, even though these campaigns have never been managed by professionals with a modicum of Cayenne's experience.  We do it to be nice and this last time we also did it to test our voting machine's capability.

We sent the newsletter free of charge to the list of people who were not even trying at the point we entered the campaign and picked it up and ran the football game with energy.  We stopped all our other campaigns in progress in order to do this.

One of our member's mortgaged their house and Cayenne used their money to buy petitions at l/3 the price CAVC was paying.  She distributed petitions to CAVC for their members, Marlene and  Mardele picked up printing in Oakland and boxed and mailed by regular postage until they were blue out of their own time and money.  These busy mothers of prisoners have no inmate inside under 3 strikes! 

Then we saw one of the CAVC organizers take money from families to fly up to Sacramento for a televised debate after they told us they were completely broke!  We have never taken money from families to pay for airfare.  We have always paid transportation costs out of our own pockets and this is why Cayenne moved to Sacramento because the costs were killing her.  Well, it was clear we had been lied to!  There wasn't a dime for petitions but there was money for airfare!

Then we noticed that as soon as we entered the campaign, there were less than ten people even out there gathering signatures!  And FACTS wasn't helping at all except in Bakersfield.  They said they "were waiting until 2004" as it was clear to EVERYONE that this initiative campaign did not have the funds and volunteers necessary from day one.

We helped out of our hearts.  The campaign was already lost when we entered but we were determined to make a good showing with the time that was left.  We raised the money and mobilized several churches and other groups who are part of our subscriber list to get involved. We have public defenders in the UNION and Cayenne convinced them to help.   We raised 66,000 signatures and showed them all over the legislature.

Of course to them, less than l.3 million signatures in a funded initiative campaign is a joke.  But without the good volunteers of the UNION there would only have been 14,000 or so, a really sick showing of weakness and ignorance.

Had more than 14,000 signatures been collected, we would gladly have turned in what we paid for and worked to achieve.  But since these were the confidential addresses of OUR church congregations and public defenders (who were totally disgusted that the families wouldn't get out and help gather signatures), we all voted NOT to turn over our database of workers and supporters to a group that wasn't even trying for the most part.  This was our work, we did it, paid for it and giving away our confidential database to unqualified would have been just stupid and a violation of privacy of our subscribers.  We asked them though and everyone voted "NO" 

That made the organizers of CAVC angry because they not only wanted us to do all their work, pay for the petitions and give them a good showing, but to give them our database that we have worked and slaved to build for six years.  How stupid!  How unreasonable!  We all voted NO and made it very clear that we will not go out to gather signatures or raise money to support any initiative campaign until we see 6500 workers ANYWHERE trained to write, picket, recruit, raise funds and gather signatures.  Until this happens, these campaigns are a waste of everyone's time and money.

Cayenne taught us this in 1998 but people want to be lazy, negative and not do the recruiting needed to mobilize some of the 3 million people hurt.  They want to break up into 400 groups, follow people who are not professional organizers and then knock the only qualified person in the entire movement.

Yes we have the most intelligent people subscribing to the newsletter.  The ones who want to get their loved one out of prison or at least cause pressure for the most humane and sanitary conditions possible.  We don't print garbage but are always focused on DOING SOMETHING, taking some kind of action, which is MUCH different from passing email.

Cayenne has correctly identified the problem, there are too few people doing actual work and everybody needs to be out recruiting more families to be taught how to work and properly organize.  This is a majority rules democracy.  He with the largest database of active writers to EDITORS, not politicians, PROTESTORS, FUNDRAISERS, and people who will bring ten people each to VOTE for the candidates who represent them gets to make the rules for the others.  This is why we get the short end of the stick, because of a failure to properly organize.

Knocking the people who carry most of the battles from inmates and their families doesn't make us want to help people again.  The people throwing the criticisms are never seen in the legislature, where the war is located.  You never see them picketing there as we did in March in the middle of the week, 150 people signed in as we all gave up time and money to be there to stand up for better treatment and the bills we supported or opposed.

I think people owe us all a big apology and to criticize us for not turning over 66,000 signatures of our own contacts of groups and congregations is ridiculous.  The campaign was over when we said yes, we'd help.  We did give CAVC a couple of thousand signatures for their database which were probably never entered into a database and are sitting in a box somewhere.

We will not say "yes" again to help until we see enough workers and funds gathered together because we do not have time and money to waste on unproductive proposals by non-professional organizers.  We know that in the end, we will have to carry this campaign ourselves, so bashing us, the only people who really know how to get things done hurts everyone. There were only three people who appeared at the last legislative hearing to support Jackie Goldberg and Cayenne was one. How could people be for inmates and their families and be against thousands of people who learn how to fight back for themselves through the UNION newsletter.

We pay for everything out of our own pockets.  What money are people begrudging us when we use our OWN money to fight everyone's battles.

Maybe we ought to just stop doing lawsuits, protests, getting out the vote, mailing to at least 500 inmates who write to us every week, showing up to hearings, working on our television and radio shows.  Maybe we ought to just stop and sit like bumps on a log waiting for a rescue that is never going to come unless we do it ourselves.

What are these silly witches attacking us thinking?  Is this jealousy because we applied enough pressure to get Beverly Diaz released?  Is this Matt Gray covering up because he appears in one of our television shows as a person who was callous to multiple pleas for help for Beverly and many others who have died in the past few years?

  Cayenne certainly doesn't need us nearly as much as we need her!  We are a thorn in her side, an ache in her crippled wrist and back and a tear in her heart.  Mother Teresa had millions in backing from the Catholic Church.  Cayenne works hard for us all and doesn't have this backing.  She is wise, she is good, she is honest and very high quality person, not TRASH like those who begrudge us our basic postage and printing expenses - we've never had enough funds or volunteers - yet these same people will gladly spend $1200 a year on cigarettes and even more on supply drug habits of their loved ones, which goes directly into the guard's pockets.

Our UNION people are not trash, nor are they addicts and we pay from our own pockets for a very workable system GLADLY,  Cayenne is here only for the subscribers to the newsletter who want to be active.  And who the hell's business is that when we are all just volunteers.  Everybody's sick, everybody's poor, we are still fighting back instead of sitting around just being victims and thinking letters that will never be read are going to change anything.  We must do lawsuits and initiative campaigns because people in office were put there by special interest voting groups who use our family members as slaves and for profit.

If people don't want you to organize, consider their hidden agenda and look at their experience.  You'll be signing up in the UNION too, which is vital to everyone's future instead of knocking your best hope for reform.  There is no profit in the UNION and to worm out of working is to worm out of winning which was taught to us by a creative genius - B. Cayenne Bird, our heroine and mentor.  The people who know Cayenne really love her unless they are on the wrong side of the fence or being lazy and not helping us do the work.  Obviously if you do not subscribe to the newsletter you have missed touching annual birthday tributes that our people give to honor her.  If you're not reading the newsletter, you don't know what we do, how we do it and how you can make a difference.

Susan Randall
UNION  Database Coordinator since 1999

Dear Uniondatabase: 

Let me just add - that I can attest to Matt Gray's vicious-ness and immaturity and vindictive manner... 

In June of 2003 -  I wrote Matt Gray  a 'scathing' e-mail which was in support of Cayenne...and which I called him on the carpet for his callous - un-supportive - cold hearted - pathological manner and M.O. when it came to the needs of inmates...I recall that I stated to him that with his own father in prison - one would think that 'HE' would be more sensitive to the needs of others... 

Within ONE DAY - I got an 'e-mail alert' from JUNO.COM (which was my e-mail account carrier at the time) accusing me of sending 'un-solicited questionable material' through Juno... 

I knew and know that Matt Gray turned me in... 

I had been with Juno since 1997 - and had on many occasions reported spam material - which was of pornographic content to Juno...and now they were 'threatening' me of 'removal' from their services - if I did not cease and desist from sending through the Juno - unsolicited - questionable e-mail... 

I had to explain that I was a 54 year old grandmother - and that I had never - in my life - perused - opened or handled pornography material in my whole entire life... 

In my heart of hearts - I know that Matt Gray - went after me... 

He's immature - and mean and cruel and he needs TO GO ! 


Madelene Hunter 
Where MATT screwed up with me and showed me what he's really about - is what happened to that 12 year old fosster girl who was put in a state mental hospital - days after being RAPED and is still there to this day....AND THE COUNTY - GOT AWAY WITH IT ! Three social workers - from Riverside County lost their jobs over this case...

Its an outrage...what happened to her...Finally a Press Enterprise reporter - is writing a story about it...nearly 3 yyears after it happened...

This story is a scandal in its own right - but I remember writing Matt Gray about it - as it unfolded - and all he wrote back is 'Madelene did it ever occur to you that 'she' is where she needs to be so they can stabilize her " as IF it was a 'DUH' question that I posed in my writing to him...

This after describing to him - how awful she was being treated with heavy psychotropic drugging whereas she was ending up in beds that she didn't know how she got in...how a 'shaved headed - burly black man unit counselor - would 'lay on her - full frontal - and put his hand over her mouth and tell her to 'shut the 'F' as she 'resisted' being tied down - hands and ankles to the bed...

AND then to my amazement - the Justice Department - launched a investigation almost 5 months later - and concluded that METROPOLITAN STATE HOSPITAL was mishandling the children who were being placed in that facility - which was lending itself to despair and hopelessness.. since they discovered that more than one girl had tried to KILL HERSELF while being incarcerated inside....

And get this...the things that got the most criticizm was the 'restraining of ankles and feet' of those children and the way tooo much over medicating of them with those heavy psychotropic drugs...and the harsh and brutal way they were being handled by STAFF...(hello Matt) if its not good enough for the Justice Department - it shouldn't be FOR A LEGISLATIVE AIDE - OF A STATE SENATOR....

And there's dopey Matt - shooting off his big mouth to me "madelene did it ever occur to you - that 'she' is where she needs to be'

He is not to be believed...

If only once - he would should some EMPATHY for the plight of down trodden - people....just once...!

Madelene Hunter 

Response to Matt Gray

We depend on volunteers to produce the show, people who have inmates inside who are also photographers and video editors.  I am not a video editor so I must depend on volunteers.  You, Matthew Gray, are named as one of the people who were callous  to multiple cries for help from Beverly's family and the UNION.

If you sincerely wanted this show to appear, you would not have called the station and tried to cause trouble making statements which made you look like a fool, someone who was trying to discredit important work for prisoners that ALL the UNION people have worked on for months.  You, Matthew Gray, have a hidden agenda and that is why you are now named in four lawsuits that I know about for willful negligence.

The compassionate release was granted by two doctors within two weeks of the tape being filmed, it will show in different areas in different time slots and I have no control over programming.  There are nine episodes of my show Cayenne Common Sense.

It isn't the television show that will force the final release, although it certainly caused the compassionate release to happen. 

We could hire a professional editor instead of waiting around for volunteers but we do not have the funds to do so or we would have done this in the first place.  How many people would be willing to put up funds so that we could pay to get this done?  I know an editor who works for a big television channel who can do it, but he wants to paid.  This type of work is difficult to get donated but somehow I did it.

We cannot fire volunteers, boss around television station personnel or force programmers.  What we all need to be doing is standing by ready to picket this situation so that it gets exposed to All the media.  Are you willing to help pay for an editor or send people to picket?

If not then quit yer bellyaching.  The whole world knows the show has been filmed. The only person who needs to know about it is Alameida.  He knows.  He also knows about our planned lawsuit against his visits and packages, the one you are telling people not to support.  Don't you think all this played a role in his quitting?

Get busy working on this flu epidemic that those with compromised immune systems cannot survive.  There are four lawsuits regarding your inaction that I know about but there could always be more and the negligence continues.

Hidden agendas are hurting everyone.

B. Cayenne Bird 

In 1998,  thirty concerned parents were startled when they were the only inmate family members who bothered to show up to the Sacramento Capitol to protest.  Frequent shootings and murders of inmates by guards at CSP Corcoran had erupted into Senate hearings.  They traveled for hours, barely had  money for gas and ate bologna sandwiches to stand up for abused prisoners.

B. Cayenne Bird, a 35-year veteran California journalist and organizer, had to work hard just to get even the 30 to come.   Bird and the group comprised of mostly families  in the helping professions,  vowed to form a communications network that would alert other families of where, when, how to fight  back.  It was clear inmate families weren’t fighting back for themselves in large numbers.

Bird, the former publisher of C. Bird Publications in Fullerton that produced seven periodicals for a decade was personally impacted when her son Eric Knapp lost his life to the prison machine in 1993.  She had spent a lifetime as a  human rights journalist, publisher and activist, never imagining that injustice would  knock on her own door. 

Her son, Eric Knapp, dreamed of being a medical doctor and was just 25 years old when he was caught up by an allegation that resulted in him receiving a 98 year sentence.   He was honorably discharged from the Army, where he earned  accreditation as a medical specialist. He was a California EMT (paramedic) and member of a National Guard special  task  force  when a young  woman his age accused him of rape.

There was no  DNA  or eye witness evidence, only verbal testimony.  Nobody had a scratch on them, yet even with no prior convictions he received a sentence worse than if he had taken a life.  If Knapp had done everything of which he was accused, a maximum sentence would have been 8 years.  But it was the time in 1993 when politicians were beginning to use harsh sentencing laws as political fodder to gain votes.  Pete Wilson was aspiring to run for the presidency on a "tough on crime" platform that year and tens of thousands of young men were imprisoned.

The judge in Knapp's case had his eye on a Superior Court judgeship, which he was promoted to just two months after he held what Bird calls "a sham of a trial" in 1993.  Knapp is white, his mother is a  journalist and it was a high-profile case that  really scored political points for the judge, Kenneth Petersen.  He jailed Bird  for speaking out in support of her son during his trial  but didn't charge her.    She had never been in jail and described the process as “shocking.”

Bird's mother, Dorothy 62 and  93-year-old grandmother, Lelia both suffered a stroke because of the overblown, sensationalized campaign conducted against Knapp carried on by the Sacramento Assistant District Attorney, Michael Savage.   Her parents both suffered for several years which financially devastated  her small, upstanding  family.  Both died leaving Bird as the matriarch,  but without financial resources.  Bird’s son, mother and grandmother all went down in a month’s time.

"For the first year, I was in such shock   that I was immobilized.  I couldn't run my business anymore so I closed it in good order.  I was in the fetal position on my couch. All my dreams were shattered and I couldn't afford a good lawyer. Everything I had ever believed in about how our system is supposed to work was exposed as a  glaring lie. Lawyers wanted $60,000 just as a deposit.  I spent all I had on fighting for my son but the lawyers would just take the   money and not do the work, I began investigating and riding them myself. Unbearable incompetence is rampant throughout the criminal justice system. You can't trust anyone to do the job for you."

"What I discovered while looking into my son's case  was that tens of thousands of other families were being destroyed in much the same way.  I made a vow to give up all material things and do something about it.  All I had was cussed determination my pen and a high tolerance for poverty, which I've come to accept as my choice.  I cannot pursue riches while my son is deteriorating in prison, although I wish I had money for a good lawyer.  I think the lawyers are up against brick walls and that the media is failing the people by not reporting the defendant's side of the story.  It often gets distorted into something much worse than it is and a lot of innocent or barely guilty end up with inhumane sentences. The legislators couldn't care less, they're in a party mode. 

Unlike the CCPOA Prison Guard’s Union, families of prisoners have no money to buy off  politicians, so injustice never really gets addressed. We have Ivy League kids running the  legislature with no life experience to do real investigations and they believe whatever  CDC tells them.  They consider families of prisoners to be criminals and liars, even though what they really are is innocent crime victims.  We have many fine, professional people in the UNION from every occupation. They are not criminals but very good-hearted, and devastated people."

Bird  has three grandchildren but receiving zero salary as the UNION director puts her in a poor position to be helpful to them.  She is now disabled with  a wrist and back problem that she attributes to "too many years of thinking as a journalist instead of as an athlete."  She uses her left hand to write her newsletter, different from when she could type 90 wpm and maintain the fast pace of the publishing business.   She depends on volunteers to answer more than 500 letters for help from the inmates.

She has a radio and television series “Cayenne Common Sense” which focuses on the inhumanity in prisons and jails and social problems.  And a following of people who dearly love her peppery, direct confrontations of callous and corrupt officials in elected office.  She’s rough, she has guts, but she never uses her newsletter for trashy gossip nor does she display jealousy and pettiness like so many of the email groups who never do projects, which the UNION does constantly.

Bird was not allowed to visit Knapp for six of the ten years he was in prison due to her journalist's status..  Michael Knowles, the warden of Mule Creek Prison in Ione, plans to move Knapp as far away from his mother as he can as retribution for her news stories and several lawsuits that lawyers have taken on pro bono to assist her in pressing on behalf of some of her UNION subscribers.  This is done from her heart which is as big as they come. 

Last Easter, ten years later, one of the key witnesses stepped forward and admitted in a sworn declaration that she lied and what she had accused  Knapp of doing did not happen.  The witness should never have been considered credible in the first place due to a history of mental illness, addiction, and suicide attempts.  Now she says she can't live with the guilt of her testimony resulted in the injustice of Knapp's conviction and sentence, Knapp hopes for a retrial that will reverse his conviction since her testimony has been recanted. A year and a half has gone by.  Still he waits.

A habeas corpus petition has been in progress by Attorney Richard Dangler, of Sacramento, since 1999.  Bird contends that poor people can't hire the kind of legal representation that it takes to win in court because the corruption is too great, no matter what the defendant's race.  "There is no justice for the poor" she says.  Bird gave up her publishing business to volunteer teaching families of prisoners how to organize to change the laws.  Thousands subscribe to her online daily newsletter and study her massive web site.

 She named it the UNION so that people could learn that like organizations such as the United Farm Workers , families must rescue themselves. Without organizing into a group similar to a labor union, they have no hope for change.  "A voting group is only as strong as the number of people who participate in its calls to action.   Families of prisoners have never been able to build a group on a large enough scale, but I believe it is possible, that's why I'm here.  Thousands want help for their individual  cases.  There  is no group, individual, legislator or aide, or government agency that can help with 160,000  individual  cases.  But there could be if everyone contributed funds and volunteer time. With 3 million people tied with heart strings to an inmate, ours  could be the biggest voting group of all.  Formal organization is what is needed to change it all around. 

Somehow families of prisoners just don't understand that our State government is run by about 134  organized groups.  If you don't have a group that does more than just pass email and write letters to politicians that get thrown in the trash can without ever being  read, your loved one is going to stay in prison and reform is impossible. So we need a bunch of workers. Numbers pulling on the same rope is the only way to change laws. " Bird explains.

Bird has sacrificed six years of her life as a volunteer to build the statewide UNION voting  group, but she says it isn't nearly large enough yet.  She  opened up news coverage of prison issues in the media  which was pretty much closed  prior to 1998 except for a few articles in the LA  Times. She did this by teaching families to write weekly letters to editors to fight back.

Plus she had been a journalist for decades before her son’s arrest and had that network of  colleagues in place.  Families report into her what is going on behind prison walls.  Bird puts their reports in her daily newsletter that is subscribed to by 37 journalists, legislators, and other  committed inmate  family members, as well as other activists. There are health care, foster child, juvenile justice and prison activists, and several large congregations from almost every religion .  She defies the media ban and has brought out many riots, unnecessary prison deaths, filthy conditions, epidemics, guard run drug rings, and  instances of maltreatment which otherwise would not have  been known to the press.. Everyone agrees to do two hours a week of work when they sign up for the newsletter.  This is the UNION's secret to many smaller but successful triumphs.

Besides alerting everyone on her newsletter list of important hearings in the legislature where a protest might be needed, Bird teaches solutions.  Many who support the UNION  have a  loved one in prison but many do not. She is a teacher and a motivator, as well as a visionary and an experienced Political columnist with walls full of awards and recognition's for decades of human rights volunteer work. 

"6500 people can change any law if they are willing to work.  The work is simple. It consists of writing weekly letters to editors (NOT POLITICIANS) , showing up to protest in crowds of 1,000 or more (FOR MEDIA COVERAGE)  and recruiting others who will write and protest.  And of course, getting out the vote for the candidates that will be most likely to handle our issues properly."

"Less than 6500 people working is not enough firepower to change laws. We can, by moving in unison, raise money for initiative campaigns at any time we decide to work. 6500 x $200 each is enough money to finance any campaign.  The families of prisoners must prove they have teeth, and are intelligent enough to organize before they will have a voice in the legislature.  They are considered by elected officials to be too stupid or dysfunctional to do large protests or   to raise funds for real campaigns.  When we can ask for letters to EDITORS and get 500 within three hours or call for a protest and 1500 show up anyplace in California with a one day notice, we will be organized.  Then the injustice and cruelty will slow down. 

Not before then.” But there has been a price for the thousands of inches of public education that Bird and her UNION subscribers have had published in various California media over the years. 

Her own son has been tortured in prison in an effort to force her to stop publishing the  newsletter.  After all, when they reach the goal of 6500 workers, that will be the end of the  CCPOA and  about 70% of the prison industry.  Everyone in power knows that a voting group that size  willing to work and raise money is enough to turn it all around and even eliminate it.  Even the Democrats try to stop the UNION and undermine it from every direction, especially since lawsuits are being filed against those who ignore prisoner complaints, naming individuals, something new to the callous CDC officials and legislators. 

There are plants on the email lists such as former guards and state employees who promote a  divide and conquer agenda, because one well- trained and well-mobilized group could put an  end to 70% of the prison industry.  This is very threatening to CCPOA and all their supporters.  Each time that the UNION achieves a major victory for prisoners, they get attacked by the “plants” out on email lists and This has been happening since 1998.  But the UNION continues to fight all the battles for those who do not know how to properly organize because Bird believes they have potential. 

Complaints are filed with the California Medical Board against prison doctors who participate in medical abuse and neglect.  People who ignored pleas for help are named in UNION subscriber's lawsuits.  These families are mostly poor but they don't let that stop them from fighting back under Bird’s direction.

On February 10, 2003, Bird's son Eric Knapp was thrown into segregation (the hole) at Mule Creek Prison in Ione, Ca. by Warden Michael Knowles.  Knowles wants to hurt Knapp and his mother in  any way he can because there are many families of inmates at his prison that are  reporting the news to Bird and she releases it to the media, protecting her sources.

Reports of Mule Creek Prison suicides, medical neglect, and the latest horror -rocks, pubic hair, glass and razor  blades in the food abound in the UNION newsletter as the families attempt to alert the media and the legislators..  Knowles  threw Knapp into a box 6' x 9' with a 5" window.  He has been there 70 days because he reported to Senators Vasconcellos and Burton, and other officials  that several foreign objects had been discovered in inmates food three times in nine  days in January.  Any inmate who reaches out for help  is severely punished,  especially at prisons such as Mule Creek, where the warden will go to any length to  keep his wrong doings out of the news. Legislative aides are powerless and allow retribution to happen, even the ones that pretend to be advocates for inmates.

Last summer, Knapp wrote up a description of horrible inhumane conditions (posted at the UNION website) which also told of impurities in the food.  Nearly 100 inmates helped to summarize dangerous, life-threatening, cruel and unusual conditions and practices. Hundreds of men living in the gym, 65 using one toilet, not enough soap or toilet paper, no disinfectant to the individual cells, contagious epidemics raging out of control and still no medical screening of food handlers were just a few of the descriptions.

Bird  presented these horrors before the Senate Rules Committee in June, 2002 when the UNION opposed the permanent appointment of Warden Michael Knowles. Burton referred her to Robert Presley, Secretary of Adult and Juvenile Corrections as "the guy who could fix it". Repeated appeals for Presley's intervention by dozens of families were ignored.  Others wrote to Presley describing conditions at their own prisons and he disregarded them all, as if the families, many of them licensed health care professionals,  were lying or didn't exist.

Knapp's torture at Mule Creek worsened after he asked the legislators to end food contamination  that had been going on out there for years. The law forbids excessive cell search, but Knapp's cell was ransacked four times in a two week period in January. They were looking for the UNION newsletter! Then they purposefully took his state-issued jacket and made him stand for hours in the cold 32 degree weather on several occasions for ten days. This was a blatant violation of the law but there are no consequences for torturing inmates.

Knapp was made to wait for two hours in freezing cold in order to have a meeting with Matthew Gray, a young aide in Vasconcellos' office whom he repeatedly appealed to for help since 2000.   Gray never bothered to  look into his confiscated coat nor any of the other warnings that retaliation was coming.  "Matthew Gray and Ken Hurdle, the CDC rep appointed to the UNION by the Senate Rules Committee in 1999, have  ignored hundreds of life and death  inmate  complaints  although they pretend to be  advocates.  There are no advocates for inmates in  Sacramento who will actually intervene or investigate abuse. Not one.  They assume the inmates and  families are all liars.  I doubt they have any power even if they wanted to help.

Because of this ineffectiveness, thousands of people are needlessly suffering and dying. This is costing the taxpayers millions in lawsuit pay outs over preventable situations" Bird 

explains.  Eric Knapp suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a severe beating he received from a mentally ill inmate in 1994.  Instead of protecting him and healing his disorder,  Knowles has made every effort to aggravate it. Bird has been a strong voice against routine abuse of the mentally ill in prisons.

On February 10, Knapp was handcuffed and marched across the yard so all the other men could see he was being punished for speaking up. A degrading strip search was done on Knapp by MTA Morris,  as part of an effort to further break Knapp's  spirit and make an example out of him to the other men.  (The goal being to stop families from organizing in the UNION and reporting the prison's many abuses to anyone outside.) 

Knapp thought Morris was going to rape him and in the middle of the strip search he passed out from fear as a  PTSD episode was triggered.  During his unconsciousness, Knapp was dragged naked by prison  guards through his own urine and intentionally left lying face down on the freezing  cold,  bare  concrete floor of an ad-seg cell. 

While still unconscious, catatonic for 48 hours, Knapp was dog-piled three times by gangs of prison guards wearing crash helmets and wielding stun shields and billy clubs.

The inmates thought he was being punched, but his beating was more a psychological one, which is viewed by the legislators as an acceptable practice in prisons statewide.  Bird was chastised for publishing inmate reports that Eric had been injured, even though he had,  but in an unusually cruel and deliberate manner.

Still unconscious, Knapp was put into five point restraints: arms, legs and neck and kept like that for two days.  Why a simple waist strap wouldn't have done is a mystery.  He was not taken to the hospital and nobody from the legislature was allowed  to see him, although they  tried one time.  His condition was a cover up. Knapp was injected with a dangerous drug called halperidol.

Bird received a call from Eric Reyes of the prison which he read from a script telling her that her son was in a crisis bed in the critical care unit of the prison.  She immediately asked, "What have you bastards done to him?" Knapp's letters had been warning her of the coming retribution, which had been going on for several years just because he is her son.  She was made to wait eleven days before she could see him, know what had happened or even if he was dead or alive.

The UNION families cried, agonized, and it became very real to everyone that in an emergency they are totally cut off from their loved ones with no access or information.  Several members of the press called the prison and they were told various stories which were mostly untrue.  The intent of waiting eleven days was simply to torture Bird and hide from the world that Knapp was unconscious for two of those days due to emotional distress purposefully inflicted upon him.

Knapp had been appealing to Matthew Gray of Vasconcellos' office and Ken Hurdle of the Inspector General's office for assistance with psychological intimidation and torture since 2000 when Bird had several articles published on mistreatment of the mentally ill at CMF Vacaville and his mistreatment intensified. These appeals are well documented and we circulated to ten or more other officials.  Knapp had no choice but to file a federal lawsuit against Knowles and several staff members at Mule Creek for psychological torture. It has not yet come to trial.

All Knapp's complaints were ignored, even those in the days just prior to February 11 where he begged Gray and Hurdle to stop the coming retribution. Bird said, " They were powerless and totally insensitive to his suffering.  When I saw him, he was thin, and pale.   He almost died and nobody cared except our UNION families.  I will never forget that nightmare as long as I live but all it does is make us all work harder because we know it is happening to thousands of others every day."

"No matter what happens the inmate is always wrong. They and the families have no person,  individual, or agency to turn to for help  even in life and death circumstances. 

There are a handful of legislators and aides who might like to help but they are basically powerless against the CCPOA.  Most are in bed with them, and believe their lies.

The only remedy is for us to organize and take down the machine down.  6500 people moving together can do it." 

Everyone who notified the legislators and the UNION of needed medical treatment, food contamination's and Gestapo-style interrogations was and is still being severely punished at Mule Creek. Sgt. Guiterrez and Lt. Warren had already been named in a federal lawsuit filed by Knapp in 2002 for psychological intimidation and torture. 

They were on a witch hunt and turned the situation around to where the blame was put on him for food contamination's that have been going on for years before he ever came to the  prison.  Razor blades were found in the food since he was put in the hole."

The inmates on "C" yard at Mule Creek have been on lockdown for the majority of two years simply because Knowles mixes rival gangs on the same yard.  "This is stupid, because mixing gangs always results in a blood bath or constant inhumane lockdown, but Warden Knowles is knuckle-dragging Neanderthal mentality.  He likes lockdowns. Less visitors, more control. He brags of his superior management to the Senate Rules Committee and they eat it up.  The man is dishonest and cruel and his actions here are going to cost a great deal of money in damages." Bird declared.

The "B" yard, where bodily fluid contamination's such as urine in the Jell-O is commonplace, is a sensitive needs yard. The inmates on "C" yard feel it is their duty to kill and torment those in protective custody.  This is a convict mentality that exists at many prisons in California.  These contamination's have been going on our there for years, long before Eric Knapp ever came along and suggested the kitchen be set up on "B" yard in order to save lives.

The legislators cover this up because the State has a responsibility to protect inmates and it is failing.  This means that those injured or catching life threatening diseases are entitled to legal remuneration.  Before Bird, no one was really pointing out these incidents.  Now they want to stuff it all back into the bag, but the cat's out on abuses at Mule Creek and support for a class action lawsuit is sought against all 33 prisons for similar methods of cruel and unusual punishment.  This will cost the State millions so they're not helping or acknowledging the dangers and are in fact trying to beat Bird and the UNION down for publishing it.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 8000 cases per year of hepatitis are caught in California's prisons mostly due to unsanitary conditions and contamination's of bodily fluids.  Such a simple move as having a safe kitchen on the B yard at Mule Creek would save lives.

But the prison's response in order to keep this all out of the media was just to throw everyone who knew about it in the hole and totally degrade and torture Eric Knapp to make an example out of him and "scare" off the UNION families.

What it did was the opposite.  350 outraged families vowed to join a class action lawsuit naming everyone who ignored complaints, including Hurdle and Gray, Warden Knowles, Sgt. Guiterrez, Lt Warren, C.O. Kernan, Lt. Kudlata, appeals coordinator Hansen, and everyone who participated in the long term torture of Eric Knapp and medical neglect of  several other inmates who were moved in retaliation.

The lawsuit which will name individuals callous to or responsible for many methods of cruel and unusual punishment.  Bird hopes to rally 2600 supporters and participants in the lawsuit and to hire the "meanest lawyer we can find" rather than depending on pro bono assistance which is usually low quality if it can ever be found.

The UNION has identified $360 million in lawsuit pay outs under Davis for preventable prison and jail mismanagement with millions more pending.  These lawsuit pay outs are hidden across several budgets.  They are listed at the UNION Website.

One of the doctors who forcefully drugged Knapp for several weeks, Frederick Danziger, is not only being named in the class action lawsuit, but having multiple complaints filed against his license with the California Medical Board.  He is suddenly no longer at Mule Creek.  A judge stepped in and ordered the forced drugging stopped, but it went on for several weeks before anyone would help.  This expanded the federal lawsuit by 75 pages of abuses.

Because Eric Knapp  cared enough about dangerous and frequent food contamination's to reach outside of the prison, he ended up with false charges and convictions, an elevation of points that is totally illegal, a six month extension to his prison sentence and a 6 month term in the SHU. 

But to his mother and the families of the UNION he is a hero for standing up for other inmates.  Knowles has the families outraged with him over this and other actions, enough to participate in a lawsuit naming him personally.  He didn't win.

The inmates on "B" yard who knew or required surgery because of razor blades have been threatened, put in the hole, had false charges put on their records.  The MAC Vice Chairman, Davis Bristow was stripped of his office, his elderly mother was harassed by C.O. Hansen. Bristow was put on A yard with the condition he could only be able to visit his children if he keeps his mouth shut from now on about this incident.  So far he has, but everyone knows he sat in the hole for eight weeks just so the media couldn't reach him.

Two of the men, Inmate Ramon and William Byrd were seriously injured by the razor blades and required medical care.  CDC lied to the media about these injuries and shipped Ramon off to Vacaville to keep it quiet. 

Byrd was threatened that "he will get it" if he tells anyone, but one of the medical workers reported it to the UNION.  Byrd didn't have to, he dares not speak up.

So there are now eyes and ears at every prison.  It's Bird they want to hurt, mostly because she reports the actual news which California journalists are either afraid to do or don't have the information.  She brought 150 people to the Capitol on March 13 to make it publicly known that inmates and their families have absolutely no legislative help for surgeries and injustice in CDC's kangaroo courts.  Fox News and other publications covered it, but Bird says that 1000 people must picket the Capitol regularly to be heard. 

The picket followed six months of meetings and letter campaigns to Robert Presley, the man responsible for Adult and Juvenile Corrections facilities. Bird considers her meeting with him "a waste of time" and plans to name both Presley and Gov. Davis in the class action lawsuit for cruel and unusual punishments and callousness.

"Anytime an inmate asks for medical help, fills out a complaint to the Inspector General's office, files a 602 or reaches out to the legislators, they will suffer severe retribution for being a whistle blower. The Inspector General's office is a joke"  Bird says, "Steve White is a former D.A. who is the fox guarding the hen house." 

"The system is too corrupt and cannot be fixed, what we need to do is organize and put an end to the prison industry. It's a personal decision to fight back or be a victim of other voting groups who are smart enough to organize. Our writers use pen names. Some people are afraid to do work at their own prison so they work for another prison, but one thing is for sure, when things get this bad, doing no work to organize is not an option. We cannot operate from a position of fear or be lazy."

Six years since their first picket over the Corcoran murders,  the UNION is still short of the 6500 workers but they have been able to achieve success in staving off many threatening bills, saved packages numerous times, and are often the only voice for inmates.  They grow every year though, and don't give up. 

Their present campaign includes demands to prepare for a possible SARS outbreak that could claim many lives of inmates due to unsanitary conditions such as food and laundry  contamination's with bodily fluids. They want masks on the health care workers and disinfectant given to every cell.

"There is almost no medical care in prison.  No respirators, inmates are rarely taken to the hospital, they receive almost no pain medication even though many have cancer and need transplants.  A SARS outbreak would no doubt leave thousands dead since they are already suffering from other prison plagues such as TB, hepatitis, staph, AIDS, and other dangerous diseases." Bird explains.

"The health care workers moonlight at prisons after going to the hospitals where the SARS cases exist.  CDC will cover this up, inmates will strangle and die horrible deaths.  We need to all be demanding immediate release of terminally ill, elderly and non violent inmates."

"At Mule Creek there are hundreds of men living in the gyms, stacked 3 bunks high, 18" apart, sharing the same air, 65 men to a toilet.  The prisons are disease incubators.  The families should be out picketing at the prisons, picketing in Sacramento, nobody is going to care, if we don't care" stress a worried Bird. 

Raw courage, a commitment to the higher picture and some real advocacy work as a dedicated volunteer describes Bird and many of her supporters.  They are people who were not active in the prison reform movement before she pulled them together and taught them that efforts can be effective as mainstream people.

"Another mother in the UNION group , Mardele Duarte,   has a ministry in the Bay Area which is national. She has appealed for help for inmates many times over the years long before she joined the UNION.  Her son is also being tortured for her efforts to get help for him and other inmates and has been badly beaten at High Desert State Prison.  She believes the beating was purposefully set up by the guards, and Warden Runnels has been in unresponsive in her requests to protect him.  A lawsuit has been filed against High Desert Prison as well.

"MAC chairmen across the State, anyone who stands up for inmates rights are being tortured and thrown into the hole.  These are very bad times, but it is the leaders of our efforts to organize that are targeted. After all when the UNION reaches 6500 workers, that will be the end of the 3 strikes law, the end of bad parole policies, the end of 70% of the prison industry.  They're not going to help us organize to put them in the soup line, where they belong, they will do everything to stop it, but mostly to the leaders, not the subscribers who are very smart and out of their reach."

"Any change is going to come from the families themselves, there are no rescuers. No judge, no legislator, no lawyer can really help us, we must organize ourselves into a noisy force to be reckoned with and end the abuse in prisons.  They can't kill us all."

Email is free at every public library.  Only families may subscribe to the UNION newsletter online and then mail it in to their inmates.  The price is $30 per year, the money is used for postage and copies, nobody gets a salary.  Forms are at the website for signing up, or there is an alerts page where non subscribers can still help to fight back for themselves.  Bird is recognized as the key advocate for prison reform in California and several books have been written by UNION journalists and authors, one Dedicated to her work by Professor William Chambliss of George Washington University, “Power, Politics and Crime.”   A legend in her own time, B. Cayenne Bird, founder and director of the U.N.I.O.N, a true David and Goliath success story.

Jerry Baker, Columnist

American Chronicle
 The sickening details - Why Prisoners are dying

Article by Cayenne Bird on Rense.com

State Bureaucrats

(United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect)

 Three Strikes Legal - Index