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Posts Tagged with "CDCR"

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The other death sentence: Deliberate indifference at Corcoran SHU

August 28, 2015

“Deliberate indifference” is defined as “the act(s) or omissions of a prison official who knows that the prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious harm or significant pain and disregards that risk by not taking reasonable measures to abate it.” But what happens when deliberate indifference is longstanding, pervasive, well documented and expressly noted by officials over the course of time. Yet the state does nothing to correct it?

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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California Attorney General Kamala Harris kicked off her U.S. Senate campaign with a private fundraiser in San Francisco April 1, 2015. – Photo: CBS San Francisco

California Attorney General Kamala Harris must end the barbaric practice of solitary confinement

August 17, 2015

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is nothing if not ambitious. Not content with being the Golden State’s top law enforcement officer – a position she has held since 2011, after serving seven years as San Francisco County’s district attorney – she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate and is the clear favorite to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring in November 2016. Harris must not miss this historic opportunity to end solitary confinement in California.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Hugo Pinell, Shirley, his late wife

Beloved political prisoner Hugo ‘Yogi Bear’ Pinell, feared and hated by guards, assassinated in Black August after 46 years in solitary

August 14, 2015

Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.

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“The Agreement to End Hostilities” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

We can’t breathe! Thoughts on our Agreement to End Hostilities

July 25, 2015

The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word “hostility” as 1) a hostile state, condition or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness; 2) a hostile act; 3) Opposition or resistance to an idea, plan project, etc.; 4) acts of warfare; 5) war. So our initial question to the people is: “What does hostility mean to you?”

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

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Four years and still fighting

July 14, 2015

Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in general population in nearly every California prison. Current prison organizing continues a historic legacy of struggle.

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“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.

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