Female Inmates Sterilized in California Prisons; Repeatedly Coerced

By Staff Writer | July 08, 2013 08:57 AM EDT

Female inmates sterilized in California prisons from 2006 to 2010 without the required approvals from the state, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. In a violation of rules, at least 148 female inmates were sterilized using tubal ligations. State documents and interviews show that there may be hundreds more dating back to the 1990s.

A database of contracted medical services showed that doctors were paid $147,460 by the state to sterilize female inmates from 1997 to 2010. The female inmates who were sterilized signed up for the
surgery while they were pregnant. The female inmates were kept at either Valley State Prison in Chowchila or the California Institution for Women in Corona. The Valley State Prison is now a men’s prison.

The former inmates and prisoner advocates say that the female inmates sterilized who were thought to be likely to return to prison in the future were coerced by prison medical staff to get the procedure.

Crystal Nguyen, who worked at the infirmary at the former Valley State Prison in 2007 when she was an inmate, said she overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized. Nguyen said, "I was like, 'Oh my God, that's not right.' Do they think they're animals, and they don't want them to breed anymore?

Christina Cordeno, an inmate who spent two years in prison for auto theft and who gave birth to a son in October 2006, said Dr. James Heinrich, the OB-GYN at Valley State, pressured her repeatedly to have a tubal ligation. She said, "As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it. He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn't do it. Today. I wish I would have never had it done."

 by Tony Sokol

Tagged :  Pworld news, Female, Inmates, Sterilized, California, Prison


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