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Posts Tagged with "American Friends Service Committee"

Shining a light on the historic moment: Reflections on prison isolation and the struggle for change

May 6, 2014

On July 8, 2013, 30,000 prisoners of the California prison system – and hundreds more across the United States – refused meals to take a stand about the conditions of prisoners in the various forms of solitary isolation – approximately 14,000 human beings in California alone. It was the third hunger strike in California in two years. Dozens of prisoners deprived themselves of solid food for 60 days. One prisoner died.

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An end to ‘the hole’? 6 signs that solitary confinement reform is coming

March 30, 2014

Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.

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Political prisoner Marshall Eddie Conway released after 44 years

March 6, 2014

A small hearing March 4, 2014, in an obscure courtroom at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ended with the release of former Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway, who has spent nearly 44 of his 67 years in maximum security prisons. “He helped me when I was incarcerated at 15 years old,” said DJ, one of the young men who met Eddie in prison as a kid.

On Day 50 of the California prisoners’ hunger strike, I wonder, will change only come at the cost of human lives?

August 26, 2013

As a member of the Mediation Team, never did I think I would be a part of a Hunger Strike that would enter into its 50th day. Never did I think that I would be denied access to the face to face meetings that have taken place within the CDCR because I am a family member. And never did I think that CDCR would refuse on all grounds to meet even the most reasonable demands of the prisoners.

Coalition stops jail construction plan in its tracks

August 15, 2013

Members of a statewide anti-prison coalition acted swiftly this week to defeat Senate Bill 445 (Hill) Revenue Bond Financing of Prison Construction. Today the bill authored by Sen. Hill died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee when none of the committee members made a motion to bring the bill to a vote.

Hunger strike reminder: SHU isolation cell awaits California lawmakers as legislative session begins

August 14, 2013

As California legislators return to work this week, prisoner hunger strike family members, loved ones, advocates and supporters will gather at the Capitol to urge state decision makers to take swift and resolute action toward meeting the demands of the strikers. Waiting for the legislators on the Capitol’s south steps will be a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell.

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Hunger Strike Day 35: Crank up the cruelty and let them die

August 11, 2013

SHU prisoners in California are not allowed to call home. Lack of family phone calls is one of the reasons California’s SHU cells are characterized as solitary confinement – the harsh deprivation of family and social ties. CDCR has created the conditions that drive prisoners to desperation. It is horrifying to witness CDCR’s response to the current hunger strike: Crank up the cruelty and let them die.

Day 33: Prisoner hunger strike countdown for humane conditions

August 9, 2013

Today marks 33 days that over 200 prisoners have gone without eating. Doctors have warned the prisoners several times of the dangers of continuing their hunger strike, and yet they persist. Why? In order to end the inhumane conditions of their confinement. They have spent decades in solitary confinement not for punishment, not for their crimes, but for “administrative” reasons.

Mediators talk with prisoners as hunger strike reaches one month mark, situation remains critical, negotiations crucial

August 8, 2013

Today marks one month for prisoners on hunger strike throughout the California prison system. Earlier today, the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers was able to speak to the prisoners at Pelican Bay who initially called for the strike. Just moments ago members of the mediation team issued the following statement:

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CDCR’s sham mental health interventions and evaluations

July 9, 2013

In spite of the AMA protocol on torture, the CDCR’s medical and mental health physicians have yet to offer California prisoners any qualitative medical or mental health treatment, intervention or service. And they have been present and dead silent on the issue of how we prisoners have been tortured in CDCR’s SHU and CMU, where social deprivation – torture – has been the norm for the past 10 to 40-plus years.

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To our brothers inside the walls: a report back from the hearing on solitary confinement

March 9, 2013

Most of us were wearing the new “Stop the Torture” t-shirts that the coalition was selling, so we looked great and our commitment was obvious to the public. It was heartening to have so many friends and family members and formerly incarcerated people meet on the steps of the Capitol and to hear them speak about their loved ones inside the walls. The hearing itself was both powerful and infuriating.

Prisoners’ families and advocates to speak out at legislative hearing Feb. 25 on solitary confinement and plan to renew hunger strike

February 22, 2013

Family members, advocates, lawyers, activists and others from across California will travel to Sacramento on Monday to speak out against the state prison system’s continued use of solitary confinement. Hundreds are expected to gather for a rally outside the Capitol Building and will then attend a California State Assembly Public Safety Committee oversight hearing, convened to review the CDCR’s “revised regulations” of its notorious SHUs. Rally starts 11:30 Capitol West Side.

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Potty watch: Prison system finds a new low

August 7, 2012

Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, a new California Prison system practice comes to our attention that is shocking and humiliating. It’s a practice called “contraband watch,” or “potty watch” by people inside, in which a prisoner’s excrement is examined for items perceived to be “contraband.”

CDCR releases new gang validation proposal

March 14, 2012

CDCR has released its “Security Threat Group Prevention, Identification and Management Strategy,” which proposes new gang validation and SHU step down procedures. “The biggest issue with the stakeholder review is that the most important stakeholders, the prisoners who have been validated and are currently in administrative segregation or the SHU, are not included,” says Jerry Elster.

Prisoners tell the world about the horrors of California prison isolation

March 2, 2012

The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law believes that the treatment of California prisoners placed in Administrative Segregation Units and Security Housing Units should be brought before the United Nations. Placing thousands of prisoners in segregation for long periods of time is one of the most serious mass human rights violations taking place in the United States today. On Tuesday, March 20, 10-11 a.m., at the Ronald Reagan State Building, 300 South Spring St., Los Angeles, join the press conference to release a petition calling for a United Nations investigation.

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Three prisoners die in hunger strike related incidents: CDCR withholds information from family members, fails to report deaths

November 18, 2011

Prisoners who participated in the hunger strike are being severely retaliated against with disciplinary actions and threats. Hozel Blanchard’s family said that he felt that his life was threatened and had two emergency appeals pending with the California Supreme Court at the time of his death.

California prisoners resume hunger strike today

September 26, 2011

Today, prisoners at Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) and Calipatria’s Administrative Segregation Unit (Ad-Seg or ASU) resume their hunger strike. Referring to the first round of the hunger strike, Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford), a strike representative in Pelican Bay’s SHU, writes, “This is far from over and once again, hopefully for the last time, we will be risking our lives via a peaceful hunger strike on Sept. 26, 2011, to force positive changes. We continue to struggle to be treated like decent human beings.”

Hunger strike recap: California prisoners show the way!

September 14, 2011

This spring, the news started going around that a hunger strike was being planned in the Security Housing Unit at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Prisoners at the SHU had apparently united across racial lines and promised to hungerstrike to the death if need be, starting on July 1.

Hearing on Solitary Confinement: seeking compassion in the capitol

September 1, 2011

Denise, Marilyn, Anna and I, with Harriett at the wheel, left West Oakland BART in the second carpool wave for Sacramento Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 9:30 a.m. to attend a pre-rally for the historic California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement.

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Lucasville hunger strikers’ support rally outside Ohio State Penitentiary on MLK’s birthday Saturday, Jan. 15, 1 p.m.

January 14, 2011

Three prisoners sentenced to death for their leadership of the 1993 Lucasville rebellion, now at Ohio State Penitentiary, have been on hunger strike since Jan. 3. An Open Letter that will be presented to prison officials at tomorrow’s rally has collected more than 500 signatures from Ohio, many other states and all across the globe, among them many prominent citizens. Buses are bringing supporters from far and wide to the rally.

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