Hunger strikers denied right to read: Pelican Bay officials just don’t get it

by Mutope Duguma, Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement

Mutope Duguma 061413, webIn retaliation for our peaceful protest, the security housing unit sergeant, B. Davis, drafted up a memorandum on July 8, 2013, saying that Pelican Bay State Prison will be following “regulations per DOM 54030.20.5 which allows book/ publications limit of five (5) books maximum.” This is what PBSP calls rehabilitation.

PBSP Sgt. B. Davis is demonstrating the type of mentality that we’ve been dealing with for the last 23 years in these torture chambers. We are allowed to have 10 books over the allowed five magazines, this Sgt. Davis knows, but he is attacking what we prisoners in SHU value more than anything outside our families: BOOKS.

We say: “End solitary confinement – torture – now! Stop the deliberate attacks on prisoners’ mental development by enforcing a book limit that is instituted to deprive prisoners of reading material.”

Why would an institution of prisoners attack that which aids in the rehabilitation process? Sgt. Davis does not get it, because one of our core demands deals with providing prisoners educational programs that are beneficial to our growth and development. One would think that if prisoners wanted to read, that the PBSP officials would have done all in their power to provide prisoners an avenue to endless books. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The memorandum is diametrically opposed to our fifth demand. This retaliation is against prisoners for protesting the inhumane treatment in solitary confinement units. We say: “End solitary confinement – torture – now! Stop the deliberate attacks on prisoners’ mental development by enforcing a book limit that is instituted to deprive prisoners of reading material.” If it fits in your allowed 6 cubic foot locker, then you should be able to have as many books as possible.

Why have a policy that restricts prisoners education? Especially for prisoners. The CDCr needs to be called on the many policies that go against the educational needs of the prisoners. We feel this memo was written on July 8, 2013, in order to retaliate against SHU prisoners for our peaceful protest. They, CDCr and PBSP, can take all of our material possessions and it would not interfere with our right to fight for our human and civil rights.

The memorandum is diametrically opposed to our fifth demand. This retaliation is against prisoners for protesting the inhumane treatment in solitary confinement units.

We can only hope that the CDCr and PBSP warden can see the value of reading and allowing prisoners to read leisurely at their expense without restrictions.

One Love, One Struggle!

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (J. Crawford), D-05996, PBSP SHU D1-117U, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.