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Saturday, February 29, 2020
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Tag: California Prison Focus

Liberate the Caged Voices: Free Sitawa!

Sitawa, along with three other strong and principled leaders of the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective, inspired 30,000 courageous prisoners, who, in their struggle for freedom from the torture of solitary confinement – or the threat of it – chose to shun violence and rather embrace a peaceful strategy in order to bring about much needed change.

Artivists in Action and Solidarity: Rattle the KAGE Dec. 7, 4-7pm

Artivists in Action and Solidarity: Rattle the KAGE Dec. 7, 4-7pm! Busting down walls and opening doors through art, culture and education at the first annual Ratcliff Award celebration benefiting SF Bay View and Prison Focus. Y'all come!

Court finds systemic constitutional violations by California Department of Corrections

Late Friday, a federal judge found that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is systemically violating the due process rights of prisoners. The judge ruled that CDCR is violating the Constitution by repeatedly relying on unreliable and even fabricated confidential information to send California prisoners to solitary confinement. The court also found CDCR is using constitutionally flawed gang validations to deny people in prison a fair opportunity for parole.

In San Jose, the National Prison Strike is going down!

This prisoner-led strike is not only about their list of 10 demands; it’s a clear call for their human rights! This is no small feat – and it’s dangerous! These men and women are putting their lives on the line – for themselves and for us. The retaliation began weeks before the strike even began. Don’t think for one moment this isn’t also about us here on the outside. Most of us are complicit in the horrors that have taken place in our nation’s prisons.

Few prisoners strike at San Quentin

Few prisoners, if any, at San Quentin State Prison participated in what was reported to be the largest prisoner-led strike in United States history. There are many reasons for these prisoners’ lack of involvement. Most of the men imprisoned at San Quentin were unaware of the strike and the groups involved with it like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee.

Wrongfully returned to SHU: Six-month update

I begin this six-month update on the activities of CDCR and the CCPOA with my utmost thankfulness and respect for the San Francisco Bay View. I thank your staff and readers for continuing to shine a bright light on the injustices that occur daily behind enemy lines, as it pertains to human beings who are marginalized as prisoners, defined as slaves by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but yet full citizens of this country! I have now been housed in Pelican Bay Level II SHU for six months, and the situation has not progressed but has rapidly deteriorated.

New Abolitionist Movement on the march

Aug. 19 at 11:00 a.m., courageous and loving folks in San Jose, Calif., joined with sister marches and rallies throughout the country in support of prisoners’ human rights and amending the 13th. Their courage is found in the rejection of an institution so prevalent and insidious that any criticism can bring a mountain of ridicule and judgment. It is an institution shielded by a centuries old narrative that tells people, “They are not like us,” and consequently, “they” are undeserving of our humanity.

Millions for Prisoners Human Rights: Marchers in DC and San Jose...

Called by prisoners to give voice to their demand to strike the slavery clause from the 13th Amendment – making slavery legal “as a punishment for crime,” thus legally holding 2.3 million imprisoned Americans in slavery today – thousands turned out in as many as 16 cities in the middle of Black August, on Aug. 19, 2017, to abolish slavery and end mass incarceration. In San José, about 200 marched to the county jail for a rally with powerful speakers who saluted the prisoners and inspired the crowd.

If DC is too far, join the Millions for Prisoners Human...

On Aug. 19, you can be part of the New Abolitionist Movement even if you can’t travel to Washington, D.C., for the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. We’re organizing a sister march right here in the Bay, in San Jose. Be with us as we gather at 11 a.m. in Raymond Bernal Jr. Memorial Park, then march at 12:30 p.m. to James P. McEntee Plaza for our rally. We guarantee you’ll be inspired and meet new friends and allies. We feel this is a defining moment for those on the front lines working tirelessly and courageously to bring light to the humanitarian crisis that is mass incarceration.

Comrade Malik: Update on the End Prison Slavery in Texas and...

So let’s take a look at the work we are doing: 1) attempting to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 2) abolishing prison slavery and, in my case, 3) exposing the pervasive problem of toxic water supplies in Texas and Pennsylvania! Yes, I did say Pennsylvania! We have seen retaliation and obstruction of justice tactics by employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Court rules no punishment for California prison hunger striker

In the early days of the 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike, Jorge Gomez refused up to 12 consecutive meals. The California Department of Corrections struck back by issuing him a Rules Violation Report. The same fate befell untold numbers of other prisoners who’d starved themselves to peacefully call attention to their torture. In an opinion filed on March 25, 2016, the California Court of Appeals ruled that Gomez was guilty of no rules violation for refusing meals during the strike.

From solitary confinement at Pelican Bay, Jesse Perez sues his guards...

A federal jury in San Francisco awarded $25,000 in damages to Jesse Perez, who sued guards for trashing his cell in retaliation for his lawsuit against the prison and for his stand against solitary confinement. Jesse Perez, 35, imprisoned since age 15, was sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay in December 2003 and was held there for 10 years. He took part in all three hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013, protesting prolonged isolation and demanding human rights for prisoners.

The first monthly Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement held...

Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.

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

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.

Hundreds of California prisoners in isolation to join class action lawsuit

On June 2, a federal judge allowed hundreds of California prisoners to join a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons when she granted the case class action status. Class certification allows the case to include all prisoners who are serving indefinite SHU terms as a result of gang validation who have not been placed in a new step-down program.

Hundreds of California prisoners in isolation should be covered by class...

On Sept. 26, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) urged a federal judge to grant class action status to a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons. The case, Ashker v. Brown, was filed on behalf of 10 prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent over 10 years, and as many as 29 years, in solitary confinement.

On Day 50 of the California prisoners’ hunger strike, I wonder,...

As a member of the Mediation Team, never did I think I would be a part of a Hunger Strike that would enter into its 50th day. Never did I think that I would be denied access to the face to face meetings that have taken place within the CDCR because I am a family member. And never did I think that CDCR would refuse on all grounds to meet even the most reasonable demands of the prisoners.

Appeal for hearing on California prisoners to the Inter-American Commission on...

Should the Commission grant this request for a hearing, we will provide the Commission with testimony from prisoners, as well as oral presentations by family members of prisoners, advocates and lawyers. We would ask that the Commission recommend to the United States government and the state of California that they immediately take all measures necessary to address grave violations of human rights in the prison system.

Coalition stops jail construction plan in its tracks

Members of a statewide anti-prison coalition acted swiftly this week to defeat Senate Bill 445 (Hill) Revenue Bond Financing of Prison Construction. Today the bill authored by Sen. Hill died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee when none of the committee members made a motion to bring the bill to a vote.

Hunger strike reminder: SHU isolation cell awaits California lawmakers as legislative...

As California legislators return to work this week, prisoner hunger strike family members, loved ones, advocates and supporters will gather at the Capitol to urge state decision makers to take swift and resolute action toward meeting the demands of the strikers. Waiting for the legislators on the Capitol’s south steps will be a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell.

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Vote Yes on Measure C to empower every child

Initiatives like Measure C help level the playing field, addressing the inequality that exists when some children have access to critical resources while others do not.

Treasure Island: ‘Everybody who put us out there should be in...

“I’m angry about that because I would never have moved to Treasure Island if they had told me there was radiation (there). I didn’t know what was happening to me until I got these tumors (one) on my shoulder and one on my side.”

‘Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite,’ closing March 1

Sunday afternoon, Feb. 23, at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco was an opportunity to see what Black Joy looks like. While Africans in Oakland were celebrating what makes us a people, in San Francisco, artists, curators and scholars were discussing Kwame Brathwaite’s work in the “Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite” exhibit up through March 1. More than a tangible aesthetic enumerated, Brathwaite’s “Beautiful” is an opportunity to reflect on the many ways through the ages Blackness – while commodified – transgressed and transcended, even morphed into something completely incomprehensible (in that moment) like Charlie Parker’s “Koko“ or Dizzy Gillespie’s “Shaw ‘Nuff” or John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

The toxic saturation of West Oakland – Town Hall tonight, Feb....

Councilwoman McElhaney urges everyone who might be affected or wants to support a solution to come to a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m., at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St. RSVP at https://west-oakland-environmental-town-hall.eventbrite.com.

SFCTA issues RFP for Pennsylvania Avenue Extension Study Report – due...

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR PROJECT INITIATION REPORT FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE EXTENSION STUDY (RFP 19/20-07) Notice is hereby given...