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Corcoran SHU prisoners start hunger strike for decent healthcare; support needed now

September 28, 2014

by Annabelle Parker

The men on hunger strike are family men, whose loved ones need them alive and well, and they demand treatment for their life-threatening conditions. Is there any compassion at Corcoran? This beautiful drawing by Heshima Denham has been printed as high quality postcards and greeting cards. To place your order, email people.matter09@gmail.com.

The men on hunger strike are family men, whose loved ones need them alive and well, and they demand treatment for their life-threatening conditions. Is there any compassion at Corcoran? This beautiful drawing by Heshima Denham has been printed as high quality postcards and greeting cards. To place your order, email people.matter09@gmail.com.

On Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, three men locked inside unit 4B-1L of the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) of California State Prison-Corcoran started a hunger strike: Heshima Denham (J-38283), followed on Sept. 27 by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough (D-83611), and Kambui Robinson (C-82830) will join them the following day for a few days or as long as he can considering his poor health.

Why? The medical care at Corcoran SHU is so bad that life-threatening situations have occurred on too many occasions to the people in the SHU and possibly also elsewhere at CSP-Corcoran that they have had to resort to a hunger strike, the ultimate nonviolent protest, in order to make this point known to the warden, the medical receiver appointed by the court to oversee California’s notoriously bad prison healthcare, and the administration of the California Department of Corrections (CDCr).

Several factors made the three decide to protest the lack of healthcare now: Kambui has diabetes that is very badly regulated with a HBA1C of 9.3 – far too high for diabetics, especially with those already suffering loss of eyesight and neuropathy – and Zaharibu has dangerous, untreated, extremely high cholesterol, making him very vulnerable to stroke, and he has untreated gall stones and a CPAP machine without an extension cord to work effectively.

Custody staff interfering with medical staff is causing dangerous situations.

What can you do to help?

Ideally we want Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough and Kambui Robinson moved to Vacaville or New Folsom medical facilities. Kambui’s situation is most critical:

He needs more control over his insulin-dependent diabetes – better regulation, prevention of more complications, and a special diet for diabetics, with sufficient carbohydrates, low fat, whole grains, access to glucose and daily exercise outside his cell. He also needs a diagnostic scan to determine nerve damage in his brain.

For Michael Dorrough (D-83611): normal access to the CPAP machine, treatment for high cholesterol levels and treatment for gallstones.

Finally, for Heshima Denham (J-38283), we need an MRI-scan to make a diagnosis of the pain in his right side and treatment for whatever is causing it. Heshima was recently also diagnosed with PTSD.

Please keep in mind these are medical issues that should be treated with discretion.

Although I concentrate on these three people who are on a hunger strike, they have expressed that they are striking for all people with a disease or injury needing better care, chronic or not, at CSP-Corcoran.

Although I concentrate on these three people who are on a hunger strike, they have expressed that they are striking for all people with a disease or injury needing better care, chronic or not, at CSP-Corcoran.

Call or write to the Corcoran warden, or leave a message with his secretary. Here’s a proposed script:

Call or email Warden Dave Davey, at 559 992-8800 or dave.davey@cdcr.ca.gov, or write to him at P.O. Box 8800, Corcoran, CA 93212-8309.

Call or send a copy of your letter or email to Diana Toche, Undersecretary for Health Care Services and Undersecretary for Administration and Offender Services, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Correctional Health Care Services, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001, 916-691-0209, Diana.toche@cdcr.ca.gov.

Also send a copy to the Medical Receiver, California Correctional Health Care Services, Controlled Correspondence Unit, P.O. Box 588500, Elk Grove, CA 95758, CPHCSCCUWeb@cdcr.ca.gov.

Finally, contact the Ombudsman, at Cherita.Wofford@cdcr.ca.gov.

Suggested script for your phone call, email or letter

I am contacting you concerning the lack of specialized healthcare for people inside the CSP-Corcoran SHU, especially those with chronic diseases. I would like to make you aware of the fact that there is a hunger strike going on inside to demand that people with diabetes or sleep apnea and in need of special diets and other mental and physical healthcare get treated as they would when not incarcerated. Insulin-dependent diabetics with complications and patients with CPAP machines, mental illness such as PTSD and other mental challenges should not be in the SHU but in a medical facility.

The healthcare system in several California prisons is failing badly and we demand prompt action now:

Either move the diabetic patients and the CPAP-machine patients, as well as all other chronic disease patients, to a medical facility or improve the healthcare system, including the rules for, for instance, MRI scans in CSP-Corcoran.

MRI scans are only allowed when there is a physically visible wound. This is wrong!

Also, prevent custody staff from interfering with medical issues, please!

I respectfully insist you act this week to start making specific and general improvements to the healthcare in CSP-Corcoran SHU, before lives are lost.

Thank you.

Annabelle Parker can be reached at people.matter09@gmail.com.

 

30 thoughts on “Corcoran SHU prisoners start hunger strike for decent healthcare; support needed now

  1. justin

    Why dont you ask why they are in the SHU, it might open your eyes! Inmates in California state prisons have some of the best healthcare money can buy.

    Reply
    1. scottytreid

      Why don’t go trolling somewhere else and keep you mouth shut if you do not support human rights for all people. The UN and the international community have deemed solitary confinement torture so anyone in the SHU is being tortured. Obviously you no nothing about the conditions in prisons and just running your ignorant mouth. POS.

      Reply
        1. scottytreid

          I hope I never do but I have interviewed many people who have been in the SHU and big deal you are a RN, RNs helped a doctor perform illegal sterilizations on women in prisons in California. RNs helped in many of the eugenics programs of America. I think your profession hardly qualifies you as an expert on healthcare in the prison system of legalized slavery.

          Reply
          1. Tell it to the jury!

            Wow! Now the state is part of legalized slavery! Amazing this must be happening under everyone’s nose. Must be going threw the same tunnels that are bringing in illegal cell phones and drugs! Wait maybe that’s the problem your interviewing of these people…maybe your upset because your profitable business of trafficking cell phones that are setting up hits on officers and their family’s and other civilians on the outside, along with the illegal drugs that keep these guys under constant medical evaluation will go down the drain! Seriously pointless! Your comments are unwarranted. And yes medical staff and officers are the experts especially when they work there! Just because you think and believe what inmates tell you doesn’t mean there is fact there.

          2. scottytreid

            I expect some ignorant comment from an ignorant person taking up for a barbaric system. Apparently who have never read the 13th Amendment, never watched the documentary Slavery By Another Name and incapable of independent thought. That is ok, remain in your ignorance as the movement continues to build to bring this racist institution of slavery down to the ground and on top of the heads of racist suspects and barbarians like yourself.

  2. Concerned Tax Payer

    Well they are already not I prison for being a good citizen, with those cdc Bo’s they have obviously been in prison awhile probably for something really bad and they fact that they are in the SHU tells me they can’t behave or act right in prison! As a concerned citizen I’m sure they are taken care of in a matter that safety and security are followed! Unfortunately for them they put themselves there and because they can’t act right now that they are there, their medical issues must be addressed in a secure and safe matter! Everything becomes slower when you have to be handcuffed every time your door is opened for the safety of others (nurses, doctors, medical staff)? And the officer is there to look out for the safety of both the inmate and the staff treating them and then is blamed for interfering, really uneducated people out there that don’t give the whole story of what really goes on inside! Plus very manipulative inmates again playing on the ignorance of the public because they are not familiar with procedure!

    Reply
  3. citizen9

    Why don’t we just legalize “crime”. Society will be a much better place don’t you think?
    maybe get rid of all the cops too. I’m sure everybody will just get along, right?

    Reply
  4. Concerned tax payer

    Replying to the SHU and solitary confinement comment….. The SHU is NOT solitary confinement! They have cell mates, they get yard time, they get their 3 meals a day along with any special diets that have been prescribed to them by doctors or for religious means, And the walls are not sound proof! It is a Secured Housing Unit hence the name SHU! They are their for many different reason, it could be for their own safety or they are a huge danger to others! Make sure you do your research before referring to others as trolls or trolling, who are familiar with what is actually going, and not being negative to anyone but trying to give a better understanding of why from someone who sees first hand! Oh and this is the United States where freedom of speech, religion, and comments are allowed! The news reports, without giving a lot of the story! It’s up to Americans to educate themselves further!

    Reply
    1. moorbey

      Healthcare 4 inmates is non-existent and none. You would know that to be fact I+f you ever did time or spoke to someone who has been in that situation. Now what it means to be in the shu is to be on lock-down 23 hours a day and if one is lucky to get yard time, to be taken out and locked into a human size dog kennel

      Reply
      1. JII

        Oh please. Those inmates have better health care than most of our senior citizens who still pay taxes and way better than the kids they sired and left to join their homies in prison. They need to quit whining and grow one, man up. It’s so unmanly for them to be sniveling like little punks that they are picked on. I’ve read many of their bios and they aren’t there for stealing someone’s sandwich. They are raunchy pariahs on society who think they are owed something. I for one am tired of the whining, sniveling and the huge tax on my check book to take care of people who refuse to care for themselves. And let me tell you something, most women waiting don’t know this, but you are not the only one getting correspondence in many cases, not the only one be professed to be loved. Quit buying the line and figure out why on earth you “love” and commit to someone who is not able to reciprocate.

        Reply
  5. justin

    SCOTTYREID did you call me a POS, because I can give you first hand knowledge about what happens in the prison system concerning healthcare for inmates, but since you have probably been in prison I’m sure you can as well! I will say no more for im not going to stoop to the level of a common fellon.

    Reply
  6. Gee

    This article is a joke! They’ve got better health care than people NOT in prison. I don’t think my tax money should go to improving their lifestyle.

    Reply
  7. Mai Dao

    Thank you for this article, I will be writing and calling all those on the list. Thank you to scottytreid for his comment, he’s absolutely right about Justin trolling…many of the inmates in the SHU are there for more than just the crime they committed. They are in there for not ratting out other inmates, for non-existent gang connections, etc. so, Justin is full of crap. Also to concerned taxpayer – go take a closer look at Corcoran SHU in particular, before YOU start ‘splaining to the rest of us what goes on there. You will never convince me that even with sound time through walls, and one hour in the yard, that an 8×10 foot concrete cell with no windows and constant light isn’t torture. As Scotty points out, the UN considers it torture too.

    Reply
  8. steve

    Mai Dao, i cant stop laughing. Is that what you family member thats incarcerated told you? You have no clue. “Many inmates…” wrong. Your FOS.

    Reply
  9. concerned tax payer

    Well humm let me see so I do daily take a close look at the SHU units in COR and along with dealing with the SHU inmates I do know for a fact they have windows just like regular housing units they get natural light and they get a lot more then what the general public knows! I’m not here to argue facts especially because only one of us does have the facts and you are only going off of what your told! I decided to exercise my rights as an American and as someone who does see first hand and like you, give you my side of what is going on! Right or wrong in your eyes (or mine) doesn’t matter the new works off of people’s sympathetic nature but they did give you the inmates full and and CDC number so you as a concerned citizen should research what those inmates charges were and why they are in prison! Even with knowing the facts of why they are in prison many are disgusted with the fact that they get any “LoVe” but still get all and more then many of our children, veteran or elderly will ever see in a life time! The medical issues span much further then inside prison walls! Maybe people should focus on the big picture of the citizens who follow the law and realize that prisoners have it better then those who fight daily for our freedom and those who do right every day by being productive citizens and following the law! Your entitled to your opinion just like I am! But to make derogatory remarks about someone else’s opinion makes you as much a criminal as the! You want to state your comments fine don’t knock someone for stating theirs! As for “splaining” don’t preach what you can’t practice!

    Reply
  10. Ryce G.

    Wowww. I am disgusted at how folks choose to get their opinion across. Are all of you really thinking adults.? Calling people derogatory names and insinuating someone has been in jail, calling someone a common felon.? No lack of ignorance here.

    I am a social worker and have been inside many prisons. This is the definition of SHA ( Secure Housing Unit ):
    The Security Housing Unit (SHU) is for inmates whose conduct endangers the safety of others or the security of the institution. In most cases, these inmates have committed serious rules violations while housed in a general population setting.

    Within the SHU housing facilities, is a specially designated unit: The Medical/Handicap SHU unit which meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It offers maximum security housing with necessary adaptations to the showers and cells for accessibility. The SHU also has a debriefing unit for validated prison gang associates/members wishing to disassociate themselves from criminal gang activity

    Now , with that being defined, SHU or a regular prison cell. it does not mean that the inmates are not HUMAN BEINGS. No matter what your standpoint or view on crime and punishment, what is your standpoint on HUMANITY. Most inmates will be released on day into society. Murders’s, Peodophiles, Rapist need to spend life in jail. The other’s have a chance at retribution. If we treat them poorly, deny them appropriate healthcare, or make it so they cannot survive when they get out, WE WILL BE THE ONE’S WHO PAY. Crime will continue to permeate our society and we are giving out tax dollars to incarcerate them over and over and over again. If they come home with communicable diseases, we will be effected and infected.. If they are in poor health, we will still be paying for the cost of them getting free health care. If they can’t get a job, we will pay for their subsidized housing, or far worse to incarcerate them again. I am a law abiding citizen. Never been in trouble, But I do work with those that have and sometime people feel so desperate, so dehumanized, so defeated that they make bad decisions. For people to not be able to have empathy or suggest we just lock them up and throw away the key , Now that kind of thinking should be CRIMINAL. I will help to support the effort and e-mail all the necessary parties and voice my concerns.

    Reply
  11. Concerned tax payer

    No where in any of my “splaining” (as I’ve been told) have I ever said that dehumanizing inmates is acceptable nor is it being done,. I have personally seen all that goes on daily, I have seen inmates taken out to outside hospitals, yes SHU inmates too, for things such as chronic head aches and a busted lip or eyebrow and where as you and I (the tax payer) would be delt with in and “need for” order and the inmates are pushed to the front of the line for MRI’s (that takes us weeks if not months to get appointments) due to the fact of hospital, doctors and the state trying to avoid undue and unjust law suits! And before you rant off about me not being qualified to diagnose what’s an emergency and what’s not, I have talked the doctors at the prison and they will tell you themselves, it’s easier to just send them out and avoid law suits. They are treated more humanity then we (non criminals) are. I have personally seen civilians die because they had to wait for the inmate to be properly treated first for a sprained wrist! And as an employees of the state of California I am required to keep my mouth and opinions at work to myself and perform my job professionally even though that inmates has spit at me and has called civilians at the hospital derogatory names. I can say if I were off duty and had to deal with my family member pushed off to the side for an inmate with a visibly less serious condition I would be voicing my opinion to the hospital and maybe even the state. Weather I like or dislike the fact that inmates get anything at all (especially knowing what they have done and their disregard for humanity) I respect the fact the majority has voted to give them health care but they should be given the same as anyone who receives free Health care, and under the circumstances that they themselves have put themselves in safety and security for the staff dealing with them is first and foremost! Yes you are right we (the tax payer) will always be the one who pays for everything they do or don’t do. But at some point when does prison become punishment for their actions when they keep getting more and more rights which the working class has to pay more and more for. I work hard for my family and I obey the law and I can’t afford the care the inmates get because I’m too busy working to afford it for them! Citizens need to weigh all factors. Again everyone is entitled to their opinions but basing them one sided with out knowing facts on both sides is ridiculous.

    Reply
  12. jt

    How was asking the victim of the crime if they want to be a victim? When the victim was being murdered was that inmate calling 911 for medical attention for the victim?

    Reply
  13. really?

    gotta wonder how many opinionated individuals got their “facts”.. I like the one “commenter” who was going on about contraband… most cellphones come in by way of staff, not visitors.
    Most problems arise from a systematic divide and conquer by the way of racial tensions, staff baiting enemies, not enough space, not enough provisions, letting shot callers keep their game,
    it is impressive how California has managed to go from being the most progressive state, to maintaining the most primitive and punitive agenda for socalled “corrections”
    happy profiting for private prisons! is this ever gonna end ? not as long as there is money to be made off the suffering of so called “undesirables” .. .there are other ways that really can work to the betterment of all…
    and no matter how good a medical program is in a prison, SHU prisoners are denied them.. I know this first hand

    Reply
  14. Angie Horner

    I, too know far too real how bad this problem is. My sibling, being a 16 year old showing off for a girl stole a car that was a sting operation set up by the police. also known as Stan~Cat. The police officers rammed him with their cop cars, one from the front and one from the back hitting the Camaro so hard that the two side tires went up on a curb and slid sideways leaving very noticeable rubber marks. they then started opening fire. 19 shots were fired. 18 bullets hit the Camaro one hit the neighbors garage door. after dragging him you a broken window and throwing him to the ground the officers were shocked at the child they had shot multiple times. an officer was heard by a neighbor saying, “who the f#%k is this kid?” They had thought it was someone else they were trying to get. He is now paralyzed from the waist down because of this STING, he now sits in a wheelchair and s#!ts in a bag. He was being made as an example by the police department when they gave him multiple life terms of incarceration. yes he was wrong to steal a car at 16 years old. yes he should have been put in jail. but I do believe that the crime did not fit the time. He was tried as an adult even though he was a juvenile and has served the last 20 years in the SHU. he has been denied adequate medical attention on numerous occasions. causing him to have bed sores that turned infected and had his tailbone cut out, he got tuberculosis in a prison facility, the hole in his stomach that the tube fits in was so infected that it swelled up 5 times its normal size and cause him to bleed from the inside. He is in the same area as the notorious Charles Manson. he is lockdown for 23 out of 24 hours a day with no communication to the outside world, no phone calls are allowed, and most visitations are restricted from him. I also know that he has been denied the one hour of yard tunes self be denied when the officers had told him he does not need exercise because he is a crippled criminal. This is just one case. The case I know all about. I don’t reply on things I don’t know anything about other prisoners or other actions from the police officers. I am only replying to let the world know what I know far too real. So YES , I do you believe that every inmate in the SHU deserves a 2nd look at their medical care and the way they are being treated. It is inhumane to do the things that they do to the inmates. I would think the time has been served for his crime.

    Reply
    1. JII

      I bet he didn’t stop when they red lighted him and that ridiculous chase, endangering many innocent lives ensued. Your brother was at fault bottom line. Sad the whole family has to care for him but he didn’t ‘lose’ his life as he knew it, he gave it away

      Reply
    2. JII

      The UN doesn’t govern the SHU, moot point. I’ve read the bios of some of these SHU inmates, they aren’t innocent victims and the bottom line is, if you don’t want to reap what you sow, sow better seed. There are far more people outside than in and we don’t appreciate your whining, crying and huge liability on our check books. Quit being a pariah to society, quit thinking and acting as if you are owed something. You got nothing coming other than what you earn just like the rest of us and if what you earn is SHU, STFU and take it like a man. All this whining is as unmanly as the crimes you committed to get there. Grow one and man up.

      Reply

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