Maine Greens endorse petition demanding transparency on death of Starsha Silva

National CouncilOur co-chairs in the name of the party signed a petition organized by the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls demanding transparency from the Bureau of Prisons following the death of Starsha Silva due to medical neglect:


Dear President Biden, Director Peters & Senators Klobuchar & Ossoff:


The following organizations are demanding accountability from the Bureau of Prisons for the death of Starsha Silva on May 24th, 2023 at FCI Waseca. Ms. Silva's passing due to medical neglect came weeks after the Inspector General published a report from a surprise inspection of Waseca declaring the prison “well-run” and days after Director Peters visited the facility.


The following information has been provided by the family and friends of Ms. Silva. Please let us know if Demand Transparency and Action from the BOP on the Death of Starsha Silva any of it is incorrect.

- Starsha Silva was incarcerated at FCI Waseca serving a 14-year sentence for a drug-related transgression. She had a history of heart disease. On or about May 2, 2023, she was at the hospital for a consultation when the doctor told her she needed “emergency heart surgery” to replace her tricuspid and aortic valves.

- Ms. Silva, reported to other incarcerated women that the doctor specifically said she should not return to the prison because she could die. Ms. Silva was accompanied by her case manager, Ms. Koziolek, who allegedly overrode the doctor because BOP policy requires two officers to stay at the hospital during an operation. Ms. Koziolek did not consult with her superiors but removed Ms. Silva from the hospital against all medical advice.

- Immediately upon her return to the prison, Ms. Silva requested a Compassionate Release from Warden Starr, who never replied to her written request.

- The medical staff at FCI Waseca was supposed to schedule the emergency surgery for Ms. Silva but did not do so in a timely way.

- Three weeks later, Ms. Silva was told to pack her things and prepare for a medical procedure. On May 24th, the day she was supposed to return to the hospital, she was found in her cell, blue, and unable to breathe. The guards administered NORCAN and CPR, causing blood to pour out of her nose and mouth before she died.

- Ms. Silva's mother, Stephanie Taylor was informed by phone with the blunt statement that her daughter had died and there was “no foul play.” For some reason, the call was not made by the Chaplain, as is customary, but the BOP staffer stated that Ms. Silva would have to be cremated because the BOP did not have enough money to send Ms. Silva home to be laid to rest. This was false information. The family refused cremation, and a lawyer had to intervene to preserve Ms. Silva's body.

- The Ramsey County Medical Examiner conducted an independent autopsy. Ms. Silva's body was returned to her family at BOP expense.


The organizations and concerned individuals listed below require a full and transparent investigation by the Office of the Inspector General into Ms. Silva's death. In order to restore BOP credibility, we ask that a family member, or their designee, be included on the investigation team.

For over three years, we have been assured that changes in BOP culture will be forthcoming, especially under the leadership of Director Peters. The BOP's “New Mission and Vision Statement” promises to operate “through principles of humanity and normalcy” and that the BOP will be “responsible and transparent to the public, ourselves, and those in our care and custody . . . .” We are waiting for words to be translated into action. Contact Information

In spite of this rhetoric, little, if anything, has changed. Starsha Silva was 36 years old when she died because a case manager was allowed to make medical decisions and the FCI Waseca medical staff did not follow up to make sure Ms. Silva got the emergency medical care she needed. Our loved ones still suffer – and die – at the hands of callous staff, in unlivable environments, with primitive medical care. Sexual abuse is rampant.

The time for listening sessions is over! We have expressed our concerns and offered solutions, which have resulted in no meaningful change. We can no longer accept staff shortages, over-crowding, budget cuts, and security needs as excuses for failing to keep our incarcerated loved ones alive and well. If the BOP can't provide basic housing conditions, medical care, and food – which it manifestly cannot – then the only solution is to decarcerate.

To honor Starsha Silva's life and to assure her devastated family that she did not die in vain, we ask that you release 37 incarcerated people who are aged, ill, incarcerated for fighting back against domestic abuse, or who are long-timers – one person for each year she lived. We ask that you do this by July 22, 2023, which would have been Ms. Silva's 37th birthday. The time has come for this Administration to prove it cares about racial justice and repairing the harm caused by the War on Drugs.


Respectfully, CAN-DO Foundation

The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls