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Posts Tagged with "Pelican Bay State Prison"

With at least 20 prisoners on each tier, Alcatraz represented the dawning of a new theoretical concept, which was mass solitary confinement isolation. – Photo: © 2006 Betty Malloy

What is solitary confinement?

October 18, 2014

At first glance the question, What is solitary confinement? appears to be rhetorical, if not insulting, but you would be surprised, if not incredulous, how many prison rights activists are at a loss when I pose it to them. Even more perplexing, many prisoners are only able to provide the standard but antiquated response, which is: a prisoner in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact.

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“Trapped, Isolated” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore, G-02296, HDSP Z-168, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127

Solidarity had the might to move the mountain of prison torture that kept us isolated and voiceless – we still need you now, even more

October 11, 2014

CDCR deliberately lied about their implementation of the Security Threat Group Step Down Program sanctioned by Gov. Jerry Brown. Gov. Brown and CDCr administrators are currently violating our United States constitutional rights, the California Code of Regulations and other rules, laws, policies and standards with the intent of breaking down and destroying men and women prisoners, family bonds and moral ethics here in California.

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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

After many long years in solitary confinement, I’m just asking

October 4, 2014

How can we the people of this nation and world end the suffering of countless men and women held inside man-made, manufactured torture chambers called solitary confinement? Can we call on the humanity of this nation and world to lend their voice, their time, their strength and heart, their money toward ending torture in Amerika? I’m just asking.

Mutawally Joka Kambon-Cooperwood 100512, 1st pic in 20 yrs,, cropped, web

California transfers Pelican Bay SHU prisoners to general population despite calling them too dangerous during the hunger strikes

October 3, 2014

It has been a few months since my release from 20 years of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison (SHU) to Step 5 of the Step Down Program (SDP). I thought I should pen this communique with an update on my travels from one place to another – the new location, experience, encounters and situations – as everything has unfolded.

Robert C. Fuentes, Nov. 23, 1958-Sept. 19, 2014

Robert C. Fuentes, ‘poet, jailhouse lawyer and humanitarian in the hunger strikes,’ dies of CDCr medical neglect

October 1, 2014

Robert Fuentes was an award-winning poet and essayist. PEN America awarded him the Dawson Prize in fiction in the 2010 Prison Writing Contest for a piece titled “Lessons,” which begins: “Well, I originally contemplated about trying to sugarcoat what I had to say; but in the end, I arrived to the conclusion that it was best to not mince words and to just say things as they are … prison life is fucked up.”

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That’s Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa in both photos, one taken in 2012 and the other in 1988. – Photo: Adithya Sambamurthy, CIR

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa: Worse than Pelican Bay

August 29, 2014

This place is worse than Pelican Bay State Prison in so many ways. The DRB (Departmental Review Board) lies to the public. They are playing CDCR prison politics as to who they are allowing to go directly to the general population (GP) and who is placed in Steps 1-4.

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for over four hours. Like public lynchings, the delay was meant to strike terror in the hearts of the people.

Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us

August 27, 2014

Police officers in Ferguson, whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again.

California corrections officials located and designed Pelican Bay State Prison, opened in 1989, as a place where torture could be conducted with impunity. The torture the following year of Vaughn Dortch, a Black man who survived an attempt to boil him alive until his skin fell down around his ankles, horrified judges and the public. – Photo: National Geographic

SB 892: Letter from four main reps at Pelican Bay to California legislators

August 13, 2014

On May 1, 2014, we, California inmates who have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time, co-signed a letter addressed to the California Senate and Assembly expressing our grave concerns with Sen. Hancock’s SB 892. We wish to follow up on our previous letter, as SB 892 has now been approved by the Senate and is being considered in the Assembly.

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Dolores Canales, founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement, speaks at a rally in Norwalk, California, on the day the third California mass prisoner hunger strike began, July 8, 2013, one year ago today. Prisoners’ families see the hunger strikes and the torture that instigates them not only as political issues but as personal issues that could take the lives of their loved ones.

Prisoners and advocates commemorate the one-year anniversary of the hunger strike by California prisoners and file lawsuit against CDCR

July 8, 2014

A year ago on July 8, over 30,000 people inside California prisons began a hunger strike to bring an end to the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. On the one-year anniversary of the largest prisoner hunger strike in California history, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law today is filing a lawsuit charging CDCR with illegally refusing to publicly disclose information, data and studies regarding its solitary confinement rules, policies and practices.

“Power of Unity” – Graphic: Soundthings

Calipatria riots need to cease and unity needs to spread

June 28, 2014

Men at Calipatria on general population yards A, B and C can show the same courage as the hunger strikers, who are honored around the world, by pledging to respect the Agreement to End Hostilities and stop all fighting and riots between racial groups. The Agreement must continue to hold within all California prisons and unity needs to spread across the state. Only then can justice be won.

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Hundreds of California prisoners in isolation to join class action lawsuit

June 3, 2014

On June 2, a federal judge allowed hundreds of California prisoners to join a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons when she granted the case class action status. Class certification allows the case to include all prisoners who are serving indefinite SHU terms as a result of gang validation who have not been placed in a new step-down program.

Review Board suggests Pelican Bay prisoner stop political writing for favorable placement

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.

SB 892 and AB 1652: Pelican Bay prisoner representatives speak to the California Assembly and Senate

May 9, 2014

We are writing to offer our position on the two bills pending before the Assembly and the Senate – SB 892 and AB 1652 – dealing with the solitary confinement and gang validation policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The narrower and more focused (and less costly) AB 1652 would far better serve the public safety, prison security and the humane treatment of prisoners.

Antonio Guillen: May Day message to the working class people of the world from Pelican Bay SHU

May 8, 2014

I am one of the hunger strike representatives from Pelican Bay State Prison. I along with my family are also part of the working class people of America. As a young boy, I’d watch my parents in their daily struggles. Even now, while I’m in prison, my wife and children are part of the daily grind that is the work force!

Prisoners and advocacy groups oppose Sen. Loni Hancock’s prison reform bill, SB 892

May 4, 2014

California prisoners, who suspended their 2013 hunger strike, the largest such strike in history, after two legislative leaders promised bills addressing the strikers’ demands, are now opposing one of those bills. Sen. Loni Hancock’s Senate Bill 892 would give prison regulations on “gang validation” and the new step-down program the force of law. And it would leave California with the largest population of prisoners in solitary confinement of any country in the world or state in the United States at enormous cost to the taxpayers.

Arturo Castellanos 050509 by CDCR, cropped

Arturo Castellanos’ update on Pelican Bay’s response to hunger strike demands – positive and negative

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.

California moves to curb solitary confinement

April 14, 2014

Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.

An end to ‘the hole’? 6 signs that solitary confinement reform is coming

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.

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Pelican Bay earthquake prompts double locking of cells, reveals need for united front

March 25, 2014

Know your enemy from your friend. On March 10, not too far from Pelican Bay State Prison, a 6.9 earthquake struck in Eureka and the powerful vibration was felt miles around. At that moment my thoughts began racing and the thought which prevailed was this: “If these haphazardly-designed concrete slabs began collapsing, we’d all be in the same damn boat – crushed dead.”

Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar) Lucasville 5 in shackles, cropped

‘Condemned’ by Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur)

February 27, 2014

I’m reaching out to inform you all that I finally finished my book, “Condemned.” This book isn’t just about me or about what happened to these men after a prison uprising. It’s about all of us. What happened to me can happen to you. Especially if you are poor. Especially if you are a minority. Especially if you are alone … or at least feel that you’re alone.

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