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Corcoran SHU prisoners join Pelican Bay hunger strike

June 30, 2011

from the NCTT Corcoran SHU

Prison guard George Sherman carries a rifle in the control room of the Pelican Bay SHU whenever a guard enters one of the groups of 10 cells. Corcoran SHU prisoners say the SHU there is designed the same way. – Photo and caption: John Burgess, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Greetings to all who support freedom, justice and equality. We here of the NCTT SHU stand in solidarity with and in full support of the July 1 hunger strike and the five major action points and sub-points as laid out by the Pelican Bay Collective in the policy statements.

What many are unaware of is that Facility 4B here in Corcoran SHU is designated to house validated prisoners in indefinite SHU confinement and has an identical ultra-supermax isolation unit short corridor, modeled after Corridor D in Pelican Bay, complete with blacked out windows, a mirror tinted glass on the towers so no one but the gun tower can see into our cells and none of us can see out, flaps welded to the base of the doors and sandbags on the tiers to prevent “fishing,” a means of passing notes etc. between cells using lengths of string, and IGI, Institutional Gang Investigators, to transport us all to medical appointments. Also, we have no contact with any prisoners or staff outside of this section here in 4B/1C C Section, the “short corridor” of the Corcoran SHU.

All of the deprivations, save access to sunlight, outlined in the five-point hunger strike statement are mirrored and in some instances intensified here in the Corcoran SHU 4B/1C C Section isolation gang unit. Medical care here, in a facility allegedly designed to house chronic care and prisoners with psychological problems, is so woefully inadequate that it borders on intentional disdain for the health of prisoners, especially where diabetics and cancer are an issue. Access to the law library is denied for the most mundane reasons or, most often, no reason at all. Yet these things and more are outlined in the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU’s five core demands.

Corcoran State Prison
What is of note here and something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control, i.e. torture units and human experimental techniques against prisoners, not only in California but across the nation. Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units. The purpose of this “treatment” is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.

Many lawsuits have been filed in opposition to these conditions, yet the courts have repeatedly re-interpreted and misinterpreted their own constitutional law to support the state’s continued use of these torture units. When approved means of protest and redress of rights are proven meaningless and are fully exhausted, then the pursuit of those ends through other means is necessary.

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.

Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units.

A cell in a Security Housing Unit (SHU) – Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
We urge all who read these words to support us in this effort with your participation. Please call your local news agencies, notify your friends on social networks, contact your legislators and tell your fellow faithful at church, mosque, temple or synagogue. Decades before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs were described by Congressman Ralph Metcalfe as “the control unit treatment program [of which] long-term punishment [is] under the guise of what is, in fact, pseudo-scientific experimentation.”

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don’t care and will allow the torture to continue in your name. It is our belief that they have woefully underestimated the decency, principles and humanity of the people. Join us in opposing this injustice without end. Thank you for your time and support.

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don’t care and will allow the torture to continue in your name.

In Solidarity,

NCTT Corcoran SHU, 4B-1C – C Section, Super-Max Isolation Unit

This statement was submitted by Haribu L.M. Soriano-Mugabi, K-15721, CSP Corcoran, 4B-1L-42L, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212, who asks readers to distribute copies and submit it to more publications “so as to inform the general public of our fight to change the inhuman conditions we are subjected to for our political beliefs or because we were falsely identified as politically active in an organization.” The statement first appeared on California Prison Watch.


30 thoughts on “Corcoran SHU prisoners join Pelican Bay hunger strike

  1. Maria Covarruvias

    The justice of the Lord will fall on those who know to the right thing, and don't. May God overlook this and may He be the One to put justice on this terrible doing to human. May God be the one who rescue those who are abond from this wickedness! Lord may you judge because you see all. Amen

    Reply
  2. Annette

    Pure BS. What the F are they doing in prison in the first place? Oh yea, they were framed initially by their communities and police. BS, pure BS. Let them starve, there's plenty of others that deserve to be there to and they can have their cell.

    Reply
    1. rick

      I agree. I have relative there and they deserve to be there. They are in prison for committing crimes. And when they can't behave in general population..well, there's the SHU. Who cries for their victims? Who pays for them being there? They don't. If you ask me, the system has become weak. Three square meals and a place to sleep. That's all they should get.

      Reply
  3. Chumlee

    DO NOT believe everything said here. These inmates are in the SHU for a reason, and it's not a very good one either. An inmate works his way into the SHU and can work his way out…it's up to each individual.

    Reply
    1. tyrina

      i am responding to your words, which are only words. it is not our right to judge anyone, it does not mean that they should be treated in an ugly way ………….who says that if given another chance in life that they DO NOT deserve this treatment. things happen in life and it is what it is…………….inmate advocate mrs silva ins

      Reply
  4. marie

    Yes, do believe it! If you express a view, complain, confront or do anything that would be perfectly normal out here, there are consequences. Also, study validation, it will shed light on the absurd tactics used to get someone into the SHU. If your sentence is 6 years of the SHU and something, even small, happens in the fifth year, you start all over. This could be someone providing false information about you…..
    The SHU was to have been for dangerous, uncontrollable inmates. It has turned into an insane punishment field holding thousands who have been validated by inunendo and juvenile criminality. I, for one, am ashamed of our penal system….what ever happened to rehabilitation….isn't that the point?

    Reply
    1. concerned

      OH please , when you dont know , ask questions. my brother is not in prison gang he is in prison for shoplifting at kmart to support his drug habbit wich he started in prison. he is in corcoran SHU because another prisoner falsified information on him , how can the cdcr take the word of a fellow inmate trying to save his own ass. Tru if you do the crime than do the time . How can we trust the system when the system itself is not trustworthy.

      Reply
  5. Laura

    To marie- do your research on small infractions, there are reasons to why inmates stay in the shu.SHU Inmates have a choice to drop out and have protective custody, IT IS THEIR CHOICE TO REMAIN IN GANG ACTIVITY IN AND OUTSIDE THE FACILITY. You need to get a better book on validation there are special units that their job is to track down if they are in gang activity, they definitely do their job. Lets see how you feel about the penal system if god forbid someone murders a family member or worse. Insane punishment?

    Reply
  6. Laura

    No they are just criminally insane ,but mostly full of bs. SHU INMATES ARE DANGEROUS AND UNCONTROLLABLE. There are special units for the individuals with severe psychiatric issues. These individuals are manipulative , and disrespectful. They get the best medical care, the best meds, access to mri's. Really? i have back pain can i get meds too? Absolutely not i have to pay to go to my doctor and wait to be seen and get sent home with nothing, if my child get sick he has to wait in a crowded emergency meanwhile these guys get first access because they complain of chest pain that is really heart burn, get sent out on an ambulance and go to the hospital for a free ride and a chance to watch cable. Do your research on what they want as well ,what they want is ridiculous. They get time to exercise.

    Reply
  7. Laura

    They are not chained to a wall by any means, they get yard time. They have access to talk to psych ,medical, officers, free staff, and other inmates. How do you think they put out their "hits"? They get fed good meals and snacks and have access to a huge catalog with an overabundance of canteen items. You dont see too many inmates looking like concentration camp victims, theses criminals get better care than our school children and adults who are law abiding. Which is pretty down right sad. Civil rights? what about the civil rights of the person who they murdered? Let them "starve"

    Reply
    1. Annette

      They weren't concerned about the gang actiity when they were commiting it, it was a joyus time. Now that they don't want to be treated like the vicious gangsters they are, they ask for a different set of rules.

      They shouldn't get anymore air time and really, are they willing to die for it? I doubt it.

      Reply
  8. Donna

    To Laura and Annette-neither one of you know what you are talking about or you are relatives of law enforcement. Annette-your comment to let them starve, what does that say about you? Your both stupid!

    Reply
    1. Annette

      I happen to be the only child that hasn't been to jail or prison. I know first hand the manipulation and lived with it my whole life. I do know what I"m talking about. I don't have to be pro law enforcement to be anti inmate.

      Not stupid, informed.

      Reply
    2. tyrina

      hello there. im in agreement with you these so called people are extremely ugly in their thinking and yes they must have family in law enforcement ………………or something who has the right to judge anyone as nasty as their attitudes thanks tyrina

      Reply
  9. NCOE

    I am a detention chaplain. For many years I have worked with high level gang members both inside facilities and outside on the streets. As a civilized country, we should be standing up against ANYONE being subjected to SHUs. Solitary confinement has been condemned by the United Nations and the U.S. Office of the Inspector General. Research, again and again, has shown than SHUs are ineffective, expensive, and cause people to go mad. What is is gained? Not safer streets or institutions. Not more money for education and other social needs. Not productive, rehabilitated citizens.

    Prisoners have committed crimes, but are any of you reading this only the sum of your transgressions? We've all done things we're ashamed of but those acts don't define the whole of us, do they? It is the same with prisoners. Those of us who know them well, see THEM…the wrongs they've done and we don't condone them, but we also see people, not so different than ourselves.

    Originally, SHUs were constructed to house "the worst of the worst," however, this is not the current situation.Today, in too many cases, prisoners are accused of being members of gangs using false or circumstantial evidence. Validations can also be handed out for gang tattoos received prior to incarceration and for having magazine articles about George Jackson in their cells. Men who have been accused of gang membership but have DONE NOTHING can be sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape the SHU only if they ‘debrief,’ that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly sending other prisoners to the SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

    The requests of the prisoners on the hunger strike seem reasonable to me:
    1. Hold us personally accountable. Don't punish us as part of a group if we didn't do anything.
    2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify what is considered active/inactive gang activity.
    3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. (3,259 men are now in California's SHUs. 800 more are waiting for a cell.) Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for 30 years.
    4. Provide food in accordance to prison regulations.
    5. Provide constructive, self-help programs, education, religious instruction and other productive activities. Provide sweatshirts and watch caps when it's cold. Allow one telephone call a week.

    Reply
    1. Samara

      I agree with what you have said in your piece. I think all the angry talk from some of the others posted here is totally immature and unnecessary. It`s non-progressive verbal wind.

      Reply
  10. Maria

    “he who is free of sin then throw the first rock.” that’s what I thought!!! No one is perfect and just because you fucked up in life doesn’t mean you should be treated worst than dogs on the dog pound.Everyone has the right to demand human treatment.Don’t judge cause you might be walking on their shoes some day.It doesn’t take research to know that cruel and unusual punishments are unconstitutional!!!Support the riot!!!

    Reply
  11. Jim Morrison

    These inmate's manipulate you libs. These inmates are receiving up to $130 dollars a month canteen the only thing are doing without is state food what a joke. They have there mattresses stuffed with hoe hoes and twinkles all the while you libs cry about their stupid asses. I'll tell you what when they parole meet them at the gate feed them shelter them and welcome them in your home and let them play with your children and then you will know crime first hand and chant for the death penalty.

    Reply
  12. Annette

    The angry talk is necessary. We;re tired of paying over and over agian for their housing, education, and medical expenses.

    As far as gang activity, unless you work with the prisoner and the institution, you have no idea of the level of criminal gang activity! Inmates in gangs shouldn't be allowed to walk away without debriefing. They shouldn't be able to manipulate and control the process. They knew the consequences when they joined and have played "chicken" with the rest of us for years.

    Take off the rose colored glases we have less than 10% of the population going hungry. And if youy knew the whole story, would you be surprised to know they're eating?

    Reply
  13. Chumlee

    NCOE, with all due respect the bottom line to all the requests you have posted are in fact all there for the inmates. They had there chance at all that on the general population yards. All the requests you have posted are all on the mainline (especially #5). Like I said earlier, you work your way in you work your way out. And yes, more and more are eating their 3 meals a day.

    Reply
  14. Thinkaboutit

    I noticed something. All of these claims are from prisoners. Prisoners said this, prisoners said that. So we are to take their word for it? If they said the guards were pulling them out of their cells every hour and beating them for being on a hunger strike would this be taken as gospel? I have yet to see an article from a non- prisoner who has seen the prison conditions for themselves. These individuals are not in prison for being honest, kind, gentle, moral, etc. If being in a cell with meals brought to your door, free television, the best medical money can buy, the best psychological help money can buy, social interaction with at least 6 other people you are housed with, if that is what we call torture now, then most of the world is being MORE than tortured. Our military does not eat as well as these prisoners. If homeless people on the street knew how well they would be taken care of in prison they would commit a crime just to get there. Should I live on the street going through dumpsters or should I go to prison with a roof over my head, and meals brought to me? Probably 50% of the world live in worse conditions than these prisoners, and most people in America cannot have surgery for a $5 copay. Most people in America do not have the luxury of having a psychologist standing by to be able to talk to. Most people do not have guards standing by to protect them (even if it is from themselves). Inside prison you do not hear the cries of ones being "tortured" you hear laughter and lively banter in the pods. You hear cheering as their sports team score on the television. You hear conversations of life on the streets etc. Most people in the world would say, "If this is torture, sign me up!"

    Reply
    1. Gary

      Your post sounds like you've been there. I've knew a man who spent half of his life (he died out of prison) Locked up , I have been locked up in county jail for the longest 3 months of my life. We both had addictions that lead to breaking a law, He could deal with it, me, I couldn't. I did realize a lot of the men there were comfortable being there it was like they were on vacation and getting ready to go back to work once they got out. Going back on vacation was expected not even thinking about staying out after being released. The Billion dollar question is how can society ease the $$ spent on populating the system with non violent offenders? I think instead of locking them up create a workforce. America would get cheap labor and if I know behavior low end offenders would be more effected by enforced real work than kicking it locked up. Unrealistic idea probably but if we can put a man on the moon why can't we solve the crime problem?

      Reply
  15. Gary

    it is so unsettling to know there are people in prison that are innocent on the other hand it is so comforting to know that most of people with a PIN that they got with their first offense are locked up. Like Richard Prior said after visiting a prison," thank God they're in prison"." Luther why did you kill everyone in the house? The RE "Because they were home". Ask yourself if the victims and there was a victim of the prisoners ,were they given any compassion? How can you give trust when none is earned? Respect is a given, but even by a convicts code trust is earned and even then it's sketchy. If they want to get out make them prove it. Stop all the bs. Life can be brutal and if you live by the sword,guess what? Karma is real and there is hope for everyone just don't turn your back to any of the men at Pelican Bay.

    Reply
  16. Thinkaboutit

    Okay, they are choosing to go on a hunger strike. These are grown men. They have that right. As for the conditions: If being in a cell with meals brought to your door, free television, the best medical money can buy, the best psychological help money can buy, social interaction with at least 6 other people you are housed with, if that is what we call torture now, then most of the world is being MORE than tortured. Probably 50% of the world live in worse conditions than these prisoners, and most people in America cannot have surgery for a $5 copay. Most people in America do not have the luxury of having a psychologist standing by to be able to talk to. Most people do not have guards standing by to protect them (even if it is from themselves). If homeless people knew how good it is in the prison system they would commit a crime just to get there. There is little to compare..what I just mentioned to sleeping in the rain and digging through dumpsters. Most people in the world would say, "If this is torture, sign me up!"
    I am sure this is how torture is used to be…. let's see shall we grow bamboo up their foot, subject them to electrical current, smash various body parts with a hammer?.. no no,, I KNOW WHAT WILL MAKE HIM TALK!! PUT HIM IN A CELL WITH NO WINDOW!! SERIOUSLY? Words like torture, gulags, inhumane and barbaric are extremely inappropriate and flat out misleading in regards to our prison system. Should we give them 2500 SQ. Ft. cells with a hot tub and bowflex in them? How about professionally catered meals by world famous chefs? Final note.. how can you have a cell mate in "solitary confinement"? SHU is NOT solitary confinement. Solitary confinement does not exist in the California prison system.. This whole thing is blown completely out of proportion for the simple reason that people are believing what these inmates tell them. The bottom line is they are manipulating gullible people into trying to get more than what they have. It is just a big game. Most of these individuals are eating the whole time and claiming to be on a hunger strike. Simply feeding misinformation to the media via family members etc. If you want a good cause to get behind how about orphans and widows?

    Reply
  17. tyrina

    greetings to CORCORAN to all who have posted comments: my husband is in the SHU IN CORCORAN its a shame when the law is corrupt and get away with things that they should be representing. mistakes happen in life that we regret and sometimes the punishment is harsh HOWEVER treating a shu inmate any less than a real person is unacceptable ……………………………………….and i will love him forever rather in or out of prison. god bless all and please find forgiveness in your heart allow God to take care of judgement

    love tyrina

    Reply

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