Tag: California prisoners
SHU prisoners in California are not allowed to call home. Lack of family phone calls is one of the reasons California’s SHU cells are characterized as solitary confinement – the harsh deprivation of family and social ties. CDCR has created the conditions that drive prisoners to desperation. It is horrifying to witness CDCR’s response to the current hunger strike: Crank up the cruelty and let them die.
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, in support of the California prison hunger strikers and their five demands, invite the public to visit an installation of a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell on the California State Capitol South Steps in Sacramento. The cell will be on display – and you can walk right in to see how it feels – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
When the concept of Black August manifested in 1979, many thought it was simply a focus group protest growing out of the avoidable death of Khatari Gaulden on Aug. 1, 1978, in the San Quentin prison infirmary. Survival for Africans in California’s prison population of 20,000 inmates had to that point been recognized by some as a bit more than problematic.
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement Thursday urging CDCR to meet with prisoner hunger strike mediators and work toward meeting the prisoners’ demands. Prisoners throughout California have been on hunger strike for 25 days. Demonstrators demanded that the CDCR and governor negotiate with strikers immediately and end any and all retaliations against their protest.
Prisoners in California have entered their 10th day of a statewide hunger strike to fight back against what they call inhumane conditions. The prisoners’ demands include a call for adequate and nutritious food, an end to group punishment, and stopping long-term solitary confinement where more than 3,000 prisoners are held in the isolation with no human contact and no windows – some of them for more than a decade.
We are all remaining strong as one in unity. Everybody back here is determined to push to their limit and the atmosphere around here is strong. The five core demands were re-submitted to the newest warden, Frank Chavez, and we also submitted a few of our own demands to better the conditions here in ASU. We’ve made it clear that we are going to continue hunger striking until the five core demands are met.
Trayvon Martin’s mother and father have my deepest sympathies and condolences in this tragic loss and travesty of justice. I would urge them to turn grief into strength and find peaceful, insightful means to fight for real change in honor of their child. The media blitz over Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman has been in-depth, saturating mainstream news for days before, during and now after the trial – commenting on every aspect of this case. It has completely obscured the current hunger strike by tens of thousands of California prisoners protesting prolonged solitary confinement.
In spite of the AMA protocol on torture, the CDCR’s medical and mental health physicians have yet to offer California prisoners any qualitative medical or mental health treatment, intervention or service. And they have been present and dead silent on the issue of how we prisoners have been tortured in CDCR’s SHU and CMU, where social deprivation – torture – has been the norm for the past 10 to 40-plus years.
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.
All eyes are on Pelican Bay SHU, the shame of California, where men who have been locked in concrete coffins for decades called a hunger strike and work stoppage that 30,000 prisoners joined when it began Monday, July 8. It will last until their Five Core Demands are met. Our opportunity to stand in solidarity comes this Saturday, July 13: All out for a MASS STATEWIDE RALLY at Corcoran, where 2,000 prisoners are locked in solitary confinement. Caravan leaves MacArthur BART in Oakland and Chuco's in Inglewood at 8:30 a.m.; rally at 2 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Park in Corcoran. Join the revolution! All power to the people!
Prisoners in the state of Washington will go on strike on July 8, 2013, refusing to work on that day. Some prisoners in Washington, including some in juvenile facilities, have vowed to join the nonviolent strike. The strike’s aim is two-fold: to show support for the hunger strikers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to join California prisoners in protesting long-term solitary confinement and other human rights abuses in U.S. prisons.
As one contemplates whether to volunteer or not, just remember all the psychological torture and personal loss that each of us in these solitary confinement torture cells have already experienced for the past 20-30 years. And, more importantly, think of all those youngsters, maybe young relatives, who will take our places after we’re gone – for another 20-30 years – if this system is not changed at this time.
Read J. Heshima Denham’s description of what happened to him and others in their SHU March 12, 2013. He believes this is pre-emptive retaliation for their plans to participate in the upcoming hunger strike to begin July 8. Please take a few minutes and either call the Warden’s Office or send an email to let them know we are watching and ready to back the prisoners up in their struggle.
Let's raise the issue - Do the California legislators and Gov. Brown agree that denying prisoners the ability to make public their Five Core Demands and their peaceful protest remedy for ignoring or refusing them violates their constitutional right to free speech and those who publish the prisoners’ letters our right to freedom of the press?
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.
Prisoners of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds and ideological and political persuasions have forged a united front – best reflected by the Short Corridor Collective confined in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit – around common goals and interests of ameliorating the tortuous concrete conditions inherent to long-term solitary confinement.
Though we have yet to obtain our Five Core Demands, no one can deny how much we have achieved since our initial July 1, 2011, hunger strike. For the most part our movement for human rights has made much progress, but patience is required, for we are engaged in a protracted struggle that demands our resilience.
Prisoners in Pelican Bay’s SHU have announced a push to end all hostilities between racial groups within California’s prisons and jails. The handwritten announcement, sent to prison advocacy organizations, is signed by the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. The statement calls for the cessation of all hostilities between groups to commence Oct. 10, 2012, in all California prisons and county jails. It also calls on prisoners throughout the state to set aside their differences and use diplomatic means to settle their disputes.
Unlike Title 15 – California’s Code of Regulations for all California prisoners – San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the 608s, which mandate that death row prisoners are under the control of the warden of San Quentin. It is this illegal and repressive code of regulations that AC death row prisoners are vigorously challenging.
Comparing their conditions to a “living coffin,” 400 California prisoners held in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement petitioned the United Nations Tuesday to intervene on behalf of all of the more than 4,000 prisoners similarly situated. California holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other state in the United States or any other nation on earth. Conditions inside California’s SHUs and ASUs were at the center of two massive waves of hunger strikes last year that saw the participation of thousands of prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.