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Corcoran SHU staff told to ignore legal mandate to protect lives of hunger strikers

April 22, 2013

by J. Heshima Denham, Zaharibu Dorrough, Kambui Robinson and Jabari Scott, NCTT-Cor-SHU

'NARN Collective Think Tank NCTT' logoOn Monday, April 8, they ran no yard on the 4B Facility in the Corcoran SHU (Security Housing Unit). We of course investigated as to why we were, yet again, denied yard access without explanation and discovered staff had all gone to some sort of “training.”

By chance, or design, one of the NCTT-Cor-SHU coordinators was under escort by two officers who, by happenstance or design, began discussing the nature of this training that would take another two days of additional training to complete:

In preparation for the July 8 peaceful protest action (hunger strike, work stoppage etc.), Corcoran SHU administrators are directing staff to dispense with California law and state procedures and policy regarding mass hunger strikes and instead institute a policy designed to raise the potential for maximum casualties (deaths) amongst prisoner participants, while negating the existence of input data or any health care services monitoring information.

CDCR staff at Corcoran have been directed that there will be no weigh-ins, blood pressure checks or other medical monitoring of hunger strike participants for the duration of the July 8 peaceful protest. Instead, a single officer will be given a video camera to “monitor” participants every few days or so.

The facility will be locked down, a state of emergency enacted and all yard, visits and medical ducats will be suspended. No one will leave the cells. No medical intervention of any kind, including health care services, daily nursing observations and weekly primary care provider evaluations as mandated by California Correctional Health Care Services Policy Manual Inmate Medical Services Policies and Procedures (IMSP&P) Volume 4, Chapter 22.2, will be allowed. [That chapter, “Mass Organized Hunger Strike,” can be read at http://www.cphcs.ca.gov/docs/imspp/IMSPP-v04-ch22.2.pdf.]

In preparation for the July 8 peaceful protest action (hunger strike, work stoppage etc.), Corcoran SHU administrators are directing staff to dispense with California law and state procedures and policy regarding mass hunger strikes and instead institute a policy designed to raise the potential for maximum casualties (deaths) amongst prisoner participants, while negating the existence of input data or any health care services monitoring information.

Once a participant loses consciousness, if he is discovered by staff before he expires (dies), he will then receive medical intervention in the form of force feeding (physician’s order for life sustaining treatment). Once this occurs the participant will be considered no longer on “hunger strike.”

[Editor’s note: According to the IMSP&P hunger strike regulations cited above, health care staff “shall not force feed” a prisoner unless he refuses to say whether he wants to be force fed or is unable to give informed consent. In addition, forced feeding “shall not take place except in a licensed health care facility by licensed clinical staff.” The regulations contradict all the “training” the officers described.]

Our cause is a righteous cause, our peaceful protest to realize the Five Core Demands just and fair. We cannot allow the state to undermine the purpose and impact of these sacrifices.

Many of you may see the obvious contradiction in prison staff being trained by Warden Gipson to intentionally violate the law and health care policy, with the complicity of prison doctors, nurses and technicians, to intentionally jeopardize the lives of peaceful protestors.

But what’s not obvious, and in our opinion most insidious, by willfully preventing input data to even be collected, eliminating visits and confining any proof of the hunger strike to correctional officer videography, CDCR can control the narrative completely.

With plausible deniability pre-structured, this approach allows CDCR to under-report actual hunger strike participant numbers, claim those on hunger strike are actually eating by recording on video non-participants who are eating, releasing the videos to the press characterizing them as hunger strikers who are not actually striking, and do all of this while denying protestors access to mandated health care evaluation and clinical monitoring, ensuring serious injury or death befalls at least some protestors.

When it does, just like with Christian Gomez, they can claim the victim was only hunger striking a day or so and instead died of a “pre-existing medical condition unrelated to the hunger strike.”
That this premeditated violation of their own policy is both illegal and immoral is a given, and in fact of secondary concern. That they are doing so to maintain this domestic torture program, with all its inhumane and arbitrary components intact, at the expense of your tax dollars, our minds, bodies and very souls is what should outrage us all.

Our cause is a righteous cause, our peaceful protest to realize the Five Core Demands just and fair. We cannot allow the state to undermine the purpose and impact of these sacrifices.

We are prepared to die to end great injustice. Should we not be allowed the dignity of these sacrifices being accorded the state’s policy and our opposition acting within the guidelines of their own law?

Criminals are defined not by what they are called, but by what they do. Who are the criminals in this case? The answer is as obvious as the question. All that’s left to be decided is if you will stand idly by as this crime is committed.

A luta continua.

NCTT-Cor-SHU (NCTT stands for the New Afrikan Revolutionary Nation (NARN) Collective Think Tank) is a people’s think tank comprised of New Afrikan (Black) prisoners held in solitary confinement in California’s Corcoran State Prison Security Housing Unit. The mission of the NCTT is to create, develop, review and implement programs, initiatives and concepts with and for individuals, groups and community activists across the U.S. to realize 10 Core Objectives as articulated by the think tank. Learn more and contact the NCTT at ncttcorshu@gmail.com, @NCTTCorSHU, on Facebook and on their website, at ncttcorshu.org.

Send our brothers some love and light:

  • J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough, D-83611, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Kambui Robinson, C-82830, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Jabari Scott, H-30536, 4B-1L-63, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

Editor’s note: The writers imply and some prisoner supporters suspect that what was overheard may be a deliberate attempt to frighten prisoners into calling off the hunger strike scheduled to begin July 8, 2013, or refusing to participate. Readers are encouraged to call the warden’s office, at (559) 992-8800, and inquire. Please relay any significant information to editor@sfbayview.com

 

2 thoughts on “Corcoran SHU staff told to ignore legal mandate to protect lives of hunger strikers

  1. Avocado

    Wow. Hunger striking is one of the most hardcore forms of protest ever. I do believe that no one has the right to interfere with it though.

    Reply

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