Letters to the Editor – November 2014


California Prison Officials Retaliate against Inmates Who File Staff Complaints

As I’m sure you all know, filing a grievance against correctional officers under the eyes of the law is a form of protected activity. However, we inmates still face retaliation as a result for doing so. This retaliation takes place in many forms: from food being messed with to them slamming your food port to putting handcuffs on you extra tight, as well as them subjecting you to excessive force and giving you a false disciplinary charge. I’m not speaking on this from the position of a lawyer or an academic, I’ve lived it.

See my civil rights complaint Willard v. Sebok et al. U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Case No. CV-132251MMM (RNB). That lawsuit is about seven prison officers using excessive force on me and giving me a false disciplinary charge on Oct. 13, 2012. All in retaliation for filing a grievance against them. This is nothing new; this is what they do to prisoners daily. Excessive force is battery and often guards get away with this.

Why should the public care? Because prison officials are public servants who you citizens pay good tax dollars to enforce the law, not violate it. Furthermore, if people do nothing in regard to this issue, prison staff will continue to believe themselves to be immune to rules and beyond the reach of the law. We prisoners are suffering deliberate abuse at the hands of our keepers. I call on all citizens who read this to please act now to stop this ongoing crime against humanity.

Joshua A. Willard
CDCR# AL-2832 Facility B
Bldg 2 Cell #209 P.O. Box 5103
Delano, CA 93216

Memories of Picking Grapes

Little did I know what picking grapes the summer before my senior high school year would mean. Getting up in the dark and the cold air and riding in the farmer’s truck to somewhere a half hour south of downtown Fresno was not a treat. Bent over with a razor-sharp knife and trying to cut the bunch stem and not my hand was a challenge. All alone I barely moved along, the Mexicans chattering in the next row zoomed past me, and then the sun came and beat on me until every muscle wanted to die. I did not last a week and as the son of office workers I did not have to do that work. The farmer underpaid me. The farmers should be happy that anyone does that work.

Picking grapes motivated me to complete more than six years of college because I did not want to pick grapes or do anything ever again dominated by crushing manual labor. I am still on the side of those people I left in the horrible crushing sun. I could never vote for the politicians of the billionaires because in a way I know most of the people of the valley.

Mike Starry

Sanitary High School Wanted

I am currently a sophomore at a local high school in Fresno. Ever since my freshmen year at this high school, I’ve noticed the school has a roach problem. One day, my friend and I were in the cafeteria and we saw a big roach just hanging out on the floor right in the middle of the cafeteria. It was really disgusting and we lost our appetite. Another time, my friends and I were hanging out on the grass during lunch time and one of my friends sat on a roach! So gross!

When walking around on campus sometimes you just see them lying on the floor. This is not a good environment to be learning in and it’s very unsanitary. Something needs to be done about this. If other students see roaches on their campus they should take a picture and report it to the school district and urge them to do something about it.

High school student


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x