Protect Inmates from Abuse by Prison Medical System

womens facility inmates

Target: Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.

Goal: Prevent medical abuse of inmates and clean up the penal medical system

The United States has a long and sordid history of illegal sterilization, typically perpetrated against minority populations. Yet this practice is not a thing of the past: James Heinrich, a California prison doctor with a history of medical controversy, has been linked with performing tubal ligations on female inmates without state approval. Demand that the US Department of Justice take preventative action to protect inmates and punish Heinrich for malpractice.

Despite past complaints, lawsuit settlements, and claims of botched surgeries, Heinrich was hired on by Valley State Prison. A judge was even tasked with cleaning up the medical system; yet in the years Heinrich worked, no action was taken to address his unsanitary habits or the tubal ligations that took place without state approval.

Heinrich performed over 100 tubal ligations without approval, and made referrals for dozens more. The doctor also performed other types of sterilizations and, according to inmates, deliberately misled or even lied to them about medical conditions in an apparent attempt to perform sterilizations. Some claims were dismissed, but the doctor’s conduct and outside review supports many claims and suggests the rampant disregard for patient rights. Heinrich routinely ignored standard procedures to prevent infections and ensure sterility, yet he was allowed to continue to see patients and was not penalized.

This is indicative of serious oversight, and suggests a huge need for medical reform in the penal system. Valley State Prison should not have hired Heinrich, given his past history. The fact he was able to perform over 100 tubal ligations without state approval is staggering; this should never have been allowed to happen. Ensure that inmates are protected from egregious human rights violations by signing the petition today.


Dear Director Samuels,

Valley State Prison doctor James Heinrich was responsible for over 100 sterilizations of inmates without state approval, and has been claimed to have tried to pressure female inmates into sterilization through outright lies. The United States has a chilling history of sterilization, and the fact Heinrich was able to carry out so many unapproved operations, and was hired on despite his record of malpractice and medical controversy, is indicative of a very serious oversight by the justice department. Heinrich was also known for ignoring hygiene measures, yet was never disciplined for malpractice.

There must be a nationwide effort to clean up the prison medical system, perhaps especially concerning medical abuse of inmates. I ask that the Justice Department take action to prevent similar abuses from happening and review prisons on a much more intensive scale. Heinrich must also be penalized for his conduct. This cannot be allowed to happen again, especially in light of the United States’ history of forced sterilizations, and inmates must be protected from medical abuse and malpractice.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mario Ruiz

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

One Comment

  1. While I agree with the intent of this petition, it is directed to the wrong person. Dr. Heinrich was employed by the California Dept. of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR), not by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Samuels is the director of the BOP and has no control or authority over the CDCR.

    This petition needs to be directed to CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard (who is himself a doctor):

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


83 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Amy Wilson
  • sheila childs
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Holly Hall
  • Mal Gaff
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
1 of 8123...8
Skip to toolbar