Added: (Wed Nov 29 2000)

Pressbox (Press Release) - "California State Officials, at the highest levels
are remaining silent and inactive, after having been
informed that staff under their command are violating
the law, and rights of citizens."

These words come from Lara Johnson, a South African
human rights activist, founder of Amandla Foundation,
and wife of California prisoner - Demian Johnson.

On November 18th Ms. Johnson wrote to Governor Davis,
announcing that she had begun a hunger strike, and
that she would not publicize her action for ten
days, in order to give the Governor an opportunity
to respond to her information and request for redress.

In the absence of any response from the governor,
or any of his officials, Ms. Johnson makes public
her complaint.

Ms. Johnson alleges that the California Dept. of
Corrections, does not abide by it's own regulations
and Directives, regarding the identification,
verification, maintenance and deletion of gang
labels attached to prisoners in their custody -
as is clearly demonstrated in the case of her
husband Demian Johnson (C-68641).

Mr. Johnson was originally validated as a gang
member in 1987 by a "confidential informant', and
has spent the past 13 years filing appeals against
that designation as false. Numerous Director's
Level Decisions have corroborated Mr. Johnson's
claim that his classification was "questionable"
"uncorroborated," and "unvalidated." Nevertheless,
despite higher Official directives that the
"erroneous" gang label be "deleted" from his
records, local prison officials have persistently
refused to honor them.

As a result, Mr. Johnson continues to suffer the
consequences of the mislabeling. These have
1. Placement in an Indeterminate Administrative
Segregation program, i.e. locked in his cell for
over 23 hours a day, for six years. This, in turn,
resulted in:
a. Exclusion from educational, vocational and
therapeutic programs, which are the requirements
by the Board of Prison Terms (BPT) for his
b. Prevention of a reduction of his
classification score by the maximum possible eight
(8) points per year points reduction available to
general populations prisoners; also a requirement
by the BPT for his release;
c. Denial of parole by the BPT based on a lack
of programming (a), high classification score (b),
and gang status, thereby effectively extending his
sentence indefinitely.

Ms. Johnson has taken her complaint to the following
Department of Corrections offices: the Office of
Internal Affairs (OIA); the Special Services Unit
(SSU), the Law Enforcement & Liaisons Unit, the
CDC Ombudsman, and the Director's Office itself.
All of these offices, including the Office of the
Inspector General (OIG) have supported the claim
that the label is "erroneous", stating that it had
been "deleted" and "corrected". Nevertheless, none
of the allegations have been amended in Mr. Johnson's
Central File.

"The persistent refusal of local prison authorities
to comply with the order to expunge the label reveals
a dangerous rejection of higher authority and a
department out of control," says retired Professor
Richard Korn, a former prison official who has taught
at UC Berkeley and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"I am constantly amazed that a system that incarcerates
400 Caucasian vs. 6,926 African American males per
100,000 persons can be called a 'justice' system,"
and continues Ms. Johnson, "once you get more
intricately involved in how the 'justice' system
works, then, you see it is nothing more than a
highly evolved system of Apartheid, under the
guise of 'Crime Control'!"

Ms. Johnson has called a press conference for 11 am,
Wednesday November 29 2000, on the West Steps of the
Capital in Sacramento, California.

For Further Information:
Johnson Case File & CDC Documents Online at:
Lara Johnson:
Cell:(510) 823 8109, Email:bravehrt@amandla.org
Professor Richard Korn:
Tel: (510) 524 0865, Email: wyvern@idiom.com
Demian Johnson C-68641: Salinas Valley State
Prison (B5-216), Box 1040, Soledad, CA 93960-1040
Salinas Valley State Prison: (831) 678 5500
Office of Inspector General, Mr. Bruce Beckler:
(800) 700 5952
California Department of Corrections (CDC) Officials:
CDC Director, Cal Terhune: (916) 445 6684
CDC Office of Internal Affairs, Agent Paul Edwards:
(916) 445 6684
CDC Ombudsman, Mr. Ken Hurdle: (916) 445 1748
CDC Special Services Unit Manager, Mr. Steve Wohlwend:
(916) 631 0178
CDC Law Enforcement & Liaison Unit Manager, Mr. Brian
Perry: (916) 327 3268


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