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Community Assessment

Practical Experience

As part of the MPH program at SFSU myself and four of my fellow students worked with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children for three semesters to conduct a community assessment related to pregnant prisoners.  In the first semester, we decided to focus on the oral healthcare experiences of pregnent prisoners at Valley State Prison for Women and planned our methods.  During our second semester we conducted our assessment, and in the third and final semester we developed a Media Advocacy Tool Kit  & Program Evaluation informed by the results of the assessment. 

Refelctive Statement

"In 1976 the Supreme Court decision in Estelle v Gamble (1976) ruled that adequate healthcare for prisoners is a constitutional right protected under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S constitution.  Nearly 30 years later, the current state of the California prison healthcare system is in crisis with prisoners dying at a rate of one per week.  In 2005, a U.S. District Judge, Thelton Henderson ruled that the California prison healthcare system was "an outright depravity" and in violation of prisoners' human rights.  He ordered the prison healthcare system to be turned over to an outside receiver."

The above statements from our assessment are a mere glimpse of what is wrong with our in-justice system in this country.  As a person with a history of incarceration in addition to the many friends and loved ones  in my life who have served time, this project was very important to me.  Visiting women in VSPW and at a local CPMP on several occasions to talk with them about their experiences being pregnant while in prison and the treatment they received while locked up is an experience I will never forget.  The worst part about this process was knowing that, at the end of the day, I got to go home to my friends and family and that most of these women will be locked up for years, most of them for non-violent drug related offenses, being cut off from seeing their families, friends and most importantly their children.
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