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Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective: How many will die when hunger strike resumes?

June 21, 2013

Introduction by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

After a mediation meeting June 19 ordered by a federal judge between prisoners being held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), prisoners issued the following statement.

Wednesday’s mediation stems from a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement. The class action suit alleges that prolonged solitary confinement violates Eighth Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment and that the absence of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ right to due process. During Wednesday’s mediation, the prisoners and their lawyers exchanged settlement proposals with the CDCR via a federal magistrate. Prisoners, their lawyers and the court are now awaiting reply from the CDCR.

Yesterday also marked the confirmation of new CDCR chief Jeffrey Beard. During his tenure as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Beard oversaw a dramatic increase in Pennsylvania’s prison population and the opening of two new state prisons. Advocates supporting the demands of potential hunger strikers claim Beard and Gov. Jerry Brown hold the power to make changes and to rectify the history of human rights abuses in California’s prisons. Meanwhile, prisoners from at least four additional prisons in California have vowed to go on strike on July 8.

by the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement

Written June 20, 2013 – The principal prisoner representatives from the PBSP SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement do hereby present public notice that our nonviolent peaceful protest of our subjection to decades of indefinite state-sanctioned torture via long term solitary confinement will resume on July 8, 2013, consisting of a hunger strike and work stoppage of indefinite duration until CDCR signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands, the heart of which mandates an end to long term solitary confinement, as well as additional major reforms.

Solidarity banner from Collins Bay Fed Pen, Kingston, Ont., to Pelican Bay SP hunger strikers overlooks Kingston City Hall 070411
Prisoners in the Collins Bay Federal Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario, managed to hang this banner declaring their solidarity with California hunger strikers led by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison on July 4, 2011, shortly after the first 2011 hunger strike began on July 1.
Our decision does not come lightly. For the past two years we’ve patiently kept an open dialogue with state officials, attempting to hold them to their promise to implement meaningful reforms responsive to our demands. For the past seven months we have repeatedly pointed out CDCR’s failure to honor their word – and we have explained in detail the ways in which they’ve acted in bad faith and what they need to do to avoid the resumption of our protest action.

On June 19, 2013, we participated in a mediation session ordered by the judge in our class action lawsuit, which unfortunately did not result in CDCR officials agreeing to settle the case on acceptable terms. While the mediation process will likely continue, it is clear to us that we must be prepared to renew our political non-violent protest on July 8 to stop torture in the SHUs (Security Housing Units) and Ad-Segs (Administrative Segregation) of CDCR.

Thus we are presently out of alternative options for achieving the long overdue reform to this system and, specifically, an end to state-sanctioned torture, and now we have to put our lives on the line via indefinite hunger strike to force CDCR to do what’s right.

We are certain that we will prevail … the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement?

The world is watching!

Onward in Struggle and Solidarity.

Todd Ashker

Arturo Castellanos

Ronald Dewberry, aka Sitawa

Antonio Guillen

Send our brothers some love and light: Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP SHU, D4-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532; Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP SHU, D1-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532; Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Ronald Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP SHU, D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532; and Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP SHU, D2-106, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

This statement first appeared on Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity.

 

7 thoughts on “Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective: How many will die when hunger strike resumes?

  1. OLGA MATA

    Prisons are being run by corrupt guards and commanders I know prisoners get abused raped and beaten
    really bad specially the young their belongings get taken away WHO SI WATCHING THE GUARDS ?

    Reply
  2. Junior Mendez

    Quit your crying. Them inmates knew what conditions existed in those SHU programs when they made the choice to become active and violent gang member. What do you expect in prison. It's not supposed to be club med

    Reply
  3. Junior Mendez

    I spent all the 90s and 12 years into the new millinium in the SHU programs. Corcoran and primarily Pelican Bay. Ill admit that the conditions are less than desirable, but by my own accord I put myself in those environments. And never did I cry about it. Understand that the SHU programs are controll management units. These housing areas are reserved for some of the most violent and problematic inmates. Active gang members and gang leaders who retain detrimental influence over the other inmates. In order to be placed in the SHU program you have to exhibit these characteristics or commit a serious act of violence. My opinion is unbiased as I've been there and I've been through it myself. But all I'm saying is that this is nothing more than a calculated attempt by some of these gang leaders to manipulate themselves back out to mainlines or in less restrictive conditions in order to regain influence and put themselves in a better position to push their criminal agendas forward. They truly can't expect something as asinine as a hunger strike to open up the flood gates and let them succeed in their agendas. Sensory deprivation and isolation is what you get when you have the ability to influence other inmates or other gang members on the streets to commit murder and other violent acts that push their criminal enterprises. Think about it. It just baffles me that some of these guys are really dumb enough to think that CDCR is gonna bow down to their demands by starving themselves. Do you think they really care. Prisoners and gang members are considered throw-aways, defects, communist and the lowest form of scum that exist within society. I'm just stating the facts. The only thing their accomplishing is saving tax payers and CDCR money because of the massive diet and the cutback on food preparation. But trust me, them guys might be refusing state issued food but their still grubbing on canteen and other food that they have put away. It's all a game to garnish some attention. The Bart strike gets more exposure than this

    Reply
  4. Junior Mendez

    Someone want to open up some dialogue about this. Seriously I'm not hating on them I'm just stating the facts. You knew what you signed up for when you decided to stab and kill people so don't cry about it now. If its truly that bad then drop out and denounce the criminal organizations that you belong to. If the conditions are that bad they have the option of debriefing and removing themselves. Maybe this will become a deterrent for other gang members who are thinking about getting themselves a one way ticket to the SHU.

    Reply
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