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State Sen. Mark Leno, Green Party Secretary of State candidate David Curtis issue statements on prisoners’ hunger strike

August 20, 2013

More and more political leaders are speaking out as dozens of California prisoners complete six weeks of a hunger strike and others are working behind the scenes to urge Gov. Brown to negotiate before more men die.

Sen. Mark Leno decries California’s over-reliance on solitary confinement

by Sen. Mark Leno

Solitary confinement should always be a last resort and should be used only for a limited period of time. I have grave concerns about the (Corrections) Department’s over-reliance on the use of solitary confinement and in particular on a policy in which suspicion of gang affiliation is sufficient grounds for keeping an inmate in solitary confinement indefinitely.

Sen. Mark Leno with SF Conservation Corps members at SFCC 25th anniversary SF City Hall
Sen. Mark Leno stands with San Francisco Conservation Corps members at the corps’ 25th anniversary celebration at San Francisco City Hall.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has begun to review each inmate who is currently housed in solitary confinement. So far, that review process has resulted in the Department finding that a significant percentage of the inmates whose cases were reviewed may be safely returned to the general prison population. I have concerns that this review process is moving too slowly and I would like to see it accelerated.

The inmates have raised a number of other issues that deserve to be given serious consideration regarding the current conditions in some of these security housing units. Maintaining the security and safety of the prisons can be achieved while respecting the basic human rights of prisoners.

It shouldn’t take a hunger strike to bring an end to the current over-reliance on the use of solitary confinement in California prisons.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, represents District 11 in the California Senate. Contact him at http://sd11.senate.ca.gov/contact.

Green Party Secretary of State candidate David Curtis calls on Gov. Brown to negotiate with prison hunger strikers

As a Green Party candidate for Secretary of State and a human being, I urge Gov. Brown to take immediate action to save the lives of hunger strikers in California’s state prisons:

Green Party candidate for California Secretary of State 2014 David Curtis speaks at his campaign kick-off  LA 0713
Green Party candidate for California Secretary of State 2014 David Curtis speaks at his campaign kick-off in Los Angeles in July 2013.
The Brown administration and its negotiators must immediately address the following issues itemized by former California Assemblyman Tom Hayden, writing in the L.A. Times Friday:

Suspend indefinite solitary confinement. Fix prison air conditioning systems. Provide inmates with fresh food and water. Give inmates access to a weekly phone call. Reopen the Pelican Bay visitors’ center and allow visits of four to six hours on weekends and holidays for family members. Allow inmates to take one photograph per year, to purchase more art supplies from the canteen, to sell or give away artwork and to have more access to educational courses and current books.

I also call on Gov. Brown to end the practice of solitary confinement, a form of torture with crippling psychic consequence. The prison system should be more than a holding facility. It should be a means to rehabilitation so that inmates can someday rejoin family and society. Human beings must have paths towards improving their lives.

David Curtis can be reached at davidscurtis@earthlink.net.

 

6 thoughts on “State Sen. Mark Leno, Green Party Secretary of State candidate David Curtis issue statements on prisoners’ hunger strike

  1. Verbena

    These statements from Senator Leno and Secretary of State candidate Curtis are important.

    Maintaining one's Humanity,
    exhibiting Courage to stand up for Justice,
    standing in Solidarity with struggling, conscious people who are literally dying for change,
    definitively Opposing Torture,
    and Addressing serious concerns of constituents who have NOT bribed you for support-

    Now that's some real, rare, and honorable representation. Looking forward to more statements like these (SOON) from elected officials and candidates who want to be elected.

    Reply
  2. Edith Dennis

    I cant believe Jerry brown .. This makes me sick that prisoners wants to die just to get out of your hell hole
    I hope you get your judgment day for this or for your money
    Making machine with peoples shame ,shame on you all

    Reply
  3. Birgit (Bridget) Czerny, Member of the Green Party of Germany, Bündnis 90/,Frankfurt, Germany

    This statement coming from a Green Party Member was long overdue for the last 43 days – and I am glad it finally came. “Human Rights” is one of the 10 core issues of any Green Agenda and it is doubtless that prisoners are human beings. Meanwhile in this tragic process of the current happening Hunger Strike in California, which is answered by Governor Brown with pure silence, these human beings turned into patients who are severely at risk to loose their lives. Their lives are their last stake they can throw into the ring to be heard. Now the government achieved a blank permission through a court order to start with force feeding, another cruel procedure to ignore human dignity and human rights.
    I am waiting for the California Greens to become a strong political voice for human rights – your people are waiting for this, I am convinced.

    Reply
  4. Bridget Czerny

    It is good to read a strong statement on that severe human rights issue coming from a Green Party member and candidate. Honestly it was overdue for the last 43 days. I am very glad it came.

    Human Rights are one of the 10 core issues of any Green Agenda, all over our planet.

    The current dramatic situation regarding the hunger strike is all about human rights. Since July 8 these prisoners keep throwing their lives into the "ring" in order to achieve a minimum of fairness, humanity and dignity.
    Meanwhile the situation is so threatening for many of them and the only response by Governor Brown is pure silence. This is a shame for California. Meanwhile there exist a blank permission by a court order to start force feeding the strikers, which is another brutal and cruel procedure to violate human rights. I am urgently waiting for the Greens in California to stand up in numbers and show an even more powerful political support for these prisoners, for these humans, for these patients.
    The prisoners, the strikers, their families and loved ones are waiting to be heard, are waiting for being supported – they need a political voice ! California Greens ! Don't let David Curtis be the only one who is speaking up !

    Green Solidarity from 9000 across the ocean.

    Reply
  5. Carey Campbell

    Thanks for reporting on the Green Party. Both Green Party candidates look strong. The Green Party continues to grow at a steady rapid rate. It is empowering regular citizens to run as Green Party candidates that is fueling the Green Party growth with positive solutions, and good green common sense. Thank you for covering the Green Party

    Reply

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