Praise Judge for Protecting Prisoners’ Health


Target: Judge Thelton Henderson

Goal: Praise judge for protecting thousands of prisoners from deadly airborne fungus

Federal Judge Thelton Henderson recently ordered California Governor Jerry Brown to move several thousand prison inmates out of two prison facilities after state officials found that the prisoners in question face a high risk of being infected by a severe airborne fungus. According to scientific surveys, the mostly Filipino, black and medically invalid inmates are more vulnerable to health problems and are particularly susceptible to the fungus. The danger posing fungus comes from the San Joaquin Valley’s soils, and the two state prisons in question are located in particularly contaminated areas within that valley.

Judge Henderson ordered that prisoners already infected do not have to be moved (since they cannot catch the infection twice), but that those most vulnerable must be transferred to safer California prisons; California corrections officials were given 90 days to comply with the judge’s ruling. Judge Henderson’s ruling also criticized Governor Brown’s administration for years of delays when confronted with this health emergency: state officials have “therefore clearly demonstrated their unwillingness to respond adequately to the health care needs of California’s inmate population,” said Henderson.

While the prison inmates in question are convicted criminals, they still have the right to their lives and their health, and it would be a travesty for the state to let these people suffer and die when the threat posed to them is common knowledge. Since the normal government machinery of California failed to fulfill its duty to these prisoners, we should be thankful for Judge Henderson for stepping in and taking the necessary steps. Please sign the petition below to commend the judge for protecting the health care needs of thousands of prisoners, despite the reluctance of the state to take part.


Dear Judge Thelton Henderson:

I am writing to thank you and commend you for your recent decision forcing the state of California to move thousands of prison inmates who are at high risk of contracting a potentially deadly airborne fungal virus. While the state government of California failed to act on this pressing need, you made the effort to force their hand so that no more prisoners will be infected with the virus.

Protecting these inmates’ health may not be the most popular move you could have made, but it was in line with your duty to these people who are still entitled to their health. Thank you for taking this courageous action and protecting these people in need.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: x1klima via Flickr

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57 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • James Thrailkill
  • jeff hopkins
  • Mal Gaff
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Holly Hall
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Marianne Oelman
  • Alexander Dolowitz
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