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We’ve taken their power away by uniting as one

March 22, 2012

by Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford

Pete Collins, who is imprisoned at Bath Prison in Ontario, Canada, drew this censored pelican to support the 2011 hunger strikes called by Mutope and his comrades in the Pelican Bay SHU. When 12,000 California prisoners joined in starving themselves simultaneously last year, CDCR could no longer hide its barbaric and widespread use of solitary confinement.
We should at all times reject the logic from any local, state and federal courts who oversee the enforcement of the law to compromise objective law by allowing these judicial institutions to use discretion when applying the law.

Subjective law set the stage for judges to apply the law unjustly: Subjective law has allowed the courts to give the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) jurisdiction over all California prisons even when the law says otherwise.

Judges continue to say that they will not interfere with prison affairs regardless if the prison officials continue to blatantly break the law. The judges have gone so far as to say, straight out, the prison officials will have outright discretion over how they run their prisons.

The reason prisoners are dying from medical neglect, inadequate and inedible food servings, indefinite solitary confinement, group punishment, lack of programs and privileges, and now hunger strikes is that the California courts for the most part have turned a blind eye to the law where prison officials have held prisoners in solitary confinement indefinitely. It is no way in hell any prison official or any court can justify holding a man or woman in solitary confinement with no end in sight to getting out, when they are held for nothing.

Therefore, the courts are excusing their inaction by enforcing the law by using subjective law to avoid applying objective law, which validates the whole criminal act against prisoners held in solitary confinement throughout California prisons.

Many say Amerika is a nation of laws. This may be true for some, but when these laws are supposed to work to protect the interests of the poor people of this nation, they become nothing of the sort.

We are, as I’ve always said, an “obsolete people” to those who are supposed to uphold the law in this nation. This is why we must stay committed to putting our human face before the world. Because our keepers, CDCR and PBSP (Pelican Bay State Prison) officials, are master deceptors and they will deceive their courts, legislators etc., we prisoners have evidence that shows how the CDCR and PBSP officials outright and knowingly lied to the courts, legislators etc. Yet they are given carte blanche over our lives … without any oversight.

I am glad that the four principle groups behind these prison walls have agreed to the fundamental principles of “each one, teach one” with the open hand of natural humanity from the north to the south to the east to the west. We are united as one, a Prison Movement of the 21st century.

We are united as one, a Prison Movement of the 21st century.

Which is why, on Feb. 4, 2012, me and a Mexican prisoner were let out on the tier together. On Feb. 11, 2012, Todd Ashker, a white prisoner, and Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), a New African prisoner, were also let out on the tier together, courtesy of our keepers in the PBSP gun tower. The officers say these incidents were honest mistakes. Yeah, right!

Prison gang investigation officers constantly feel the need to lie to the public about how sinister we are or that we are the infamous “worst of the worst,” but they say nothing about how they continue to open doors on prisoners in solitary confinement in order to try to provoke violence, thinking that we are robots and all they’ve got to do is pit us against one another and, like wild animals, we’re supposed to go at it.

Those of us in the short corridor have taken the power away from the PBSP officers and officials because we are in control of ourselves, and under no circumstances will we destroy one another to further the interests of CDCR. Those days are over. The four principle groups must cease the violence if we are to create an environment that will be in the interest of prisoners.

The four principle groups must cease the violence if we are to create an environment that will be in the interest of prisoners.

We can only look to the words of CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate, who recently went out to New York City, where he was speaking on a panel at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and said that state prisons have become so punitive there is “very little benefit in obeying the rules.”

“If you take everything away from a person, you also take away their ability to influence their behavior,” he said. “I think, ultimately, I’d like to get to a place where there are MP3 players to Xbox to cable TV. I don’t care; they can have (all the) goodies you can possibly get, great, as long as they follow the rules … and our guards are safe.”

Now the problem with this statement is that Secretary Cate has created in his mind a false reality, because 99 percent of the prison population, whether in solitary confinement or in general population, are well behaved prisoners. It has nothing to do with the prison administration whatsoever. Prisoners are human beings who are more civilized than prison guards.

Prisoners are human beings who are more civilized than prison guards.

The irony in what Secretary Cate said is he would like to get to a place where 95 percent of our prisons are places where inmates have everything from MP3 players to Xbox to cable TV. I know that Secretary Cate has executive power to do many things other than “mind control” devices. These are the same devices that got young minds today in a trance and if he was even sincere about implementing that of which he speaks, he would have already done so.

What CDCR is doing is going around saying a bunch of stuff, but actually doing nothing, when they could already have changed some of the cruelest policies under the Warden’s Operational Procedures. Wardens get to put programs in place for their prisons and every warden throughout CDCR has implemented OPs that are anti-prisoner programs, and these they can suspend with a simple memorandum.

When we get to the truth of the matter, prisoners have nothing to lose. The programs and privileges they have lost, this is something the administration did outright to politicize the whole prison environment, which left many prisoners helpless and hopeless.

The prison guards have a responsibility in all this because in my 27 years of being incarcerated, it’s been my experience when a prisoner gets into it with a guard, which is very rare, that prison guard has done something very bad to that prisoner that forces that action. Prison guards should be held to the standard of objective law and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their criminal activity, in which the officers nine times out of 10 are allowed to perpetrate foul acts against prisoners.

When we all got together and decided enough was enough based on the fact that we was being subjected to constant attacks by prison guards because we wouldn’t debrief – emasculate ourselves – the prison administration just continued to attack us ruthlessly. We realized that prison violence was a weapon CDCR propagated against us in order to justify torturing us.

We realized that prison violence was a weapon CDCR propagated against us in order to justify torturing us in solitary confinement.

But what CDCR don’t say is that solitary confined prisoners are the most well behaved. Our CDCR 115 rule violation report (RVR) did not come until we went on hunger strikes and the PBSP officers started manufacturing RVRs against us. Prior to that, prisoners in solitary confinement who been held anywhere from one to 40 years for the most part have been disciplinary free.

And for 22 years not one staff has been reported injured. If so, it came by way of them jumping on one prisoner and one to two of them will say they were injured, which is a joke. So when CDCR Secretary Cate talks about treating prisoners with goodies for behaving, then my question would be, why have his prison guards subjected us here in PBSP SHU, Corcoran SHU, Tehachapi SHU and New Folsom SHU and all Ad Segs to violence when we all for the most part have been behaving. He’s been CDCR secretary for two years now and he hasn’t changed nothing. And how do you go from “you’re going to hammer us” to “if we behave, we will be afforded goodies for that good behavior.” I am seeing two faces here. We should have had our programs and privileges re-instated yester-year:

1. Release from solitary confinement, 2. Adequate food, 3. Phone calls, 4. Educational programs, 5. Typewriters and computers, 6. Adequate clothing, 7. Food sales, 8. Furlough (general population only), 9. Transferring prisoners closer to their homes, 10. Weights, 11. MP3 players, Xbox and cable TV etc. So if the CDCR secretary is serious, he would begin by putting these programs into effect because 99 percent of prisoners are already on their best behavior and all your officers are safe, so what are you waiting for?

If the CDCR secretary is serious, he would begin by putting these programs into effect because 99 percent of prisoners are already on their best behavior and all your officers are safe, so what are you waiting for?

Plus, there was a Warden’s Advisory Group (WAG) assembled to review SHU procedural guidelines and operational manual. Now, wardens have executive power over operational procedures (OP) where they establish policy within their prisons. We have to call them out on the OPs which they implemented that are anti-prisoners’ interests.

We have to stay committed to our struggle to be liberated from solitary confinement while making sure prisoners who are being placed here for legitimate offenses are treated humanely and have programs and privileges to sustain them during their brief stay, instead of just being isolated in a cell.

Objective law don’t allow deviation from the law!

One Love, One Struggle, Mutope

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 Penny Schoner.


2 thoughts on “We’ve taken their power away by uniting as one

  1. Pismolocal

    Brake the law, go to daycare, get free healthcare, dental, vision, electricity, food, clothes, sports equipment, college, cable, envelopes….. Try hard to be a good citizen, struggle.

    Humans should be treated fairly, so how fairly were these guys victims treated? I don't know what the guards do, but if they abuse the inmates then they should be punished. But it cannot be easy being in an environment like that, out numbered, hated, scammed, made fun off, snickered at…etc.

    I don't think solitary confinement is for everyone. But there needs to be a place for the worst of the worst to go. Don't feel sorry for them. They don't feel sorry for you

  2. Here

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