Tags Corcoran State Prison
Tag: Corcoran State Prison
There should be no doubt indefinite solitary confinement is torture. Yet in §700.2, the CDCR has devised an insidious program whereby they can leverage this torture to coerce validated SHU prisoners to submit to brainwashing in lieu of debriefing – the end result being qualitatively no different: “broken men” will be created by a new process.
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.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, which is torture, which is us prisoners being held in solitary confinement indefinitely, without ever breaking a prison rule or state or federal law, anywhere from 10 to 40 years, under conditions of sensory deprivation, isolation, etc., etc. The fact that solitary confinement is torture is recognized by the U.N. – but not by the U.S., yet.
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.
As a devout supporter of the Five Core Demands, I write this article not only to commend you for your support and participation in the previous hunger strike, but also for getting us all on the same and most effective page throughout the California prison system on our next collective push to have these Five Core Demands met via continued hunger strikes.
The CDCR justification for Pelican Bay is rooted in two primary criteria: 1) to isolate the so-called worst of the worst, who have proved too violent to be held at other prisons, and 2) to presumably minimize prison violence. What the CDCR intentionally neglected to tell the public is that it was their policy, both in practice and intent, that was responsible for the rapid increase in prison violence! Pelican Bay State Prison is rooted in deception, exploitation, extortion, violence and murder.
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.
The prison system and the SHU is not going to shut down anytime soon. So we will have to be more realistic and pragmatic in our approach to addressing the mental health of prisoners. We can start off as prisoners by pledging we’ll not become collaborators with the CDCR in their endeavor to assault our sanity!
We are illegally being held in the SHU and Ad-Seg while being subjected to sensory deprivation, both physical and psychological torture, inadequate health care and isolation. PBSP and CDCR officials are refusing to comply with CDCR official policy. It is necessary we prisoners get more involved with our destiny.
Juan Jaimes’ broken back came to me and the others in solidarity with Corcoran ASU hunger strike petitioners as breaking news. The ripples continue to affect our cause. Although the Kage still hasn’t softened, some people still have a hard time envisioning the repression of the state because they have illusions that they live in a democracy with civil liberties.
Three African-American inmates in Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs criticize their continued isolation for being members of the Black Guerilla Family, the only Black prison gang in California that will lead to placement in the SHU. Drawings of dragons are used to justify their continued isolation.
In the past year we have witnessed a succession of murderous assaults reflecting a common character structure: The authoritarian psychology: Jason Smith beaten to death by racists in Louisiana; Trayvon Martin murdered by a racist vigilante in Florida; Christian Gomez allowed to die on hunger strike by prison guards in California; 17 people, nine of them children, slaughtered in Afghanistan; Kendrec McDade slain by racist police in California; Gerardo Perez-Ruiz murdered by border vigilantes in Arizona.
Shouting “Inside, outside, we’re all on the same side” and “Here comes Oakland,” five full buses and two vans left Oakland to meet up with marchers from as far away as Portland and Seattle who had already arrived at plantation San Quentin for one of the largest anti-slavery rallies in California history.
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
The death of Christian Gomez, 27, the first California hunger strike martyr, will be covered by Democracy Now! on Friday, Feb. 24, on 1,024 TV and radio stations around the country and online at DemocracyNow.org. His family is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents are avoided in the future. While CDCR emphasizes Gomez' conviction to discourage public sympathy, his sister contends his conviction was wrongful, and according to a late report, the assault charge that sent him to segregation was about to be dropped.
The striker reportedly knew Christian Gomez and described the day of his death. Several inmates were screaming and pounding their fists on their cell doors trying to get the attention of the correctional officers. His knuckles were noticeably battered during the visit. CDCR officials continue to assert that autopsy results show Gomez did not die of starvation.
On Monday, Feb. 20, over a dozen rallies will be held throughout the U.S. for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.” Join the Bay Area rally 12-3 p.m. at San Quentin by getting or giving a ride at 10 a.m. at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland or 1540 Market St. in SF. “The U.S. is the world’s leader of the incarceration industry – it’s time for the focused attention of the Occupy Movement,” notes Mumia Abu-Jamal. Big rallies on Feb. 20 will push California authorities to meet 12,000 California prisoners' five core demands and challenge the prison industrial complex everywhere.
CDCR disclosed that as of Feb. 9, 30 men at Corcoran ASU were still striking. One of them writes: “On or about Feb 2nd or 3rd 2012 an inmate has passed away due to not eating ... Inmates are passing out and having other medical problems ... There will be more casualties if this isn’t addressed or brought to light.”
Our struggle is one of resistance against that which has been forced upon us. The whole system conspired against New Afrikans, subjecting many of us to outright torture at the hands of those overseeing the prison industrial complex.
Last night 17 of us were bussed from Pelican Bay State Prison to Corcoran. The ride down here was beautiful. Being able to see the ocean, the trees and all the people going about their daily lives, it was really worth it. After all, it has been over 20 years since I last took a ride outside of Pelican Bay’s SHU.