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Bringing the truth to light: Sunlight deprivation at San Quentin

December 1, 2014

by Robert Frazier

A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D results in a 53 percent increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of Vitamin D is a chemical reaction which occurs when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight.

These San Quentin exercise cages are covered with a roof that allows in sunlight only through rust holes and keeps out the prying eyes of visitors. – Photo: Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

These San Quentin exercise cages are covered with a roof that allows in sunlight only through rust holes and keeps out the prying eyes of visitors. – Photo: Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

However, true to form, California’s mad scientists conducting the world’s most infamous death penalty experiment under the influence of their overlording associates in the capital and positioned throughout numerous SHUs across the Golden State seemingly prefer various blends of “pharmaceutical cocktails” to solve the problems they themselves are mass-producing.

Sunny California’s torture units feature dog-run style, walk-in closets called “walk alone” or “small management yards” (SMY). These usually consist of four solid walls and a plexiglas or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct direct sunlight. In fact, depending on the time of day, a prisoner may not get any direct sunlight at all. CDCR’s chemical solution aims to obscure and/or delay known side effects of this particular experiment, which subjects humans to intentional sunlight deprivation and torture indefinitely by prescribing Vitamin D and calcium supplements and “psych meds.”

A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D results in a 53 percent increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of Vitamin D is a chemical reaction which occurs when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight.

The SMY torture cages designed for Grade A and B death row prisoners warehoused in San Quentin’s East Block (SHU II Death Row) are especially cruel and unusual. Unlike the torture cages in the SHU III D.R. Time Adjustment Center or “AC,” which are completely exposed to the elements with no protection whatsoever, the SHU II D.R. torture cages have a corrugated steel cover over a quarter of its top and every one of these 40 or so cages is under a gigantic modified metal pavilion, comparable to a rusted metal circus tent. The modified pavilion obstructs all direct sunlight and obscures all view of the cages from public tours and other passersby.

The only “direct sunlight” penetrating this bizarre big top of the CDCR circus pierces through rust holes in the massive metal canopy. Perhaps the corrugated covers atop each cage inadvertently provide a measure of protection from shrapnel-like projectiles falling down from the only sky our eyes can see, which might otherwise be poked out if we dare keep our chins up.

Sunny California’s torture units feature dog-run style, walk-in closets called “walk alone” or “small management yards” (SMY). These usually consist of four solid walls and a plexiglas or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct direct sunlight.

Who can fathom the depth of impact this sort of state-sanctioned torture has on prisoners and on the prison system’s medical and mental health services? A prison system which is at least in part overloaded and still under federal receivership because of conditions like these perpetuating the darkness surrounding CDCR’s bottomless money pits. Connecting the dots is not such a complicated procedure for drawing the big picture.

We’re hoping the truth is brought to light. We’re looking for legal representation and practical assistance in overcoming this cruel and unusual punishment. Many prisoners have been subjected to this torture for years, not just mere days or weeks while our administrative appeals are responded to with mind games and mazes leading to nowhere but deep ends in a very literal way.

We’re hoping the truth is brought to light. We’re looking for legal representation and practical assistance in overcoming this cruel and unusual punishment.

If any reader – in general or with connections in the legal profession – has questions or would like to know more, please include at least one stamp and envelope when you write to facilitate a prompt response.

Send our brother some love and light: Robert Frazier, F-55038, San Quentin SHU II D.R., San Quentin, CA 94974. Typed by Adrian McKinney. Edited by Tynan Krakoff.

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