I am a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison in the ASU stand alone. As such, we are allowed no TVs and no radios as there are no electrical outlets. I am participating in the hunger strike. I had started July 1st, 2011 but took a step back and allowed the prison and the whole of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation a chance to conform to the demands/requests made. As you know, none of the core demands were addressed. Just more of the same old same old, hurry up and wait. Because of that, the hunger strike has started again, but I have no way to know the latest as I have no TV and no radio. Then like a godsend I receive your latest newsletter letting me know if I need updates, hey just write my friends at MIM(Prisons) and they will make me feel not at all alone!
This strike is being done peacefully, but yet one of my fellow prisoners in support of the hunger strike was assaulted by IGI [Institutional Gang Investigations]. Not once did he try to resist, and everywhere we go we are in restraints.
I've already lost 2 pounds, which is nothing yet, but I'm a man who will see this through till my body seizures. I'm well aware that my medical disorder (seizures) is something not to be playing with. I will stay positive and focus on the big picture of what's important: change. I'm not in Pelican Bay, but I've been validated and since March of 2009 I have yet to receive what I got coming.
This memo was given to us on September 27. No advance directive was given to any of us who are food striking [an advance directive form allows food strikers to designate a person to make health care decisions on their behalf in case they become seriously ill]. I requested an advance directive and submitted it on September 26. I also sent a copy to my family.
I'm not alone here in Calipatria fighting the struggle. There are over 70 of us validated here who have been stuck here for over two years. Last year there were over 80 cell extractions here in ASU. This was for TVs, jackets and laundry they are not providing us. Nothing is being fixed here. All Calipatria administration did was ship out 12 prisoners who they considered the organizers.
I know the Calipatria administration isn't taking this hunger strike seriously. And in response to the September 27 memo some prisoners got intimidated and decided to eat. Many do not see the bigger picture and feel it is a lost cause.
After we stopped the first strike in July all we got was harassment, cold food and laundry messed with even more. I've been asking about receiving some disinfectant and was informed that we are not going to get it anymore. And we get hand soap, watered down, in a milk carton once a week per cell. We live in dirty filth here.
As thousands of prisoners wrap up day five of round two of the California Food Strike, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has stepped up its repression and propaganda in response to prisoners' demands for basic humyn rights. They have even declared it a punishable offense to peacefully campaign the state for these rights by refusing state-issued food.
The bourgeois press has been repeating the CDCR's ridiculous claim that if prisoners went on strike again it might delay reforms in the SHU system. Their audacity is laughable. We all know the strike is nothing but a scapegoat, and not the cause of their "delay."
Meanwhile, they have indicated that they will make conditions worse on three main points of the original Five Core Demands. All three points address the systematic repressiveness of the whole California prison system.
MORE GROUP PUNISHMENT - Not only has the CDCR threatened that reforms will be slowed down by another round of hunger striking, but they have implied that non-striking prisoners will also lose their programming as a result.(1) This is in direct contradiction to the first demand.
MORE SECURITY THREAT GROUPS - While the prisoners have demanded an end to the arbitrary and secretive system of giving people endless sentences in the Security Housing Units (SHU, long-term isolation) for "gang affiliation," the CDCR has publicly discussed broadening the "Security Threat Group" category to include street organizations. This will mean more people in SHU for indeterminate sentences.
MORE LONG-TERM ISOLATION - The third demand calls for an end to the torturous practice of long-term isolation. While the state has continued to assert that these practices are constitutional based on court rulings, they have promised to send more prisoners to Administrative Segregation and SHU just for participating in the hunger strike!
As laid out in the Five Core Demands, these are parts of a system of oppression that affects all prisoners. While comrades in SHU have the drive to put it down hardest because of their living conditions, the CDCR is making it clear that the implications will affect the whole system.
Even the reforms offered in the Gang Management Policy Proposal of 25 August 2011 allow the continued practice of keeping the most progressive and politically active prisoners in isolation indefinitely.(2) While this would put California more in line with what is done in most other parts of the country, it is hardly progress. This proposal highlights the political nature of the injustice system.
Even the Eight Short-term Action Items affecting prisoners in Security Housing Units listed in a 27 September 2011 CDCR memo(3) may not be granted to prisoners refusing to eat state-issued meals. They hope that by granting the more petty demands that they can break up the unity of California prisoners, convincing some to give up while they are ahead. The unreasonable actions of the CDCR during this whole conflict should convince any prisoner that such a move would be a mistake. There is no indication that California will be reducing its repression, and every indication that it hopes to heighten Amerika's war on oppressed nations.
State of California
Date September 27, 2011
To All CDCR Inmates
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Subject- INMATE PROGRAMMING EXPECTATIONS RELATIVE TO HUNGER STRIKES
Information has been received that a number. of inmates have engaged in behavior consistent with initiating a demonstration/hunger strike event. The Department will not condone organized inmate disturbances. Participation in mass disturbances, such as hunger strikes or work stoppage will result in the Department taking the following action:
Inmates participating will receive disciplinary action in accordance with the California Code of Regulations.
Inmates identified as leading the disturbance will be subject to removal from general population and placed in an Administrative Segregation Unit.
In the event of a mass hunger strike, additional measures may be taken to more effectively monitor and manage the participating inmates' involvement and their food/nutrition intake, including the possible removal of canteen items from participating inmates.
All inmates are encouraged to continue with positive programming and to not participate in this or any other identified mass strike/disturbance. These types of disturbances impact inmate programming and day-to-day prison operations for the entire population. While every effort will be made to continue normal programming for nonparticipating inmates, a large scale disturbance of this type will unavoidably impact operations. The Department will notify inmates and families when and if normal programming is impacted.
SCOTT KERNAN Undersecretary (A), Operations
cc: Terri McDonald George J. Giurbino R. J. Subia Kelly Harrington Tony Chaus Wardens
State of California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Date : September 27, 2011
To : All CDCR Inmates
Subject: REVIEW OF SECURITY HOUSING UNIT AND GANG POLICIES
In May 2011 the Department began the complex process of assessing the policies and procedures associated with the Gang Validation Process, Indeterminate Gang Security Housing Unit (SHU) Program, as well as privileges associated with inmates on Indeterminate SHU status. The purpose of the review is to improve our policies by adopting national standards in gang/disruptive group management. Before commencing this review, the Department received input from internal and external experts, other state and federal correctional systems, inmates, and other stakeholders While the process of policy review and change will take several more stakeholders to implement, much has already been done. In fact, a draft of the new policy should be ready for stakeholder review next month. In addition, several changes have already been made by the Department, including:
Short-term Action Items:
Authorization of watch caps for purchase and State issue. Authorization of wall calendars for purchase in canteen.
Authorization of exercise equipment in SHU yards (installation of permanent dip/push-up bars is still under review).
Authorization of annual photographs for disciplinary free inmates. Approval of proctors for college examinations.
Use of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) Ombudsman for monitoring and auditing of food services.
Authorization of sweat pants for purchase/annual package.
Authorization of Hobby items (colored chalk, pen fillers, and drawing paper).
Mid-term Action Items:
As noted above, the Department is conducting a comprehensive review of SHU policies that includes behavior-based components, increased privileges based upon disciplinary free behavior, a step down process for SHU inmates, and a system that better defines and weighs necessary points in the validation process. The initial policies will be completed shortly and upon Secretary approval will be sent for stakeholder review and comment. Upon receipt of this input, the Department will initiate any regulation changes in the administrative law process necessary and implement the first major changes to the validation process in the last two decades. Of course this work may be delayed by large-scale inmate disturbances or other emergency circumstances.
SCOTT KERNAN Undersecretary (A), Operations
cc: Terri McDonald George J. Giurbino R. J. Subia Kelly Harrington Tony Chaus Wardens
I'm writing to inform you about the food strike here in Pelican Bay. Everyone around ASU (administrative segregation) has been passing your articles around and I'd like to thank you and all of the protesters for showing us love and supporting us prisoners in PBSP. The strike has started and there's been a lot of traffic in ASU lately. We received a memo from undersecretary Scott (the liar) Kernan on September 27 stating:
"information has been received that a number of inmates have engaged in behavior consisting with initiating a demonstration/hunger strike event. The department will not condone organized inmate disturbances. Participation in mass disturbances, such as hunger strikes or work stoppage will result in the department taking the following action:... [See a complete copy of this memo in another article here.]"
Tomorrow, Friday [September 30], ASU stand alones start a stand and people here will be striking.
I've been put in ASU because when I was in the CTC a nurse disrespected me and I took a stand and received a false 115 for indecent exposure which never happened. I am currently in the 602 process of filing sexual harassment against resident nurse Joe Carr.
Let me take you on a step-by-step retelling of that fucked up day. After lunch time in the CTC infirmary I was being housed for a fractured jaw but after lunch I observed nurse Joe Carr making rounds so I called him over and asked nicely did he watch the game (football) on Sunday. I'm a big Raiders fan so I wanted to ask him the score. Carr got hostile and told me "none of my fuckin business, I went home on Sunday, that's what I did jack ass." Now I lost my cool and cussed him out so Carr tells me "You better get off your door or I'm gonna put you on strip cell suicide watch." I rebelled more and Carr said "get off your door or I'll write up some paperwork saying I seen you with your penis out masturbating." I told him he's a fuckin' liar and he says "my word against yours" and laughs.
The living conditions in ASU are those of a caveman: 3 showers a week, no phone calls, yard in a human dog cage, and no TVs because there are no plugs.
Quick note P.S.: Today, September 30th, while at yard in our cages, the police came and retaliated at the south siders in the strike. They denied yard and came in their cells and took magazines, books, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. The police are inhumane and this proves it.
Desde el 9 al 13 de septiembre 2011, marcamos el 40 aniversario de la rebelión de Attica. Fueron 1200 presos que actuaron como una sola fuerza, se organizaron y colectivamente ocuparon la correccional de Attica en el estado de Nueva York. El motín resultó en lo que un comisionario del estado describió como "el encuentro más sangriento entre estadunidenses desde la guerra civil [...] con excepción de la masacre de los indios nativos en el siglo diecinueve”.
En 1991, MIM escribió un suplemento especial para conmemorar el 20 aniversario, que documenta el evento histórico y su legado. Este mismo año presos en Nueva York, Nueva Jersey y Maryland boicotearon todos los programas del 12 de septiembre para "rendir homenaje a los martirios y guerreros que sufrieron, y quienes siguen sufriendo, bajo la represión del sistema penal de los Estados Unidos".
Las demandas de los presos de Attica en 1971 incluyeron cosas como el derecho de los presos de Nueva York a mantener una vida política sin temor de intimidaciones y represalias, el fin de censuras del correo personal y de los medios de prensa, la exigencia por más oportunidades de educación y trabajo de salario mínimo, y la liberación de presos sin condiciones de libertad. Además de estas demandas rectas, los presos emparentaron su lucha con aquella del pueblo del Tercer Mundo. La Historia condena la reforma de correccionales de MC11:
"Los presos de Attica en el año 1971 no estaban pidiendo el tipo de reforma que liberales ahora, y entonces, están ansiosos por implementar para hacerse sentir mejor. Los presos de Attica reconocieron el sistema de justicia criminal como una arma poderosa en el arsenal de la clase capitalista y querrían voltear esa arma contra sus opresores”.
"Hemos descubierto…la frustración de intentar de negociar con un sistema político empeñado en el genocidio", escribieron los presos de Attica en una declaración que fue pasada por contrabando durante la semana después del masacre.
"Se están cometiendo asesinatos no sólo en Vietnam, sino también en Bangladesh, África y Sudamérica. ¿Y qué no es cierto que nuestra declaración de independencia nos otorga el derecho de anular un gobierno que opresa a su pueblo y crear un gobierno nuevo? ¡Pues, nosotros aquí en Attica como todos los revolucionarios de toda la nación estamos ejerciendo ese derecho! ¡El tiempo es ahora para que todas las personas del Tercero Mundo reconozcan el verdadero opresor y lo expongan al resto del mundo!” (1)
En el articulo principal de las notas suplementarias de MIM, un preso menciona que Attica marcó un surgimiento fuerte en el movimiento por los derechos de los presos durante los primeros años de los años 70. En el último año hemos visto huelgas en los estados de Georgia y California donde miles de presos han participado en varias prisiones. Pero aún así parece que el movimiento todavía tiene que escalar aún más alto para poder llegar al mismo punto álgido de nuestra lucha que alcanzamos en aquellos días.
Mirando hacia atrás a Attica y las rebeliones antepasadas, podemos ver el principio y el final del periodo en el cual la contradicción entre los presos y el estado estaba a la vanguardia. La lucha durante este periodo trajo un poco de progreso para los preso en la forma de derechos temporales, concesiones y el apoyo del mundo libre para los cautivos. Pero aún más importante, miramos organizaciones colectivas juntarse en masa, uniendo a presos por su sufrimiento y abuso común por todo el alrededor del sistema de prisiones en los Estados Unidos. Esta unidad y lucha logró empujar al estado hacia atrás. Pero al mismo tiempo, también provocó que el estado desarrollara un plan para los reclusorios de aislamiento permanente y también pólizas que empojan drogas sicotrópicas a los presos mientras nuestros programas están nuevamente suspendidos, reafirmando la futilidad de la reforma de prisiones. Incluso en estos días cuando el estado se enfrenta a una resistencia significativa, se presenta en forma de demandas en los tribunales y huelgas de hambre donde se controla todo medio de comunicación y negociación muy firmemente. Todavía estamos en la etapa de jugar sus juegos con sus reglas y sus condiciones.
Hace solamente dos años, el 17 de septiembre 2009, que nuestro camarada Amare (Ra'd) Selton de "United Struggle from Within" se murió en Attica. Selton era un contribuidor regular de "Under Lock & Key” y también participaba en grupos de estudio de MIM, y con frecuencia tenia confrontaciones con los guardias de la prisión. No sabemos las exactas circunstancias de su muerte, pero MIM(Prisons) mantiene al estado de Nueva York responsable. Él es uno de muchos compañeros que han desaparecido después de ser enviado a Attica en los últimos años, demostrando el legado de represión que no ha disminuido.
En las notas de MIM, MC67 entrevistó a Akil Aljundi, uno de los hermanos de Attica que presentó una demanda, que finalmente ganó, contra el estado de Nueva York tras el asesinato de 32 de sus camaradas y 10 rehenes, y tras el embrutecimiento y negación de asistencia medica a cienes de otros.
MC67 concluye preguntándose cuales son las lecciones que se pueden extraer de la sublevación de Attica, a la que Aljudi responde: "Nunca confíen en el estado. Siempre estén preparados para lo peor. Sean firmes con sus demandas. Sean claros con sus objetivos. Pero también sepan que el estado puede ser malicioso”.
I have enclosed the latest attempt by Scott Kernan to run the same ol' mumbo jumbo about the gang policies and procedures/validation process, being reviewed. The trivial concessions are just things that we should already have. The food remains disproportionate, cold, and of poor quality. All the items one can purchase well that's all good for those with money. People like me who are indigent won't be affected at all. Our concern is that of the re-validation based on b.s. evidence, which for years under the Castillo settlement had been banned. Those same policies continue to remain the same. I'm on the third day of strike and everyone in my area will hold out until we get some concrete clarity from those who are informed directly. Meanwhile thanks for sharing all and anything on your end!
This place has again changed procedures, despite verbally declaring I'm on "hunger strike" and not accepting a food tray on September 26th, they are not recognizing my declaration after 3 days, to monitor my health! Procedures state 3 meals. They continue to make up procedures as they go.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is one of a number of comrades we have been in touch with that are not being counted by the CDCR as being on hunger strike, indicating their counts don't reflect the real level of participation.
In regards to the hunger strike that resumed on September 26th, well it did in fact resume here in this part of the SHU which is C facility nine and eight blocks. There are around seventy people participating who are going to continue up to the thirtieth of September. As you know, the main setback is the lack of communication, as not everyone is on the same page this time. Some learned of this through their own points of contact but not everyone is fortunate enough to have such means. Also it must be understood that we are dealing with many different oppressed nations so unless one hears about it from their own progressive representatives then they will not simply act upon the word of another prisoner.
That's the world that we live in today and that's why the original hunger strike had such historic undertones because nothing like that had ever been done before in California. And that is why the oppressors fear such unity as well as conscious awakening of the masses. But then again you yourself know this and that's what I like about MIM(Prisons).
MIM(Prisons) adds: In spite of the difficulties in communication and organizing around the hunger strike it has still been a remarkable success in getting so many prisoners across California to come together. This is an important step in the right direction, and underscores the need for the United Front for Peace that will bring together lumpen organizations against the common enemy of imperialism.
As you are probably aware, Pelican Bay State Prison(PBSP) prisoners [and thousands of others across the state — editor] have resumed its Hunger Strike, due to the California Department of Corrections' (CDC) stopping negotiations around its validation process and long-term isolation. My actions, and participation in these actions are of great importance to me, not only because it's a just cause but because it exposes the CDC's long standing practices which strip us prisoners of constitutional rights. I am also fighting this in the Northern District Court.
I participated in the July 1st hunger strike, and was one of the 17 prisoners who were tortured via a 13 or 15 hour bus drive to Corcoran. Upon arrival I was given the Corcoran introduction also called the Corcoran welcome during which I was assaulted by 3 prison officers, then paraded around in disregard of my condition (weak from the hunger strike and leg injuries from the assault, which made it difficult for me to walk) until I blacked out. I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit on the 20th day. During my time at Corcoran I was denied all type of CDC forms and my assault injuries were ignored as soon as I mentioned staff assault as the cause. Upon arrival at PBSP I filed two CDC 602s alleging torture and assault, which are still pending.
In my current lawsuit I allege racial discrimination since the gang management targets Hispanic prisoners and validates and segregates them at disproportionate rates in comparison to any other race. I took this angle because most validation appeals are defeated by the courts application of the standard which only requires the "same evidence" to maintain a prisoner on indefinite segregation. In my angle of racial discrimination, a different standard of law will be applied of which will require more scrutiny of the CDC's actions. In order to prevail I need to show the disproportionate segregation of Hispanic prisoners, and as you know we cannot rely on the CDC's numbers. So I'm wondering if you can help in providing me with an actual number of prisoners in the CDC and their race, and then the actual number of prisoners in segregation and their race etc.? So that we can break down the numbers and show it to the courts.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this prisoner for taking multiple approaches to the fight against the injustice system. Legal and organizational battles are both important. While we are not familiar with his lawsuit or the legal requirements around claims of racial segregation, this fits right in with our work to gather accurate statistics on control units in prisons across the country. We will supply the information we have to this prisoner, and we ask others to help with this project by requesting a survey to fill out about their prison and any others they know well.
I have been a prisoner of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for more than 11 years and am scheduled to be released within the next 2 years. But with no family left in this world, no place to go, no clothes other than the ones on my back, and no support system established... the odds are stacked up against me way before I am even released back into society and the only thing that the IDOC is going to provide me with before releasing me back into the so-called "free world" is a $10 check.
I am really interested in the July/August 2011 issue of Under Lock and Key because there's an article in there about a prison strike [in California]. A lot of people around the world aren't aware that the prisoners at the Stateville Maximum Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois had a similar prison uprising in February and March of 2011. It was swept under the rug by then Director Gladys C. Taylor and Governor Patrick J. Quinn. This movement wasn't just a particular gang or a particular race orchestration, we all came together as one mass body (Blacks, Latinos, and whites) to protest the condition that we've been subjected to ever since the Richard Specs video leakage in 1995. In fact, I'm enclosing a copy of my adjustment committee's final summary for your entertainment.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This prisoner gives two examples of how the state will not serve the needs of the oppressed. When prisoners try to work together and quash beefs to do something positive they are targeted for repression (see below). Then, after over a decade in prison, people are sent to the streets with no resources or support. This is why it is only by building institutions independent of the imperialist state that we can begin to address these complaints.
What this comrade describes happening in Illinois is also playing out in California in the second phase of the hunger strike. Both examples show the potential for organizing against oppression when prisoners are united. This is why we are working to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons which unites around the 5 principles of peace, unity, growth, internationalism and independence: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."
THE PROTEST LETTER BEGINS WITH THE FOLLOWING: "THIS MEMO IS FOR THOSE HERE IN STATEVILLE WHO ARE READY, WILLING, AND ENTHUSED WITH ANTICIPATION TO RISE TO THE OCCASION TO LEAD US AND USHER IN A NEW ERA. THUS CEMENT OUR NAMES IN HISTORY..." THE PROTEST LETTER IDENTIFIES SEVERAL ISSUES THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY ADMINISTRATION AND LISTS THEM. THE LETTER GOES ON TO SAY AFTER THE PROTEST AND GRIEVANCES HAVE BEEN FILED THEN THE INMATES WILL REQUEST THE WARDEN ISSUE MEMORANDUMS DETAILING THE CORRECTIVE ACTION THAT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED. THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL INMATES TO STOCK UP ON COMMISSARY BECAUSE BEGINNING MARCH 1 THE INMATES ARE NOT TO SUBMIT ANY COMMISSARY SLIPS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE FOOD TO GO BAD. THE LETTER THEN INSTRUCTS ALL THE INMATES TO BAN THE USAGE OF THE PHONE FOR ONE WEEK, NOT GO TO RECREATION FOR ONE WEEK, AND FILE GRIEVANCES ON ALL ISSUES STARTING MARCH 2011. THE LETTER THEN INSTRUCTS THE INMATES TO HAVE NO CONTACT WITH THE POLICE, IA OR ANY STAFF BECAUSE SILENCE GIVES THEM POWER AND WILL STRIKE FEAR. THE LETTER THEN REQUESTS THE INMATES TO HAVE THEIR PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE TO PROTEST WITH PICKET SIGNS IN FRONT OF STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER.
WHILE CONDUCTING A SEARCH OF CELL XXXX INVESTIGATIVE PERSONNEL CONFISCATED HANDWRITTEN DOCUMENTATION IN XYZ's PROPERTY DETAILING EVENTS OF THE PROTEST. THE DOCUMENTATION WAS FIVE PAGES TYPED AND ONE HANDWRITTEN PAGE.
DURING AN INTERVIEW XYZ CLAIMED OWNERSHIP OF SAID DOCUMENTS. XYZ STATED THIS DOCUMENT WAS BEING PASSED ON THE GALLERY AND HE KEPT IT. XYZ ALSO STATED THE PROTEST IS GOING TO HAPPEN AS SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 1, 2011.
ON MARCH 1, 2011 THE INMATES AT STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER PROCEEDED WITH THE PROTEST AS INDICATED IN THE PROTEST LETTERS THAT WERE BEING CIRCULATED IN GENERAL POPULATION. STATEVILLE WAS PLACED ON RESTRICTED MOVEMENT DUE TO THE INMATE PROTEST.
OFFENDER XYZ WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY INSTITUTIONAL GRAPHICS
1 Year CGrade 1 Year Segregation Revoke GCC or SGT 1 Year 3 Months Audio/Visual Restriction