November 18, 2013
Amnesty International has announced that, for the first time, it has put a U.S. prisoner on the list of 10 cases that it will ask people around the world to advocate for in their Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon on International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10. The U.S. prisoner is 68-year-old Albert Woodfox, the final member of the Angola 3 still in solitary confinement in a Louisiana state prison.
September 30, 2013
To those of you familiar with the domestic torture program of the CDCR and the ongoing protracted struggle to realize the five core demands, the state’s loose relationship with the truth comes as no surprise. For those of you just gaining familiarity with this social ill, what follows should prove helpful in providing you with a greater insight into the dynamics of power relationships in the U.S.
September 12, 2013
Only a handful of prisoners globally have withstood the duration of years of harsh and solitary confinement that Albert and myself have. The state may have stolen my life, but my spirit will continue to struggle along with Albert and the many comrades that have joined us along the way here in the belly of the beast. I want to thank all of you, my devoted supporters, for being with me to the end.
August 19, 2013
Supporters of prisoners who are on the 43rd day of a hunger strike are expressing outrage at an order signed today by a federal judge allowing strikers to be force fed, disregarding international human rights principles. Thousands of prisoners have united to challenge the torture of prolonged isolation, demanding an accountable process to challenge the gang validations that have kept them in security housing for decades. Gov. Jerry Brown stands silent but is presumably in agreement with the force-feeding strategy, which will prevent the strikers from becoming martyrs.
July 11, 2013
On Monday, July 8, California prisoners launched their third hunger strike in two years, protesting conditions in the Security Housing Units, where thousands of prisoners are held in segregation units designed to limit communication. While the largest one-day participation of the prior two strikes rose to over 11,000, Monday’s strike began with a historic 30,000 people inside California’s prisons refusing breakfast and lunch.
July 8, 2013
Hundreds of people held in California prisons are expected to launch their third large-scale hunger strike in two years today. The current strike, announced by leaders at Pelican Bay State Prison on Feb. 14, is seen as a resumption of the large-scale strikes in June and September 2011, when thousands of prisoners across the state stopped eating for days or weeks in order to press for the five demands laid out by the strike organizers.
July 1, 2013
Herman Wallace, 71, has been diagnosed with liver cancer. He is being held in a locked prison hospital room in Louisiana. The prognosis is grave. Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 remain in solitary confinement after more than 41 years. POV will premiere the documentary “Herman’s House” Monday, July 8, 10 p.m., on KQED and other PBS stations nationwide.
April 11, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown’s bid to end federal control over the state prison system’s mental health system was denied in federal court. Judge Karlton determined that “systemic failures persist in the form of inadequate suicide prevention measures, excessive administrative segregation of the mentally ill, lack of timely access to adequate care, insufficient treatment space and access to beds, and unmet staffing needs.”
March 7, 2013
The battle over the future of Tamms became the most visible and contentious example of a phenomenon seen around the country: Otherwise progressive unions are taking reactionary positions when it comes to prisons, supporting addiction to mass incarceration. And when it comes to issues of prisoners’ rights in general, and solitary confinement in particular, they are seen as a major obstacle to reform.
February 27, 2013
On Monday, Feb. 25, the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, chaired by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, held a hearing on the state’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The hearing comes 18 months after the committee held a similar hearing prompted by a three-week long hunger strike in June 2011 that involved thousands of California prisoners across the state. Monday’s hearing focused on the implementation of new CDCR policies and considerations of their appropriateness.
January 30, 2013
By taking to heart the experiences shared by Heshima Denham we learn that one of the greatest gestures of support and reassurance of the safety of prisoners who are vocal about their circumstances is constant visibility. Solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.
September 26, 2012
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has recently circulated a memo regarding the most recent revised edition of its Step Down Program (SDP) and Security Threat Group (STG) Program proposal. The revised policies come one year after a series of statewide hunger strikes by inmates in the Security Housing Units (SHU) in Pelican Bay and other California state prisons.
August 7, 2012
Three African-American inmates in Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs criticize their continued isolation for being members of the Black Guerilla Family, the only Black prison gang in California that will lead to placement in the SHU. Drawings of dragons are used to justify their continued isolation.
July 25, 2012
According to multiple witness accounts, staff at Pennsylvania’s SCI Rockview killed John Carter, a 32-year-old man from Pittsburgh, during a cell extraction in the prison’s solitary confinement unit on April 26, 2012. One witness, esteemed writer André Jacobs, reports: “The murder was in retaliation for Carter protesting what began as guards denying him his dinner meal. … During the collection of our food tray, guard Sherman said to me, “Your buddy’s going down tonight,” while smiling.”
July 4, 2012
“Solitary confinement does one thing: It breaks a man’s will to live and he ends up deteriorating,” testified Texas death row exoneree Anthony Graves before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Tuesday, June19. The hearing, convened by Subcommittee Chair Sen. Richard Durbin, was the first of its kind at the federal level on the issue of solitary confinement.
June 18, 2012
On the morning of Tuesday, June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is having an important public hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement.” This Senate hearing comes on the heels of widespread prisoner hunger strikes that have made the use of solitary confinement a central issue.
February 23, 2012
The death of Christian Gomez, 27, the first California hunger strike martyr, will be covered by Democracy Now! on Friday, Feb. 24, on 1,024 TV and radio stations around the country and online at DemocracyNow.org. His family is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents are avoided in the future. While CDCR emphasizes Gomez’ conviction to discourage public sympathy, his sister contends his conviction was wrongful, and according to a late report, the assault charge that sent him to segregation was about to be dropped.
February 18, 2012
The striker reportedly knew Christian Gomez and described the day of his death. Several inmates were screaming and pounding their fists on their cell doors trying to get the attention of the correctional officers. His knuckles were noticeably battered during the visit. CDCR officials continue to assert that autopsy results show Gomez did not die of starvation.
February 15, 2012
CDCR disclosed that as of Feb. 9, 30 men at Corcoran ASU were still striking. One of them writes: “On or about Feb 2nd or 3rd 2012 an inmate has passed away due to not eating … Inmates are passing out and having other medical problems … There will be more casualties if this isn’t addressed or brought to light.”
August 27, 2011
“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference Friday afternoon. Bloomberg annouced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas.