As Wildfires Threaten More Prisons, the Incarcerated Ask Who Will Save Their Lives

CCF grant recipient TGI Justice Project is doing urgent work to protect incarcerated people from California's wildfires.

CCF is proud to support TGI Justice Project through its incredibly urgent work to protect incarcerated people from California’s wildfires.

From The Intercept,

“While most people in places threatened by wildfires can flee — some residents in the Susanville area did last August — imprisoned populations, by definition, do not have control over their movements. They are instead at the mercy of the state.

Absent any details about evacuation plans, prisoners and their advocates across California are skeptical that meaningful arrangements exist…

With the pace at which wildfires are getting dramatically larger and more severe, Newsom’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has taken flak from advocates for being unprepared for the deepening climate crisis in the state’s prisons, jails, and detention centers.

The Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project, an advocacy group known as TGI Justice Project, is demanding that California create guidelines for what should happen when prisons do evacuate. Newsom has yet to respond.”

“‘We never had any evacuation drills,’ said Joseph Vejar, a prisoner at California Correctional Center who served as chair of the inmate advisory council; he says he discussed the fire and the generator failure with prison officials. Vejar said he was never shown the details of the prison’s emergency protocols: ‘I never heard of them having a plan for evacuation.'”

Joseph Vejar, an incarcerated person at california correctional center