California Youth Prison Agrees to Improve Inmate Living Conditions Following Online Campaign

 

Contact - Media Relations Manager: Abel Habtegorgis (510) 910 - 2672

CAMARILLO, CA – Over 10,000 people joined a popular campaign on Change.org in partnership with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, demanding improved living conditions at a California youth prison.  As a result, the prison’s superintendent issued a memo stating that work orders for needed repairs, such as exposed electrical outlets, broken toilets, and lack of hot water have been submitted.

Started by Lino Silva, a youth living in the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, the petition has garnered more than 10,000 signatures and cited the prison’s broken toilets, stagnant water, sewage, and exposure to chemicals.

Silva reported  that a plumber arrived to unclog the shower drains in his unit. After reaching out to the Ella Baker Center, Lino says he started the petition on Change.org to give a voice to other youth in the prison.

“It’s only by having a voice that we can hold on to our humanity. In order to survive, we must have something that the guards can never take away. We hold on to hope to know that we still exist. To you, the public, who we derive our hope from: take action because we can't, and continue to stand in solidarity by supporting our cause," said Lino Silva.

“This system spends over $200,000 per youth in one year, yet it couldn’t bother to unclog the toilets?” said Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center. “Lino and the youth who created and signed this petition took a stand at great personal risk and their voices were heard.”

“Lino Silva has drawn widespread attention to the conditions at the DJJ,” said Change.org Senior Organizer Jonathan Perri. “In just days, over 10,000 people from California signed his petition. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and that’s exactly what Lino has done.”

Journalists interested in setting up an interview with Lino Silva should contact Abel Habtegeorgis, media relations director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, using the contact details at the top of the page.

Live signature totals from Lino Silva’s campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/improve-conditions-at-ventura-youth-correctional-facility

Journalists interested in contacting DJJ public relations staff should try:
Ventura Youth Prison Superintendent Victor Almager
(209) 461-6268, victor.almager@cdcr.ca.gov

About the Ella Baker Center
The Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive.