Protecting Coronavirus Whistleblower in California Prison

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written by UBF V.P. Tiffany Munoz and Vincent Bragg

The coronavirus is spreading in the U.S prison system with new cases emerging daily. People in prison are sick and rebelling. Recently, Vice News did an interview with an incarcerated person who exposed the conditions of California Department of Corrections prisons and the system’s complete disregard for protecting the incarcerated population and CDCR staff against COVID-19--a fertile breeding ground for the spread of the virus.

Since that video was published, Ivan Kilgore, incarcerated at Solano State Prison, has been accused of being the whistleblower and as a result he is being retaliated against by CDCR. The general population has had their liberties taken away and been told that Ivan’s actions caused their loss of privileges, from taking away exercise and day room activity to unwarranted cell searches. CDCR also planted false information amongst the prison population to intentionally pit prison gang leaders against Ivan to take action against him as a form of retribution. This has bred a hostile environment for Ivan and is threatening his safety. CDCR has now threatened to bury Ivan deeper into the system, essentially making him disappear to his loved ones, and restrict him from being heard by transferring him to another prison.

Ivan is the founder of the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Incarcerated for the last 20 years & serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, Ivan has created an organization that “rebuilds the community from within the community.” Through working with universities, sponsoring youth basketball teams, community reinvestment programs, and prisoner book publishing projects -- UBFSF is challenging the narrative imposed upon communities who are plagued with high incarceration rates, poverty, drug use, and violence.

Today we are asking you to help us stop CDCR from silencing Ivan’s voice and every other COVID-19 whistleblower that comes forward, both incarcerated and staff CDCR members. It is not uncommon for people in prison to be shipped from prison to prison or put in solitary confinement as a method of silencing. We are asking you to help us stop this from being another one of those stories.

Let’s hold the American prison system accountable by ending this retaliation and protecting everyone in the system from being infected with COVID-19. Call Governor Gavin Newsom’s office (916) 445-2841 today and ask him to put an end to the retaliation and negligence of CDCR. #EyesOnCDCR

Call and email Giselle Matteson - Warden at CSP-Solano:
707-451-0182/Gigi.Matteson@cdcr.ca.gov

Script:
Hello, my name is ________. I am calling to urge you to dismiss the misconduct report against Ivan Kilgore for alleged whistleblower activity. I have been informed that Mr. Kilgore has been accused of speaking to a reporter about inadequate protections against the coronavirus pandemic at California State Prison, Solano, and has been threatened with a transfer to another prison. A transfer to another prison would be a disproportionate punishment for the alleged disciplinary violation and danger during the current pandemic.

“A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” -Gandhi

See Vice Interview at:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tynlUWVcUQU