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Posts Tagged with "CDCR"

“Censorship” – Art: Michael D. Russell, Pelican Bay

New California prison censorship rules ban ‘Windows 7 for Seniors for Dummies’ and ‘Your Child’s Development from Birth to Adolescence’ as too hot for prisoners

June 28, 2015



On April 30, the Office of Administrative Law gave the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation its approval on amended censorship regulations proposed by the department over a year ago. The amended regulations as approved and now in effect are essentially identical to those the department originally put forward on March 25, 2014, which drew sharp public criticism.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Unity between races is going strong; be proud of yourselves!

June 25, 2015



The End of Hostilities between races within the California prison system went into effect in 2012. Since that time, I am amazed at how the different races have worked diligently to unify with one another despite a few little hickups here and there. You all should be proud of yourselves for what you have been able to accomplish in such a very short period of time.

After the Civil War, to maintain slavery, Black people, including children like these, were convicted of bogus crimes and forced to work for free. Just like today. Isn’t it time to end slavery?

We must leave the crops in the field

June 23, 2015



We have an opportunity to confront ourselves realistically, to have a stake in a real opportunity for freedom. The only way we can have an impact on the system is to make their oppression of us a financial burden that diminishes their profits rather than increases them. If they use the profits from your labor to write laws to keep you in prison, what does it profit you to work for them? If they intend for you to rot away in a cell, then let their crops rot away in the fields!

Four years since our hunger strikes began, none of our core demands have yet been met: Our protracted struggle must continue

June 21, 2015



We prisoners need to prepare for a massive peaceful protest and work stoppage if prison officials don’t change 1) The culture to which prisoners and their families are subjected: so much mental and physical torment; 2) End long term solitary confinement, as they promised; and 3) Implement our five core demands. Too many humans are suffering who don’t need to be suffering.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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The Los Angeles action for May 23 was a very well-received play, “If the SHU Fits: Voices from Solitary Confinement,” compiled by Andy Griggs and Melvin Ishmael Johnson, directed by Andy Griggs and performed at Chuco’s Justice Center. It will be performed again during Torture Awareness Month at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena 91103, on Tuesday, June 23, at 7 p.m.

On the 23rd of every month, Californians demand, ‘End solitary confinement!’ – May report

June 17, 2015



On May 23, 2015, families and loved ones of people in solitary, community organizations and prisoner-class human rights advocates once again mobilized Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California and in Pennsylvania. Since the actions began on March 23, 2015, over 30 organizations – statewide, nationwide and worldwide – became co-sponsors, 45 endorsed, and the movement keeps growing.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Stop strip searching my mom!

May 29, 2015



The deadline to comment on new – and unacceptable – rules for prison visiting is Friday, June 5! Issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) supposedly to keep drugs and cell phones from being smuggled into the prisons – contraband most often brought in by guards for sale to prisoners – the new rules call for strip searching any visitor singled out by sniffing dogs. But only visitors have to submit to a strip search. All others entering are only subject to an airport type pat-down search. Please send in your comments by June 5 and in addition, everyone is urged to sign the petition described herein.

“Prison Oppression” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Moving forward with our fight to end solitary confinement

May 20, 2015



Greetings of solidarity and respect to all similarly situated members of the prison class unified in our struggle to end long term solitary confinement and win related long overdue reforms to the broken California prison torture system! As one of the four principle prisoner class representatives, I am presenting this further update on where things stand with our human rights movement from my perspective.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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From SHU to mainline, you will be tested

May 1, 2015



This is the advice I share with anyone getting out of the SHU and going into GP (general population). The first thing I did when I was released to GP was to find out all I could about the mainline and the programs that they offered. You want to get connected to as many self-help programs as you can. Something else that helped me to transition from SHU to mainline was to surround myself with positive people and keep myself busy.

“Solitary Confinement” – Art: Baridi J. Williamson

Baridi Williamson at Pelican Bay: ‘I met with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez’

April 29, 2015



On Dec. 9, 2014, I visited with Mr. Juan Méndez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, who is now an expert on our class action lawsuit to end solitary confinement torture here in California. Hopefully, it will have a ripple effect across the U.S. I gave him a living experience witnessed from its opening in late December 1989 to the present under its “snitch, parole or die” mass validation and indeterminate SHU torture classification and enhanced coerced debriefing.

Oakland’s action was in Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, the scene of many, many struggles for justice in recent years. Readers are urged to come out in droves on April 23 and the 23rd of every month. We may not be able to rid the world of all evils, but we CAN end solitary confinement!

The first monthly Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement held March 23

March 28, 2015



Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

March 28, 2015



Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Common sense says support SB 224, the Elder Parole Program, to reduce the prison population and corrections spending and get people back to their families and communities. – Photo courtesy of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

A durable and sustainable plan: Reducing corrections spending in California

March 26, 2015



The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Successful motion in court strengthens California prisoners’ case against solitary

March 10, 2015



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.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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This is California Men’s Colony, built in 1954; it houses over 4,000 prisoners. According to Capital Engineering Consultants and Soltek Pacific Construction, they completed a new 50-bed mental health crisis facility there in 2012.

Nurse Paul Spector blows the whistle on torture in a California prison

February 27, 2015



For decades, prisoners in California have protested the torturous conditions they are subjected to. Now a nurse has come forward who worked in a California prison and can speak to personally witnessing some of these horrors perpetrated by some of his colleagues at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo. Paul Spector was fired from his job for speaking out. Check him out in his own words …

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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“Fight Mass Containment” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore, G-02296, HDSP Z-168, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127.

Losing lives while gaining profit: 4 deaths in 2 months is business as usual for CCA prison

February 26, 2015



In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.

“Know Your Rights” – Art: Criss Garcia, J-93559, PBSP SHU C1-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Amplify the voices these prisons try to silence: Fight censorship from California to Pennsylvania

February 24, 2015



Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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A protester sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration in Oakland following the grand jury decision not to indict the cop who murdered Michael Brown. – Photo: Stephen Lam, Reuters

If Black lives matter – A message to the youth from behind enemy lines

January 29, 2015



If Black lives matter, make it clear that your just outrage extends to and will not tolerate the “con game” being run on the public and California Legislature by the PISC, CDCR and PBSP, wherein men like Ricky Kaidi Matthews, Sondai Ellis and others continue to be held hostage in tortuous solitary confinement awaiting sham case-by-case reviews after having been lied to repeatedly by prison administrators.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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“Solitary Confinement Is Torture” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

The way forward to end solitary confinement torture: Where’s the army?

January 25, 2015



I snapped to the fact that once we successfully exposed this torture program to the world, making the people aware, at least some of the responsibility shifts to the people to hold the lawmakers responsible. It’s unbelievable to me to see the numbers of people out there who are aware of the continued torture we are subjected to, and yet they’ve failed to take any action to hold those responsible accountable.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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Nurse fired for speaking out: ‘I am on a mission to stop torture at CDCR’

December 31, 2014



Assigned to the Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB) unit, I found 80-plus patients suffering torture, sexual abuse and neglect. President Obama would recognize it as torture. The vast majority of victims were Black or Hispanic, all the abusers White. Cold, dark cells hold captives in isolated sensory deprivation – drugged, sick and in pain. Nurses prevented death only to prolong torment, sometimes for years. The number of patients suffering preventable deaths during “medical treatment” in CDCR facilities may exceed all legal executions nationwide.

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Marie Levin holding picture of brother Sitawa, cropped (1)

California’s savage system of confinement: An end to solitary is long overdue

December 9, 2014



Less than two weeks ago the United Nations Committee against Torture issued a report strongly criticizing the U.S. record on a number of issues, among them the extensive use of solitary confinement. While the U.S. uses long-term solitary more than any other country in the world, California uses it more than any other state. This practice is designed to break the human spirit and is condemned as a form of torture under international law.

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