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.
Amnesty International hopes that the Feb. 25 hearing will be a genuine chance for all stakeholders to positively influence the current reforms being proposed by CDCR. Without reform, conditions in California’s SHUs will continue to violate a raft of international standards and treaties governing the treatment of prisoners, including the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
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.
I am writing to inform you of the scare tactics that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) here at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (PBSP SHU) uses in order to intimidate our families, friends and associates away from corresponding with those of us who are held in these solitary confinement units – AdSegs and SHUs.
The notion that emotional feelings and love interest ceases at the gates of the prison is blatantly absurd. A huge majority of individuals in prison are equipped with the same meaningful desires to embrace their heartfelt feelings in spite of their situation of being restricted and unable to express them deservingly with passion.
Ultimately, this is a peaceful movement to assert our humanity. Differences in race, sets and associations matter not. Each of us is ultimately responsible for maintaining and preserving our own self-respect. We hope that as comrades you will help lift each other up as you come to realize that the same oppressor oppresses us all!
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!
When Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis, he was about to join the sanitation workers in their protest for a union and more decent wages. The movement for civil rights was taking hold in the North and America didn’t like it – so off with King’s head.