California governor Jerry Brown is sticking up for California prisons, even though federal judges point out a lack of clean water and underwear, not to mention inmate deaths. See Governor Brown sing his blues while the biggest inmate hunger strike in California history continues. A Mark Fiore political animation.
A must read, don’t miss, hard hitting, honest and in-depth look at life and the men inside Pelican Bay State Prison.
Officer Jesse Carlson delivers dinner to inmates in their cells at a solitary confinement unit at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, Calif., Feb. 9, 2012. Nearly 29,000 inmates in California state prisons refused meals for the third day Wednesday, July 10, 2013, during a protest of prison conditions and rules. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)
California prison officials say 30,000 inmates refuse meals
John A. Imani, right, joins some 75 demonstrators Monday in front of the Ronald Reagan State Office building in support of a statewide hunger strike in protest of conditions within segregated housing units. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times / July 8, 2013)
California officials Monday said 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history.
Inmates in two-thirds of the state’s 33 prisons, and at all four out-of-state private prisons, refused both breakfast and lunch on Monday, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners failed to go to work or attend their prison classes, either refusing or in some cases saying they were sick.
The corrections department will not acknowledge a hunger strike until inmates have missed nine consecutive meals. Even so, Thornton said, Monday’s numbers are far larger than those California saw two years earlier during a series of hunger strikes that drew international attention.
Despite the widespread work stoppages and meal refusals, Thornton said state prisons operated as usual through the day. “Everything has been running smoothly,” she said. “It was normal. There were no incidents.”
The protest, announced for months, is organized by a small group of inmates held in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border. Their list of demands, reiterated Monday, center on state policies that allow inmates to be held in isolation indefinitely, in some cases for decades, for ties to prison gangs.
Though prison officials contend those gang ties are validated, the state last year began releasing inmates from segregation who had no evidence of gang-related behavior. Nearly half of those reviewed have been returned to the general population.
The protest involves the same issues and many of the same inmates who led a series of protests in California prisons two years ago. At the height of those 2011 hunger strikes, more than 11,600 inmates at one point refused meals. The correction department’s official tally, which counts only those inmates on any given day who have skipped nine consecutive meals, never rose above 6,600.
- California State Prisoners resume Hunger Strike of 2011 (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- California Prisoners Launch New Hunger Strike to Protest Solitary Confinement (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Support the Pelican Bay hunger strike (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Solidarity with California prisoners on hunger strike! (moorbey.wordpress.com)
The Pelican Bay Hunger Strike has resumed today garnering support from all over the United States and even internationally. Keep updated with the latest news on the strikers at the PHSS Blog…
Reblogged from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity:
“The principal prisoner representatives from the PBSP SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement do hereby present public notice that our nonviolent peaceful protest of our subjection to decades of indefinite state-sanctioned torture, via long term solitary confinement will resume today, consisting of a hunger strike/work stoppage of indefinite duration until CDCR signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands, the heart of which mandates an end to long-term solitary confinement (as well as additional major reforms).
Our decision does not come lightly. For the past (2) years we’ve patiently kept an open dialogue with state officials, attempting to hold them to their promise to implement meaningful reforms, responsive to our demands. For the past seven months we have repeatedly pointed out CDCR’s failure to honor their word—and we have explained in detail the ways in which they’ve acted in bad faith and what they need to do to avoid the resumption of our protest action.
On June 19, 2013, we participated in a mediation session ordered by the Judge in our class action lawsuit, which unfortunately did not result in CDCR officials agreeing to settle the case on acceptable terms. While the mediation process will likely continue, it is clear to us that we must be prepared to renew our political non-violent protest on July 8th to stop torture in the SHUs and Ad-Segs of CDCR.
Thus we are presently out of alternative options for achieving the long overdue reform to this system and, specifically, an end to state-sanctioned torture, and now we have to put our lives on the line via indefinite hunger strike to force CDCR to do what’s right.
We are certain that we will prevail…. the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement?
The world is watching!”
While the CDCR has claimed to have made reforms to its SHU system—how a prisoner ends up in the solitary units, for how long, and how they can go about getting released into the general population—prisoners’ rights advocates and family members point out that the CDCR has potentially broadened the use of solitary confinement, and that conditions in the SHUs continue to constitute grave human rights violations. The California prison system currently holds over 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement units, with dozens having spent more than 20 years each in isolation. Conditions in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU sparked massive waves of hunger strikes in 2011 that saw the participation of 12,000 prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.
Demands Across the System
When prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit declared their Peaceful Protest would resume July 8th 2013, if their demands weren’t met by the CDCR and Governor of California, they also encouraged their fellow prisoners to take up peaceful actions wherever they were, and to include demands of their own. They said to the CDCR and the Governor:
Expect your offices to also soon be receiving separate demands from all other CDCR male and female prisoner representatives from all security levels [1 through 4] on GPs, Ad-Segs, Death Row and from all other CA SHU prisons who will also join us on the July 08, 2013 HS/WS, if their demands are not met by that deadline. Which will be tailored to their own particular institutional needs…–which we fully support.
Prisoners throughout the system have responded by making demands of their own. Review them below!
- California Prisoners Launch New Hunger Strike to Protest Solitary Confinement (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- New on Truthout: Pelican Bay Two Years Later: Those Still Buried Alive Vowing Hunger Strike “Till the End” (resistancebehindbars.org)
- June 20 Statement From Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective! (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Support the Hunger Strikers, Sign the Petition! (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- USA: California urged to reform ‘inhumane’ prison units ahead of hunger strike (claimyourinnocence.wordpress.com)
- We have always known: CDCr blatant disregard…. (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in the US are being subjected to torturous, inhumane conditions.
· Held in long term solitary confinement; locked in tiny, windowless, sometimes sound proof, cells; cut off from fresh air and sunlight for 22-24 hours every day and given small portions of food that lacks basic nutritional requirements.
· Denied human contact and violently taken from their cells for petty violations.
· Put in solitary arbitrarily, often because of accusations of being members of prison gangs based on dubious evidence, and have no way to challenge the decisions of prison authorities to place them in solitary.
Many are forced to endure these conditions for months, years and even decades! Mental anguish and trauma often results from being confined under these conditions. Locking people down like this amounts to trying to strip them of their humanity.
These conditions fit the international definition of torture! This is unjust, illegitimate and profoundly immoral. WE MUST JOIN IN AN EFFORT TO STOP IT, NOW!
People imprisoned at Pelican Bay State Prison in California have called For a Nation-wide Hunger Strike to begin on July 8, 2013. They have also issued a call for unity among people from different racial groups, inside and outside the prisons. People who are locked down in segregation units of this society’s prisons, condemned as the “worst of the worst,” are standing up against injustice, asserting their humanity in the process. We must have the humanity to hear their call, and answer it with powerful support!
A Nation-wide and World-wide Struggle Needs to Be launched NOW to bring an End to this widespread Torture Before those in the Prisons Are Forced to Take the Desperate step of going on hunger strikes and putting their lives on the line!
To the Government: We Demand an Immediate End to the Torture and Inhumanity of Prison House America – Immediately Disband All Torture Chambers. Meet the demands of those you have locked down in your prisons!
To People in this Country and Around the World: We Cannot Accept, and We Should Not Tolerate This Torture. Join The Struggle to End Torture in Prisons Now!
To Those Standing Up in Resistance Inside The Prisons: WE SUPPORT YOUR CALL FOR UNITY IN THIS FIGHT, AND WE WILL HAVE YOUR BACKS!
June 21, 22 and 23 Will Be Days of Solidarity With the Struggle to End Prison Torture! There will be protests, cultural events, Evenings of Conscience, sermons in religious services, saturation of social media – all aimed at laying bare the ugly reality of wide spread torture in US prisons and challenging everyone to join in fighting to STOP it.
Send Your endorsements (name . and if you wish, organization and/or title, to:
For more information and to join in this struggle contact the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at:
- The Horrifying Existence Of Solitary Confinement (asolitarytorture.wordpress.com)
- 9 Petitions Fighting Solitary Confinement (lockupreform.com)
- Support Pelican Bay SHU Prisoners’ Five Core Demands (hunger strike) (stopsolitary.wordpress.com)
by Denise Mewbourne
Almost two years later, the ripple effect of the 2011 hunger strike organized by the Short Corridor Collective in Pelican Bay prison continues to reverberate throughout California. In protest of solitary confinement torture in California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs), 12,000 people in prisons throughout the state participated in the hunger strike.
California currently holds 12,000 people in some form of isolation and around 4,000 in long-term solitary confinement. Around 100 people have spent 20 years or more in these hellholes, including many who are activists against prison abuses, political thinkers and jailhouse lawyers. People imprisoned in the SHU have described it as “soul-crushing,” “hellish,” a “constant challenge to keep yourself from being broken” and “a concrete tomb.”
As a result of the strike, the first legislative hearing in Sacramento occurred in August 2011, and at the grassroots level family members of those inside formed California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) to continue the work they had done during the strike. The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS) began strategizing how best to provide support well in advance of the hunger strike and continues its mission of amplifying the voices of people in the SHUs.
The strikers’ five core demands around abolishing group punishment, eliminating debriefing, ending long term solitary confinement, adequate and nutritious food, and constructive programming are still far from being met, although the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) claims to be implementing new policies on how people are sentenced to the SHU as well as how they can exit.
The hearing in Sacramento on Feb. 25, 2013, provided an opportunity for legislators in the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. The occasion also featured a report back from the Office of the Inspector General about onsite inspections conducted at Pelican Bay, as well as a panel of advocates.
Chaired by Tom Ammiano, the committee had a chance to question the panelists, and at the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input. Attendance of grassroots activists, including family members and formerly incarcerated people, was organized by California United for a Responsible Budget (CURB). The CURB coalition focuses on reducing the number of people in prison as well as the number of prisons throughout California.
Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion.
The opening of the letter Gilbert Pacheco read from his brother Daniel in Corcoran Prison summed up the solidarity of the day: “Allow me to expend my utmost respects along with my utmost gratitude and appreciation to all of you who are out here supporting this struggle and allowing mine along with thousands of other voices to be heard! Gracias/Thank you.”
Family members from all over California spoke about loved ones who were being unjustly held for 10, 15, even 25 years or more in solitary confinement, how they were entrapped into solitary and the conditions they face. Marilyn Austin-Smith of All of Us or None, an organization working for human rights of formerly incarcerated people, read a statement from Hugo Pinell, surviving and resisting solitary confinement for 42 years.
Daletha Hayden from Victorville, Calif., spoke about her son who has been in SHU in Tehachapi for four years. He has missed 12 years of his 15-year-old son’s life, having not been able to see or touch him since he was 3. She said, “This is painful, and it tears families apart. We have to fight so our loved ones can be treated as well as animals! My son needs medical treatment, and SHU officials refuse for him to have it.”
Karen Mejia’s fiancé has been in SHU for six years. She stated that to her knowledge, the CDCR never got input from anyone imprisoned in the SHUs regarding their new policies. She went on to say that “if they followed their own policies, the SHU would be half empty, and they don’t want that because of their salaries and budget.”
Recently, they subjected her fiancé to particularly humiliating treatment. After she visited him, they punished him for being “sexually disorderly” with her. She said, “They painted his cell yellow and forced him to wear a yellow suit, which they do for sex offenders. In general population, he could have been killed for that.”
Looking at the hypocrisy in the U.S. around torture and human rights, Dolores Canales from CFASC angrily noted that in a recent case, “All it took was a federal order to stop chimpanzees from being held in solitary confinement. It has been determined it’s detrimental to their mental and physical health, because they are social animals and have a need to see, hear and touch each other. Aren’t humans also social beings?!”
Luis “Bato” Talamantez, one of the San Quentin 6, said, “Sending your love to the people inside and helping them to stay connected and spiritually alive is the most important thing you can do with your life right now.”
The rally ended on a positive note with Luis “Bato” Talamantez, one of the San Quentin 6, saying, “Sending your love to the people inside and helping them to stay connected and spiritually alive is the most important thing you can do with your life right now.”
The crowd then filed into the hearing room, which filled up quickly, so around 40 people viewed it in an overflow area. For the next three hours, a few of the legislators, the human rights-focused panelists and the public in attendance did their best to sort through the obfuscations, omissions, misrepresentations and outright lies told by the CDCR and colleagues.
The lies from CDCR
One mistaken idea the hearing quickly cleared up was that any real oversight might come from the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (CROB) in the Office of the Inspector General.
Speaking from CROB was Renee Hansen, who became executive director of the board in 2011, after 20 years of working for CDCR. Perhaps that explains the board’s less than thorough attempt at a real investigation of conditions in the SHUs and the glowing report she gave. When asked by Ammiano if they had conducted any surprise visits, she replied they had not.
One of the myths the CDCR uses to justify SHUs is that they house the “worst of the worst,” and this hearing was no exception. Michael Stainer, CDCR deputy director of facility operations, testified: “The offenders in the SHU are 3 percent of the entire population. They have an inability to be integrated because of violence, and are affiliates of dangerous prison gangs. It’s necessary to isolate them to protect the other 97 percent.”
But Canales said: “My son is in there, and he has certificates in paralegal studies and civil litigation. At Corcoran he was Men’s Advisory Council representative, when one person from each ethnic group gets voted in by their peers, and others go to them for help with prison issues.” And it’s not just her son who doesn’t fit the “ultra-violent” profile. “A lot of the guys in there have all kinds of education and are helping others with legal work. Many of them have been using their time to educate themselves.”
Hansen testified they found no evidence of retaliation for the hunger strike. Yet Charles Carbone, a prisoner rights lawyer who testified on the panel, said, “Make no mistake about it: Participating in a hunger strike can get you in the SHU.”
Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell asked, “How can participation in an act of peaceful civil disobedience like a hunger strike be construed as gang activity?” Ominously, Kelly Harrington, associate director of high security transitional programming (STP) for CDCR, said, “Hunger strikes can be viewed as violating institutional security.”
Marilyn McMahon with California Prison Focus reports letters from people in SHUs about food quality going down and portion sizes shrinking, especially after the administration heard of the potential resumption this summer of the hunger strike. “I suspect,” she said, “they may be trying to get them very hungry before the strike, so they will have less desire to do it.”
In another bold mockery, CDCR claimed their new policies include substantial changes in the process of “gang validations,” the categorizing of people as “gang members or associates,” resulting in SHU placement for indeterminate sentences. In the past, the validation process has been based on points given for tattoos, possession of books or articles the CDCR deems gang-related, having your name on a roster, and/or the confidential evidence of a “debriefer,” another desperate soul who has identified you as a gang member to get out of the SHU himself. Three points is enough to send you to the SHU. According to many reports from SHUs around the state, it often happens that people get sent to there for things that are purely associational and in complete lack of any actual criminal behavior.
In point of fact, items given points toward validated gang status are often related to cultural identity and/or political beliefs. Some examples are books by George Jackson or Malcolm X, Black Panther Party books or articles, materials about Black August commemorations, the Mexican flag, the eagle of the United Farm Workers, articles on Black liberation, political cartoons critical of the prisons, Kwanzaa cards and Puerto Rican flags, just to name a few.
The CDCR gave a list of their own officials when asked who was doing the gang classifications, and Ammiano noted they were all internal to CDCR, with no independent verification. Family members at the rally spoke of many unfair instances of gang validation points given to their family members. Irene Huerta’s husband was validated for a “gang memo” that was never found!
Carbone confirmed in his testimony that there was no real change in the source items given points, that still only one of your point items even needs to be recent and the other two can be 20 years old, and that “the new program actually expands rather than restricts who can be validated, by the addition of two categories. Initially we just had gang ‘members’ and ‘associates,’ but now we also have ‘suspects’ and ‘to be monitored.’” He went on to say “only the CDCR could call expansion reform.”
Charles Carbone, a prisoner rights lawyer who testified on the panel, said, “Make no mistake about it: Participating in a hunger strike can get you in the SHU.”
As Pacheco says from Corcoran Prison: “This validation process is not about evidence gathering that contains facts. It’s hearsay, corruption and punishment to the point of execution. It’s close to impossible to beat these false accusations on appeal. They know how to block every avenue. In other words, there is no pretense that rights are respected. Shackled and chained we remain.”
The centerpiece of the CDCRs deceptive “reform” is the “Step Down Program,” in theory a phased program for people to get out of the SHU. The program would take four years to complete, although they said it could potentially be done in three. It involves journaling, self-reflection and, in years three and four, small group therapies.
In a statement issued for the event by the NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nation) Collective Think Tank or NCTT at Corcoran SHU, the writers roundly condemned the program, saying that CDCR “has, in true Orwellian fashion, introduced a mandatory behavior modification and brainwashing process in the proposed step down program.” Abdul Shakur, who is at Pelican Bay and has been in solitary confinement for 30 years, calls it the “equivalent to scripting the demise of our humanity” in his article “Sensory Deprivation: An Unnatural Death.”
At the hearing, Laura Magnani from the Friends Service Committee strongly agreed. Magnani pointed out that only in the third and fourth year does very limited social interaction start to happen, that having contact with one’s family continuing to be seen as a privilege instead of a right is fundamentally wrong and that the curricula itself is “blame and shame” based, an approach proven to be damaging. To add insult to injury, she said that what you write in the notebooks can be used against you.
Marie Levin with the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition spoke about her brother Sitawa N. Jamaa at Pelican Bay, a New Afrikan Short Corridor Collective representative and a political thinker. He told her his concerns about the step down program: “The workbooks are demeaning and inappropriate. No one with a gang label will be reviewed for two years of the program, and no phone calls for two more years is far too long.” He’s concerned about CDCR evaluative power over journals, fearing they won’t allow progression if they don’t like the answers, or that they will accuse people of insincerity.
Sundiata Tate, one of the San Quentin 6 and a member of All of Us or None, said: “In terms of CDC, it seems like they’re trying to put a cover on what they’re actually doing. If you take someone who’s been in the SHU for years or even decades and say they have to go into a step down program that will take four years, that’s really just adding cruelty to cruelty. It’s actually more torture.”
Continue Reading @ SF BayView
- California Assembly Reviews Solitary Confinement Policies As Prisoners Threaten New Hunger Strike (solitarywatch.com)
- New anti-solitary confinement petition to CA Gov. Brown (indybay.org)
- The “Vicious Cycles” Created by Solitary Confinement (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Guarding the Fortresses: How Prison Policies Limit Media Access to Solitary Confinement (solitarywatch.com)
In Sacramento, California lawmakers are delving into a growing national controversy over special security units that are used to isolate thousands of inmates from the regular prison population. Civil rights groups say long-term isolation amounts to torture while state corrections officials say the units are necessary and the conditions are humane.
Around the state there are four of these facilities, which are known as Security Housing Units. The most controversial is at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City.
At the heart of the debate: conditions in the units (many inmates are held in windowless cells and have been denied everything from calendars and sweatpants to phone calls); criteria that determine which prisoners are placed there and how they get out; and the lengthy terms some inmates spend in the facilities.
More than 500 California prisoners have been locked in the special units for 10 years or longer, according to state data. Of those people, 78 prisoners have been held inside for more than 20 years.
Over the years, authorities have allowed media into Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit, but access has been limited and the inmates carefully selected by staff.
However, top corrections officials granted unusual access to a team of reporters and videographers from the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED. We visited all areas of Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit except for a section housing leaders of a 2011 hunger strike.
Using a small camera mounted to a wall, our team was able to record Beasley exercising with a rubber handball in the small concrete pen (prison staff only began allowing the balls last year). At all other times—day and night—he is held in his cell alone. While skylights allow filtered sunlight into the units, there are no windows.
Reporter: Michael Montgomery
Videographer: Singeli Agnew
Editor: Lisa Pickoff-White
Produced by KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting
- The “Vicious Cycles” Created by Solitary Confinement (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- California starts emptying solitary confinement cells (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Faced With Lawsuit, State Moves to Transfer Prisoners From Controversial Isolation Units (blogs.kqed.org)
- Pelican Bay families support prisoners (dmitryev.wordpress.com)
by Mutope Duguma
Prior to our two hunger strikes in 2011, we prisoners who are suffering indefinitely in solitary confinement for being validated as prison gang members or associates, held in these Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) and Security Housing Units (SHUs) anywhere from one to 40 years, have been unable to successfully challenge these conditions because the CDCr* was and is the conspirator in this safety-and-security-of-the-institution scam/scheme that fleeces Californians out of their taxpayer dollars.
For the past 40 years, prisoners have been removed off general population (GP) due to being validated as alleged prison gang members or associates. This is the sole reason for our placement: not behavior.
If it was behavior-based lockup, none of us would be in SHU.
CDCr started this indefinite lockup in the mid- to late 70s, 1975 to 1979, and CDCr soon realized that there was an economic incentive for labeling prisoners as a threat to the safety and security of the institution.
CDCr also locked people up for their program failure by sentencing them to determinate SHU lockup, meaning that if you commit a SHU offense, you will be held in solitary confinement for a period of time, anywhere from three months to five years. If you are a repeat offender, then you will be given an indeterminate SHU program, classified under the program as a failure or disruptive group.
But that placement is based on what the prisoner actually did, as evidenced by Rules Violation Reports (RVR), which are used to justify one’s SHU placement. This basis is supposed to afford the prisoner the right to his or her due process, and if the prisoner maintains good behavior, he or she would be released from SHU by the Institutional Classification Committee (ICC). Due process is, or was, afforded to all under the indeterminate SHU, because your behavior actually dictated your release.
CDCr decided that they wanted a certain class of prisoners off GP and that they – CDCr officials and officers – could, at the same time, make a profit, because as we have explained, it costs a lot more to hold someone in solitary confinement. Rounding up figures, costs are in the amount of $71,000 annually for each solitary confined prisoner and $60,000 annually for each prisoner in GP.
CDCr started this indefinite lockup in the mid- to late 70s, 1975 to 1979, and CDCr soon realized that there was an economic incentive for labeling prisoners as a threat to the safety and security of the institution.
The prison gang validation system would not be used to place prisoners indefinitely in indeterminate-SHU programs – NO consideration for good behavior, like, for instance, remaining discipline free, no criminal offenses, no gang offenses etc. This validation system is run by the prison gang intelligence (?) officials and officers, and the use of prison informers, accusing other prisoners of being part of a prison gang. A prisoner could be discipline free for years on top of years and still be placed in solitary confinement for the rest of his life – on the word of a prison snitch or a corrupt CDCr validation system with an indefinite term.
Here’s a cost analysis that shows why! Every 500 prisoners placed in solitary confinement in California are worth $71,000 multiplied by 500 equals $35,500,000, or thirty five million, five hundred thousand dollars annually – a lot of extra money for guard pay.
But there are more than 3,000 prisoners in solitary confinement – in SHUs – in California. Sadly, we are not counting the 14,000 prisoners held in Ad-Seg, anywhere from one to eight years, at a cost of $77,740 a prisoner. And they are being held illegally in Ad-Seg throughout CDCr prisons, waiting to go to SHU for long periods of time, in violation of CDCr California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Rules and Regulations governing Ad-Seg retention. Prisoners have been held for years awaiting space in SHU units because of overcrowding.
CDCr decided that they wanted a certain class of prisoners off GP and that they – CDCr officials and officers – could, at the same time, make a profit, because as we have explained, it costs a lot more to hold someone in solitary confinement.
Director of CDCr Matthew Cate [this was written before his recent resignation] and Undersecretary Terri McDonald lied when they said that there are only 3,000 prisoners held in SHU, because Ad-Seg is no different from solitary confinement; it is the beginning of the physical and psychological torture of prisoners held in solitary.
Many Ad-Seg prisoners debrief (snitch) before they are even validated to get out from under these conditions and for their own selfish reasons. That is one of the reasons why CDCr officials hold them in Ad-Seg so long, isolated, in order to magnify their suffering. Many Ad-Seg prisoners are treated so badly that they begin to file 602 appeals to be sent to SHUs, where their only relief is to receive their personal property while still being subjected to torture inside these SHU units.
The governor and the CDCr director are lawyers who should be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity – i.e., torture – and abuse of the power entrusted to them, and the race based confinement placement.
CDCr and the state of California should be held accountable for the fleecing of the California tax payers, for the countless billions of dollars they have been swindled out of. Because CDCr is not paying $71,000 dollars per year on each prisoner held in solitary confinement.
Every taxpayer NEEDS to realize this.
CDCr gets $180 million annually from the state, and 80 percent of that goes to payroll, amounting to $144 million. This leaves only 20 percent, or $36 million, to oversee a total of 3,234 prisoners to be taken care of annually on that $36 million. And Pelican Bay shaves still more off of that $36 million in order to put more money into staff pockets.
Here are CDCr’s annual housing costs for 2010-2011:
- per SHU prisoner: $70,641
- per GP prisoner: $58,324
- per PSU (psychiatric unit) or EOP (enhanced out-patient program) prisoner: $171,857
- per Ad-Seg or ASU prisoner: $77,740
- per Level 1 (low risk) prisoner: $43,640
These numbers alone should build outrage toward shutting down these torture chambers. This is fleecing of taxpayer dollars – i.e., embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation etc. The United States governments – local, state and federal – have manufactured ways to steal taxpayer monies by utilizing a race-based system of exploitation of people of color, especially here in California.
CDCr gets $180 million annually from the state, and 80 percent of that goes to payroll, amounting to $144 million. This leaves only 20 percent, or $36 million, to oversee a total of 3,234 prisoners to be taken care of annually on that $36 million.
We prisoners are being forced under the brutality of a prison system that has set out to torture us into becoming prison informers by using the power of the system, CDCr, to physically and psychologically torture us by holding us in solitary confinement (Ad-Seg and SHU) indefinitely. This fact is demonstrated by the resistance CDCr has put up in order to maintain their money making machine – i.e., solitary confinement units – against us prisoners.
They have offered us prisoners nothing substantial toward our release from solitary confinement; instead, they have manipulated and blocked any attempt we have made toward our Five Core Demands: 1. An end to group punishment; 2. The abolishment of the debriefing policy and modification of the active/in-active gang status criteria; 3. An end to long term solitary confinement; 4. The provision of adequate food and adequate medical treatment; 5. The provision and expansion of education and constructive programs and privileges, for indefinite SHU prisoners.
They have offered us prisoners nothing substantial toward our release from solitary confinement; instead, they have manipulated and blocked any attempt we have made toward our Five Core Demands.
We have to expose this system of race-based exploitation of prisoners and the fleecing of the California taxpayers by looking at substandard medical care in California prisons. CDCr’s “medical doctors” started using psychiatric medications in order to treat prisoners for various ailments. We are talking about unmanaged doses of drugs, which has led to an influx of highly medicated prisoners in solitary confinement, being diagnosed as crazy. These quack doctors had to know that prisoners would be compromised by these drug overdoses. We can say that prisoners were being used as guinea pigs – i.e., laboratory rats – because this has been going on a minimum of 50 years.
The use of inappropriate drugs, in dosages of questionable amounts, exploded when prisoners were assigned to the solitary units in large numbers. This was the era when the psychiatric and medical doctors began to use these drugs for everything, telling prisoners, “It will only be considered psych medication it you take it in higher doses. We just give you enough for your medical problem, because a lot of these medications work well for your medical condition.”
We are talking about unmanaged doses of drugs, which has led to an influx of highly medicated prisoners in solitary confinement, being diagnosed as crazy.
We can see clearly now that this was nothing but a scheme from the get-go, because it takes $172,857 per inmate to be housed in the PSU/EOP units. These are ridiculous numbers and the American people need to know this truth, because hard working taxpayers are being ripped off of billions of dollars, and the CDCr is the biggest scammer of taxpayers in the history of California, where, currently, you have a family of four, on the streets, living on $23,000 per year.
Yet the CDCr got the state government providing $171,857 per prisoner held in PSU/EOP units, along with $70,641 per SHU prisoner, $58,324 per GP prisoner, $77,740 per ASU prisoner and $43,640 per Level 1 prisoner.
And there’s no money for anything in this state that will improve on the growth and development of children, teenagers and adults throughout the state. The money has been going into the pockets of politicians, judges, lawyers and CDCr personnel. The director of Adult Division of CDCr, Giurbino, makes hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing nothing but overseeing the exploitation of prisoners.
CDCr is a powerful institution because of the fleecing of California taxpayers’ money, which allows CDCr to use billions of dollars toward paying off lawyers, politicians, judges etc. in order to maintain their power structure.
And there’s no money for anything in this state that will improve on the growth and development of children, teenagers and adults throughout the state.
Time is now to destroy Goliath!
One Love One Struggle,
Mutope Duguma, Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement
Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, PBSP SHU D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.
*The acronym CDCr, for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is sometimes written with a lower case “r” to indicate that the rehabilitation part of its mission has been abandoned in recent years.
- California prisons revamp isolation cells policy (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Prisoners reject CDCR proposal; threaten new hunger strike (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Thursday the new policies will give inmates more incentives to drop their gang activities.
Gang members can earn more privileges and get out of the isolation units in three to four years — instead of six — if they behave and participate in rehabilitation programs.
Prison officials say they recently began reviewing the 3,100 inmates currently held in isolation cells to see if they can be sent back to the general prison population.
Other portions of the new policies will take effect early next year.
Conditions in the isolation units have repeatedly led to widespread inmate hunger strikes.
Via @ Associated Press
- California changes policies on prison isolation units (mercurynews.com)
- Report decries suicides, isolation cells in California prisons (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
An Amnesty International report says conditions in the state’s security housing ‘breach international standards.’ State officials rebut the findings. Many of the suicides occurred in isolation units.
There, in solitary confinement, he began to unravel, prison documents showed. He slept little. Hygiene became sporadic. He heard voices and knocking on the walls.
In 15 months, Machado went from being an inmate who helped others craft legal appeals to one who smeared feces on his cell. In October 2011, he killed himself.
California has more inmate suicides than any other state, a total that is rising even as its prison population falls. Almost half those deaths occurred in the system’s segregation cells.
According to an Amnesty International report to be released Thursday, conditions within the state’s security housing “breach international standards on humane treatment.”
“It would crush you,” said Tessa Murphy, an Amnesty International observer who was given unusual access to the isolation units at Pelican Bay and two other California prisons last November.
But California officials rebutted Amnesty’s findings, insisting the state’s security units “follow the national standard. They are clean. They are secure,” said Terri McDonald, who is in charge of prison operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
She cited the constant monitoring of those units — the result of federal lawsuits over poor medical and mental healthcare in the state system. “We have not been inhumane,” McDonald said.
There currently are more than 3,100 inmates living in California’s maximum security segregation units, and thousands more in similar administrative segregation units.
The windowless, 7- by 12-foot cells at Pelican Bay exceed international space standards for a single inmate. The only way in or out is through a perforated steel door that looks out onto a concrete wall.
Except for an unknown number of prisoners who have cellmates, Amnesty International reported that there was no contact with other inmates and little interaction with the guards — who monitor them via closed circuit cameras, open doors with remote switches and push food through slots.
Segregated prisoners do not have access to rehabilitation programs, the report said. They are permitted to exercise 90 minutes a day, inside a concrete enclosure through which a slice of sky is visible 20 feet overhead.
Group therapy consists of inmates in individual holding cages lined up before a therapist; physicians examine ill inmates through the closed cell door.
According to state officials, the average stay in solitary confinement is 6.8 years — although California is set to begin a trial program next month that would allow compliant inmates out of isolation after four years.
But Amnesty International reported that at least 500 prisoners have spent more than 10 years in isolation. Seventy-eight inmates have been segregated for more than 20 years.
“There is no question … the conditions are among the worst in the nation,” Murphy said.
Continue Reading @ The LA Times
- New Amnesty International report assails California’s use of solitary confinement (sentencing.typepad.com)