Tags Salinas Valley State Prison
Tag: Salinas Valley State Prison
James Baridi Williamson, then buried alive in the dreaded Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU), is one of those who fought back and is now being punished for his participation in the 2011 and 2013 California mass hunger strikes, including the largest one in history with 30,000 participants.
For years now, I have endured threats, both overt and covert, from the mouths and hands of CDCr’s (California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s) OCS (Office of Correctional Safety), ISU (Investigations Services Unit) and IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations), all of them paramilitary services that boast they are a gang and call themselves the Green Wall. (See my article “Sitawa: Exiting solitary confinement – and the games CDCr plays.”)
We are within our fifth year of the August 2012 historical document, the “Agreement to End Hostilities.” Its release was followed by the Prisoner Human Rights Movement’s third and largest hunger strike in the state of California and larger than any prison hunger strike in history in either the federal or state prison systems in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. At its peak, 30,000 prisoners here in California participated – prisoners in solitary confinement and the general population.
As always, allow us to begin by paying our respects to the families who lost their loved ones during the historic California hunger strikes. Prior to the solidarity hunger strikes, the four principal negotiators, Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco and Todd Ashker, found ourselves locked inside Pelican Bay SHU Short Corridor. There we would discuss the vision of effecting genuine change in CDCr’s long term solitary confinement combined policies, practices and conditions.
Weusi Joka Kambon (David Frost), a precious young brotha comrade, is gone! On March 6, 2017, he was found dead inside his cell under suspicious circumstances here at Salinas Valley State Prison B-Yard. A voice we loved is stilled; memories of our loved one shall live forever. He was a brotha, a comrade, husband, daddy, cousin and friend. You will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
Leaving out of Pelican Bay solitary confinement torture prison facilities/units/cages for the first time on Jan. 23, 2015 – after arriving there Nov. 29, 1990 – I remember witnessing my first sunrise. It would be the first of many first time experiences of using my natural senses again after being buried alive in that concrete box deprived of the natural use of those senses for the last 25 years – a quarter century.
Today, Jan. 23, 2015, I appeared before the Director’s Review Board and I was granted release from PBSP SHU (Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit) after 26 years in solitary confinement. I’m to be transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison, where I’ll be able to have human contact and new experiences and hopefully be able to re-meet my family.
It has been a few months since my release from 20 years of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison (SHU) to Step 5 of the Step Down Program (SDP). I thought I should pen this communique with an update on my travels from one place to another – the new location, experience, encounters and situations – as everything has unfolded.
I believe that a lot of racial tension in California prisons comes from this: The end of hostilities is being misinterpreted. When I left the SHU, I was asked to explain the end to hostilities even further, and that was for everyone to understand that the end of hostilities means no more bullshit violence on the yards – PERIOD!
The people who are housed in this institution, Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, Calif., are having a lot of issues with medical. It’s very degrading. Doctors are taking convicts off their pain medication, such as morphine, methadone and Gabapetine, known as Neurontin, saying it’s being abused. Correction officers don’t care about us convicts nor do the doctors.
All state prisons in California say their mission is to encourage family visits, for good reasons – mostly to help achieve a healthy and healing environment for both the family and the inmate, who will eventually reenter society. But at SVSP this is an absurd statement that is far from the truth.
My son was caught up in someone else’s crime. Although innocent, he was convicted 26 years ago and sentenced to 28 years. He has suffered because of medical neglect. He suffered a fractured vertebra accidentally. It was several years before CDC examined his neck. By the time of the surgery, he could not raise his head off his chest.
As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.
Celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Bay View by sending its love and light to a prisoner behind enemy lines. One prisoner writes, “The Bay View has been a source of inspiration and life for me. It enables me to see people still care and Blacks are still fighting for justice.”