Tags California prisons
Tag: California prisons
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.
Mail to the Bay View from the hunger strikers has been very sparse since the strike began with 30,000 participants on July 8. Prison officials may be holding their letters as they did during the 2011 hunger strikes. But yesterday and today the mail brought a postcard and several letters from Bay View subscribers in the Pelican Bay SHU (security housing unit), where these historic hunger strikes originated.
On the first day of the latest round of the epic hunger and work strike called by prisoners in California’s most notorious prison, the Security Housing Unit – or SHU – at Pelican Bay State Prison, Los Angeles Times staff writer Paige St. John, who specializes in prison news, wrote in part: “California officials Monday said 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history."
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.
Have you ever heard of a prisoner with life insurance or health care? No. This is because every prison sentence could very well end up in death to the inmate. We are not expected to survive prison. We have no health care insurance plan, and because we do not pay our doctors and caregivers, they have no motivation to give us reasonable care and respect.
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.
I have learned profound lessons from Zaharibu in the short three months I have known him. In hearing more about his story and the horrendous conditions he lives under, I have been driven to learn more about solitary confinement, why it must be abolished and the resistance against it. I have also been moved to become a part of that resistance in any way I can.
By taking to heart the experiences shared by Heshima Denham we learn that one of the greatest gestures of support and reassurance of the safety of prisoners who are vocal about their circumstances is constant visibility. Solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.
Hundreds of Bay Area residents will be getting on buses and into cars Saturday morning, Jan. 26, making the long trek to Chowchilla where they will join hundreds of other Californians at a Freedom Rally in protest of horrendous living conditions in the notorious prison, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). Let’s make enough noise so that the decision makers in Sacramento have no choice but to hear our demands! Solidarity actions are encouraged! Read more for when, where and how to get there ...
Ultimately, this is a peaceful movement to assert our humanity. Differences in race, sets and associations matter not. Each of us is ultimately responsible for maintaining and preserving our own self-respect. We hope that as comrades you will help lift each other up as you come to realize that the same oppressor oppresses us all!
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano decried Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto yesterday of legislation that would have returned openness to California’s prison system. Ammiano’s bill, AB 1270, would have restored, not expanded as noted in the veto message, media access to the level that existed in 1996 when the CDC clamped down on the press’ ability to interview specific prisoners.
Black August is dedicated to freeing all political prisoners and putting America’s night- and day-mare prison system in check. Black August is about making folks inside know we will not leave them to the embedded cruelty of their captors. The need to build more and stronger support for political captives is greater than ever.
“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same, but with a new name. They’re practicing slavery under color of law,” writes Ruchell Cinque Magee. America’s history of prison labor began before slavery ended. After the Civil War, private companies leased prisoners and sold their products for profit. Laws criminalizing harmless activities dramatically increased the number of Blacks in Southern prisons. This set the pattern that today has the prison industry rated #6 of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the U.S.
In July, when over 12,000 California inmates of all creeds and colors united for the first time for the historic peaceful Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike, an “ordinary” woman, Kendra Castaneda, 29, began her transformation into the key national human rights defender she is today, overcoming one adversity after another in advocating for tortured prisoners.
For many years, the “three strikes” law has rained havoc and waste over the state of California, plunging its state debt increasingly deeper each and every year, which the taxpayers are paying for without any real justification.
Everybody out Tuesday, Aug. 23, for the rally at 11:30 a.m. on the South Steps of the State Assembly Building, Sacramento, then for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s hearing on the Pelican Bay SHU at 1:30 p.m. Car pools leave from West Oakland BART at 9:30 a.m. Join the Day of Action to support the historic prisoner-led hunger strike protesting torture in California’s prisons. Support the families of hunger strikers testifying on conditions in the SHU and amplify the voices of thousands of prisoners across California. The hunger strike exposed for three weeks the carefully planned and executed barbarism of life in supermax America.
The historic prisoner hunger strike led by 11 now “shrunken” but alive Pelican Bay Prison inmates advocating human rights, peace and justice continues at several prisons, according to officials, prisoners’ families and prisoner attorney Marilyn McMahon. Hunger strikers' families and supporters will rally in Sacramento again Monday, noon-4 p.m.
Toxins that were declared by the California Legislature to “have a detrimental impact on a person’s health” and cannot be used in school food service or food facility businesses are contained in food consumed by inmates in California prisons. The bodies of many – if not most – so-called strikers, lifers and other long-term prisoners are too toxic to pass an artery inspection.