My husband, Robbie James Riva, who currently resides at Calipatria State Prison, has maintained his innocence for the past 11 years. After his appeal was denied in 2009 and there was no more money to pay an attorney, I decided to take it on myself. We put our minds together, our strength, our love and we told each other we could do this and we did. He wrote his appeal himself with the documents I sent him.
Two letters follow: The first, by Mutope Duguma, describes the current Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor situation. The second, by Pelican Bay inmate and hunger strike leader George Franco, is reposted here and now so readers can compare prison officials’ promises with the situation described by Mutope Duguma a year later.
A bill opposing the shackling of pregnant prisoners, AB 2530, passed unanimously by the California State Legislature, is now on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, with 30 days to either approve or veto it. Last year, a previous version of this bill was also passed unanimously by the legislature, but it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Brown. AB 2530 supporters have created two webpages for the public to contact the governor.
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.
I’m writing this letter to advise you and your loyal readers of the retaliation that Pelican Bay State Prison gang investigators have taken up against those of us inmates who “associate with SF Bay View” and inform them not to be discouraged or dissuaded in our struggle to have our voices heard.
It is absolutely impossible for George Jackson to have been validated as a BGF prison gang member, as CDCR state operatives murdered George Jackson on Aug. 21, 1971, at San Quentin State Prison, when the prison gang validation process was non-existent.
As can be seen from the LSPC report, “Cage within a Cage: A Report on Indeterminate SHU Confinement and Conditions,” CDCR’s torture has reached beyond just the targeted California indeterminate SHU class imprisoned person and extends into the families and communities as well.
The green monster always labels us who are validated [alleged to be prison gang members or associates] as violent and threats to other inmates, staff and the security of the institution. The thing is this: They fail to show proof of these claims.
Solid resistance is not only possible but also very effective, and it can be done in smart, fully advantageous ways. It simply requires prisoners to come together collectively for the common good of all and with the support of the people outside, forming a powerful force to compel changes that are long overdue.
For the past 20 years PBSP has been allowed to get away from giving us the mandated minimum 12 hours of visits per week. One of our demands: re-open D facility visiting room so we and our families can have the four-hour visits mandated by CCR Title 15, Sec. 3172.2 (a).
Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, a new California Prison system practice comes to our attention that is shocking and humiliating. It's a practice called “contraband watch,” or “potty watch” by people inside, in which a prisoner’s excrement is examined for items perceived to be “contraband.”
More than a year after our July 1, 2011, peaceful protest hunger strike actions, calling for an end to decades of SHU/Ad-Seg abusive confinement, CDCR has yet to meet our five core demands, all of which they admitted were reasonable, so now we're focusing on two non-negotiable demands: 1) CDCR must abolish “intelligence” based solitary confinement, and 2) A four year step-down process is too long. For more than 25 years, CDCR has placed thousands of us in solitary for being gang members or associates, even though we never committed a gang-related criminal act.
SHU prisoners have been subjected to years of prolonged segregation. CDCR's method of releasing gang segregation prisoners back to the general population via the new Security Threat Group policy is going to replace the six-year inactive policy, but in name only.
CDCR state operatives have criminalized the historical-cultural legacy of Black August under the false pretense of it being a BGF (Black Guerrilla Family) prison gang concept that promotes violence against CDCR’s state operatives. Black August is not a prison gang concept, and it definitely does not entail the promotion of any violence!
AB 1270, legislation that would increase transparency and media access to California’s notorious state prison system, is currently facing opposition in the Senate Appropriations Committee. CDCR is formally opposing the bill, citing cost as their main concern. There are two ways that you can help: Attend a Lobby Day on Aug. 9 or phone committee members from home before Aug. 13.
CDCR will submit their proposal to the Office of Administrative Law, and absent peaceful direct action to force the mandatory major changes required in order to make any gang management policy changes acceptable, we’ll be stuck with CDCR’s version as is for the next 25 years.
The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a “corporation” whose objective is to profit. In California alone they pay up to $20,000 more per solitary confinement unit than for a general population unit. This keeps officers working, which is why they become willing pawns who have an interest in oppressing prisoners.
The prison officials believe that they have a right to subject us prisoners to physical and psychological torment simply because we choose to fight peacefully for our basic human rights. These officials fail to realize that prisoners are committed to the peaceful struggle and by no means do we plan on giving up, under any circumstances.
I would like to extend our utmost love and respect to all who remain strong and positive against CDCR’s death grip of long-term segregation. It has been eight months since the last Pelican Bay-California Statewide Hunger Strike and there have been some “material changes” here at Calipatria ASU. Our objective as a whole is to see an end to all wrongful validations and long-term segregation/isolation.
As a prisoner at Pelican Bay’s Short Corridor, I had to laugh in disgust at the audacity of the Department of Corruption’s motion to rescind the medical receiver appointed by the federal court after decades of inadequate medical care. Here at Pelican Bay’s SHU, it is common knowledge that the Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) Unit actually make the medical decisions by way of the chief medical officer.