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We denounce exploitation of any kind

May 16, 2012

by the Pelikan Bay Human Rights Movement

A TV is the only relief from sensory deprivation for prisoners in the Pelican Bay SHU, the only relief from staring at the concrete walls that surround them. Judging from their letters, most SHU prisoners want to expand their horizons, and watching documentaries and movies is one of the few ways they can see beyond the walls. Most SHU prisoners have spent years and as many as four decades locked in their tiny 8-foot by 10-foot cells with an occasional hour of “recreation” alone in a small concrete-walled “dog run.” They are allowed few visits or phone calls or none at all. For these reasons and more, their TVs play an important role in their survival. – Prisoner’s drawing published by California Prison Focus
California taxpayers are being exploited by Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Prisoners are about to expose the fleecing behavior of PBSP – i.e., the 1 percent – and their corruption that targets prisoners and their families, friends and the American public.

I have requested that Warden G.D. Lewis assign someone to operate the prison’s movie programming. There are several members of staff who know how to operate video technology as well as order movies from video vendors, and it is a dereliction of duty for prisoners to be denied movie programming. This deliberate denial began as a result of Coach Dye’s retirement in November 2011 and has been going on since. The prison put on old reruns once, and that’s it.

Since November 2011, the PBSP officials have been unwilling to purchase educational or entertainment films or programs. The administration says it’s because they haven’t gotten a replacement yet to operate these programs, but all that is required is the simple operation of the video machine.

On March 7, 2012, SHU Sgt. Neal made the following statement: “Currently there is no one in the position of TV-media technician. TV issues cannot be handled until that position is filled. At this time, PBSP is in the process of filling that position. Once that position is filled, TV and media issues can be addressed or sent for annual review as appropriate. You may appeal an issue if you can demonstrate an adverse effect upon your welfare.”

This is an example of the unprofessional practices that we constantly deal with in respect of our food, program and privileges. PBSP behaves in this way in order to compromise the psyche of prisoners through sensory deprivation.

This is an example of the unprofessional practices that we constantly deal with in respect of our food, program and privileges. PBSP behaves in this way in order to compromise the psyche of prisoners through sensory deprivation.

On March 7, we told PBSP: “Prisoners have a right to challenge why inmates’ movie programs have been out of service since November 2011 per CCR Title 15, 3220.4, especially since our Inmate Welfare Fund is responsible for such a program. The excuse that staff don’t know how to work video equipment is unacceptable.”

The following day, a response was received from Lt. Heggstrom, acting associate warden or correctional administrator for P.T. Smith. Now he delves further into the scheme, stating: “Per the Office of Correctional Education in Sacramento, our (PBSP’s) request has not been forwarded due to insufficient funding. In other words, Sacramento will not hire a TV specialist at this time. The state will not solicit volunteers for the position either.”

Lt. Heggstrom says Sacramento will not approve PBSP’s correctional education requests. Therefore, due to insufficient funding, they’re unable to hire a TV specialist. This is how the prison fleeces Californians, coming up with these ridiculous job titles in order to get more money allocated to them. We’re talking about playing videos – it does not take a scientist to operate these machines. Plus, there are numerous members of staff and available personnel who already qualify for such a highly skilled job.

Pelican Bay State Prison has 3,084 prisoners. Its design capacity is 2,200 prisoners and its staff capacity is 3,143 prisoners. The prison is allocated hundreds of millions of dollars annually to run the prison. This does not include the monies received from the Inmate Welfare Fund (IWF), from contracting deals with vendors or selling supplies – bought by taxpayers for prisoners – for profit.

The CDCR has created a policy that forces prisoners to purchase prison supplies such as dental floss, toiletries, paper bags, cups etc., in order to receive what is called “free monies.” The prison administration and the Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) have basically become con artists, embezzlers, exploiters and profiteers. That is why taxpayers should be reimbursed for all the funds the CDCR has made from selling items to prisoners that were supposed to be provided for free.

Prisoners are commodities. They are worth $56,000 a head in general population (GP) and $75,000 a head in the SHU.

It is important to know that prisoners are commodities. They are worth $56,000 a head in general population (GP) and $75,000 a head in the SHU. That is why the prison, with a design capacity of 2,200 prisoners, is holding 3,084 prisoners. They’re only 59 prisoners away from their staff capacity – a staff that steals income from taxpayers, including our own family members.

Prisoners’ family members provide income to us, their incarcerated family members, and the prisons pool those funds and draw interest from them. Plus, prisoners have no choice but to spend their money with only those venders the prison gets a kickback from. This is how the system – that is, PBSP – established their practice of exploitation of prisoners and Californian taxpayers.

Prisoners have no choice but to spend their money with only those venders the prison gets a kickback from.

It is not just PBSP. This is something that’s going on throughout the CDCR, whose officials and officers have been conspiring to exploit Californians and their prison population for over 50 years. If we, California prisoners, women and men, don’t resist prison officials’ illegal practices against all of us, we are going to be bound for modern-day legalized slavery!

For more information, contact the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement:

• Sitawa N. Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671, PBSP SHU, D1-117L, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532

• Mutope Duguma, s/n James D. Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU, D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532

• Randall Sondai Ellis, C-68764, PBSP SHU, D1-223, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532

 

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