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‘If you don’t debrief, you can’t leave the SHU, period!’

April 22, 2012

by Peter Salazar

Supporters rallied outside the Pelican Bay Prison gate on Oct. 1, 2011, during the second round of last year’s hunger strike.
I was incarcerated June 1995. I went through the prison receiving center in December of 1995.

In January of 1996, I was sent to High Desert State Prison. I was placed on a maximum security yard because I was a lifer.

In April of 1996, I was taken to Ad-Seg (Administrative Segregation) by IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations). I was never told why I was being housed in Ad-Seg.

After several months in Ad-Seg, I was allowed to go back out to the general population. After a riot broke out, which I was not involved in, I was taken back to Ad-Seg by IGI.

About a year later I was again allowed access to the mainline. The prison was on lockdown for 17 months. I never left my cell.

The day before we were to come off of lockdown, I was again escorted by IGI to Ad-Seg. This time IGI told me that they sent a validation packet to Sacramento to validate me as a gang member.

I told IGI that I am not a gang member. IGI then told me that a prison informant said that I was trying to be a gang member, and that was good enough for them.

IGI then told me that if I wanted to stay on the mainline, all I had to do was tell on other gang members and I could stay on the mainline. I told IGI, “I am no snitch.” I want to know who said that I’m a gang member. IGI said, “We don’t have to tell you that.”

I told IGI that I am not a gang member. IGI then told me that a prison informant said that I was trying to be a gang member, and that was good enough for them.

I was sent to Pelican Bay State Prison SHU (Security Housing Unit) in 1999. I have been to every UCC and ICC (Unit and Institutional Classification Committees) hearing.

I always tell them that I am not a gang member. But all they do is laugh at me and make disrespectful comments.

I’ve been to two six-year inactive reviews since I’ve been here in the SHU. Both times I was denied, because IGI/OCS (Office of Correctional Safety) and the committee said because in 1996 I was found guilty of gang activity, I will have to stay here in the SHU.

I have repeatedly told the committee that I’ve done nothing wrong in the last six years. Aren’t you supposed to let me go back out to the mainline?

Committee always says, “If you don’t debrief, you can’t leave the SHU. Period!” Now I will be going to committee for my six-year inactive review April 2012.

IGI searched my cell Sept. 8, 2011. I was awakened at 4 a.m., strip searched, allowed only boxers and shower shoes, then taken to the rotunda and photographed.

All my property was taken by IGI. I was told it’s for my six-year inactive review. Three days later I was given some property back.

IGI threw a bunch of my stuff away and said it was “trash.” That was a lie by IGI. Some of my stuff they said was contraband and not allowed. The rest of the stuff they said was “gang activity.”

The items used by IGI will be three drawings, two of which have the Mexican huelga bird, or United Farm Workers logo. One item is a debriefer’s testimony.

None of these items constitute active gang activity, nor should they be considered gang activity. But I’m 100 percent sure that when I go to my inactive review in a few days, committee will say, “We are going to retain you in the SHU as an active gang member.”

This process of how they get information to validate you and keep you in the SHU is foul. I’ve been in the SHU Short Corridor for the last seven years. I don’t see CDCR releasing anyone in the Short Corridor.

I have challenged my gang validation. I went as far as you can go. The CDCR system denied me at every level. The courts denied me, and said it’s an administration issue.

I refuse to believe that I should be treated like an animal so that prison guards and politicians can line their pockets with fat paychecks for locking us in cells for 22½ hours a day, then calling it “security needs.”

The prison system has made solitary confinement a lucrative business. Housing us in solitary confinement costs $30,000 more than housing us in the general population.

I refuse to believe that I should be treated like an animal so that prison guards and politicians can line their pockets. The prison system has made solitary confinement a lucrative business. Housing us in solitary confinement costs $30,000 more than housing us in the general population.

I lost my mother to cancer on Mother’s Day 2010. My biggest regret was not being able to hold her or kiss her on our last visit 2009.

My father was diagnosed with liver cancer and is dying. His last wish is to hug me and say goodbye.

This testimony was written on April 11, 2012, and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda.

 

4 thoughts on “‘If you don’t debrief, you can’t leave the SHU, period!’

    1. Shellie

      Do us all a favor and shut your pie hole John. Why don't you go be a smart-ass someplace else OK! This is a very serious issue.

      Reply
  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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