Death Row Prisoners Kick-Off California Hunger Strike July 1
Death row prisoners in the Adjustment Center (AC) unit at San Quentin State Prison are organized and united in planning and executing a hunger strike this summer of 2013 to protest inhumane conditions of isolation and long-term confinement of prisoners in the AC. We are also protesting:
- The lack of law library access, exercise and yard equipment
- The unfair administration and classification committee practices
- The controversial and unfair practice of using inmate informants, anonymous informants and confidential information to retain prisoners in the AC for years
- The unlawful and under-the-table use of labeling a prisoner as an alleged prison gang member, associate or affiliate confirmation and documents (such as 1030s, 128 A/B, staff information) to hold them in the AC as "grade B" prisoners yet treating them as SHU/Ad-Seg Grade D prisoners for an indeterminate amount of time
- The unlawful practice of group punishment tactics and lockdowns
- The unlawful practice of "interviewing"/forced interrogation
- The illegal use and excessive practice of property restriction or property control
- The degrading practice and policy of "shower shoes only," stripping prisoners at yard in front of everyone, and not allowing prisoner to be fully dressed in state blues when going to law library
- The denial of religious, hobby craft, library books and educational programs or materials
- The unlawful practice of withholding, censoring, denying and returning prisoners' mail without notification or legitimate reasons to do so
- The denial of contact visits, phone calls, participation in food charity drives, nutritional items, honoring medical chronos and legal materials when prisoners haven't done anything to merit exclusion
- Lastly the excessive abuse of power and authority by the warden, his administration and staff to do as they wish with SHU/Ad-Seg prisoners in the AC.
In spite of the ongoing negotiations between the Pelican Bay Human Rights movement and top CDCR administrators, the San Quentin administration is resisting any attempt to improve the plight of death row prisoners housed in the AC. Ignoring Title 15, California's Code of Regulation for all California state prisoners, San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the OP608 which mandates that death row prisoners are under the control of the Warden of San Quentin. It is this illegal and repressive code of regulations that AC death row prisoners are vigorously challenging as well.
The AC is a prison within a prison, housing 102 prisoners with over 90% of them being condemned prisoners. Many of us have been housed here since our arrival into the prison system as condemned men. The majority haven't had a disciplinary infraction, and those who have exceeded the time limitations triple the maximum set to be served for them. It's a punishment unit and a psychological torture dungeon. We hardly ever leave the unit unless it is to see a medical specialist. We eat and shit in our cells. We're kept confined to our cells 22-24 hours a day, only to come out to yard, which is held 3 times a week for 2-3 hours, showers, which are done 3 times a week, medical sick call, and visiting.
Visits are conducted behind a dirty plexiglass window, through a 25-year-old 2-way intercom that interferes with and shares everyone's conversations, leading everyone to shout over one another for an hour.
Prisoners here are constantly deprived, harassed, ridiculed, psychologically tortured and have our only form of communication (mail) withheld for weeks or months, both incoming and outgoing. Often times we will learn of the death/passing of a family member or friend 3 months after the fact, not allowing us to send our condolences or what we would like to have shared in our absence at their burials, causing our family and friends to worry about us, not allowing us to pay our last respects to our dearly departed. This treatment is used to intimidate and break a prisoner's spirit, in order to have us submit and fabricate information on fellow prisoners for their release from this torturous dungeon and gain better privileges.
Our hunger strike begins July 2013 in solidarity with the national strike this summer. Our demands are fair, reasonable, and create no serious threat to the safety and security of the AC. They are all within the power and authority of the San Quentin warden to order as immediate changes without delay. These changes will create a more positive and productive environment by ensuring that prisoners be treated fairly and with human dignity.
We ask you for your support as we place our health, bodies and lives on the line in order to bring about a positive change peacefully. None of us want to die, but due to our deteriorating circumstances, having been sentenced to death and now the administration unjustly sentencing us all to an unlawful indeterminate SHU/"grade B" program, we are already suffering psychologically torturous death in the AC. Their abuse of power and authority has left us with no alternative but to place what we value most at stake, our lives, for positive change and human dignity. We would truly appreciate and welcome your support. Your help will give us strength and will nourish our starving bodies.
Here's what you can do to support us. Write letters of support to the following addresses saying you support the Death Row Adjustment Center strikers and demand an end to the inhumane isolation and the depriving program. Ask that they honor our demands swiftly.
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94964
Internal Affairs CDCR
10111 Old Placerville Rd, Ste 2000
Sacramento, CA 95827
CDCR Office of the Ombudsman
1515 S Street, Room 311 South
Sacramento, CA 95811
The California State Senate Research Team
Attn: Senator Darrell Steinberg
Sacramento, CA 94248
Tell them 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 SQSP 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 or any of the hunger strike participants.
California Strike Against Torture in Prisons - 8 July 2013