February 1, 2016
I often visit the spot where they took you from us. I still can’t accept it. Although we didn’t know each other, I knew your spirit. I cried for you the day your light was dimmed. I never met you, but you were my brother, my father, my dear friend. Yogi, I’m afraid. I’m afraid because the same climate that dimmed your light is still here on this yard. The gatekeepers on this yard are still playing chess with brothers’ lives.
January 22, 2016
This report reveals the failure of CDCR’s efforts to sustainably reduce incarceration and resolve the humanitarian crisis of its prisons and instead outlines a concerning vision for an expanded and more powerful prison system. We must begin making investments that will sustainably reduce incarceration, close prisons and provide true opportunities for people in low-income communities to thrive.
January 20, 2016
The title of my book, “Annotated Tears: America’s Auschwitz,” came from one of the poems inside. It’s a socio-political piece geared toward unveiling California’s injustice system, with specific reference to its treatment of juveniles, which upon reflection resembles Hitler’s Germany. The piece, entitled “America’s Auschwitz,” begins: Everybody’s a victim — Sick depictions of pain … Gestapos lurking through the ghettos — Trailed by a bag of chains …
December 27, 2015
I would like to expose injustice and further educate you and your readers on the events surrounding the murder of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell. I was housed in California State Prison Sacramento. Black and white inmates were placed on lockdown because of racial tension between the two ethnic groups. While locked down, staff received confidential information that Hugo Pinell’s life was in danger and threats were being made on his life by racially motivated inmates.
December 18, 2015
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!
November 30, 2015
A federal jury in San Francisco awarded $25,000 in damages to Jesse Perez, who sued guards for trashing his cell in retaliation for his lawsuit against the prison and for his stand against solitary confinement. Jesse Perez, 35, imprisoned since age 15, was sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay in December 2003 and was held there for 10 years. He took part in all three hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013, protesting prolonged isolation and demanding human rights for prisoners.
November 29, 2015
This photo of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was taken in the New Folsom visiting room in early 2014, when he was first released from the Pelican Bay SHU. Derek Anderson says of this man who was a hero and role model to fellow prisoners, “He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.”
November 25, 2015
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.
October 30, 2015
Letters continue to pour in to the Bay View from prisoners who remember the great Hugo “Yogi” Pinell as a hero and a martyr and want the world to know and remember him too. His work will not only be memorialized but also carried forth by all he has touched. You and your lessons will be remembered always – and, like you, will forever inspire resistance. Determination. The longing to be free. And the courage to fight for it.
September 26, 2015
When Ashker v. Brown (Governor of California) was filed as a class action in 2012, California held thousands of prisoners in solitary confinement, in Security Housing Units (SHU). In September 2015, the case was settled, and far-reaching reforms were ordered. These reforms are expected to dramatically reduce the number of prisoners currently detained in the SHU and limit the way SHU confinement is used going forward.
September 9, 2015
On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, government officials and first responders continue to lack the ability to plan for emergency situations. San Quentin State Prison, California’s oldest prison, is still on a virtual lockdown – or “modified program” – as normal programs for all inmates have ceased since Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, after “one confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease” was discovered, Warden Ron Davis’ Aug. 27 bulletin said.
September 1, 2015
All of Us or None’s upcoming Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Western Regional Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. It will be a time for people to discuss employment, housing, crimmigration, which is the connection between the punishment system in the U.S. and immigration policies, and more. Check out one of the main organizers, Manuel La Fontaine, about the conference and his life experiences.
August 31, 2015
Aug. 12, 2015, I sat waiting for the mail to come as I did each day. This day it was different because for the first time my dad was in his first lockdown on the mainline. He had only been there 15 days – abruptly moved on July 29 after a meeting with the DRB (Departmental Review Board) on July 28. Each day I waited to hear from him hoping and praying he was OK. Finally the mailman delivered the letter I was waiting for.
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?
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.