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Survey questionnaire from the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign

November 6, 2012
George Jackson and Black August are anathema to the overseers of California’s prisons. Any association with them and the liberating principles they stand for invites the most severe punishment the system can inflict. Hugo Pinell, the man who has been held in solitary confinement for 42 years – longer perhaps than anyone in the state or nation, with more than half that time served in the dreaded Pelican Bay SHU – has committed no violation for decades. The system’s wrath is unleashed on him solely because he was a friend of George Jackson.
This survey questionnaire is being presented to the community for the purpose of making a qualitative assessment of the CDCR’s mail policies and practices in relation to prisoners and our families’ First Amendment constitutional right to send and receive mail and our 14th Amendment constitutional right to be provided with adequate notice of the reasons for our mail being stopped or disallowed, so that we can have the opportunity to be meaningfully heard as to why our mail is being stopped or disallowed.

The data gathered from this survey will be utilized as material evidence in an ongoing case aimed at obtaining a permanent injunction in court. The injunction would enjoin CDCR’s Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) and Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) from arbitrarily accusing prisoners, our families and law abiding citizens of the free community of promoting gang activity via the mail that prisoners are sending to and receiving from our families and members of the free community. A permanent injunction will only be granted upon a showing of irreparable harm and when the constitutional violation is proven to be of a systemic nature.

Therefore, it would be greatly appreciated if the community could take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

Questions for prisoners:

  1. What prison are you in?
  2. How long have you been in this prison?
  3. Have you ever had your incoming mail or outgoing mail stopped or disallowed on the grounds of allegedly promoting gang activity? If yes, did you receive a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice”?
  4. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, did the reasons listed on the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” provide you with a specific explanation as to how you were allegedly promoting gang activity? Or was the explanation vague?
  5. Since the year 2006, how many “Stopped Mail Notices” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notices” have you received as a prisoner?
  6. If you have ever had your mail stopped or disallowed, were you ever issued a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” that stated: “You were promoting BGF related activity” because your mail made a reference to any of the following:
    • George Jackson
    • Black August
    • New Afrikan
    • New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism (NARN)
    • Black Panther Party
    • George Jackson University
    • New Afrikan Institute of Criminology 101
    • New Afrikan Collective Think Tank
  7. Have the allegations of gang activity in the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” ever been used against you in your Inactive Gang Status Reviews? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.
  8. Have the allegations of gang activity in the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” ever been used against you to deny you parole at your parole suitability hearing? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.
  9. Have you ever been placed on mail restrictions in relation to receiving a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” for alleged gang activity where you were told that you could not write to a specific member of the free community? If yes, how long were the mail restrictions?
  10. Have you ever received a CDC 115 Rules Violation Report for allegedly promoting gang activity via your outgoing or incoming mail? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.

Questions for family and community members:

  1. Do you have a friend or family member in prison? If yes, what prison are they in?
  2. Do you regularly write to your friend or family member in prison? If yes, how often?
  3. Have you ever received a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” stating that your mail is being stopped or disallowed because you are promoting gang activity? If yes, please list the months and years.
  4. When the prison sent you the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice,” did the notice inform you that you have a right to file a 602 appeal and/or a citizen’s complaint pursuant to CCR Title 15 Sections 3291(b), 3391(d), and Penal Code Section 832.5?
  5. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, did the reasons listed on the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” provide you with a specific explanation as to how you were allegedly promoting gang activity? Or was the explanation vague?
  6. Since the year 2006, how many “Stopped Mail Notices” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notices” have you received as a family or community member?
  7. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, were you ever issued a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” that stated: “You were promoting BGF related activity” because your mail made a reference to any of the following:
    • George Jackson
    • Black August
    • New Afrikan
    • New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism (NARN)
    • Black Panther Party
    • George Jackson University
    • New Afrikan Institute of Criminology 101
    • New Afrikan Collective Think Tank
  8. Have you ever been placed on mail restrictions in relation to receiving a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” for alleged gang activity where you were told that you could not write to a specific prisoner? If yes, how long were the mail restrictions?
  9. Were you ever subjected to any criminal prosecution as a result of CDCR’s Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) or Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) accusing you of promoting gang activity per any “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” that you were issued by the prison?

I would like to thank the community in light of everybody taking a minute to answer the questions within this survey questionnaire. This is a time sensitive request. At your earliest convenience, please mail all survey questionnaires to: Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, c/o Attorney Carol Strickman, Re: First Amendment Campaign, 1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102. Members of the public can email responses to Azadeh@prisonerswithchildren.org.

All Power to the People!

Freedom, Justice and Human Rights Coordinator

 

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