Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I read in a December issue of Newsweek magazine that approximately 3,000 American inmates currently in solitary confinement have been there for six or more years. There are a significantly higher total number of prisoners living in solitary confinement throughout the country. Now I am disappointed to learn that there are men here in California who have spent nearly 50 years in isolated administrative segregation. Having spent only a few months of my present sentence in ad-seg myself, I actually feel physically ill at the thought of spending any prolonged period of time under those circumstances.

I consider this to be nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment. The lasting effects of long-term isolation are counterproductive and potentially devastating not only to the particular individual subjected to it, but it is also traumatic and highly stressful for their loved ones.

This should be an urgent concern to the American public. Flagrant disregard for “rehabilitation” within a civilized society’s prison system is inherently dangerous, inhumane and morally outrageous. I do, however, enjoy reading the San Quentin News! I find it informative and encouraging. Thank you.


Lacee Ross

California Institution for Women

Mr. Richardson, Editor in Chief,

I entered Death Row in East Block (San Quentin State Prison) on September 29, 1996. I received a reversal on the death penalty on July 16, 2012. On July 14, 2016, I was moved from San Quentin to D.V.I. at Tracy, Calif. As of today, I have been here in the reception center for 165 days. I was told I would only be here no more than a few weeks, no more than two months.

I would then be moved to another facility where I would be on the mainline, able to once again use the phone, receive all my property, TV, typewriter, hot pot, etc. All this time, I cannot call my attorney, relatives or friends. I cannot even boil water for a cup of tea. I am 81 years old. I hope to be sent to San Luis Obispo – C.M.C.

My main reason for writing to the SQ News is an article on the front page about C.O. Cuevas, on how three inmates saved Mr. Cuevas’ life. Kudos to those three guys. I was elated that Mr. Cuevas is still with us. SQ News is not easy to come by in here.

I was on Death Row for 20 years, knew Mr. Cuevas for many years. I respected him as a C.O. and most of all as a friend.  Whenever he came into East Block, He would always say hello to me. My cell was 2-62, the first cell on the end tier so I had a bird’s eye view of the rotunda.

I would like to see in more detail and a picture with Mr. Cuevas together with the inmates who saved his life.

You should also bring it to the attention of channel 5 (KPIX 5, a CBS affiliate station) evening news. Cuevas’ favorite is Roberta Gonzales, who was the weather lady and now I think is an on-scene reporter.

How great would it be for Mr. Cuevas to be interviewed by Roberta and a picture with her and Mr. Cuevas? Mr. Cuevas would be thrilled just to meet Roberta! There should be more C.O.s like Mr. Cuevas who always has a smile for everyone.


John A. Riccardi

Dear Editor,

Hello. My name is Richard Cochran. I am an inmate here at D.V.I. in reception, leaving for Susanville (Calif.).

I am writing in regards to your article in the December (2016) issue of San Quentin News, the one about the three prisoners saving one officer, A. Cuevas’ life on March 11.

I commend the three prisoners for their selfless act and would appreciate very much if they knew so. The article brought a tear to my eye. Why? I don’t know. I was praising the men and officer. I guess it was the part about the men in self-help programs inside and turning their lives around. That is exactly what I am trying to do as a first-timer at 54 years old.

I don’t know these men, but I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers. Please let them know.

For the officer, Mr. Cuevas, on his quest to fulfill his dream to be a correctional officer even at my age inspires me to not give up on my dreams.

A very touching article and I thank you for it.

I am an inmate, yet I respect the badge as my son was a San Francisco police officer for some time.

God bless and good day. I enjoy San Quentin News.


Richard Cochran


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