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Letters from Pelican Bay SHU on UN petition and CDCR’s new gang strategy

March 16, 2012

Purpose of ‘security threat group’ designation is to place thousands more in isolation

by Todd Ashker

A small group of reporters was invited to tour the Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU), one of the world’s most notoriously restrictive prisons, on Aug. 17, 2011, following the first hunger strike, but they were not allowed to visit the “short corridor,” where the hunger strike organizers are housed. Ironically, CDCR claimed when it belatedly released its new gang strategy that it was not written in response to the hunger strike. – Photo: Julie Small, KPCC
Written to Kendra Castaneda March 11, 2012, postmarked March 13, 2012 – I want to update you: There’s a public radio station out of Humbolt State University and there’s an oldies program I listen to every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. with DJ Sista Soul. You can check it out online.

Today she mentioned the United Nations petition and press conference set for the 20th and she referenced the website for people to check out: http://sfbayview.com/2012/prisoners-tell-the-world-about-the-horrors-of-california-prison-isolation/.

Also on the radio was the CDCR SHU policy changes and stepdown program proposal … saying it was more of CDCR’s typical manipulative tactics; i.e., to the uninformed it may appear positive, but in reality it will only make things worse by creating the Security Threat Group (STG) designation so as to place thousands more in Ad/Seg-SHU-type units.

While the four-year stepdown program proposed is a laughable joke, interestingly, back in September, we put out our document titled “Tortured SHU prisoners speak out: The struggle continues, hunger strike resumes Sept. 26,” wherein we spelled out CDCR’s agenda and basis for coming with the STG policy: money and staff. It’s their way of expanding IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations) staff and, more importantly, it’s the only way for CDCR and CCPOA (guards’ union) to recoup some of the loss sustained from the prison population reduction forced by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May of 2011.

The new CDCR proposal will only make things worse by creating the Security Threat Group (STG) designation so as to place thousands more in Ad/Seg-SHU-type units. It’s the only way for CDCR and CCPOA (guards’ union) to recoup some of the loss sustained from the prison population reduction forced by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May of 2011.

Reducing the prison population by 45,000 prisoners equates to a loss in CDCR’s yearly budget by $2 billion and a loss to CCPOA of dues paying members by about 7,500! The Ad/Seg-SHU units cost twice as much and require nearly twice the staff as do general population!

Photos of SHU cells are extremely rare. Recently released are several 2007 photos showing the inside of Todd Ashker’s cell. Describing this one, Todd says: “View of sink, toilet, desk area with my TV I’ve had since 1992; and cement stool. Bags are canteen I’d just received; most are nearly empty.”
This is a no brainer! The policy proposal is NOT ACCEPTABLE and people will have to ramp up the rallies and contacts with the legislators etc. rejecting such proposal and demanding real changes of real substance and an end to CDCR robbing taxpayers by their manipulative bullsh-t. I am constantly reminded that CDCR administrators are a bunch of clowns – straight out idiots! I expect to be able to review a copy of the proposal this week but I already know what to expect.

The policy proposal is NOT ACCEPTABLE and people will have to ramp up the rallies and contacts with the legislators etc. rejecting such proposal and demanding real changes of real substance and an end to CDCR robbing taxpayers.

Yes, earlier last month, a memo was put out by an associate warden here on Feb. 10 – we met with him and the warden that day – but it wasn’t about sh-t, just more same BS, ignoring our actual issues with the same old spiel, “We’ll look into it.” We’re working on our follow-up response now and will be putting it out there soon. We’re just waiting on getting and seeing the final draft of the SHU policy changes that came out.

I have to tip my hat to all who rallied at the Occupy4Prisoners rallies on Feb. 20. That was really big and cheered all of our spirits up!

I have to tip my hat to all who rallied at the Occupy4Prisoners rallies on Feb. 20. That was really big and cheered all of our spirits up! The posters of us looked great too!

Send our brother some love and light: Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP SHU, D1-119, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532. This letter was transcribed by Kendra Castaneda.

PBSP SHU studying CDCR’s proposed gang strategy

by Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford

Written to ‘Mr. & Mrs. Ratcliff,’ Bay View newspaper, March 12, postmarked March 14, 2012 – I am in receipt of the most needed information you forwarded to us and we are so grateful. We cannot thank you enough. We received a manila envelope with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s “Security Threat Group Prevention, Identification and Management Strategy” dated March 1, 2012 [not released to the public until March 9 – ed.], one copy of the Bay View, and me and Sitawa both received our issues on top of that.

This is the bunk area of Todd Ashker’s cell 119, two doors down the corridor from cell 117, where both Mutope Duguma and Sitawa Jamaa live, using both concrete bunks in a tiny 8-foot by 10-foot space. This photo shows Todd’s daytime use of the lower bunk as a desk. SHU prisoners are allowed no furniture, and the light is always on.
CDCR has not given us this package.

We are going to read over this madness and then synthesize it based on what it is, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s typical for the oppressors to try to continue to expand their slave quarters, which is why they continue to say they’re going to rely on confidential informants, because they know how else can they keep us in these slave quarters unless it’s based on flawed intelligence, you dig? We must rebel against this by all means.

It’s typical for the oppressors to try to continue to expand their slave quarters, which is why they continue to say they’re going to rely on confidential informants.

Also, why should we go through a four-year program? We’ve been in solitary confinement over 10 to 40 years. These people are nuts! We will definitely be at you with the facts real soon and our assessment on this “slave package.” Thanks, and the Bay View is the bomb!

Note written in the margin: USA gang member goes on killing spree of families in Afghanistan … These savages running around the world slaughtering human beings as the biggest gang in the world then have the nerve to call (prisoners in Ad/Seg and SHU) the most dangerous gang! What a joke!

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, PBSP SHU D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532. This letter was transcribed by Mary Ratcliff.

 

3 thoughts on “Letters from Pelican Bay SHU on UN petition and CDCR’s new gang strategy

  1. Author Glenn Thomas Langohr

    Great article! I spent 10 years in California prisons on drug charges. Imagine during the 1960's when it was okay to experiment with drugs. If we had the same laws we do now with the drug war, half the current politicians we have now would be in prison. I wrote Underdog to show the public that tough on crime platforms only breed bigger criminals.

    Reply

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