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Tag: Pelican Bay State Prison SHU
On April 21, I finally got to see Charlie Hinton’s “Solitary Man” play at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley. It was so much more than a cultural experience. The play was gripping, emotional and real, with jazz trumpet sprinkled in. The panel powerfully reflected the layers of pain, survival and resistance in the prison movement. And the event, a benefit for the San Francisco Bay View, was a moving tribute to Mary and Willie Ratcliff’s devotion to their invaluable newspaper.
Robert Fuentes was an award-winning poet and essayist. PEN America awarded him the Dawson Prize in fiction in the 2010 Prison Writing Contest for a piece titled “Lessons,” which begins: “Well, I originally contemplated about trying to sugarcoat what I had to say; but in the end, I arrived to the conclusion that it was best to not mince words and to just say things as they are … prison life is fucked up.”
Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy imply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!
The CDCR is proposing new regulations on “security threat groups” or “gangs,” which will be implemented after a regular public hearing, to be held on April 3. The Step Down Program, which CDCR has been executing as a pilot program, is apparently being added to CDCR’s vast number of regulations. The implementation of the official Step Down Program comes while a second legislative hearing on Feb. 11 has been organized.
When the California prisoner hunger strike began, CDCR officials were repeatedly quoted telling the world that CDCR does not negotiate with prisoners. CDCR portrays the organizers as gang leaders – terrorists whose demands are unworthy of consideration. But on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, the warden at Calipatria State Prison did negotiate with prisoners in the Administration Segregation Unit.
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective – Aug. 14, 2013 – I would like to reiterate that the Agreement to End All Hostilities, issued Aug. 12, 2012, is significant for all prisoners because CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has encouraged prisoners in their 33 prisons to not only engage in self-destructive behavior but has also helped heighten racial hostilities – the catalyst for internal warfare, racial warfare and gang warfare – all of which has been magnified inside the prisons and throughout our communities.
Today I read an op-ed from the L.A. Times by the new secretary of the California Department of Corruption. He gave a one sided view of prison violence by talking about the 11 murders of guards in the three years between 1970 and 1973. He failed to mention the 39 inmates murdered between January 1987 and December 1995 in the guard staged gladiator “game” fights.
I am a 36-year-old socially conscious, politicized New Afrikan prison activist, jailhouse lawyer and writer. I have been held “captive” for the last nearly 19 years. In my entire existence upon this earth I’ve fallen in love only twice. The first time was with my high school sweetheart. The second time was with my very first issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper back in December of 2012. The Bay View has had my nose wide open ever since.
Paraphrasing Bro Mumia’s words: Jailhouse lawyers must look beyond the state’s imprisoning bars, bricks and cement to build relationships with others in the so-called “free” world to further and support social movements that spread liberating and progressive space within society. We behind the concrete walls start this new progressive movement. But we need the outside support of our communities to stand with us.
Whether committing to end hostilities is called a “peace treaty” or “unity,” what’s starting to grow is a powerful force of strong minded individuals - in prisons statewide and on the streets - putting aside their differences with one another and standing up against the system to take back what’s rightfully theirs as human beings: their human rights!
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 was moved by California Department of Corrections (CDC) Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials. This now separates me from my jailhouse attorney, so I won’t be able to continue with my cases. This move was retaliation; PBSP knew very well about my lawsuit against them and knew that by separating me from that unit they would make it impossible for me to proceed.
When the leg irons were applied, four officers immediately began forcing me to the nearest wall, causing my head to slam against the wall once again. The impact caused my head to bleed profusely; blood drained down into my eyes, which obscured my vision. At this point I was drifting in and out of consciousness. I’m not afraid to say that I’m now suffering anxiety attacks.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.
Calipatria State Prison Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte is currently under investigation by the United States District Court due to a complaint of excessive force on an inmate and complaints of falsifying legal documentation and planting evidence on inmates.
SHU prisoners are dissatisfied with CDCR’s response to their formal complaint and five core demands and therefore will continue to resist via peaceful protest indefinitely, until actual changes are implemented. And once again, hopefully for the last time, we will be risking our health and lives via a peaceful hunger strike, starting on Sept. 26, 2011, to force positive changes.