September 29, 2007 Coalinga Update:

Despite Administration assertions to the contrary, Civil Detainees in California's $388 Million Coalinga State Hospital remain on strike in the second month of a non-violent action.

They charge that the Hospital's new Director, Norman Kramer, has also reneged on his recent promises to:

  • Meet with Representatives of the Detainee Provisional government by Friday of last week.
  • Transcribe tape recorded minutes of their prevous meeting with him and to make these available to Detainees and the media.
  • Remove Clinical Director Rocky Spurgeon, the primary Defendant in a Detainee lawsuit recently reconfirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit Court and sent back to the Federal District Court for trial1.
Reportedly lacking professional qualifications for his position, Spurgeon remains in a position of authority at the Hospital where he is referred to by staff and Detainees alike as “Rocky the
Roadblock” for his reputation of deliberately frustrating attempts by Detainees to exercise the few rights they enjoy.

The Administration's repeated denial to media that a Detainee strike is underway at C.S.P. is seen by strike organizers as a means to circumvent adverse press coverage and establish a sense of normality which they hope will prevail by the time of the U.S. Department of Justice's visit there later this month. The scope of the D.O.J. inspection is quite broad and seeks to determine the conditions of confinement and treatment of Detainees in the dramatically understaffed facility. A drastic reshuffling of Administration staff since the strike began including one senior staff member escorted off the premises by police escort gives little credibility to the Administration's assertion that a strike is neither underway nor having an effect on the Hospital's operations.

Detainees plan further, as yet unspecified, strike actions in the coming weeks.

1 Hydrick, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al.

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