Saturday, November 15, 2008

Urge C.S.H. Director Mayburg To Lift Computer Moratorium

Please write, email or call:
Stephen W. Mayberg, Ph. D.
Department of Mental Health
1600 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Tel: (916) 654-2309

Dear Mr. Mayberg,

Administrative Directive 654 established the ability for Residents of Coalinga State Hospital to purchase and possess personal laptop computers. Many individuals availed themselves of this opportunity by buying their own computers, and this subpopulation retains them to this day.

On February 28, 2007, an unsigned memo was published and circulated that placed a temporary "moratorium" on the further purchase of these items until details regarding their use were addressed. A few months later, the population of residents at C.S.H. were informed that the process had been taken over by Sacramento at the Departmental level, and that we would be advised as to consequent policies. In the ensuing months, there have been repeated attempts to obtain information regarding this process. To date, the response has been completely uninformative, though rumors abound.

This ongoing moratorium has created two groups of residents at this facility which cannot otherwise be distinguished one from the other. Some have had computers for around two years, while the rest are being prevented from purchasing their own. Even those who do have computers are finding it difficult to replace worn-out components or to obtain the software they need. Some originally opted to temporarily forgo purchasing needed software (intending to obtain such software later) in order to obtain the best computer for the money. Now however, they have their computers but not the software they need.

Legislators have been able to craft, vote upon, and signed into law major legislation during the same period of time that this so-called committee has been looking at what computers and peripherals might be allowed-twenty-one months!

We want to know why it is taking so long to develop a simple set of standards.

Any standard at which the committee arrives constitutes a shot at a moving target; computer technology changes every 18 months or so, and you've had 21 months to pull the trigger without any results. It appears to us that this committee, if it really does exist, is simply accomplishing through moratorium that which they cannot by other means achieve lawfully, not to say that an unsigned memo is lawful.

Why are we not being kept informed of its progress? We are, after all, the ones who are most interested in these decisions: residents of C.S.H., family members, and friends of the Residents. Remember, that taxpayers have made computer investments believing that D.M.H. would act in good faith. As people sense that they have been deceived there has been growing unrest. There are many who are contemplating legal remedies; while others clamor for more direct action. For all of us both inside and outside of C.S.H. the claim that this moratorium is "temporary" has become unreasonable.

It's time to end this phoney moratorium. Direct the people in your Department to do their jobs.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lawsuits target ventilation systems at Coalinga State Hospital

By Chris Collins / The Fresno Bee

The air conditioning and ventilation systems at Coalinga State Hospital are in disrepair and have endangered the health of the facility's patients, according to two recent lawsuits.

One suit says that dead birds were found in the ventilation system.

The lawsuits raise questions about California's newest mental health hospital, a $388 million facility that opened in 2005 and houses sexually violent predators.

The lawsuits, both filed by Santa Monica attorney David Feldman in September in Fresno County Superior Court, say the hospital's ventilation system does not allow clean air to circulate and hospital staffers have failed to conduct necessary inspections.

Hospital spokeswoman Deborah Ireland said Monday that she could not comment on the lawsuits.

In the first lawsuit, patient Dougal Samuels, a 55-year-old man with an unspecified mental disease, says he began coughing, losing his appetite and having chills in April 2006. Four months later, after his condition worsened, a hospital doctor diagnosed him with Valley fever.

Samuels was later diagnosed with pneumonia. X-rays showed a large black mass in his right lung area. The hospital scheduled an MRI, but one was never done, according to the lawsuit.

In April 2007, Samuels told staffers that he was in so much pain that he could not sit up. Two months later, an MRI at a hospital in San Luis Obispo showed that Samuels' spine was inflamed and was destroying his vertebrae, the lawsuit says.

Samuels needed immediate surgery. He had a disc removed and was put into a body cast.

The lawsuit says that Coalinga State Hospital knew that Valley fever could spread through its ventilation system but did not take necessary precautions.

The second lawsuit says that patient Kurt Parker, a 41-year-old man with an unspecified mental impairment, was one of two patients to contract a dangerous flu that had spread because the ventilation system was not properly maintained.
The lawsuit says that "dead birds were allowed to accumulate in the ventilation system, resulting in the spreading of bacteria."

Also see:

Monday, August 18, 2008


On Friday, August 15, 2008, the OAL ruled on Michael St.Martin’s petition alleging that the “Evaluators’ Handbook” is an underground regulation. In its holding, the OAL analyzed each and every excuse made by the respondent California Department of Mental Health (“DMH”) and then explained why the proffered defense was totally without merit. The OAL ruling is a 12 page PDF document that you may read or download. Follow the link by clicking on the above title. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Civil Detainees To Lose Pell Grants

August 1, 2008

Civilly committed sex offenders lose another rehabilitation tool. The ability to obtain a college education will be gone next year. The hardliners in politics apparently would rather throw away the key and house those persons whom are civilly committed for the rest of their lives, at huge costs, instead of spending a much smaller amount of money to educate and rehabilitate this group.

The hardliners targeted prisoners in the 1990s, and took away the ability to obtain a college education from prison inmates. They then spent the next ten years complaining about the high recidivism rates.

A little-noticed provision approved by the House and Senate yesterday makes certain offenders ineligible for Pell Grants starting July 1, 2009. President Bush is expected to sign it into law as part of a broader higher education bill.

Critics of this bill say it will cut off the possibility of higher education to offenders who are trying to rehabilitate themselves.

Opponents to this bill, including civil rights advocates, claim individual abuses of the Pell Grant program should have been dealt with, not a dismantling of the program for an entire class of citizens.

Those who are civilly committed complain that they supposedly still have their civil rights, and in fact, many of them are registered voters. Yet, society continues to punish them. The words of congressman Keller, and others like him, support the civil detainees claims that their detention is punitive - not civil.

"Today, the most insane wasteful spending program in America comes to an end," Rep. Ric Keller, a Florida Republican, said on the House floor on Thursday before his plan won approval.

Keller cited the AP report that some of the offenders were putting the financial aid to questionable use by buying clothes, DVD players and music CDS - sometimes after they dropped their classes.

The Associated Press reported in March that dozens of rapists and child molesters, including some in Wisconsin, have taken classes at taxpayer expense while confined by the courts to treatment centers. Critics say they are exploiting a loophole to receive Pell Grants, which are meant for low-income students.

In California, 125 patients at Coalinga State Hospital are receiving Pell Grants to take correspondence courses through Coastline Community College. The school doesn't know how many of the grant recipients are committed sex offenders, who take up two-thirds of the mental hospital's 1,500 beds, Coastline spokeswoman Michelle Ma said.

"We're certainly watching to see what impact this is going to have," she said. "We don't know if this is going to hurt our enrollment."

Some of the provisions of the Bill:

(E) in paragraph (7) (as designated by subparagraph (B)), by inserting before the period the following: `or who is subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense (as determined in accordance with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program)'; and

`(e) Student Eligibility- An incarcerated individual who has obtained a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent shall be eligible for participation in a program receiving a grant under this section if such individual--

`(1) is eligible to be released within seven years (including an incarcerated individual who is eligible for parole within such time);

`(2) is 35 years of age or younger; and

`(3) has not been convicted of--

`(A) a `criminal offense against a victim who is a minor' or a `sexually violent offense', as such terms are defined in the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (42 U.S.C. 14071 et seq.); or

`(B) murder, as described in section 1111 of title 18, United States Code.

`(f) Length of Participation- A State correctional education agency receiving a grant under this section shall provide educational and related services to each participating incarcerated individual for a period not to exceed seven years, not more than two years of which may be devoted to study in a graduate education degree program or to coursework to prepare such individuals to take college level courses. Educational and related services shall start during the period of incarceration in prison or prerelease, and the related services may continue for not more than two years after release from confinement.

`(g) Education Delivery Systems- State correctional education agencies and cooperating institutions shall, to the extent practicable, use high-tech applications in developing programs to meet the requirements and goals of this section.

`(h) Allocation of Funds- From the funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (i) for each fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each State an amount that bears the same relationship to such funds as the total number of students eligible under subsection (e) in such State bears to the total number of such students in all States.

Cynthia Radavsky Joins The Circle Of Avoidance

Cynthia Radavsky, Deputy Director, Long Term Care Services, the person who supposedly oversees all of the State Hospitals in the California Department of Mental Health system, apparently has washed her hands of Michael St Martin’s allegations of a conspiracy to "smoke his chart." Instead of dealing with the situation and doing an independent investigation, she has instead referred St.Martin’s "concerns to the Administration at Coalinga State Hospital."

Once again, the Circle of Avoidance is in full operation. The Deputy Director has simply referred St.Martin’s concerns back to the people against whom the original complaint was made. It apparently is the "whose policing the police" scenario, as those accused will again investigate themselves.

Click on the Title to view Cynthia Radavsky’s letter.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Michael St.Martin fights back!

Michael St.Martin fights back against an alleged conspiracy to "smoke" his medical chart. A group of women employees at Coalinga State Hospital have made unsubstantiated allegations against St.Martin in retaliation for his activism. Read the nonsense they have written in his medical chart and his letters of response. Click on the title to access the St.Martin pdf document.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mike St. Martin Accused Of "Predorizing" C.S.H. Staff

"Smoking the Charts"! Mike St. Martin illustrates the consequences for Civil Detainees who go public in exposing the California Department of Mental Health's Coalinga State Hospital.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Department of Mental Health Underground Regulations: Evaluator's Handbook Not Being Promulgated. (go to page 27)

Department of Mental Health Underground Regulation 818 Dealing with Contraband
(go to page 14)

Department of Mental Health Underground Regulation 624 Dealing with Mail and Packages (go to page 27)

(Administrative Directives can be viewed at

Friday, April 4, 2008

Patient's killing shocks state hospital

Los Angeles Times

Already under pressure to make reforms, the Atascadero facility is now dealing with the death of Lawrence Paul Rael. Another patient has been charged with murder. (full story)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sex predator accused of killing inmate

Two men were serving time in the same unit at Atascadero State Hospital
By John Simerman

A sexually violent predator committed to Atascadero State Hospital was found dead Sunday morning and another man in the same unit was arrested on suspicion of murder, a hospital spokesman said Monday.

Spokesman Craig Dacus said he thought it would be the first patient homicide in the 54-year history of a facility that houses about 1,000 patients near Highway 101 south of Paso Robles.

The body of Lawrence Rael, 37, was found in his bed about 8 a.m., Dacus said. Police arrested Richard McKee, 44, a sexually violent predator who was committed to the state hospital in 2005.

Dacus said he did not know if a weapon was used, but McKee also was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for a separate incident with a different victim the same day. An investigation into Rael's death continued Monday.

"How that dead body got there we can't definitely say," Dacus said. "We're waiting for the investigation to pan out."

Court records show that McKee of San Diego was convicted in 1991 of lewd acts against an 11-year-old baby sitter and in 1998 for lewd acts against his 8-year-old niece. According to the Megan's Law Web site, Rael also was convicted for lewd acts with a child younger than 14.

McKee was originally admitted as a mentally disordered offender, then in August was reclassified as a sexually violent predator, or SVP, and switched units.

Both men were housed with other SVPs in Unit 22, where each patient lives in his own narrow room. Only the
units themselves, and not the rooms, are locked at night, Dacus said.

Only 36 SVPs are left at Atascadero, with more than 400 having moved to Coalinga State Hospital, which opened in 2005. Peter Tolles, a former Unit 22 patient now at Coalinga, said that those remaining at Atascadero were held in two units, with Unit 22 designated for more "dysfunctional men that have both medical and emotional problems."

Tolles said his complaints about fights in the unit went ignored. Nancy Kincaid of the state Department of Mental Health said she could not document the unit's history of assaults Monday, but she reiterated that the agency investigates all complaints and allegations.

Tolles said he knew Rael as "Shaky," for his frequent shaking, even in his sleep. Rael entered Atascadero in 1998. "He was a pretty happy-go-lucky, jovial individual in comparison to many of the men on the unit," Tolles said.

McKee was being held Monday at San Luis Obispo County Jail. After they found the body, officials placed the state hospital on lockdown for most of the day Sunday, Dacus said.

Reach John Simerman at 925-943-8072 or

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Murdered ASH patient worried about alleged killer who just lost major court appeal


The man suspected of strangling a fellow Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) patient to death with a towel over the weekend was on the losing end of an important, recent California Fourth District Court of Appeal decision upholding the constitutionality of Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law.

Also, hospital officials reportedly ignored at least a week of repeated warnings from patients about violent and threatening behavior by the man, Richard Earl McKee, now held on suspicion in the slaying of Lawrence Paul “Shaky” Rael late Saturday or early Sunday. And the victim’s father told several patients he was initially informed by hospital officials that his son “had hanged himself.”
Rael, found in his bed Sunday morning by hospital employees, was killed sometime after 10:30 p.m. Saturday, after he talked on the telephone to another patient and was said to have expressed his increasing fear of McKee.
A second victim, Raymond Chester, was injured in the attack and was discovered unconscious in his own bed after suffering damage to his limbs and ribs, according to witnesses. No further report on his condition was immediately available.

The murder and assault occurred as a federal judge in another case was demanding ASH officials show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court in the aftermath of a finding that two employees violated the civil rights of a patient.

According to a woman who answered the phone at ASH, no spokesperson would be available to talk to media on Monday regarding any issue because it is a state holiday, Caesar Chavez Day. She additionally declined to identify, or to put in touch with, the hospital’s on-call medical director for comment.
Suspect McKee until recently was considered by the California Department of Mental Health to be a mentally disordered offender (MDO). As such, he would by law be separated from other patients in the facility not similarly designated. But in mid-March, McKee was reclassified for inclusion in the sexually violent predator (SVP) program and became, in hospital lexicon, a dual-confinement patient.
McKee, 35, originally imprisoned for lewd acts on children, had sought to be released from state custody by claiming he was not dangerous to the public. McKee argued that provisions of Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law, were inadequate to insure that only those persons with a diagnosed, current mental illness -- one making them dangerous to the public -- could continue to be confined.
The Court of Appeal decision confirmed McKee’s involuntary commitment at ASH March 21.
Immediately after that court decision, McKee was placed in Unit 22 at ASH, and others in the SVP program said they began to inform staff that McKee was bullying and threatening people in the unit, and becoming increasingly aggressive and violent. Their claims went unheeded, according to one patient, Peter Tolls.
Rael talked on the telephone to his friend, fellow patient Ron “Bear” Barrett, according to Tolls, at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, sounding upbeat on the one hand but also expressing fear of McKee.

In a prior case involving a similar failure to protect a patient, a federal judge ruled that two ASH employees violated one patient’s civil rights and ordered the pair to pay $1,000 to that SVP patient. The judge now wants to know why the ASH employees have not yet done so.

U.S. Central District Judge S. James Sotero ruled in December that employees Melissa A. Roper and Michael C. Groom were found to have made “a substantial departure from professional judgment, practice and standards” and thus were responsible for injuries suffered by patient Theodric Van Smith in assaults on him by other two patients.

ASH officials in that case also had been repeatedly warned, by patients, staff and state and federal law enforcement agencies that Smith might become a target of attack for his testimony against two Pelican Bay State Prison guards. Peggy Phaklides, a litigation manager for ASH, said in January the hospital is considering appealing Smith’s civil judgment.

ASH patient arrested for allegedly killing fellow patient

by Stephen Curran

A patient at Atascadero State Hospital has been arrested in connection with the death of another man in the facility’s custody Sunday.

Richard McKee, 44, is accused of killing Lawrence Rael, a fellow patient on Unit 22. McKee was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an unrelated assault, hospital spokesman Craig Dacus said.

Rael, 37, had been a patient at ASH since 1998, Dacus said.

McKee has been a patient at ASH since 2005, Dacus said. According to the Megan’s Law database, McKee was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14.

Rael’s death remained under investigation this afternoon, Dacus said. No additional details have been released.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sex Offender Murdered At Atascadero State Hospital This Morning

One sex offender is dead and another is in critical condition after another Hospital Patient, Richard McKee, went on an early-morning rampage Sunday at Atascadero State Hospital.

Early reports say that the dead victim, Lawrence Real, was beaten and strangled to death while the other victim, whose name has not yet been confirmed, suffered broken arms, legs, and ribs during the attack.

McKee had just recently (March 21, 2008) lost an appeal in San Diego Superior Court (see story) in which Judge Peter L. Gallagher upheld the constitutionality of the 2006 amendments to the act passed as Jessica’s Law, which provided in part that an individual committed under the act would remain in custody until he could prove that he no longer met the definition of a sexually violent predator. McKee's failed appeal had asserted that his federal constitutional rights to due process, equal protection under the law, and the ban against ex post facto laws had been violated.

These are preliminary reports and have not yet been confirmed by multiple sources.

An unnamed Hospital spokesperson, in speaking with a television reporter earlier today, denied that any such incident occurred.

We will provide further details as we learn more.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Petition to Repeal Jessica's Law and California Welfare & Institutions Code, §6600

Please go to the following to sign the Repeal Jessica's Law and California Welfare & Institutions Code, §6600 Petition.

When you do, please elect to provide Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees with your email address (you don't have to make it public). This will enable us to keep you informed of developments with this petition as well as with other news related to the Civil Detainees in Coalinga. Your information will be kept in strict confidence and will not be shared with anyone else. Thanks!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Video Coverage of the Rally in Front of C.S.H.

The following video clips were recorded Sunday, March 3, 2008, at the rally held jointly by "Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees" and "Reform of Sex Offender Laws" in front of Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California.

The demonstration was held to protest the laws which punish sex offenders twice for the same crime by holding them as "Civil Detainees" in this purpose-built modern gulag in the hinterlands of California as well as the conditions of their confinement.

Our next protest will occur at the Statehouse in Sacramento sometime this summer. We need your help and your presence to make our voices heard! Please contact us at: to learn more.

The videos include:
  • Tom Madison Keynote Speech
  • Paul Shannon Speaks To Civil Detainees & Their Supporters from Boston
  • Jammye Stallworth, Wife Of A Civil Detainees
  • "Starchild", Libertarian and Human Rights activist, discusses the urgent need for building coalitions amongst civil libertarians and the disenfranchised to combat oppressive government before it is too late.
  • Jeff Griffin of the "Citizens Committee on Human Rights" examines the motivations behind government, the mental health community, and the pharmaceuticals industry in promulgating public terror, pseudo-diagnostics and mechanisms for the destruction of liberty.
  • Tom Madison: Update on the Detainee rally going on INSIDE Coalinga State Hospital
Brief Interview: "Lt. Wilson Explains Why Visiting Is Shut Down" for four days which coincided with the rally

Speeches by Detainees for the Demonstration outside of C.S.H. :
  • A word of thanks to our supporters!
  • LANCE PURCELL: Crime & Punishment or Mental Illness & Treatment
  • Mike St. Martin Speaks by Telephone to the Demonstrators
  • DETAINEE ANTHONY CARLIN: The New "Disappeared"
  • DETAINEE “Y”.: Challenging Professional Integrity of "Therapists" in C.S.H.
  • DETAINEE LANCE PURCELL: Diagnosing a Deeply Disordered Department
  • DETAINEE LANCE PURCELL: C.S.H. Cannot Trust Its Own Best Efforts
  • DETAINEE ANTHONY CARLIN: No Viable Exit Program
  • Detainee “X”: Deaths in C.S.H.
  • Detainee “X”: David Smith
  • Detainee “X”: C.S.H. Fact Sheet

Tom Madison Keynote Speech at Coalinga State Hospital

Tom Madison, President S.O. Clear, delivers the opening speech at the rally held by Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees Tom Madison, President S.O. Clear, delivers the opening speech at the rally held by Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees and Reform of Sex Offender Laws in front Coalinga State Hospital where sex offenders are civilly confined after serving their terms in prison.

Paul Shannon Speaks To Civil Detainees & Their Supporters from Boston

Paul Shannon, Reform of Sex Offender Laws ( ) Speaks To Civil Detainees & Their Supporters from Boston.

"Starchild", Libertarian and Human Rights activist

"Starchild", Libertarian and Human Rights activist, discusses the urgent need for building coalitions amongst civil libertarians and the disenfranchised to combat oppressive government before it is too late.

Jeff Griffin of the "Citizens Committee on Human Rights"

Jeff Griffin of the "Citizens Committee on Human Rights" examines the motivations behind government, the mental health community, and the pharmaceuticals industry in promulgating public terror, pseudo-diagnostics and mechanisms for the destruction of liberty.

Jammye Stallworth, Wife Of A Civil Detainee

Jammye Stallworth, the wife of a Civil Detainee, speaks at the rally held by Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees and Reform of Sex Offender Laws in front of Coalinga State Hospital where sex offenders are civilly confined after serving their terms in prison.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update on the Detainee rally going on INSIDE Coalinga State Hospital

Tom Madison, provides an update on the Detainee rally going on INSIDE Coalinga State Hospital at the same time that others are protesting on their behalf OUTSIDE of the Hospital. He also urges supporters to take action to secure the rights of ALL Americans and to hold politicians responsible for the damage they have inflicted on civil liberties in the United States.

Friday, March 7, 2008

VIDEO: Why Visiting Was Closed During The Demonstration

Lieutenant Wilson explains why there is to be no visiting during the Demonstration, contradicting the Administration's claims that it is unrelated to the Demonstration and due to an investigation of "smuggling" into the institution. Detainees and their families insist that visiting was cancelled by the Administration as a means of punishing both Detainees and family/friends for exercising their 1st Amendment rights in holding the rally. It should be noted that Coalinga is very remote from the major population centers in California and most family and friends of Detainees had to travel for hours in order to be at the rally with the expectation that they would also be able to visit Detainees. While the rally was held on Sunday, March 2, visiting was closed from Friday through Monday.

The speakers are Lt. Wilson, Tom Madison (S.O. Clear) and Jeff Griffin (Citizen's Committee on Human Rights).


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Speeches by Detainees for the Demonstration outside of C.S.H.

The following fourteen speeches were delivered by telephone by Civil Detainees locked-up in Coalinga State Hospital to the Demonstrators who had gathered on their behalf Sunday, March 2, 2008.

A word of thanks to our supporters!

Detainee “X” needs to remain anonymous because of the realities of retribution by Administration.

LANCE PURCELL: Crime & Punishment or Mental Illness & Treatment

Lance Purcell left D.M.H.'s treatment program because of the ethical compromises it demanded.

Mike St. Martin Speaks by Telephone to the Demonstrators

Mike St. Martin speaks here of a “cynical system”.


DETAINEE “Y”.: Challenging Professional Integrity of "Therapists" in C.S.H.

DETAINEE LANCE PURCELL: Diagnosing a Deeply Disordered Department

DETAINEE LANCE PURCELL: C.S.H. Cannot Trust Its Own Best Efforts



Detainee “X”: Deaths in C.S.H.

Detainee “X”: David Smith

Detainee “X”: C.S.H. Fact Sheet



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Visits resume at state hospital

Officials in Coalinga won't discuss news report on drug link.
By Eddie Jimenez / The Fresno Bee

Visitation for Coalinga State Hospital residents will resume this morning, four days after visitors were banned from the facility.

A spokeswoman for the hospital for sex offenders would not discuss a news report that visits were curtailed to allow hospital police to investigate claims that visitors were smuggling drugs, electronics and weapons into the hospital.

In an e-mail late Monday afternoon, Deborah Ireland, the hospital's external affairs director, would only confirm that visitations would resume today.

"We cannot discuss hospital security issues," Ireland wrote.

Hospital patient Greg Peters said visitations were banned beginning at midday Friday to punish patients for a planned demonstration by family and friends two days later at the hospital.

The protest involved about 40 relatives and friends who say patients are being held unlawfully, said Jaymmie Stallworth, whose husband, Lavell, is a hospital resident.

The state Department of Mental Health houses sexually violent predators in Coalinga after they finish their prison sentences under a procedure called civil detainment, in which criminals can be held indefinitely after completing their sentences if they're still considered a threat.

"They shut down the hospital because of the protest," Jaymmie Stallworth said.

She believes the smuggling allegations were a smokescreen.

Peters agreed, saying, "Put two and two together. The demonstration was Sunday." The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Many Possible Explanations For No Visiting During the Demonstration at C.S.H.

We read today, via the Associated Press, that "State officials say they are banning relatives from visiting a state hospital that treats sex offenders while police investigate reports of 'smuggling' (source)".

That's a good one. Previously, we have heard, variously, that visiting was closed due to:
A. The need to clean the visiting room (it must have been awfully dirty!)
B. That the camera in the visiting center was broken.
C. That a "shank" had been found buried in the yard.
D. Lost keys (yes, again with the lost keys!)
E. "The outside activities planned for this weekend"

The last explanation, and the one I am most inclined to believe, came directly to us from a Lieutenant Walters (sp?) who, when asked by demonstrators why visiting had been suspended, offered just that, referring directly to the demonstration which had nearly wrapped-up by 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 2nd.

Immediately after the rally, several carloads of demonstrators as well as two or three local t.v. news crews attempted to gain access to the facility grounds with the intention of interviewing whichever administrators might be available. While no one had high hopes of actually entering the facility, as expected they did get to verbally engage with the Hospital police who blocked them from venturing beyond the parking lot, at which time the Lieutenant offered the sole plausible explanation for closing all visiting of Detainees by their family and friends from Friday afternoon until Tuesday morning.

Less convincingly, he asserted that the "Patient's privileges" had been temporarily suspended for this reason. When challenged by one of the demonstrators who reminded him that visiting was not a "privilege" but a "right" (indeed, the Detainees are Civil Detainees who are assured by the U.S. Supreme Court that they are not being punished but instead retain their civil liberties) he seemed unprepared to respond and instead turned and walked away.

It is reported that several Detainees' families are considering legal remedy to compensate them for the long trips they made to Coalinga and the C.S.H. only to be refused the right to visit their family members.

The unavoidable impression we are left with is this: Executive Director Norm Kramer decided to punish the Detainees as well as their family/friends for exercising their Constitutional rights to assemble and to speak on their own behalf. This impulse towards "group punishment" and "message control" comes easily to the Department of Mental Health as it is a habit exercised daily in their administration of C.S.H.

We do commend Lieutenant Walters for his candor and to assure him that the whole criminal/civil distinction thing is dreadfully confusing when discussing the laws under which California's sex offender Civil Detainees are held. So it is not surprising to us that he, too, should blur those lines.

Perhaps Nancy Kincaid (C.S.H. media flack) should lead a workshop for C.S.H. employees on just that topic. She has, so far, been able to convince the credulous media that Coalinga's Detainees are uniformly "the worst of the worst" and "sexually violent predators". I believe that will begin to change, and rather soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Public Demonstration To Protest Against Coalinga State Hospital

WHERE: In front of Coalinga State Hospital, 24511 West Jayne Ave., Coalinga, CA
(see maps, below)

WHEN: Sunday, March 2, 2008 at NOON

MAPS (2):
California, showing routes and distances to Coalinga from major cities / Coalinga area (detail)


Demonstration Coordinator: Jaymmie Stallworth, Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees
Tel: (916) 628-7201, (916) 670-0022

Detainee Spokesman: Mike St. Martin, Tel: 559-934-0391 / 559-934-0392

Friends & Family Spokesperson: Allan Marshall, Tel: 702-421-0467

Anyone needing transportation may be able to carpool. Please let
Jaymmie Stallworth know if you need a ride and she will try to provide it. Also, she can provide any recommendations about hotel/motel accommodations or any logistical questions.

This is a non-violent demonstration. It will be a peaceable event to show solidarity with those being wrongly held in C.S.H. and to communicate the conditions under which they are held. Please do not attend this event if you are unable to abide by accepted rules of civility.

We do request that you email or call us to let us know if you can attend but you do not have to provide your name. This is only to help us better plan the event, you can remain entirely anonymous. If you cannot contact us ahead of time, that's fine, too.

We look forwarding to seeing you there. More importantly, this event will give an enormous boost to the spirits of the Detainees who have little to hope for. Indeed, the anticipation of this demonstration has already had a dramatic effect on their morale. Please attend the demonstration and show you care!

Thank you!
Allan Marshall

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jan. 11, 2008 Press Release, C.S.H. Civil Detainees

California Department Of Mental Health Explains Why Gang Members Who Rape Women Do Not Need Treatment

For Immediate Release, January 11, 2008

Coalinga State Hospital Detainee, John Lofton, spoke by phone with Brenda Epperly-Ellis, Chief of the Sexual Offender Commitment Program, from her office in the California Department of Mental Health in Sacramento on November 19, 2007.

Lofton had called Epperly-Ellis to discuss D.M.H. criteria for selecting candidates for involuntary civil confinement after completing their prison sentences. His question to her follows:

"Of those people who are detained here under the S.V.P.A. (Sexually Violent Predator Act) since 1996, its year of enactment, it has become clear that there are few, if any, gang members convicted of sex crimes within our commitment, despite high rates of sexual offense among gang members.

Why are gang members, who usually are violent, excluded from S.V.P.? Instead, sex offenders with gang affiliation are free to return home after serving their prison terms while we face lifetime confinement in the Department of Mental Health even though many here are not violent at all?

(Epperly-Ellis letter: )

November 26, 2007

To: John Lofton
Coalinga State Hospital
24511 West Jayne Avenue
Coalinga, CA 93210

From: Brenda Epperly-Ellis, S.O.C.P.

Subject: SVP/Gang Affiliation

Dear Mr. Lofton,

I am writing to you in regards to the questions we discussed by telephone regarding gang members in the Sexual Offender Commitment Program. I have checked with both our Legal Department and our experienced evaluators to provide a response to your concern.

There are no statutes that protect gang members from a sexually violent predator commitment. Gang affiliation is considered in the evaluation because it is a significant risk factor for sexual re-offense. The sexual offenses of gang members are one of many types of criminal offenses they commit. Gang members often commit a rape in concert and it is motivated by violence not by deviance. Generally, this is not due to a mental disorder and they stop doing those types of offenses as they get older.

I hope this letter has addressed your concerns. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me via mail at the address above.


Brenda Epperly-Ellis, Chief
Sexual Offender Commitment Program, 1600 9th Street, RM 250, Sacramento, CA 95814, 916-653-1843

Response From Detainee Mike St. Martin to Brenda Epperly-Ellis:

Statistics consistently show that our rate of reoffense goes down with age, too. But that doesn't keep you from holding us here until our 70's or 80's while gang members often get out of prison while still in their 20's or 30's. And gang members have a rate of recidivism of more than 70% while ours are less than 5%. What's more, the average age of Detainees here is nearly 60 and most committed their crimes more than twenty years ago. Thirty people have died in custody, three times as many as the courts have released after completion of the program.

So how is it that those gang affiliated sex offenders with a documented history of violence who have raped and abused women are not considered "Sexually Violent Predators"?"

It's very telling that you find “deviance” to be more of a threat to society than “violence”. The public has been lead to believe that the offender profile most to be feared is that of the socially isolated sex offender, not of the violent gangster who, amongst all other things, is a rapist.

By excluding the “violent” and focusing on “the deviant”, you simultaneously appease the public and avoid the difficult custody problems encountered by the Department of Corrections when incarcerating gang members.

Those not conforming to your preferred offender profiles find no place in your program and do not appear in the statistics which purport to demonstrate its value. Indeed, it has been suggested that you would find their introduction to be a contamination of your narrowly-focused study of offenders, although I find the suggestion that your treatment teams are capable of conducting any “scientific study” laughable on its face.

The demonstrated statistical reality is that the dangerousness of gang members who rape is far greater than that of the individual pedophile who, alarming headlines to the contrary, is rarely violent. But keeping gang members in cages is far more difficult, isn't it?

The California Legislature's Greatly Revised Dictionary of the English Language (Abridged)

Prisoners in California's Department of Corrections, upon completion of their prison sentences for sexually related crimes, are evaluated for consideration as "Sexually Violent Predators". At that point, State Evaluators make a recommendation to have the individual detained in Civil Confinement under the authority of the Department of Mental Health if they consider him to be “S.V.P.”, or to be allowed to leave the prison system onto parole and out into the community if they do not.

What is a "Sexually Violent Predator (S.V.P.)" under California law? The State's criteria for determining "Sexual Violence" is very different from the definition for the word "violent" found in any dictionary or any reasonable person's understanding of the term. As it is now defined, neither actual violence nor coercion is needed for a crime to meet the statutory definition of "sexually violent" under California law. In the case of child sex offenders, all that is needed to classify an offender as "violent" is that they have “substantial sexual contact” with a person under the age of 14, regardless of consent. Even if the "victim" had been perfectly willing to engage in sexual contact with the "perpetrator", he will be considered, for the purposes of classification and consideration for lifetime commitment, a "sexually violent predator".

What's more, "Sexual contact" can consist of mere touching, even through clothing and even if what is being touched is not genitalia (such as feet or back or shoulders). In this case, the "thoughts" of the perpetrator are what matter, since any physical contact whatsoever is a felony given "sexual intent". "Thought Crimes" are punishable under California Criminal Code 288 with the very real possibility of a life sentence!

The term "predator" itself is also intended to mislead. According to California's "dictionary" a "predator" need not employ actual violence, force or coercion. In this context, a "predator" may simply be someone who is unrelated as family to the "victim", such as a friend or "casual acquaintance". It is for this reason that those convicted of incest are less likely to find themselves being civilly committed after serving their prison sentence than those who had a friendship (a voluntary relationship) with their "victims".

The "Static 99" is a scoring system which purports to estimate risk for reoffense and is used in further determining eligibility for civil confinement. In practice, it especially penalizes men (and it's only used on men) who are unmarried and homosexual (with male "victims") and not related by family to their "victims". Such an offender will receive two additional "points" indicating reoffense risk. He will receive one more point if he has not known his "victim" for at least 24 hours before sexual contact. The maximum number of points that can be scored on the Static 99 is only 12.

Ironically, one of the definitions for "violent" which is found in Webster's dictionary is the following: "of, pertaining to, or constituting a distortion of meaning or fact." Does this sound like a Legislature we know?


Civil Detainee Spokesperson:
Mike St. Martin
CO-414-3, Unit 7
P.O . BOX 5003
Coalinga , CA 93210-5003
Telephone: 559-934-0391 / 559-934-0392

this document is also available from:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Coalinga State Hospital Refuses U.S. Mail To Detainee

**UPDATE**: Coalinga State Hospital has today (Jan. 11, 2008) released the brochures without comment to Mike St. Martin (see below)

Administration has Civil Detainee, Mike St. Martin, reports today that Hospital administration has refused to give him brochures from Friends & Family of California Civil Detainees sent by the U.S. Mail.
(download brochure)

He was told that his mail would have to be further "reviewed" by the Administration before a determination could be made if he would be allowed to receive it.

The ostensible reason for this "review" was stated by Officer Wallace to be that the words "Coalinga State Hospital" and a stylized depiction of the institution (which is part of the "Friends & Family" logo) appear in the brochure.

"This is an ongoing policy of the Hospital which claims that Detainees have no civil rights and that we only have the civil rights that they (the Hospital) gives us', said St. Martin. "This is according to Lieutenant Sharon Rogers and previous Clinical Director Gary Renzaglia."

"Hospital administration is having a really hard time coming to grips with the fact that we DO possess civil rights including the right to send and receive mail and to keep it from being read without a court warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that we are not to be punished and that we are to be held in the least restrictive manner possible. What part of 'No, you won't abrogate our rights' don't they understand?".

Not only is this latest abridgment of Detainee civil rights in contravention of U.S. Federal Statutes but is also in defiance of California Department of Mental Health's own rules governing mail:

"Unit staff will deliver the mail to the Individual to whom it is addressed and, in accordance with the hospital's rules, open and inspect incoming mail for contraband, without reading written material, and in the presence of the Individual". California Department of Mental Health Administrative Directive: "SUPPORTIVE SERVICES ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTIVE NO. 624

The Federal Law on the subject reads as follows:

"Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 83, § 1702 Obstruction of correspondence
As of this writing, Executive Director Norm Kramer could not be reached for comment.