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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [Hunger Strike] [California] [ULK Issue 33]
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Week 2: Reports from CA Activists on Strike

july 8th hunger strike for humyn rights in CA prisons

The last week has seen unprecedented participation in the campaign to end torture in the form of long-term isolation in U.$. prisons. California is ground zero, where the state has reported at least 30,000 (20% of the prison population) in two-thirds of the state's prisons have participated in the strike and over 12,400 refused 9 consecutive meals. They said 2,300 skipped work or prison classes on July 8.(1) While we don't have much info on actions in other states, solidarity statements have been circulating from prisoners around the country. Meanwhile, street activism in the urban centers of the state have been hard to avoid, as have reports on Pacifica radio. Public officials, religious leaders, Palestinian political prisoners(2), a labor union and many humyn rights groups have championed the cause. To mark week 2, activists are trying to get 30,000 on the outside to call governor Jerry Brown to demand that California prisons abide by international law and stop this brutal treatment of prisoners.

Not everyone is in support of the strike. In typical pig fashion, Amerikkkans are flooding mainstream reporting of the strike with comments condemning the prisoners to suffer and die. One comrade in the Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor, where the thrust for recent resistance originated, reported guards saying,

"The bosses are redirecting us because of y'all's hunger strike and work stoppage and making us stay extra hours, so you guys have nothing coming!"(3)

The official word from CDCR is similarly discouraging. In an interview, spokespersyn Terry Thornton asserted that the CDCR does not believe that they are using solitary confinement. This conflicts with our surveys of prisoners, who report over 14,000 being held in conditions of long-term isolation in California. When asked about the debriefing process Thornton dis-ingeniously asserted that "none of these units are used for punishment." The CDCR also feels that "these reforms [the step down program] address every single demand made in 2011."(4) It seems the CDCR is the only entity to believe such nonsense.

Below are some other early reports we've received so far as we are going to print.


From a statement from another Pelican Bay comrade:

...As I prepare for this peaceful protest I know that I am forced to deprive my body of sustenance and endure possible harm, but this is necessary. It is as necessary as someone anywhere in the Third World who steps on the battlefield in order to fight the super parasite. This persyn does this because if this persyn don't do it no one else will. Yes there is support out in society from so many who see our oppression as the oppression of many throughout the world who stand with us, but any sort of change will ultimately come from prisoners ourselves who must raise awareness to the shameful conditions we face...

and more recently,

Today is the third day of the strike and everyone in my pod are participating for various different reasons. The morale and spirts are strong, i feel a little light-headed but i'm as determined asever and will continue. From what we gather we will start getting weighed in the next couple of days and we also expect our property to be inventoried. We hear on the loud speaker about "staff training" so e expect harrassment. Today we were asked, "Do you have food? Are you willing to relinquish it?" and told, "If it's found tomorrow you will not be counted as being on a hunger strike no more."


San Quentin update:

The San Quentin death row SHU (or Adjustment Center) always has it's 102 cells filled and there is always a higher percentage of Blacks and Latinos than whites or other nationalities. At least 25 are on hunger strike. We are filing group appeals. I for one will not be giving in to the pigs no matter what, and thank you for all the help.


from Corcoran State Prison:

I am participating in the ongoing demonstration with full intentions of ending this extreme corrupt treatment that we are constantly subjected to.

There are many around me who plan on making our voices heard. There is word of COs and medical staff who intend to disregard the proper procedure. That and the health of my associates is what I intend on recording step by step, making it public.

This struggle is for just cause and is intended to bring our humanitarian needs up to standard. We all know the system is blind to righteous modernism and will continue to end our lives as quick as it is to step on a bug. We must unite to bring back peace and order.

I submit this with the utmost admiration and respect, we look forward to all input and assistance.


Folsom State Prison:


Everyone who's aware of New and Old Folsom's history would be aware of the fact that there was once a time when the men behind these walls would stand together in solidarity if there was an occasion we were experiencing a common transgression brought on by prison administration. That era in solidarity has been dead for some time at New Folsom, but on July 8, 2013, it was as if that moment finally arrived. All affiliates, and races, once again at New Folsom on every yard, and every building, stood together in solidarity for a common cause! All prisoners at New Folsom once again joined together July 8 of this year to begin the "2013 Hunger/Work strike", all except for the prisoners who never stood for nothing a day in their life. Prisoners everywhere should only hope that this new change will be the beginning of a new era at a once vibrant, political shifting institution, and no matter what, July 8, 2013 will be remembered in history as "The Rise Again of a Once Political Empire."


Day 1 at Pleasant Valley State Prison:

I want to report that over here on A-yard at Pleasant Valley there is only one participant, me. And from what I'm finding out through the channels is that there is a good handful more doing their thing on the other yards. I don't know exact count, but B yard, I'm told, has about 7 or 8.

We are SNY. And I want to express to the comrades that this classification carries no weight or import when it comes to these acts of unity. One sergeant came to my door this morning and asked me why I was participating. After I told him he said "But you're SNY - that's active stuff going on." He even stated that he's going to submit a psych referral because it's odd that out of all 5 housing units, there is only me. I'm not tooting my own horn, I just want it known that although we're few, nevertheless we are here!

I only have one request: that there be direct correspondence with the known participants of this action, updates so that we are constantly aware of any progress or changes or news that is of substance and import to what's happening.

This morning they walked me to the clinic to take my vitals, check my weight, etc. As we know I'll be going every day. Hopefully others will come aboard, especially those I've been "witnessing" to. Hopefully they'll see my example.


Day 4 at Calipatria State Prison:

This is the fourth day of our hunger strike/work stoppage here in Calipatria mainline. Almost the whole yard participated. A couple of prisoners in my building headed off to work to go and do the pigs' bidding and undermine our efforts. However, the show of solidarity between all races is encouraging, especially between Blacks and Mexicans.

As you know there's a long history of conflict between these two groups in California prisons. Only a week after I got to this prison, less than a year ago, there was a racial riot between the two. Now they're standing together in righteous protest.

Before this began, CDCR officials started circulating their threats by way of an "Advisement of Expectations" outlining their latest repressive policies which aim to expand validation, making it extremely easy to target just about any prisoner for long-term isolation. When I read this document it was obvious that this was all an attempt to break our solidarity with prisoners in the SHU.

CDCR hopes to divide prisoners in the SHU by allowing some to escape those torture chambers while making it clear that it has no intention of even considering others for release. They also hoped to paralyze mainline prisoners with fear by letting us know that they can snatch any one of us off the line at any time and throw us in the SHU for the next five years. Needless to say, this hasn't worked. Our level of consciousness and commitment has been growing here in the mainline with every hunger strike.

MIM(Prisons) number one priority in supporting the current actions in California will be to provide regular updates to prisoners as we did in the previous waves of action. Meanwhile we encourage our outside readers and supporters to make phone calls, write letters and spread our articles on this important struggle.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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30,000 Spark California Hunger Strike

9 July 2013 - Yesterday the third in a series of hunger strikes in California prisons began after months of preparation and many more months of attempts to negotiate with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to meet basic humyn rights. According to the CDCR, around 30,000 prisoners refused food on the first day, indicating this will likely be the largest show of unity in action that California prisoners have ever made. That's about 20% of the state prison population and is more than twice the number of people that the CDCR reported participating in the second round of the hunger strike in 2011, demonstrating the success of the last two years of campaigning around the mutual interests of prisoners in demanding humane conditions.

According to the LA Times:

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.(1)

We expect the numbers not going to work to increase, as a diversity of tactics was promoted depending on one's situation, with indefinite hunger strike being taken up by the most dedicated and most abused prisoners. While the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective has pledged to strike until their original five core demands are met, the last year has allowed prisoners to adapt the demands to address the most pressing concerns where they are at.

While we have no official reports yet, comrades in other states have also pledged to participate in the demonstration. We will post those reports as they come in.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike]
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Yasiin Bey force-fed like a Guantanamo prisoner

yasiin bey force fed crying
Click the image above to watch/download the video of Yasiin Bey being forcefed.

Today prisoners across California are beginning round 3 of their strike against Security Housing Unit torture. It is fitting that a video has been circulating today featuring Yasiin Bey (rapper and actor formerly known as Mos Def) undergoing the same force-feeding procedure that U.$. prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been facing for months, and that California prisoners will likely be facing in the near future.

Hats off to Bey for being willing to do this to expose the torture that the United $tates is putting people through every day.

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[Hunger Strike] [Control Units] [Abuse] [New Jersey State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 33]
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Protest at New Jersey State Prison

Prisoners at New Jersey State Prison, the only maximum security facility in the state, staged a non-violent protest June 6 through 8, 2013. Initially, prisoners on the West Compound, the older part of the prison, and one of the oldest in the nation, functioning since 1830, refused to go to the mess hall for the entire day. Despite some lack of cooperation at the breakfast movement, the mess hall finally remained empty at dinner time. The next two days the modern North and South compounds of the prison joined in the protest, bringing the institution to a complete standstill.

The protest came as a consequence of several factors. First was the issue of collective punishment. The prison administrator issued an official memorandum in which he threatened to suspend recreation and privileges to entire wings of any individual prisoner who had committed a serious offense (a common occurrence on a prison that houses close to 2000 people).

Ancillary issues involved the harassment of people at the central rotunda, a place of obligatory pass for any activities, including meals, recreation, education and religious programs. The officers, with little supervision, or perhaps encouraged by supervisors, overtly harass inmates, many times without probable cause, as demanded by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of New Jersey, and affirmed by the 10A Code that regulates prisons in the state. Prisoners are stripped searched at the mere whim of any guard. Made up charges that lead to lock-up time are usually the result of such harassment.

The last issue that weighed on the decision to stage a non-violent protest relates to the abusive language and arbitrary searches conducted by a second shift sergeant. Sometimes, the results are outright sad and curious, i.e., the same shank found in several cells by the same sergeant.

In conclusion petty management practices, abuse of power by supervisors, lack of concern by the administrator and superintendent (supervision from an Ivory Tower), collective punishment, and indiscriminate use of lock-up as an instrument of control, led the prison community to unite as one to express their concerns.

It is important to highlight that the prison, at any given time, keeps an estimated 750 inmates on closed custody units such as 1-Left lock-up, Ad-Seg, MCU (Management Control Unit), and P.C. (Protective Custody) — a full 38% of the prison population. More than one in three prisoners are kept in solitary confinement.

Although nothing has changed as of the writing of this report, it is important to highlight that the level of unity achieved across nations and groups, the effective organization of the protest, and the fearful response by the state demonstrate the power of non-violent resistance in a corrections environment. During the demonstration the prison was militarized by SAG, the special operations response team of the DOC, hundreds of officers were summoned to work, and all administration had to report to work. It is presumable that the cost of overtime hours, and the emotional cost of an oppressive power challenged by the masses will affect the way in which future decisions are made by the administration. A group of prisoners were transferred to other facilities across the state, some others placed in solitary confinement. As it usually happens, most were not organizers of the protest.

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[Control Units] [Medical Care] [Mental Health]
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The Health Effects of Solitary Confinement

The author Charles Dickens (in American Notes for General Circulation) wrote these words about solitary confinement in 1842:
"I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers, and in guessing at it myself, and in reasoning from what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I am only the more convinced that there is a depth of terrible endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow creature. I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body, and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh, because it's wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear, therefore the more I denounce it."

Upon reading a study on solitary confinement I reflect on the following effects of this legalized tool of torture.

Significant decrease in the ability of the nervous system functions:

  1. Significant disruptions in hormone levels
  2. Absence of menstruation in women with no other physiological, organic cause due to age or pregnancy (secondary amenorrhea)
  3. Increased feeling of having to eat: Zynorexia/cravings, hyporerexia, compulsive overeating
  4. In contrast, reduction or absence of thirst
  5. Severe hot flashes and/or sensations of coldness not attributable to any corresponding change in the ambient temperature or to illness (fever, chills, etc.)

Significantly impaired perception and cognitive ability
  1. Serious inability to process perceptions
  2. Serious inability to feel one's own body
  3. Serious general difficulties in concentrating
  4. Serious difficulty, even the complete inability, to read or register what has been read, comprehend it and place it within a meaningful context
  5. Serious difficulties, even the complete inability, to speak or process thoughts in written form (agraphia, dysgraphia)
  6. Serious difficulties in articulating and verbalizing thoughts, which is demonstrated in problems with syntax, grammar and word selection and can even extend to aphasia, aphrasia, and agnosia
  7. Serious difficulties or the complete inability to follow conversations (shown to be the result of slowed function in the primary acoustic cortex of the temporal lobes due to lack of stimulation)

Additional limitations
  1. Carrying out conversations with oneself to compensate for the social and acoustic lack of stimulation
  2. Clear loss of intensity of feeling
  3. Situatively euphoric feelings which later transform into a depressed mood

Long-Term health consequences
  1. Difficulties in social contacts, including the inability to engage in emotionally close and long-term romantic relationships
  2. Depression
  3. Negative impact on self-esteem
  4. Returning to imprisonment situation in dreams
  5. Blood pressure disorders requiring treatment
  6. Skin disorders requiring treatment
  7. Inability to recover in particular cognitive skills (e.g. in mathematics) the prisoner had mastered before solitary confinement

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 33]
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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:

  1. The lack of law library access, exercise and yard equipment
  2. The unfair administration and classification committee practices
  3. The controversial and unfair practice of using inmate informants, anonymous informants and confidential information to retain prisoners in the AC for years
  4. 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
  5. The unlawful practice of group punishment tactics and lockdowns
  6. The unlawful practice of "interviewing"/forced interrogation
  7. The illegal use and excessive practice of property restriction or property control
  8. 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
  9. The denial of religious, hobby craft, library books and educational programs or materials
  10. The unlawful practice of withholding, censoring, denying and returning prisoners' mail without notification or legitimate reasons to do so
  11. 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
  12. 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.

[also see full text of open letter to CDCR from San Quentin strikers]

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.

Warden
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
Room 205
State Capitol
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.

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[Control Units] [Political Repression] [Nevada]
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Nevada Creates False Lists of Enemies

In Nevada, Security Threat Group (STG) and Disruptive Group (DG) designations have a formal process, so instead of attempting to STG/DG everyone they generate enemy or separate lists which are quite similar to the validation dilemma in California.

  1. There are no procedural safeguards so anyone can put anyone on these lists
  2. No investigation is conducted into the allegations
  3. You can't defend against any allegation
  4. You can't find out who the enemies/separates are because it's all "confidential" and ergo permanent.

Initially these lists were created to protect victims from predators and clashes between known enemies/factions, but they've become a weapon that staff and prisoners use to retaliate and cross out other prisoners.

While reviewing my file on an unrelated matter I discovered a document: "Nevada department of prisons central monitoring status sheet" (supposed to have been removed form the file prior to my review). On this document are detailed 2 additions of enemies/seperates. Both of these additions were placed there by staff to justify my transfer last year and conceal the fact that the transfer was in retaliation for my litigation. Both of these prisoners are friends, so it has the added consequence of insuring friends are permanently separated.


MIM(Prisons) adds: It's important that prisoners are aware of this tactic by the pigs to create false divisions between prisoners. It is in our interests to build unity, but the prisons see this unity as a threat. Separating people working together, under the guise of safety, is just another way the prisons try to stop our unified work against the criminal injustice system. The one constant (if you can get mail past the prison censors) is MIM(Prisons). If you stay in touch with us you will be in touch with the anti-imperialist movement no matter how isolated you are behind bars.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Gang Validation] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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San Quentin Adjustment Center list of demands to CDCR

Open letter to the Director of CDCR, the Warden of San Quentin Prison and the Captain of the Adjustment Center

San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the IP 608 Condemned Manual, which mandates that Death Row prisoners are under the control of the warden of San Quentin Prison. Therefore, after years of the abuse of authority by Adjustment Center (A/C) committee members and unit staff and after years of filing 602s that fall on deaf ears here in the A/C, all the way up the chain of command to Sacramento, a collective group of Death Row prisoners in the A/C will be joining in the statewide non-violent, peaceful hunger strike in July 2013 to demand that the warden of San Quentin use his power of authority to bring about positive change to prisoners housed in the A/C SHU.

For years, Grade B A/C prisoners have been told Grade B is not a punishment; it's just a "program" different from Grade A. So the warden should be able to use his power of authority to order the following immediate changes without delay:

  1. The warden should immediately implement a "behavior based program" that amends the current criteria that permit a condemned prisoner to be eligible for Grade A privileges and be removed from the punitive punishment of Grade B status, basing this program on a condemned prisoner's current good behavior and disciplinary free conduct regardless of a prisoner's alleged gang status or validation and eliminating the under-the-table and vague indeterminate status in the A/C. The warden must order the immediate release of A/C prisoners who are not validated as alleged gang members and associates and have remained disciplinary free for years.

  2. The warden must order the A/C committee to stop the controversial and unfair classification practices of using illegal inmate informants and anonymous informants and the so-called roster list of names to label prisoners gang members and associates and to stop the illegal and vague "mandatory debriefing" and vague validation process. San Quentin officials must put in place a set of standards and safeguards to protect a prisoner's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
    1. Any information used in A/C committee decisions must be first-hand information and must be corroborated by three different independent sources;
    2. A/C committee must state on the record why such information is indicative of gang activity and state on the record what California laws are being broken;
    3. Any information used against a prisoner must be provided to the prisoner and all copies of documents, such as 1030s and 128s, and debriefing reports placed in a prisoner's C-file must be immediately disclosed to the prisoner so he will have ample time and opportunity to contest and challenge any allegations in writing through administrative 602s and legal redress to confront his accuser or confidential source.

  3. The warden must (a) order the end of the administrative segregation of condemned prisoners to segregated yards that have been designed to label a condemned prisoner unjustly, (b) order an end to the constant use of bogus confidential inmate informants and bogus 1030 disclosure forms to deny A/C prisoners access to Grade A status and access to the A/C group yards, and (c) order that all four group yards in the A/C be labeled "re-integrated yard 1, 2, 3 and 4" and remove the racist yard labels of "Southern/White and Northern/Black" that A/C staff and committee have used for decades to instigate racial division and segregation among prisoners of different races who would like to program and co-exist on a group yard together. Every A/C prisoner should be given group yard unless the prisoner chooses to stay in a walk-alone cage. The warden must order that all walk-alone cages have roof coverings like the cages in East Block and Carson Sections, and add a dip bar in each cage for exercise.

  4. The warden should cease all group punishment tactics. Group punishments and lockdowns were designed for large-scale riots, not for alleged isolated incidents. The warden should cease the unlawful use of the interview/interrogation process and never allow the vicious attack and assault on prisoners by A/C staff just because a prisoner invokes his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refuses to answer questions during an interview/interrogation. This illegal policy of forced interrogations makes no sense because if staff utilize chemical agents on a prisoner, which have proven to be lethal, and attack him and then drag the prisoner into an interview/interrogation room, he will say, "I have nothing to say," and take the Fifth. Or the prisoner might give a statement based on his fear and the fact he was brutally attacked, in which case the information would be deemed "given under duress and torture, therefore unreliable." So the use of violence on prisoners, particularly on prisoners of color, is just an excuse and a blatant act of the worst kind of torture and racially motivated retaliation. Also, the administration should cease passing out "interview questionnaires" to prisoners after an alleged isolated incident because the informants read these questionnaires and re-word them and use them as first-hand information when the informants did not get the information from a prisoner but directly from a prison official. Simply put, these forms describing the incident are only done so rat inmates can exploit these incidents for gain by giving staff bogus and false statements to be used on 1030 disclosure forms and be rewarded by obtaining Grade A and other privileges and favors.

  5. The warden should order the end to the degrading policy of stripping out A/C prisoners outside during yard recall, violating Title 15, Section 3287(4)(8), which partly states that "all such inspections shall be conducted in a professional manner which avoids embarrassment or indignity to the inmate. Whenever possible, unclothed body inspections of inmates shall be conducted outside the view of others." Stripping out in the cold and rain is inhumane, and it's time for this policy to stop. The warden should allow A/C prisoners to wear tennis shoes or state shoes on all escorts, especially in the rain, to visits and medical escorts, and put an end to the "shower shoes only" policy and allow A/C prisoners to be fully dressed in state blues when going to the law library.

  6. The warden should order that the third watch sergeant return the scheduling of A/C prisoners for SHU law library to the SHU law librarian clerk and start utilizing all available SHU law holding cells so Death Row prisoners can do important research at least three to four times a month. A lot of prisoners are being denied access to SHU law library on a regular basis. The third watch sergeant should be ordered by the warden to end the practice of putting dinner food on paper trays to sit on the bed in the cell while prisoners are at law library as this practice is unsanitary and eating cold food is unhealthy.

  7. The warden should order the end of excessive use of property restrictions. No other CDCR prison in the state of California uses property restriction as a punishment and it's only done in extreme cases. Title 15 mandates no longer than 90 days. The excessive use of property restriction punishment in the A/C is based on nothing more than A/C committee members' abuse of power and authority and is never based on a prisoner's behavior.

  8. The warden of San Quentin should use the power of his authority to expand A/C Grade B privileges for prisoners housed in the A/C through no fault of their own and who have remained disciplinary free for years.
    1. Allow contact visits with family, friends and attorneys, or allow 2.5-hour non-contact visits in Booths A-l, A-2 and A-3 in the visiting room.
    2. Allow two phone calls per month.
    3. Allow hobby and educational programs for the A/C.
    4. Allow more educational channels like the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and National Geographic.
    5. Allow $110.00 canteen draw a month.
    6. Allow four food packages a year or two food packages and two nutritional packages of vitamin supplements and protein meal supplements from approved vendors.
    7. Allow A/C prisoners to participate in the food charity drives.
    8. Allow 10-book limit in cell, not to include any legal or religious books.
    9. Allow A/C prisoners to purchase white boxer underwear, T-shirts, socks and thermals from approved vendors at least four times a year (each quarter).
    10. Allow clear headphones, non-clear earbuds and headphone extension for TVs and radios or leave speakers connected in TVs and radios.
    11. Order the return of exercise equipment on the group yards, return the basketball court and the pull up bars, and add dip bars and a table and provide group yard activity items such as basketballs, handballs, board games and cards.

  9. The warden should order that all medical chronos issued and approved by the chief medical doctor be honored and order all A/C staff not to interfere with the medical needs of prisoners. Custody staff should have no say-so in medical needs of prisoners. If the medical needs of a prisoner cannot be met in the A/C, then the prisoner should be housed in a unit where his medical needs can be accommodated. The A/C unit staff must not be permitted to impose unjust punishments upon prisoners who have a proven need for medical appliances. When it is deemed medically imperative for modified cuffs, staff puts the prisoner on leg restraints claiming "safety and security," when in fact it is an attempt to discourage prisoners from seeking medical appliances by punishing them with unnecessary, painful, degrading and excessive mechanical restraints.

  10. Order the Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) unit to stop the harassment of interfering with A/C prisoners' mail. Incoming mail has been denied and held by IGI under the excuse of "promoting gang activity" with no further explanation of exactly what constitutes "promoting gang activity"! Many times incoming mail takes anywhere from 20 to 40 days from the postmarked date on the letter to reach prisoners in the A/C. Legal mail has been taking far too long to reach A/C prisoners, and it should be passed out with regular mail call at 3 p.m. so that prisoners can have plenty of time to respond to their attorneys by the 9 p.m. mail pick-up.

    All of these issues are fair and reasonable and create no serious threats to the safety and security of the A/C but can only create a more positive and productive environment in the A/C for prisoners who have been put in a punishment situation with no disciplinary write-ups for years. We ask that the warden of San Quentin and the captain of the A/C look into these issues as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

    Main A/C Representatives: Smokey Fuiava, E-35592, 2AC56; Richard Penunuri, T-06637, 3AC55; Billy Johnson, F-35047, 2AC51; Todd Givens, V-42482, 3AC52; Marco Antonio Topete, AK-7990, 1AC12; Cuitlatuac Rivera, T-35975, 2AC67 Body of Representatives: Bobby Lopez, K-76100,1AC16; Reynaldo Ayala, E-10000, 2AC59; James Trujeque, K-76701, 3AC13; Mike Lamb, G-30969, 2AC1; Hector Ayala, E-38703, 3AC4; Marty Drews, C-88058, 3AC2

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Control Unit Torture at San Quentin

The Adjustment Center (AC) is the politically corrupt designation given to the death row security housing unit (SHU) at San Quentin (SQ) which also serves as an administrative segregation unit (ASU) overflow. But for all intents and purposes the AC is a secret torture unit at SQ and a fraternal twin of CDCR's other torture units, now partially exposed by media attention resulting from the 2011 peaceful hunger strikes at Corcoran, Pelican Bay, Tehachapi and elsewhere.

Public Affairs Officer Sam Robinson conducts tours at SQ and would tell you with a straight face the AC is overflowing with "the worst of the worst", but you're not allowed inside. That's because the torture unit overlords, which includes but is not limited to Chief Deputy Warden W.A. Rodriguez, his cohort Assistant Warden J. Curzon, and their loyal attack dog Facility Captain Robertson, claim it's a "security risk." Truth be told, we do see how it would "risk" exposing them and the asinine antics common to their clique, how it would cost them the "security" of their jobs, and perhaps land a few of their asses in prison.

All this begs the question "who is really in the AC and how do they end up there indefinitely?" Here is an inside perspective.

On May 7, 2013, shortly after "yard is cancelled due to maintenance" was gleefully blasted over the excessively loud PA system in East block (where the majority of death row prisoners are warehoused), two prisoners in neighboring cells were confronted by a goon squad comprised of a red-faced Sgt. Reynolds and four henchmen all barking ferociously "don't touch anything and strip out!" As if at random these two prisoners were selected to be under suspicion of possessing cellphones. After being detained for over an hour in cages about the size where you might expect to see a pair of pet macaws swinging, they were again humiliated by being staged in their cells, but just long enough to see how everything in them had been tossed like salad during the frantic search that turned up no cellphones or contraband whatsoever, then relocated to the AC indefinitely pending the outcome of an "investigation." No rules violations reports (RVR) were issued, their property remains in a shambles at East Block, and this ride began over three weeks ago. For one of these two unfortunate prisoners his ride through this not so funhouse began in the dungeon.

Cells 1AC63 to 1AC67 are called "the dungeon" because a barred and padlocked gate separates them from the other twelve cells on the tier. The dungeon cell floors, concrete bunks, and walls are cracked, un-level, and flaking. Another bizarre feature is partitions extending about five feet or so from the cell fronts dividing them like horse stalls. The dungeon is primarily used to torture marginalized or hated prisoners, especially those already obviously suffering from mental disorders acquired at some point during their ride through this torture unit at SQ, or at one of the many others operating within the California prison system.

Shane Bauer spent months in an "Iranian SHU program." A short time after his release he blew the cover off gang validation policies and SHU conditions in California prisons. He reported Pelican Bay SHU was not identical to its Iranian twin but worse and in Iranian prison no one has served more than two years in solitary confinement! Getting held hostage in this torture unit for a couple years, decades, or more is business as usual at SQ just as in others operating in the United $tates.

In my opinion, one of the most diabolical ways they keep us on this ride is the "fabrication and rejection process." In short, this means getting RVRs fabricated against us, being found guilty at hearings where due process is considered a thing of the past, then having our appeals rejected. Prisoners cannot appeal a rejected appeal. That of course is by design, intended to delay, and if possible preclude exhausting administrative remedies — a requirement before prisoners can access the courts. The torture unit overlords really want to have their way with you and do all they can to get you to hang yourself in their noose-shaped loopholes. Could that be anything other than the designs of sadistic criminal masterminds?

Consider the following which describes an exceptionally violent combination of mental and physical torture. On September 3, 2012, as I lay unconscious in my cell from several days sleep deprivation caused by a custody staff influenced medical decision to discontinue various permanent chronos, a goon squad comprised of henchmen Anderson, Calderon, Morris, and Vanmastright stormed into my cell. Upon entry they proceeded to beat me into a semiconscious state, dragged me bleeding from wrists and ankles down the tier in excessively tightened handcuffs and shackles, bounced me down two flights of stairs, then from the AC entrance all the way to the Triage Treatment Area (TTA) hoisted me by the chains and/or dragged me by them for about a hundred yards as a med-tech pushed a wheelchair alongside at a distance. I want to interject here to point out this is documented as an "emergency medical cell extraction" executed during a lockdown initiated approximately twelve days prior due to an alleged slashing/stabbing of two AC officers which had nothing to do with me but might have fueled the goon squad's madness. The "emergency treatment" I received consisted of being thrown into a cage built into the corner of a TTA cell and left crumpled there for three hours or so. All that time I screamed in agony, forced to endure excruciating pain as the handcuffs and shackles cut deeper into my skin.

I wasn't even seen by a physician on that day, nor would Dr. Grant agree to examine, document, or treat my injuries any time during my sixteen day hunger strke; all I could think of doing to get seen by medical. But the good squad beating injuries, re-damaged preexisting injuries, and the skin condition which was the major contributing factor leading to my sleep deprivation was ignored. A few days after I attempted to file an emergency petition for writ of habeas corpus in Marin County, an RVR was fabricated alleging I battered the goon squad. My two healthcare appeals have been delayed without reason in excess of ninety days so far, and my RVR hearing appeal citing denial of all witnesses except the reporting employee has been rejected by CDCR appeals coordinator J.D. Lozano.

Surely these experiences come off sounding sensationalized and extreme, but they are nonetheless classic examples of what untold thousands in SHUs throughout the United $tates are reportedly subjected to at an ever increasing rate. Who are the real bunch of lying murderers?

The CDCR has proven over and over to be masters of media manipulation and propaganda wizards. Don't allow them to operate secret torture units like the AC or make them appear to be something they're not. Please don't allow your tax dollars to reward and secure impunity for sadistic, corrupt prison officials whose goal is to build more torture units in your backyards. Call, write, email Gov. Brown, his CDCR Director Beard, and the SQ puppet Warden Kevin R. Chappell to demand they shut it down. Also, please contribute generously to this publication/org helping us to have our voice heard from within, keeping the struggle alive.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 33]
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New Virginia Warden Represses, Revolutionaries Fight Smart

This missive is about the prison conditions at Sussex I in Virginia. John David is now the warden of Sussex I state prison. His first day on the job he made his grand opening by placing the whole institution on lockdown for 30 days with no justification. Those 30 days revealed his intentions about what to expect from his gestapo-style treatment. For instance, when we are walking in lines to and fro, if anyone does not walk in a straight line, even if it's one individual out of 40, his rule is that we get no outside recreation and instead get just 1 hour of in-pod rec. During the 30-day lockdown we got no outside recreation whatsoever and no one was able to use the phones on the whole compound. David put us on modified lockdown, just because individuals throughout the compound started complaining to their families and writing grievances, so he had to save face.

David has also put preemptory restrictions on some of the political literature that comes through the mailroom. I was hit with censorship of your study group mailing sent April 26, 2013 because they deemed it "unauthorized." I did receive all mail prior to that letter and I'm currently appealing the decision. It's just repayment, censoring my ability to think outside this cell, trying to control our thoughts and preventing a lot of comrades from learning anything besides the state's perspective. The oppressor will never stop oppressing.

These are the basic examples that were studied in the study group assignment 3 "On Contradiction." "What is the principal aspect of a contradiction? How does the interdependence (identity) of these contradictory aspects in prison life and the struggle between these aspects determine things in prison life and push their development forward?" This censorship only reveals the true political agenda behind super-maxes as being to repress revolutionary thought, not only in the prisons but even in society at large. The resulting division of staff versus prisoners along racial and cultural lines creates an obvious recipe for conflict and abuse, duplicating the conditions of chattel slavery in pre-civil war Amerikkka where poor whites were armed and empowered to have free reign over unarmed and disenfranchised Black slaves on the plantations.

These control unit prisons were designed to effectively isolate, control, and punish prisoners reacting against abuse. In turn they provoke responses, so prison officials can effectively use these events to demonize us as "violent animals" thus playing up self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotypes to justify the construction of more super-max prisons. This was the main motivation that brought the Attica rebellion in 1971, which will be commemorated this coming September 9.

Just two weeks ago a guard was severely stabbed over a confrontation that started over a prisoner who did not have enough time to finish his food tray when the guard took his tray. It's only a fruitless back and forth cycle played out between poor people [by Amerikan standards - editor] who've been divided along color and cultural lines. In the past I felt myself and my peers to be powerless, therefore fighting with the pigs and treating them with open contempt was in a sense therapeutic. Even now when I witness abuse by the pigs my inner rage boils over, but I have learned to check myself and stand as a witness to testify against these outrages.

This is not to say that we ought to be pacifists. Even a mouse will fight you when cornered. Individual pigs are of no more value to the system than the cost of training their replacements, and they can be replaced from the unemployment lines tomorrow. The system will gladly sacrifice any number of them for the opportunity to throw the book at us and paint us as "animals" and "terrorists." Simply filing paperwork and relying on the courts is also a dead end. But it is useful to create a paper trail and document patterns of abuse. From my time and experience in these control unit conditions it allows one to see the bigger picture.

The prison system institutionalizes isolation and secrecy. The prison walls are designed not only to keep the prisoners in, but to keep the public out preventing observation or knowledge of what is going on inside. Confronting this crazy system, we need to be the voice of reason that raises consciousness and empowers awareness inside and out. In challenging a system built on cruelty and the exercise of absolute and hidden power against the disempowered, there will be attempts to provoke us and bait us to incite reactionary violence from us or against us. But we must stick to our strategy and not get pulled into theirs.

Indeed as I write this, the warden of this control unit where I am confined is waging a struggle to use metaphysical tactics to demonize us. But their efforts to distort the external contradictions will only lead to greater exposure of the internal contradiction, the truth, which will build our struggle. We must stop acting foolish like bulls. The bullfighter waves his cape and the bull charges and eventually runs into the bullfighter's sword. But a smart bull wouldn't do that. He'd wait for the bullfighter to charge him and face his horns. Over the years I have witnessed too many good comrades and potential ones being wasted. We must organize to win! The end game will never change. We must emancipate ourselves, remove the blinds and open our minds.

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