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Posts Tagged with "SHU"

SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

March 28, 2015

Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

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Successful motion in court strengthens California prisoners’ case against solitary

March 10, 2015

Pelican Bay prisoners named as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the use of solitary confinement in California gained an important victory yesterday. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of a motion allowing prisoners who have been in solitary confinement for more than 10 years, but have been transferred out of Pelican Bay State Prison since the lawsuit was first filed, to remain eligible as class members in the case.

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As the prisoners leave Pelican Bay State Prison, they probably catch a glimpse of the town it lies in, Crescent City. Not ugly and barren like the prison, it was a pretty little fishing and logging town before it became a prison town. This view of the town is from the picturesque lighthouse just offshore.

My safari from Pelikkkan Bay

February 27, 2015

On Jan. 29, 2015, my travels began with a wakeup call at 2:30 a.m. I was told by the first watch unit officer to be ready in 30 minutes. Myself and a total of 17 prisoners were all rounded up like chattel slaves and placed in the SHU’s C-Facility visiting room holding cells ‘til we boarded the bus at 6 a.m. In hitting the highway, my sensibilities immediately went through the whirlwind cycle of “shock and awe” via the vivid reminder of what freedom used to entail.

“Know Your Rights” – Art: Criss Garcia, J-93559, PBSP SHU C1-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Amplify the voices these prisons try to silence: Fight censorship from California to Pennsylvania

February 24, 2015

Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.

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The idea of learning about their own history and culture made George Jackson University so popular when it was first organized several years ago that 25,000 Black prisoners immediately signed up. But prison authorities moved immediately, too, not to support but to erase the concept and, at about the same time, the GJU records were destroyed by fire. Now GJU is being reorganized mainly as a source of literature. To learn more and get involved, write to Abdul Olugbala Shakur, s/n J. Harvey, C-48884, CSP Cor SHU 4B-1L-19, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212. – Art: Damu Katika Chimurenga, s/n Hayward L. Mayhan, P-60322, 4A-2L-6L, P.O. Box 8800, Corcoran CA 93212

Prisons, gangs, witchhunts and white supremacy

February 1, 2015

There is a trick that the California prison administration pulls on African Americans in prison. It is to charge them with gang activity if they refer to “George Jackson” or any of his writings or ideas or to the “Republic of New Afrika” or the politics of New Afrikans. Thousands of people, mostly Black and Brown, have been held in solitary confinement for years and even decades, because “gang activity” constitutes a “security threat to the prison,” according to the Administration.

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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

The way forward to end solitary confinement torture: Where’s the army?

January 25, 2015

I snapped to the fact that once we successfully exposed this torture program to the world, making the people aware, at least some of the responsibility shifts to the people to hold the lawmakers responsible. It’s unbelievable to me to see the numbers of people out there who are aware of the continued torture we are subjected to, and yet they’ve failed to take any action to hold those responsible accountable.

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Humanity indicted for our silence in the face of torture

January 12, 2015

As imprisoned activists we’ve often asked society: What have your eyes seen to wish to see no more? And what have your ears heard to wish to hear no more? Your self-imposed silence has only fueled the government’s thirst for fascist repression, and this repression has manifested on every level of society, causing humanity to hemorrhage, while debris from this hemorrhaging stains the dissipating remnants of a deteriorating society.

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Prison closings in Virginia mean worse conditions for prisoners

January 2, 2015

Prisons are closing in Virginia. Officials say they can’t afford to keep them open. We need to get the Virginia Department of Corrections to make some changes, because although we are incarcerated and have been convicted of crimes that have led us to where we are, I’d like to be treated like a human, not an animal. If we continue to voice our opinions, hopefully it’ll eventually make something happen. Until then, same fight, different cage.

“Solitary Confinement Is Torture” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

CDCR’s new con game to undermine our class action suit

November 29, 2014

In order to successfully advance in each step of CDCR’s newly enacted Step Down Program (SDP), prisoners are expected to fill out and complete a series of thought policing or brainwashing workbooks. One such workbook is entitled “The Con Game” and purports to elucidate for the prisoner via “self-directed journaling” the ways in which he either consciously or unconsciously is a con artist and criminal.

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Stop the regulations that would ban the Bay View from California prisons

November 7, 2014

Under the guise of “obscenity” regulations, the CDCR has proposed sweeping new political censorship rules for mail going both into and out of the prisons. If the proposed regulations are approved, CDCR will be able to permanently ban any publications it considers contraband, including political publications and correspondence that should be protected by First Amendment constitutional rights. We called for your help in June, and we’re calling for it again. The public comment period is open now; it closes Nov. 10, 2014, at 5 p.m. Public hearing date is Nov. 10, 2014.

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CDCr issues SHU sentences illegally

October 31, 2014

The Ad Seg unit at DVI has to be one of the worst in CDCr. It’s filthy and fundamentally used as a warehouse for prisoners. The Step Down Program (SDP) committee is a complete sham at DVI and has been conducting unauthorized SDP committee hearings on prisoners from March 2013 to the present – 17 months of illegally validating men to indeterminate SHU sentences.

At Tehachapi, release from SHU means more solitary confinement

October 24, 2014

Thanks for keeping the public informed of the rough, horrendous conditions those of us who’re serving time face in California’s prisons known as the SHU. I felt it was necessary that I bring forth the atrocious and severe conditions us inmates face at CCI SHU in Tehachapi. It’s not so much the time we’ve served while doing our SHU term; it’s the pathetic process we’re enduring while awaiting transfer back into the general population.

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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The Agreement to End Hostilities must be re-implemented in all California prison and jail facilities

October 9, 2014

It has been two years since our Agreement to End Hostilities was released in October 2012, and we continue to stand united. While there have been a few conflicts here and there, we need to commit to ceasing all racial hostilities towards one another and remain peacefully united throughout all prison facilities. By re-reading and re-committing ourselves to the Agreement to End Hostilities, we are taking back control of our own lives and our own futures.

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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.

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Unresolved hunger strike issues: Five Core Demands, 40 Supplemental Demands and CDCR’s STG-SDP

September 25, 2014

This memorandum is directed to the above CDCR administrators for the express purpose of respectfully reminding you about unresolved and continuing problematic issues relevant to our 2011-2014 Five Core and 40 Supplemental Demands and CDCR’s Security Threat Group-Step Down Program (STG-SDP). I am requesting your attention and responsive dialogue addressing these issues.

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Ending hostilities means no more violence on the yards – period!

August 30, 2014

I believe that a lot of racial tension in California prisons comes from this: The end of hostilities is being misinterpreted. When I left the SHU, I was asked to explain the end to hostilities even further, and that was for everyone to understand that the end of hostilities means no more bullshit violence on the yards – PERIOD!

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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Chess vs. checkers

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!

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