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Prisoner firefighters poisoned by Montecito mudslide – no forewarning

Incarcerated firefighters save bureaucrats in California millions of dollars every year by performing the various odd jobs that nobody else wants to do. On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, two crews from Oak Glen Conservation Camp were sent to clean up the mudslides that wreaked havoc in the affluent neighborhoods of Montecito. Inmate crews were not forewarned of any hazards posed by the mud as they were deployed for one week.

Wanda’s Picks for February 2018

Celebrate Dr. Espanola Jackson Day on her birthday, Feb. 9, with the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point community. We take this opportunity to honor the memory of Espanola as a community leader during Black History Month. For details of the event, which will be held in the Alex Pitcher Room at the Southeast Community Center, go to the Facebook and register your RSVP online with Eventbrite. All are welcome. Spread the word.

Wrongfully returned to SHU: Maximum security is no place for rehabilitation

After the court order to shut down D-unit, CDCr administration has implemented a scheme to get around the court order by housing general population prisoners (Level II) in a SHU (Security Housing Unit) that is designed for maximum security and only allows for movement that is grossly restricted. The implementation of this scheme by CDCr and CCPOA [California Correctional Peace Officers Association] to refill these housing units, was only to receive the multi-millions of dollars Pelican Bay lost with its closure.

‘Security/welfare checks’: Call for 602s, 22s and artwork

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.

Survivors of long term solitary confinement petition for institutional restitution

To: CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Director Kathline Allison -- From: Abdul Olugbala Shakur (aka J. Harvey, C48884) and Joka Heshima Jinsai (aka S. Denham, J38283) -- The following is what we believe to be just and fair and reasonable requests considering the inhumane treatment that many of the prisoners were being subjected to while housed in solitary confinement, or isolation, for decades, especially at Pelican Bay State Prison and Corcoran State Prison.

Healed people heal people: Use Prop 57 to restore leadership and...

The regulations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitiation (CDCR) promulgates to execute Prop 57’s provisions are applied too narrowly. I’m asking that legislators extend Prop 57’s 50 percent time credit to violent and serious offenders, apply the credits retroactively and include non-violent third strikers in the parole eligibility process. I’m also asking that community members contact their representatives in support of the same.

Folsom ASU protesters, dispersed and persecuted, suspend hunger strike, appeal for...

A swift salute to all of the supporters and those concerned with the ongoing fight to reform CDCR’s ASUs. As of June 19, the hunger strike has been suspended until further notice. It is unfortunate that we as prisoners must use this process in order to shine light on CDCR’s unwillingness to oversee its ASU conditions. CDCR allowed Folsom State Prison administration to retaliate, isolate and condone the poor conditions in its ASU. Now I’ve been transferred to even more extreme conditions.

Get ready! The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington...

Good morning and welcome to Wanda’s Picks, a Black arts and culture program with the African Sister’s Media Network. We are joined in the studio by Robert King, Albert Woodfox and Malik Rahim. Welcome to the show. Today we are going to be talking about the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington. We can talk about solitary confinement, political prisoners, the 13th Amendment. We can talk about what the need is for having such an event.

Have anti-Muslim sentiments arrived in prison?

The Central California Intelligence Center received a Suspicious Activity Report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2010. A guard reported that he conducted a search of two inmates’ cells. “Both inmates are Muslims who appear to have radical Islamic views. Both inmates have since been placed in our Administrative Segregation” (the hole). Anti-Muslim sentiments do not only exist in the outside world, they exist in prison, too.

Palestinian prisoners support network stands in solidarity with U.S. prisoners on...

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our solidarity with the hunger strike taking place in the Folsom State Prison B4 Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) in California in the United States. Isolated prisoners launched their strike on 25 May to protest the inhumane conditions in which they are held in solitary confinement. The prison administration has refused to address their just and legitimate demands and has instead responded with increased repression.

Losing direction: The abysmal history of mental health care at Pelican...

I left CDCr wondering how PBSP could remain in shambles after 22 years of court oversight. As I started educating myself about prison reform, I stumbled upon Keramet Reiter’s 2016 book, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.” Within those pages, I found validation and some disturbing answers. I wish this book had been available to me before I started working in CDCr.

It’s a wonderful life – is it?

Have you ever seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring actor Jimmy Stewart? He played George Bailey, who urged the members of the “Building and Loan” to “Stick together – don’t panic, ‘cause old man Potter is not selling – he’s buying!” With that same sense of urgency, I make a similar comparison. This isn’t Bedford Falls, nor is this a movie. This is the state of the state of California, as well as the United States of America, and our lives I’m talking about.

Old Folsom prisoners hunger strike for their 8th Amendment right –...

“Administrative segregation” is prison bureaucratese for solitary confinement. On Thursday, prisoners in solitary at California’s Old Folsom State Prison went on hunger strike for their Eighth Amendment right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. I spoke to Raquel Estrada, wife of Anthony Estrada, a prisoner writing for the strikers in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, who elaborated on the conditions of her husband’s confinement.

Folsom hunger strike begins today, May 25 – your support is...

On May 16, inmates at Old Folsom State Prison made contact with the outside world to announce that they will begin a hunger strike on May 25 in response to ongoing mistreatment, dehumanization and unbearable living conditions at Old Folsom. When incarcerated people take action to fight for their dignity, their rights and their lives, those of us on the outside must answer with solidarity. Our support is crucial in getting their demands met and minimizing retaliation against them. We must let these brave individuals know that we have their backs, and that they will not be forgotten.

What California should do with people convicted of violent felonies

My 67-year-old friend is not violent, but California would beg to differ. At his sentencing, the judge told him, “You are a Vietnam trained killer,” and then sentenced him to 68 years to life. His crime? One day my friend broke into an unoccupied house. After he was caught and tried, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced under California’s Three-Strikes law. We call him Cadillac. He was really excited by the passage of Proposition 57 last November.

In our fifth year of the Agreement to End Hostilities, it’s...

We are within our fifth year of the August 2012 historical document, the “Agreement to End Hostilities.” Its release was followed by the Prisoner Human Rights Movement’s third and largest hunger strike in the state of California and larger than any prison hunger strike in history in either the federal or state prison systems in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. At its peak, 30,000 prisoners here in California participated – prisoners in solitary confinement and the general population.

Advice for prisoners and their supporters regarding Board of Parole Hearings...

The California Board of Parole Hearings has established the Forensic Assessment Division, a staff of psychologists who conduct psychological evaluations of prisoners for Board hearings. This paper is provided to help California prisoners applying for parole understand the psychological evaluations conducted for the Board of Parole Hearings and to provide advice to them and their supporters on how to counter the psychological evaluation with letters and other materials submitted to the Board.

CDCr must effect genuine changes in its old policies, culture and...

As always, allow us to begin by paying our respects to the families who lost their loved ones during the historic California hunger strikes. Prior to the solidarity hunger strikes, the four principal negotiators, Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco and Todd Ashker, found ourselves locked inside Pelican Bay SHU Short Corridor. There we would discuss the vision of effecting genuine change in CDCr’s long term solitary confinement combined policies, prac­tices and conditions.

A young prisoner dies, his comrades pour out their love

Weusi Joka Kambon (David Frost), a precious young brotha comrade, is gone! On March 6, 2017, he was found dead inside his cell under suspicious circumstances here at Salinas Valley State Prison B-Yard. A voice we loved is stilled; memories of our loved one shall live forever. He was a brotha, a comrade, husband, daddy, cousin and friend. You will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

Sitawa: Exiting solitary confinement – and the games CDCr plays

It is very important that you all clearly understand the depth of human torture to which I was subjected for 30-plus years by CDCr and CCPOA.* The torture was directed at me and similarly situated women and men prisoners held in Cali­fornia’s solitary confinement locations throughout CDCr, with the approval and sanc­tioning of California governors, CDCr secretaries and directors, attorneys general, along with the California Legislature for the past 40 years.

Letest News

Shamann Walton hearing on Jeff Adachi’s complaint of abuse in SF...

Following a spike in allegations of abuse at the hands of sheriff deputies in San Francisco county jails, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee held a hearing during its meeting on Thursday to examine how these allegations are investigated, and why investigations are conducted within the Sheriff’s Department rather than through an independent oversight body.

Hip hop and culture: ‘High Power’ by Grand Opus

Since the late ‘70s, hip hop culture has been an instrument of empowerment for communities without a voice to fully express themselves via the language of art. Grand Opus’ sophomore album “High Power” contains a perfect blend of thought provoking lyricism and hard hitting beats that make hip hop come alive and communicate a powerful message of empowerment and hope to the Black community.

Gov. Newsom’s executive order halts death penalty. Now let’s drop LWOP!

Our hope is that Gov. Newsom will extend the equity and justice informed lens that brought him to stop the death penalty as he moves forward examining other forms of extreme sentencing in California, including Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

‘We stand with Ilhan’ against Zionism and anti-Semitism

Omar, a Somali immigrant representing her Minnesota community, and Tlaib, a member of Michigan’s Palestinian community, are the first Muslim women elected to Congress. They back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign opposing Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

San Francisco Peer-Run Warm Line – here to support the community!

Everyone in the Bay Area is welcome to call and discuss whatever life brings – anxiety, discrimination, housing issues, money concerns, depression, interpersonal conflicts, grief or loss, hearing voices, loneliness, substance use problems or just needing someone to talk to – Warm Line counselors are available via phone and live online chat.