July 30, 2014
Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy imply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!
July 29, 2014
On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.
July 26, 2014
I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs, very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process.
July 7, 2014
One year ago, on July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners initiated the largest hunger strike the world has ever seen. Sixty days later, 40 prisoners, who had eaten nothing in all that time, agreed to suspend the strike when state legislators promised to hold hearings on ending solitary confinement, the heart of their demands. The 2013 hunger strike followed two in 2011. In the interim, effective October 2012, the hunger strike leaders, representing all racial groups, issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, which has held with few exceptions throughout the California prison system ever since.
June 19, 2014
The suit details a series of confiscations of Robert Saleem Holbrook’s mail since January 2012 that includes academic correspondence with a college professor, scholarly essays from the anthology “If They Come in the Morning,” a Black history book, and a newsletter published by HRC, The Movement, which focuses on prison abuse, solitary confinement, and ways that prisoners’ family members can come together to challenge human rights abuses and injustice in the criminal legal system.
June 18, 2014
We know that repression in the U.S. and in Israel are deeply connected and use one another to attempt to legitimize and justify repressive actions and policies. Both Israel and the United States use policing, imprisonment, and especially solitary confinement, and surveillance as tools to keep people and movement down – often sharing weapons, technology and training. Israel plays a large role in the training of repressive police forces in the United States and elsewhere.
May 23, 2014
We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of CDCR’s Step-Down Program (SDP) are being implemented, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because the aim of these components is to change and restructure the subject’s thought processes, it is a mental health issue, which requires the involvement of mental health professionals in its implementation and oversight.
May 23, 2014
We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of the step-down program (SDP) are being implemented by the CDCR, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because these components have to do with changing and restructuring the thought processes of people, they involve mental health issues and require the involvement of mental health professionals in their implementation and oversight.
May 17, 2014
A child who kills vs. a child who was present but did not kill – what sentence does he deserve? A child of color vs. a Caucasian child – does the system treat them the same? How about the youthful offender vs. the adult offender? Personally, it has been my experience with the law that child killers and children who committed assaults are more likely than adults to be treated to the most cruel punishments.
May 16, 2014
District Court Judge Gladys Kessler has for the first time ordered the U.S. government to suspend force-feeding of a hunger-striking prisoner in Guantánamo Bay. The same order requires the Obama administration to halt ‘forcible cell extractions’ of a prisoner, in which a team of guards in riot gear storms a prisoner’s cell to move him by force to feedings if he refuses to go.
May 13, 2014
I was validated on the mere basis of my New Afrikan revolutionary beliefs and political activities, expediently defined and treated as “gang activity.” I was literally told that my political writings were in the hands of others and would I consider not writing such because of their “concerns.” Naturally I refused to conform to their illegal requests, but a clear message was delivered to me: CDCR prefers that prisoners not evolve politically but to remain gang oriented inmates.
April 28, 2014
Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) will be holding an exhibition at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design this October-November on the design of execution chambers and spaces of solitary confinement. It will have an online presence and may travel to other venues as we develop the project, so stayed tuned.
But first, to succeed, we need drawings!
April 25, 2014
Two letters from Arturo Castellanos, one of the four main SHU reps at Pelican Bay State Prison: March 3, 2014 – I’m writing this brief article about the positive outcomes during our meetings with Sacramento and PBSP officials since the end of our last hunger strike. March 23, 2014 – I write this to update you on the positive cooperation we received from this new administration and on the Departmental Review Board hearings.
April 25, 2014
On this upcoming Monday, April 28, we are asking and encouraging people to participate in a Call-In Day in support of the prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois who are facing retaliation for engaging in a hunger strike in January. Prisoners there have been beaten by guards and metal boxes have been placed over their windows.
April 12, 2014
I am currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois and housed in the high security unit in administrative detention. I was one of the inmates who was on hunger strike over harsh living conditions and denial of our due process, which is still going on. No! Things haven’t changed after the hunger strike was over. We still are in a fight to be treated like a human being. Just know we haven’t quit our fight.
March 30, 2014
Roughly 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in many cases for minor violations of prison rules (or no violation at all – ed.). Much of the momentum in the movement to reform the use of solitary confinement in the United States comes from the work of prisoners themselves.
March 29, 2014
To more or less justify their new plan of attack on prisoners, CDCr is adding street gangs to their already burgeoning list of people they can throw into extreme, inhuman isolation for the ficklest of reasons. Waving at someone can be construed as a gang signal.
March 20, 2014
Not quite a month ago, I wrote that we at Black Agenda Report had received word of a new self-organized hunger strike among prisoners in Georgia’s notorious Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson. A second communication says eight prisoners are still refusing food and are on the receiving end of abuse and threats from correctional officers at Jackson. The note also sheds some chilling light on the reason for the prisoners’ self-organized action.
March 16, 2014
The following excerpts are from people locked up at the High Security Isolation Unit at Menard Correctional Facility in Illinois. They are responding to a noise demonstration by outside supporters during the hunger strike there last month. Continue marching, never stop beating your drums and always fight with what you have. Prisoners all across the country in these isolation units are rising up, and revolution is in the air. That is, peaceful revolution, of course.
March 5, 2014
Some activists inside the SHUs have said that the ultimate goal was to bring about a shift in public opinion, and that once public consciousness had gotten to the point where the general public in California knew that solitary confinement was torture and had to stop, the balance of power would finally tip. I believe that we are gathering momentum and approaching that time!