California Strike Against Torture in Prisons - 8 July 2013

California Strike Against Torture in Prisons - 8 July 2013

initiated in May 2011
updated on June 17, 2014

(campaign updates are added to the top, for full articles related to this campaign scroll down)

Strike Suspended Again After 60 Days

As prisoners were facing critical medical concerns at the rate of 10/day, and only 40 of the 100 on strike had been going the full 60 days, the hunger strike has been temporarily suspended once more. Now is a crucial time to provide organizational support to California prisoners as they regroup for the next leg of this struggle. Contact MIM(Prisons) to volunteer and help out.

One dead in Corcoran, Others' lives at risk

The first reported death during the hunger strike came out of Corcoran late this week. While others have reported their usual medical care cut off and not getting the state mandated health checks while fasting.

Outside supporters should call, email or even write letters to send a message including something such as:

I am asking you to please ensure that proper health care continues to be provided to prisoners under your care and that denial of such is not used as a form of punishment towards those protesting their already dire conditions.

contacts:

Corcoran Warden Connie Gipson: Corcoran State Prison, P.O. Box 8800, Corcoran, CA 93212, (559) 992-8800

Pelican Bay warden Gregory Lewis:
Gregory.Lewis@cdcr.ca.gov
707-465-1000 x5001
Greg Lewis, Warden Pelican Bay State Prison PO Box 7000 Crescent City, CA 95531-7000

Dr. Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of CDCR 1515 S Street, 5th Floor Sacramento, California 94283
phone: 916-323-6001 (alternatively 916-445-5073)
fax: 916-442-2637

Week 2 Phone Blast

Tomorrow (7/15/2013) marks 1 week for the hunger strikers in California. The CDCR has reported over 12,400 who are officially fasting by their standards, and at least 30,000 that have forgone meals in support.

All justice loving people, now is the time to voice your concerns about solitary confinement and have the most impact. Call Governor Jerry Brown and tell him that all long-term isolation must be shut down in compliance with international laws against torture.

Phone #'s: (916) 445-2841, (510) 289-0336, (510) 628-0202

8 July 2013 Update

The strike went off with a bang today, with a reported 30,000 prisoners across most of California's prisons refusing food on the first day of the strike.

June 2013 Update

The latest round of negotations with the CDCR have failed. The Short Corridor Collective have released a statement announcing this and the plans for indefinite food and work strike starting July 8th. Comrades in Corcoran and San Quentin's Adjustment Center are organizing to begin hunger striking this day as well. All prisoners are called to stop work starting July 8th to support the struggle for an end to torture in California prisons. MIM(Prisons) has begun circulating update letters to our supporters in California. Donations of money and labor to support this work are welcome. Articles updating this campaign are linked below.

March 2013 Update

The struggle continues in California to stop torture. After the CDCR failed to uphold their end of the bargain after negotiations following the last couple hunger strikes, the Short Corridor Collective announced plans to launch another hunger strike beginning 8 July 2013, until the 5 core demands are met.

They have also put out a call to other prisons to develop their own demands if their needs differ from conditions faced in Pelican Bay. Prisoners are organizing across California, as well as in other states, for the upcoming strike. MIM(Prisons) is promoting a statement to comrades in United Struggle from Within to lay out what it would look like for the CDCR to put an end to torture in their prisons.

The info below provides further background to this struggle, followed by a constantly updated list of articles with further developments.

Original Campaign Info

Prisoners in the short-corridor Group D control unit in Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP), Crescent City, California are planning a food strike to protest inhuman conditions of isolation. These prisoners are locked up in long term isolation, often on false gang validations as punishment for political organizing or refusing to snitch on others. They are cut off from contact with their families, not even able to send photographs, or talk to them on the phone. Their food strike begins July 1 2011. Their demands include an end to group punishment for individual actions and an end to the bogus debriefing process, more visitation and interaction with family members, and adequate food. Read a full list of their demands here.

Pelican Bay is where many politically influential prisoners in California are sent, which is in fact the reason why the unit was built in the first place. The construction in 1989 was part of a conscious campaign to crush prison activism and the inherently anti-imperialist politics of the incarcerated oppressed nations, following the strong prison movement that peaked in the 1970s in California.

The Security Housing Units (SHU, also knowns as Control Units) were developed to isolate the most capable leaders among the prisoners. The groups that weren't crushed were outlawed. Through the process of "gang validations," the control unit in PBSP is used to limit the organizing abilities of members of oppressed nations. The more politically active and revolutionary-minded a prisoner is, the more they are targeted by the state for transfer to Pelican Bay or another SHU. People are not isolated because of violent acts they commit, or even for having plans of committing violent acts; they are isolated because it is illegal for them to interact with their own people.

That it is illegal for oppressed people to organize with each other, for any reason, is obviously a method of ensuring the supremacy of the Amerikan nation in North America, yet it is presented by legislators, politicians, prison administrators, and the corporate media as a way of saving the streets from criminal organizations. In Under Lock & Key issue 7, MIM(Prisons) and many prisoners explained that when prisoners are not allowed to organize for their own interests as oppressed peoples, violence actually increases in prisons and then spills out onto the streets. The talking heads could easily recognize this contradiction, but choose not to because it does not serve their interests. Amerika wants divisions between, and violence amongst, oppressed nations peoples, because it keeps the oppressed distracted from their common enemy.

How does staff determine that someone is a gang member? Playing a game of chess with a validated persyn, receiving a greeting card from a validated persyn, or even just talking to a validated persyn can get you validated, too. "Confidential information" is often used to validate someone, which may be falsified by someone trying to save themselves from these inhuman conditions, or may not exist at all.

Prisoners in PBSP are forced to "debrief" (snitch) if they want to get out of the SHU, whether they have real information on someone or not. The prevalence of snitching is an indicator of the current state of disunity within prisons. But snitching doesn't necessarily come from persynal vendettas; people say what the administration wants to hear, or what the administration tells them to say, and it is accepted as evidence by the very same administration. The snitch is then ostracized for obvious reasons. That extreme isolation, torture, violence, and denial of privileges are used to extract this "information" shows that the administration is the real enemy here. If the administration let up their torture tactics, we believe most snitching would stop.

Oppressed people should be allowed to organize freely, even in prisons, and we are not content with a "more transparent" validation process, or a validation process conducted by a third party. The conditions in Pelican Bay State Prison reflect the state of the criminal injustice system across the United $tates. Prisons are used as a tool of social control, and this has resulted in the largest prison population in the world (relative to population size), and the locking up of large portions of the Black and Latino nations. It is no surprise that this system leads the oppressed nations to organize themselves behind bars. Self-defense against a system that is literally burying people alive would demand no less. This leads to an ever worsening cycle of repression and isolation within Amerika's prisons. The only real solution is an end to the entire criminal injustice system. While we fight for that revolutionary change, MIM(Prisons) supports the demands of striking prisoners on short-corridor Group D in Pelican Bay State Prison.

Support the striking prisoners!
Do any or all of the following:

Write letters of support to the following addresses saying you support the strikers and demand an end to the inhuman isolation. Click here for an example letter.

Warden Greg Lewis
Pelican Bay State Prison
P.O. Box 7000
Crescent City, CA 95531-7000

Internal Affairs CDCR
10111 Old Placerville Rd, Ste 200
Sacramento, CA 95827

CDCR, Office of the Ombudsman
1515 S Street, Room 540 North
Sacramento, CA 95811

Send copies of your letters to:
MIM(Prisons)
P.O. Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

Ensure the strikers are treated properly by staff. From a California prisoner: "Ask the Prison Law Office to do their job and file a motion to Judge Henderson to make sure the Inspector General and the prison medical overseer/monitor is here at PBSP from July 1 until the conclusion of the hunger strike. They should be here to make sure there's no abuse, that no medical-records or weight-scale tampering is conducted by medical or prison staff, and no retaliation is conducted by the administration on any of the hunger strike participants. Examples of retaliation would be moving them, removing all liquids (coffee, tea, etc.) and all other property from their cells, etc. You can also ask Judge Thelton Henderson to get involved; ask Dem. State Senators and Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano and Jerry Hill to exercise their right as state legislators to oversee PBSP's medical and prison staff during the hunger strike; ask the Office of the Inspector General to be here for the reasons mentioned above; get Governor Brown involved, and inform the media of our hunger strike."

Prison Law Office
General Delivery
San Quentin, CA 94964
prisonlaw.com

Office of the Inspector General
P.O. Box 348780
Sacramento, CA 95834-8780
oig.ca.gov

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
gov.ca.gov

Judge Thelton Henderson
United States District Court
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36060
San Francisco, CA 94102-3489
cand.uscourts.gov

Assemblymember Jerry Hill
1528 S. El Camino Real
Suite 302
San Mateo, CA 94402
asmdc.org/members/a19

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
455 Golden Gate Avenue,
Suite 14300
San Francisco, CA 94102
asmdc.org/members/a13

Send copies of your letters to:
MIM(Prisons)
P.O. Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

Write letters together. Gather some people together (at your workplace, school, etc.) to write the letters above.

Print and pass out flyers. Click here to download a flyer we made to publicize this strike. Print and pass it out, or make your own flyer.

Host a candlelight vigil or demonstration to publicize and show support for the strikers.

Tell us what you are doing to support the striking prisoners so we can publicize it on our website.

Sign the petition. If you can't provide support on the ground, at least click here to sign an online petition. The creators of this petition plan to send it to Governor of California Jerry Brown, Secretary of CDCR Matthew Cate, and Warden of Pelican Bay State Prison Greg Lewis.

Get email updates. There is an email digest with updates being ran by comrades at: hstrikenews@yahoo.ca

Background Documents: Original complaint filed with the governor in February 2010

Background Video:

Updates/Reports from Inside

Related Censorship

Click for more STATE DATE TYPE TITLE REASON GIVEN FACILITY DIRECT LINK
[CA] 09/19/2013 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 33 (July 2013)p1 advocates a hunger strike [Download Documentation] Gib Lewis Unit permalink
[CA] 02/01/2012 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 - Intropage 7 contains information advocating a hunger strike Buster Cole State Jail permalink
[CA] 12/30/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)pg 7 contains informatino advocating a hunger strike Gib Lewis Unit permalink
[CA] 12/30/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 - Intropage 7 contains infomation advocating a hunger strike Hughes Unit permalink
[CA] 12/30/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)Page 7 contains information advocating a hunger strike Bill Clements Unit permalink
[CA] 12/30/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)page 7 contains information about a hunger strike Hughes Unit permalink
[CA] 12/30/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)page 7 contains information advocating a hunger strike Bill Clements Unit permalink
[CA] 12/29/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)page 7 contains information advocating a hunger strike [Download Documentation] Bill Clements Unit permalink
[CA] 12/29/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 23 (Nov. 2011)Board Policy 03.91 (c) It contains ... information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons ... [Download Documentation] Wynne Unit permalink
[CA] 11/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateunknown - no notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 11/01/2011 letter Hunger Strike updateplans to breach security [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 11/01/2011 letter Hunger strike updateno notification given This was overturned California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 11/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateunknown - no notification given California Correctional Institution permalink
[CA] 11/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateno notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 10/28/2011 letter Hunger strike updatenotification given to prisoner Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger Strike updateplans to disrupt the order, coded messages, promotes gang activity Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger stike letterPlans to disrupt, Promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt the order, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activity Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter personalizedPlans to disrupt the order, gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt, Promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt the order, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/26/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/25/2011 letter Hunger strike updateDisruption of daily operations Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/25/2011 letter Hunger strike updateCorrespondence concerning the disruption of daily operations of the prison. Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/24/2011 letter Hunger strike update.Disruption of daily operations of the prison. California Correctional Institution permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateCorrespondence concerning the disruption of daily operations of the prison. Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateCorrespondence concerning the disruption of daily operations of the prison. Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateDisruption of daily operations. Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateDisruption of daily operations Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateDisruption of daily operations of the prison. California Institution for Men permalink
[CA] 10/21/2011 letter Hunger strike updateCorrespondence concerning the disruption of daily operations of the prison. Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt orde, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt order, coded messages Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt order, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt, promotes gang activity Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt order Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike letterPlans to disrupt order, Promoted gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt, promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/20/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt the order, or breach the security; promotes gang activities Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/06/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/06/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/06/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/06/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter Hunger Strike UpdatePlans to disrupt the order, or breach the security; unauthorized inmate-to-inmate corresponsdence, etc. [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/05/2011 letter hunger strike updatecontraband [Download Documentation] Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/01/2011 letter Hunger strike updateunknown - no notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 10/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateno notification given Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateno notification given Salinas Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 10/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateunknown - no notification given Kern Valley State Prison permalink
[CA] 09/26/2011 letter Hunger strike updatePlans to disrupt the oder, Plans for activities which violate the law Pelican Bay State Prison permalink
[CA] 08/01/2011 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 21 - Introno notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 07/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateUnknown - no notification given California Men's Colony permalink
[CA] 07/01/2011 letter Hunger strike updateno notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 07/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateno notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 07/01/2011 letter hunger strike updateunknown - no notification given California State Prison, Corcoran permalink
[CA] 07/01/2011 letter hunger strike letterno notification given California Institution for Men permalink
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