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Posts Tagged with "California Prison Focus"

Hundreds of California prisoners in isolation should be covered by class action, attorneys argue in court

September 28, 2013

On Sept. 26, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) urged a federal judge to grant class action status to a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons. The case, Ashker v. Brown, was filed on behalf of 10 prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent over 10 years, and as many as 29 years, in solitary confinement.

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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.

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Appeal for hearing on California prisoners to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States

August 24, 2013

Should the Commission grant this request for a hearing, we will provide the Commission with testimony from prisoners, as well as oral presentations by family members of prisoners, advocates and lawyers. We would ask that the Commission recommend to the United States government and the state of California that they immediately take all measures necessary to address grave violations of human rights in the prison system.

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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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Drawing by an unknown prisoner

Prisoner in Corcoran SHU dies while on hunger strike

July 27, 2013

Mediators working on behalf of hunger striking prisoners have received disturbing news that Billy Sell, known to his friends as Guero, died while on strike at Corcoran State Prison Security Housing Unit on Monday, July 22. His death is being ruled a suicide by prison officials. Fellow prisoners have reported that Sell was participating in California’s massive statewide hunger strike – now in its 20th day. Advocates are outraged at Sell’s death, noting that it could have been prevented if CDCR had negotiated with strikers.

Treating us like slaves: an analysis of the Security Threat Group Step Down Program

June 28, 2013

For the past two years we’ve heard the state claim it’s reforming its long term segregation policies and practices by implementing a Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP). Officials claim the program is a significant move towards a more behavior-based system, yet they remain extraordinarily vague about the “ultimate conclusion.” What exactly is “gang activity”?

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Sacramento hearing exposes CDCR’s hidden agenda

March 5, 2013

Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion. The hearing provided an opportunity for legislators to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. At the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input.

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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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Chowchilla Freedom Rally to draw hundreds of Bay Area residents to Central Valley to protest women’s prison

January 24, 2013

Hundreds of Bay Area residents will be getting on buses and into cars Saturday morning, Jan. 26, making the long trek to Chowchilla where they will join hundreds of other Californians at a Freedom Rally in protest of horrendous living conditions in the notorious prison, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). Let’s make enough noise so that the decision makers in Sacramento have no choice but to hear our demands! Solidarity actions are encouraged! Read more for when, where and how to get there …

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Reflections on our accomplishments so far – no more suffering in silence

December 23, 2012

Though we have yet to obtain our Five Core Demands, no one can deny how much we have achieved since our initial July 1, 2011, hunger strike. For the most part our movement for human rights has made much progress, but patience is required, for we are engaged in a protracted struggle that demands our resilience.

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Legislative Analyst Office predicts Corrections won’t meet budget reductions

November 15, 2012

Californians demand further reductions in prison spending to restore social services. A post-election poll by Californians for Safety and Justice determined that 62 percent of voters believe too much state funding goes to California’s prison system, and 86 percent agree that more resources should be dedicated to preventing crime rather than funding prisons and jails.

California’s cruelest prisons

November 1, 2012

It is well established that solitary confinement is cruel and psychologically damaging. Many of the SHU’s indefinite residents haven’t even broken prison rules. They are there because the California Department of Corrections claims they are connected to prison gangs. Such arbitrariness and cruelty has no place in a constitutional democracy. California should reexamine this practice.

Freedom, justice and human rights vs. potty watch

October 26, 2012

During those four days in the CSW cell, Perez was made to defecate in a bucket in public, while still in restraints. The staff members – aka the Green Wall Gang – would cut the tape off and pull down his pants and boxer shorts as they shouted obscene comments and laughter. No contraband was ever produced.

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On anniversary of hunger strike, Pelican Bay prisoners in solitary confinement see no change, request governor’s intervention

October 16, 2012

On the one year anniversary of the end of their hunger strikes and the agreements struck with CDCR, prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California, sent an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown expressing frustration at changes that have failed to materialize.

Solitary confinement policies in California revised again, as inmate leaders promote end to racial hostilities

September 26, 2012

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has recently circulated a memo regarding the most recent revised edition of its Step Down Program (SDP) and Security Threat Group (STG) Program proposal. The revised policies come one year after a series of statewide hunger strikes by inmates in the Security Housing Units (SHU) in Pelican Bay and other California state prisons.

‘The Scottsboro Boys,’ a review

July 13, 2012

The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.

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