Strike, Litigate, Research, Organize - Prisoners Build Movement
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.