Monday, June 23, 2008
Vodicka and "The Green Wall"
VODICKA, a former army veteran and correctional officer of 17 years was brought up by his parents to have integrity, ethics, and to always tell the truth. He said his dad told him on his last breath before he lapsed into a coma "me and Mom love you, believe in you, tell the truth. (Excerpt from the story below)
This amazing story sent by Bill Pelke takes place in "America's Salad Bowl" -- Salinas--in a prison. Salinas has been characterized by the lack of affordable housing, is located roughly eight miles from the Pacific Ocean and is the hometown of famed writer John Steinbeck. This Nobel prize laureate wrote -East of Eden- , -The Grapes of Wrath- , and -Of Mice and Men- as well as many other moving novels--some which became films. Photo below to right is of this famous Salinas' author.
Steinbeck often explored the struggles of those who were down-and-out or who felt abandoned. While he exposed the near-hopeless lives of the disenfranchised he also affirmed the strength of the human spirit. He was my favorite novelist all the way through high school and college. Maybe Steinbeck was the gateway into human rights & abolition for me? I wonder if Steinbeck would have turned this story into a novel? Note by Connie
A High Price to Pay for Integrity; Interview with Donald J. Vodicka
Blowing the Whistle on California's Department of Corrections and "The Green Wall" By Dee, published Jun 17, 2008
When a prison riot between inmates and guards broke out in a maximum security facility, Salinas Valley State prison in California on Thanksgiving Day in 1998, corrections officer Donald J.Vodicka's life would be changed forever. In an attempt to document evidence of injured inmates, Vodicka was behind the camera that day. What was normal standard procedure would be shunned on by a group of guards, and Vodicka was told by other guards to get rid of the photo's and evidence of injured inmates. To cover-up evidence.
Vodicka was up against a prison guard gang known as "The Green Wall." A gang of guards whose corruption would force Vodicka into becoming a "whistleblower." A gang like any other street or prison inmate gang, with a hand signal that flashed the letter W for "wall" and some bearing tattoos, and other signs that gangs have. Named "The Green Wall" for the color of the uniforms they wore. Vodicka stated that what began as 15 members had grown to over 400, of the 600 guards and officers in Salinas Valley prison. A gang who disregarded prison codes and procedures, and whose corruption was worse than some of the inmates they were paid to guard. Vodicka said they "bullied, and instilled fear and intimidation in the prisoners."
Vodicka's intentions were never to open up a can of worms, and he didn't intend to get any of his friends in trouble, but once that can of worms was opened, Vodicka exposed a corrupt prison system in what he thought was just between the guards, but soon find out the hard way that it was only the beginning. "Higher ups" and officers from Internal Affairs were also involved. Vodicka stated that when he went to the prison union about this matter "They wouldn't talk to me and walked away." He realized at that point the seriousness of the matter.
See these at same above link, all by Dee:
Interview with Sherry Swiney, Founder of the Patrick Crusade
Texas Gives Execution Date to Man Who Never Pulled the Trigger
Interview with a Condemned Man: Charles Dean Hood
Posted by CN at 1:39 PM