Pelican Bay hunger strikers denied newspapers, even denied food when they asked for it

by Richard Garcia

Written Sept. 8, 2013 – Sadly, it seems things haven’t gotten any better as far as this prison giving us your newspaper. I never did receive your April or May issue. On Aug. 1, they gave me your June and July issues and explained they were held pending investigation.

Pelican-Bay-drawing-by-Johnny-Martinez-web, Pelican Bay hunger strikers denied newspapers, even denied food when they asked for it, Abolition Now! But now they’re also holding your August issue because I’ve yet to receive it. Out of frustration about this and CDCR’s refusal to negotiate with the representatives, I went back on hunger strike for the second time on Aug. 12 and went through all kinds of madness. My cell was searched several times. I was moved to a different part of the SHU – D9. I had both personal and state property taken from me. I was given a disciplinary write-up and had my TV taken for 60 days.

When I was in D9, Inspector General “Brian” came to my cell asking me why I was hunger striking. I made sure to explain about the withholding of your newspapers as well as other advocacy publications like Prison Focus. He wrote down notes when I explained about the censoring of your newspaper.

The thing was that morning both my cellie and myself tried to get off the hunger strike. Every breakfast and dinner the COs would come into our pod with carts full of trays to our doors asking us if we wanted to eat.

When we finally said “Yes,” he refused to give us a tray! Then after going back and forth with him, he told us we had to cuff up and be escorted to a filthy holding cell (where people cut their hair and nails) to eat, that we couldn’t eat in our own cells – claiming “per policy.”

We absolutely refused! We know there’s no policy in the DOM, Operational Procedures or Title 15 that says we can’t eat in our own cells. But it just goes to show the games this prison was playing. When we explained all this to the Inspector General, he was in disbelief and said he’d check into it.

Pelican-Bay-SHU-meal-tray-distribution-0713-by-Jim-Wilson-NYT, Pelican Bay hunger strikers denied newspapers, even denied food when they asked for it, Abolition Now! Then came the sergeants, lieutenants and captains – all coming to our door telling us if we wanted to come off the hunger strike we couldn’t eat solid food, that we had been on the hunger strike too long and had to go on a “refeeding program” that consisted of vitamins, Gatorade and watered down Ensure. We said, “All right, then give it to us.” Medical refused too and told us we had to go down to the program office to get it.

Wow, right. So long story short, we continued to dig in our heels. If they wanted us to come off the hunger strike, they were going to have to feed us in our cell. Period!

We ended up staying on the hunger strike two extra days until finally they got tired of their own game and gave us a tray IN OUR CELL.

Oh, yeah, it may have been a small victory but a victory nevertheless, and one we were proud to claim.

Later that day they packed us up and once again moved us to another part of the SHU. I guess it was their way of getting the last word. Yep, games.

Send our brother some love and light: Richard Garcia, J-20926, PBSP SHU C8-115, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.