Tags Prison officials
Tag: prison officials
Efforts over the past month to discuss or mediate the prisoner’s concerns with the CDCR have not resulted in any changes in policy and we are therefore now writing to request that you urgently consider conducting an on-site visit to one or more California prisons, including Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) to interview prisoners (now on the 38th day of their hunger strike) and prison officials.
In an Aug. 6, 2013, op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times, Jeffrey Beard, the secretary of California’s inaptly named Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC), cynically attempts to dehumanize a significant percentage of California’s population – i.e., the state’s incarcerated population – while making light of the grave human rights abuses perpetrated by the CDC.
Mediators working on behalf of California prisoners on hunger strike are calling for an independent investigation into the July 22 death of Billy “Guero” Sell, a prisoner held in solitary confinement at Corcoran State Prison and a participant in the three-week-long hunger strike that has shaken the California prison system. Sell’s death is being ruled a suicide by the CDCR. Medical professionals, religious leaders and prisoners’ families call upon Gov. Jerry Brown to enter into good faith negotiations with the hunger strikers.
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.
The Adjustment Center (AC) is the death row Security Housing Unit at San Quentin (SQ) which also serves as Administrative Segregation Unit overflow housing. But for all intents and purposes the AC is a secret torture unit at SQ and the fraternal twin of CDCR’s other torture units now partially exposed by media attention resulting from the 2011 peaceful hunger strikes at Corcoran, Pelican Bay and Tehachapi.
Trayvon Martin’s mother and father have my deepest sympathies and condolences in this tragic loss and travesty of justice. I would urge them to turn grief into strength and find peaceful, insightful means to fight for real change in honor of their child. The media blitz over Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman has been in-depth, saturating mainstream news for days before, during and now after the trial – commenting on every aspect of this case. It has completely obscured the current hunger strike by tens of thousands of California prisoners protesting prolonged solitary confinement.
Letters written by prisoners since the hunger strike began are arriving at the Bay View. Here are two from New Folsom in Sacramento. On July 8, 2013, all affiliates of all races once again stood together in solidarity for a common cause. CSP-Sac is imposing underground and illegal methods of discipline for participating in the peaceful protest, and we need these corrupt acts to be exposed.
On Monday, July 8, California prisoners launched their third hunger strike in two years, protesting conditions in the Security Housing Units, where thousands of prisoners are held in segregation units designed to limit communication. While the largest one-day participation of the prior two strikes rose to over 11,000, Monday’s strike began with a historic 30,000 people inside California’s prisons refusing breakfast and lunch.
On Jan. 29, 2013, I wrote an article called “The Lying Game: CDCR, Inc.” I wrote this article because I wanted the public, our legal team and mediation team and anyone else who’s willing to listen to know that it is not the prisoners who are lying; instead, it is the prison officials at the very top who are doing all the lying. They lied to our representatives about promising to implement our Five Core Demands.
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”?
If the intention of the prison system is rehabilitation so when prisoners are released they do not return, then we surely must object to solitary confinement. If we believe in basic human rights and dignity for all human beings, then we surely must object to solitary confinement. If we object to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, we surely must object to solitary confinement in the U.S.
Read J. Heshima Denham’s description of what happened to him and others in their SHU March 12, 2013. He believes this is pre-emptive retaliation for their plans to participate in the upcoming hunger strike to begin July 8. Please take a few minutes and either call the Warden’s Office or send an email to let them know we are watching and ready to back the prisoners up in their struggle.
On Tuesday, a panel of three federal judges granted California six additional months to comply with federal orders to reduce prison overcrowding. About six years ago, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed federal receiver J. Clark Kelso to oversee the state’s prison health care system after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of malpractice or neglect. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its inmate population to help improve prison health care.
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.
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.
The struggle is long and arduous, and sometimes we do etch out significant victories, as in the case of our Brotha Mutope Duguma in In re Crawford, a significant step in reaffirming that prisoners are entitled to a measure of First Amendment protection that cannot be ignored simply because the state dislikes the spiel.