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Are you living in segregated housing – SHU, Ad-Seg, PSU, Condemned Units? Are correctional officers coming around to your cell every half hour or hour to conduct security/welfare checks? Are these checks conducted in a quiet manner? Or do these checks disturb you? Do they interfere with your ability to sleep, or cause physical or mental health problems? The PHSS Committee to End Sleep Deprivation and CFASC/Family Unity Network want to help prisoners pursue this grievance.
CDCr has systemic and dysfunctional problems that run rampant statewide within California’s prisons for both women and men which demand this California government to take immediate action and institute measures to effect genuine tangible changes throughout CDCr on all levels. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement Blue Print is essentially designed to deal with identifying and resolving primary contradictions by focusing on the various problems of CDCr’s dysfunction.
People in solitary confinement have been loudly awakened by guards every 30 minutes around the clock since the night of Aug. 2, for more than four months! CDCR claims these checks are to improve mental health care and prevent suicides. Instead, this cruel sleep deprivation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Prisoners and their attorneys are demanding that these checks be halted. Stop these torture tactics now! Support prisoners’ human rights! Send emails and make calls. Sleep deprivation is torture!
Pelican Bay prisoners named as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the use of solitary confinement in California gained an important victory yesterday. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of a motion allowing prisoners who have been in solitary confinement for more than 10 years, but have been transferred out of Pelican Bay State Prison since the lawsuit was first filed, to remain eligible as class members in the case.
At first glance the question, What is solitary confinement? appears to be rhetorical, if not insulting, but you would be surprised, if not incredulous, how many prison rights activists are at a loss when I pose it to them. Even more perplexing, many prisoners are only able to provide the standard but antiquated response, which is: a prisoner in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact.
On June 2, a federal judge allowed hundreds of California prisoners to join a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons when she granted the case class action status. Class certification allows the case to include all prisoners who are serving indefinite SHU terms as a result of gang validation who have not been placed in a new step-down program.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign stands in solidarity with the Stop the Torture Campaign, as our goals and objectives are mutual. We aim to eliminate torture in all of its many forms. In 2006, the CDCR created a Communications Management Unit at PBSP that literally reinforces their totalitarian rule by dehumanizing prisoners through social deprivations.
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.
As can be seen from the LSPC report, “Cage within a Cage: A Report on Indeterminate SHU Confinement and Conditions,” CDCR’s torture has reached beyond just the targeted California indeterminate SHU class imprisoned person and extends into the families and communities as well.
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.
CDCR disclosed that as of Feb. 9, 30 men at Corcoran ASU were still striking. One of them writes: “On or about Feb 2nd or 3rd 2012 an inmate has passed away due to not eating ... Inmates are passing out and having other medical problems ... There will be more casualties if this isn’t addressed or brought to light.”
The bill by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, to restore media access to prisoners, AB 1270, passed the California Assembly Jan. 26. The bill would remove restrictions on pre-arranged in-person interviews with specific prison inmates.
The reduction of 35,000-40,000 prisoners equals a potential loss of $2 billion in the yearly CDCR budget and 7,000 CCPOA members. The “security threat group” (STG) scheme enables CDCR to segregate a lot more men. Segregation costs nearly double general population and requires more staff.
A shout-out of respect and solidarity from the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective to all similarly situated prisoners subject to the continuing torturous conditions of confinement in these barbaric SHU (Security Housing Unit) and Ad/Seg (Administrative Segregation) units across this country and around the world.
As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.
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.”
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