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Having been one of the many who have been let out of the control units (SHU), I can say that there is some victory in this development, but there is much work to be done outside the SHU and still a ways to go before victory is complete. This accomplishment of opening the gates of SHU for many simply means we face new forms of oppression; it changes in form but not in essence.
We as prisoners did not forfeit our citizenship when we came to prison or the laws which are designed to protect our basic human rights and dignity. The implementation and enforcement of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was a clear procedural deprivation of our rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Fairness and Restoration Act 2015 is about restoring fairness and justice to those who were denied it.
Since the last hunger strike, the administration via the “Office of Corruptional Security” has instituted documented military torture tactics here at Pelican Bay State Prison in order to create hostile living conditions and attempt to turn prisoners on each other. But many of us have seen these tactics before, so we know how to deal with it.
On May 11, 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison, because she fired a warning shot to halt her abusive husband from trying to kill her. In her defense, her lawyers cited the Florida “stand your ground” law, which months earlier made national headlines when it was cited by George Zimmerman’s defense team, after he killed unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin.