Mother of woman killed in Chino prison will share ways prison officials can prevent inmate domestic abuse and violence

The presentation before dozens of CDCR staff is a unique part of a settlement agreement with the state over Shaylene Graves’ 2016 death

See the article here.

See our previous related press release here: State To Pay $3.5 Million in Inmate’s Killing at Women’s Prison

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5, 2022 — A woman whose daughter was beaten to death by her cellmate inside the California Institution for Women in Chino will present her proposal, on Thursday, to prevent inmate partner violence to dozens of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Sheri Graves, of Jurupa Valley, insisted the presentation be included in a settlement finalized with the CDCR in February after her daughter Shaylene Graves was beaten to death by her cellmate when their brief intimate relationship ended. Shaylene had just five weeks remaining on her sentence.

The Zoom presentation will be held during a private meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.

Sheri Graves and her Civil Rights Attorney V. James DeSimone will be available for interviews following the presentation, at 3 p.m., in person at DeSimone’s Marina del Rey office (13160 Mindanao Way, Suite 280), by phone, or by Zoom, and will share the contents of that presentation.

About 50 members of the CDCR Gender Responsive Strategies work group and other officials are expected to attend the presentation, which was developed by Sheri Graves and her legal team. The proposed “Inmate Violence Prevention Policy” includes sensible, concrete steps to lower the number of female inmates being injured or killed in the state’s prisons.

A 2017 audit commissioned by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in response to the worrying trend of mounting suicides and suicide attempts at CDCR women’s prisons found that “domestic violence has contributed to the higher suicide rates at women’s prisons.”

In Shaylene’s case, her cellmate told prison officials the woman hanged herself and that’s what prison officials told Sheri Graves. During disclosure in preparation for the civil suit, DeSimone discovered that the CDCR investigation determined that Shaylene was killed and did not die by her own hand, yet the family was never informed of that fact until after a lawsuit was filed.

“The first part of solving a problem is to admit that you have a problem,” DeSimone said. “CDCR has ignored this problem for too long, and women are still suffering and more than a few have died because prison officials turn away from the reality of women who often have a history of domestic abuse being threatened, abused and beaten in prison relationships. If it’s a crime outside of prison, it should be taken seriously inside, as well.”

“Sheri hopes this proposed Inmate Violence Prevention Policy truly results in reforming laws and systems that prevent incarcerated women from reporting abuse and being taken seriously by those who are supposed to protect them while they are in the state’s care,” DeSimone said.

For more information, or to arrange interviews, call Robert Frank at 206-790-6324 or email

Los Angeles civil rights attorney V. James DeSimone has dedicated his 35-year law career to providing vigorous and ethical representation to achieve justice for those whose civil and constitutional rights are violated.

See PowerPoint Slide notes here.

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