Here at Corcoran State Prison, 4B1L Short Corridor on July 11, 2013, at approximately 11 a.m., Sgt. Vogel and two of his COs (correctional officers) entered the Short Corridor with a list of names of guys from all racial groups and went door to door informing them that they were moving immediately – no ifs, ands or buts – willingly or by force!
Call: We have not been to yard in almost two weeks. We have not been allowed to shower in a week. We received no medical attention. No weigh-ins, no vital signs checks – nothing. Response: Some of the people on hunger strike are older men, and they have medical issues. Your display of power is totally out of place. Your purposeful neglect of their human rights and dignity seems to me shameful.
It has recently been suggested that those confined to these sensory deprivation torture units indefinitely, but who have a cellie, are not in “solitary confinement,” as though another human occupying a space not even large enough for one will somehow mitigate the deleterious effects of this isolation. It doesn’t. The only marked difference is the number of stressors you must contend with in a day.
For the past two years we’ve heard the state claim it’s reforming its long term segregation policies and practices by implementing a Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP). Officials claim the program is a significant move towards a more behavior-based system, yet they remain extraordinarily vague about the “ultimate conclusion.” What exactly is “gang activity”?
Another friend of Zaharibu wrote: “We believe it is things of this nature which further prove the positive impact on people’s lives that NCTT (NARN Collective Think Tank) activists continue to have while simultaneously debunking the lie that Zaharibu and his NCTT comrades inside are ‘gang members’ or anything other than the progressive political activists which they are.”
In preparation for the July 8 peaceful protest action (hunger strike, work stoppage etc.), Corcoran SHU administrators are directing staff to dispense with California law and state procedures and policy regarding mass hunger strikes and instead institute a policy designed to raise the potential for maximum casualties (deaths) amongst prisoner participants.
The Bay View helps one keep in touch with the struggle, today and historically – uplifting and empowering our people. Salutations to those active in the struggle and to those behind the walls pushing the struggle, because it may very well be twice as hard, due to the physical and mental restraints you may endure because of your political, revolutionary endeavors. Stay strong, keep striving, never give up hope.
Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion. The hearing provided an opportunity for legislators to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. At the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input.
Since America’s MASS INCARCERATION is driven by unjust racial/class policies, then the real solution to MASS INCARCERATION is MASS “DECARCERATION.” In other words, drastic cuts to ALL prisoner’s TIME, since TIME is the currency, the legal tender, the great equalizer and righter of wrongs in prison.
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.
Many discussions are taking place on the nature of the indefinite solitary confinement program in the U.S. prisons and whether or not it constitutes torture. The debate on what to do about the program itself is being held at every level of social organization, from the U.S. Senate to the United Nations, from the California Legislature to the short corridors of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.
It had been over 20 years since me and my mama were houseless on the streets of LA, sleeping in our car and facing police harassment for the sole act of being poor and without a roof in the U.S. The only place we could go to get a break was skid row because it was the one place the police seemed to leave us alone. Now I was back, but something was bizarrely wrong.
During those four days in the CSW cell, Perez was made to defecate in a bucket in public, while still in restraints. The staff members – aka the Green Wall Gang – would cut the tape off and pull down his pants and boxer shorts as they shouted obscene comments and laughter. No contraband was ever produced.
You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people. The STG policy makes it easier for CDCR to confine us to their dungeons.
The CDCR should have to prove its accusations of gang activity, membership or association, providing the full panoply of constitutional protections. If the courts will not discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights, then the people must demand a change as is our/your right.
The key factor thus far in failing to harness the mass support of the people is the lack of broad-based, articulable demands around which the uncommitted people who may support our message but not our movement can be educated, organized and mobilized to join the movement and transform not only the nature and structure of U.S. society, but the WORLD.
Those in the executive environs of the CDCR have continued to evade what I believe is the most important of the hunger strike’s five core demands: staff accountability. Supervisory staff, department heads and managers have the duty to insure accountability of subordinate staff.
We’re entering into our hunger strike on Sept. 26 because our suffering must be exposed to the world. We will not stop under any circumstances until we’re liberated from these gulags.
I got a letter today from Yogi Bear, Hugo Antonio Lyons Pinell. As most of you know, Yogi has been tortured in the Pelican Bay SHU since 1990 and in other California gulags since the early 1970s. He began his incarceration in 1964 at age 19. He has joined the hunger strike and writes ...
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