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.
April 8, 2014
The Assembly Public Safety Committee, chaired by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, will hear Ammiano’s AB 1652 to control use of solitary confinement on Tuesday, April 8, at 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the State Capitol. The bill comes out of a series of in-depth hearings held in the wake of prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013. AB 1652 limits the violations and situations for which a prisoner can be placed in SHU.
October 26, 2013
Our resolve remains as strong as ever, and we continue to press forward. No one should receive a sentence from a court and then have those responsible for carrying out that sentence exact revenge and arbitrary punishments at their whim. This is the reality that 30,000 men and women lent their collective voice to opposing.
December 1, 2012
Ultimately, this is a peaceful movement to assert our humanity. Differences in race, sets and associations matter not. Each of us is ultimately responsible for maintaining and preserving our own self-respect. We hope that as comrades you will help lift each other up as you come to realize that the same oppressor oppresses us all!
November 14, 2012
Arbitrary and indefinite solitary confinement is an absolute assault on humankind and a barbarity the likes of which cannot be tolerated. We hold the utmost respect for those prisoners who from the depths of Solitary Confinement throughout California risked their lives to be heard. We heard them and now we ask that you do the same.
August 21, 2012
Aug. 21, 2012, marks the 41st anniversary of the rebellion at San Quentin prison that ended in the assassination of Comrade George Jackson. The rebellion came to be known as Black August. At the time of his death at age 29, George Jackson was the best known prison revolutionary in the United States and field marshal of the Black Panther Party.
June 17, 2012
We are the families of thousands of loved ones who have been incarcerated indefinitely – some for decades – in California’s “supermax” segregated and administrative housing units. Solitary confinement, even for short periods, has been known for centuries to cause irreparable physical and psychological damage: torture. Yet California continues to condone this practice.
June 2, 2012
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement. The legal action is part of a larger movement to reform inhumane conditions in California prisons’ Security Housing Units (SHUs) dramatized by a 2011 hunger strike by thousands of prisoners.
March 21, 2012
Comparing their conditions to a “living coffin,” 400 California prisoners held in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement petitioned the United Nations Tuesday to intervene on behalf of all of the more than 4,000 prisoners similarly situated. California holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other state in the United States or any other nation on earth. Conditions inside California’s SHUs and ASUs were at the center of two massive waves of hunger strikes last year that saw the participation of thousands of prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.
February 8, 2012
On the United Nations’ “World Day of Social Justice,” Monday, Feb. 20, we are calling a National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners. In the Bay Area we will Occupy San Quentin 12-3 p.m. Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on Death Row, joins the call to Occupy San Quentin and demand an end to capital punishment.
January 19, 2012
Last night 17 of us were bussed from Pelican Bay State Prison to Corcoran. The ride down here was beautiful. Being able to see the ocean, the trees and all the people going about their daily lives, it was really worth it. After all, it has been over 20 years since I last took a ride outside of Pelican Bay’s SHU.
November 11, 2011
If this second hunger strike effort has taught us anything, it is that the power to transform an intransigent CDCR must come from the will of the people, from exercising your limitless power. Prison authorities were fully content to let us die this time and even modified their medical responses to maximize the chance of permanent injury or death to hunger strikers, which makes the broader aspects of this struggle so significant. Who dares to struggle? Who dares to win? We do, and we hope you do too. Join us! The power to shape history and the future of the society is in your hands.
October 4, 2011
As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.
February 18, 2011
It is prisoners’ identification with George Jackson that makes him symbolically powerful and very much alive. And for this, he must be vilified and punished, over and over again – suppressed and chased away from anyone who dares consume his words.