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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [Control Units]
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Connecting Struggles Across the Country

I read the article in Under Lock & Key 22 FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others and I would like to thank the comrade in Florida for having the dedication and strength to fight against these pigs.

To my Florida comrade, I want to tell you to stay strong. Like Mao said "In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and pluck up our courage." I'm asking all of our comrades to remain constant to fully override this oppression in all prison systems. I'm in similar conditions in the Mass DOC, I'm in a control unit serving three years with one hour free to roam around a steel cage I call a dog kennel. Not only do we suffer from isolation, prisoners here are beaten by the staff and fed cold meals. Not only do the Correctional Officers in this facility oppress us directly but they also provoke situations between other comrades to enjoy the show and watch us destroy each other.

The staff continue to steal magazines and not allow grievances to fix these problems. I for sure will continue to speak my mind regardless of the repercussions or reprisals . Until next time stay strong united and positive.


MIM(Prisons) adds: One of the important contributions of the Under Lock & Key publication is connecting prisoners across the U.$. to share information and organization. As with the recent hunger strike in California, prisoners all across the country are inspired to learn about activism and unity. Do your part to share ULK and send donations to help with the cost of printing and mailing.

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[Control Units] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia]
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Fighting Segregation, Inspired by ULK

I have just recently been introduced to Under Lock & Key. I regret that I've been ignorant to the existence of such an inspiring movement. I commend you all in exposing the harsh reality that is the Department of Corruption nationwide.

Here in West Virginia the nature of incarceration is mostly mental and emotional torture. Segregation time is handed out in 30- and 60-day increments for infractions of the pettiest kind: borrowing someone else's CD can get you 30 days. Giving a man a soup because he's hungry lands you in SHU for 30 days. Multiple class 2 writeups get you 60 as well as any class 1. Tobacco products get you 60 days. Then god forbid you get caught with a weapon... that's 2 years minimum on the "Quality of Life Program."

The SHU is sensory deprivation to the fullest. There is no access to reading books from the library, and of course no radio or television. If you get no newspapers or magazines in the mail, you have nothing. Get caught passing reading material and it's another 30 days. It's a very stressful game to hold on to your sanity.

Though the atmosphere is not very violent, it is taxing mentally. Behind every face is a potential informant. There are few that can truly be trusted and even fewer who can be depended on. We have no unity. Some try to open the eyes of others to see the true enemy, but often times to no avail. Administration members play us against each other at every turn. They oppress religious freedoms and the mere freedom of thought. Voicing opinions in grievances gets you put in the SHU.

I anxiously await the next issue of Under Lock & Key for advice, direction, and inspiration.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The torture of prison control units, like the SHU described by this prisoner, is widespread in Amerika. It is something we have been fighting against for years, many comrades decades, but with little success in actually stopping the torture. Isolation units are used as a tool of social control for a population that the imperialists have no productive use for. In this system, prisoncrats work hard to set prisoners against one another by rewarding snitching as another method of control. Division and fear are powerful tools for the criminal injustice system. Under Lock & Key is an important tool for prisoners to fight back, organize, and unify. Share this publication with others, form discussion groups to talk about the articles, and get in touch with us to share your stories and struggles. There are many more people like the one above who have plenty of experience with repression, but have had little access to comrades and forums for analyzing and struggling to end it. We are working to change that.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Last Men Standing in CA Hunger Strike

[This letter was just received from one of the few comrades who has continued to stick to the pledge to strike until the 5 core demands were met. While it is unclear why others in Pelican Bay have stopped striking, this comrade is pushing for a re-orientation that addresses the torturous conditions of long-term isolation head on while reaching out to the general prison population.]

18 October 2011 - Well, they had a busload, about 1/2 of it, full leaving Pelican Bay State Prison for Corcoran. All hunger strikers, and all descendents from south of the border, Mexico and further, with only a few whites. How they chose us out of all is difficult to say. They immediately isolated me, and in the last few days have gone to great lengths to convince me the strike is over. The CDC is even lying publicly saying it has ended (see CDCR Star) via Terry Thornton, a mouthpiece propagating on behalf of the state.

I've been told if I relent and eat I can go to the block with the others, but so far I've been lied to at every potential turn of events. [State employees have lied to prisoners throughout the hunger strikes in an attempt to undermine their unity. -editor]

One of the prevailing misconceptions is that this is primarily a legal issue, and there's a metaphysical conception of this too, in that "legality" is viewed in isolation without grasping its interconnections with all that is around it, ie. politics, economics, etc.

This lack of political consciousness is reflected in our goal. If there had been a more elevated ideological grasp on circumstances, even rudimentary comprehension of dialectics - scientific materialism, the distinction between "form" and "essence" would likely have been made once analyzing our strategy, before agreeing on it and pursuing it. You see, we must alter our strategic objective. The validation is only one "form," a vehicle, amongst a few to permanently isolate one within a sensory deprivation unit - the "essence" in this dialectical connection.

Had we made this analysis, instead of confronting a peripheral, a formal manifestation and means to permanently isolate us, we would have gone to the source of the disease, essentially, the permanent isolation itself.

People are sympathetic to the "dehumanization" that one is subjected to. One becomes, if enough time passes in such isolation, a social vegetable incapable of any form of social intercourse. This is caused by the severe lack of interaction with others, the context necessary for the personality's development, which not only identifies us as individuals distinct from one another, but it is social intercourse that binds us together as a collective, wholly as a single species.

If we achieve our goal, we've struggled only to put a Band-Aid on one of these sores manifesting from a diseased spot - Solitary Confinement. So long as it exists, even if we dismantle validation, we'll still be subjected to perpetual isolation by different methods, excuses, justifications, etc.

The push for the right to minimal association with other humyns is a strategy that has a historical precedent, tried and tested, with more successful results than not (see the IRA, ETA, RAF, Red Brigades, etc.). They all gained extraordinary international support within the UN and from organizations such as Amnesty International, etc. [Amnesty International released a statement of support for the hunger strikers during round 2 of the hunger strike. They condemned the use of political repression by the state against those who participated.]

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[Control Units] [ULK Issue 23]
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NY Bar Association Report: Supermax Isolation = Torture

"The Brutality of Supermax Confinement"
New York City Bar Committee on International Human Rights
September 2011

This report addressed the dramatic growth of "supermax" confinement facilities in the United $tates over the past three decades and highlights the conditions of torture and violations of domestic and international law. As an introduction to long-term isolation in U.$. prisons, and an overview of relevant laws and cases, this report is an excellent resource.

The report cites estimates that 80,000 prisoners "...endure conditions of extreme sensory deprivation for months or years on end, an excruciating experience in which the prisoner remains isolated from any meaningful human contact." Articles in Under Lock & Key regularly testify to this torture that prisoners face in long-term isolation. The authors point out that estimates are widely varying and total numbers of people in supermax is not known. MIM(Prisons) has conducted our own survey to collect statistics on prisoners in control units and we estimate there are close to 110,000 prisoners currently in long-term isolation.

The authors correctly conclude about these torturous conditions: "The policy of supermax confinement, on the scale which it is currently being implemented in the United States, violates basic human rights." Though MIM(Prisons) would question how this policy would be ok if the scale was smaller. This "scale" caveat is possible because the authors fail to address the system that determines who gets locked up in isolation and why they are put there.

As a part of an overview of relevant legal cases and laws, the report notes that the courts have failed to address this torture, which the authors consider a violation of the Eighth Amendment: "As long as a prisoner receives adequate food and shelter, the extreme sensory deprivation that characterizes supermax confinement will, under current case law, almost always be considered within the bounds of permissible treatment." They demonstrate some of the legal difficulties in proving an Eighth Amendment violation, including the added legal burden of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) which requires prisoners to show physical injury before bringing an action for injury suffered in custody.

The authors describe how supermax confinement violates international law based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture, among others. They note that international law has not been a factor for U.$. courts in these cases and call for change in this regard.

The report concludes with the following recommendations:


1. The provision in the PLRA providing that inmate plaintiffs may not recover damages "without a prior showing of physical injury" should be repealed;
2. Prisoners with serious mental illness should never be subjected to supermax confinement;
3. Conditions of extreme isolation and restriction should be imposed only when an extremely serious threat to prison safety has been established, and even in such circumstances supermax confinement should be for the shortest time possible and inmates should be afforded due process, and an opportunity to contest the confinement and appeal;
4. Any form of segregated housing should provide meaningful forms of mental, physical and social stimulation; and
5. A national task force should be established to promptly report on the numbers of inmates being held in supermax confinement in state and federal prisons and their conditions of confinement, and to propose further legislative and administrative reforms.

As humynists, we say long-term isolation is torture and it should be abolished immediately. And as we've discussed elsewhere, we disagree with point 2 as a campaign in that it justifies the use of torture against the strongest resisters while misconstruing the real relationship between long-term isolation and mental illness.

If implemented, the Committee's recommendations would certainly reduce the number of prisoners suffering in long-term isolation, and are therefore progressive recommendations for a Bar Association that works within the injustice system that uses supermax confinement as a tool of social control. But this very system, which they point out has demonstrated its willingness to ignore the law and act outside of standards of common decency set out by the Eighth Amendment, certainly cannot be trusted to determine "when an extremely serious threat to prison safety has been established."

The authors ignore the broader context of supermax confinement and its use in the United $tates. As we report in an article on the history of control units: "The truth behind the reasons these control units are needed is they are a means of political, economic and social control of a whole class of oppressed and disenfranchised people. These include especially African, Latino and indigenous people who are a disproportionate part of control unit populations." Prisons in the United $tates are a breeding ground for resistance to the system that unjustly locks up segments of its population, and supermax units are required to further control the inevitable education and organizing that takes place among those who come face to face with the criminal injustice system.

While this report is useful for both the legal citations and the study of the harms caused by long-term isolation, it is important that we put it in the broader context of the criminal injustice system and understand that supermax torture cannot be reformed away within this system. We hope to make some significant improvements which will have a particular impact on the lives of our politically active comrades behind bars who are targeted for lockup in these isolation cells. And in that battle we unite with the NY Bar Association and many others who clearly see the injustice and inhumanity of supermax isolation.

Prisoners interested in a copy of this report should contact the New York City Bar Association at 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP Strike Update - CDCR Still Breaking Laws

1 October 2011 - As of September 26, 2011 we have re-started our hunger strike. It was evident that Scott Kernan isn't going to uphold his end of the original agreement on the 5 core demands from our first hunger strike, so action was necessary.

As of September 29, 2011, CDCR removed all representatives in the short corridor as well as the organizers of the hunger strike. They were all placed in Ad-Seg (that's the story CDCR is giving). No one has access to them. We don't know what their condition is, because they are also on the hunger strike.

Scott Kernan issued a memo stating that "Inmates who participate in the hunger strike will be disciplined." On September 29, 2011, Pelican Bay staff started pulling prisoners out of their cells, so they could take all food out of their cells. Even those prisoners who couldn't participate in the hunger strike because of poor health and serious medical needs. Their canteen and food was taken away as a result of the hunger strike.

Today is October 1st, 2011, and we were just told by CDCR staff that prison visits are cancelled due to the hunger strike. This is a direct retaliation by CDCR. It's obvious that Scott Kernan doesn't want information to leak out to the public about how this situation is beyond his control. By CDCR denying our family and friends direct access to us they place uncalled for stress on them as well as a financial burden.

So far CDCR is still using old standards to keep us validated as gang members/associates. I received 1030s stating "other prisoners were caught with my name in their cell," so CDCR is using that to validate me, along with drawings that have a huelga bird on it.

I have to file a 602 on these issues, because in the 2005 Lira v Herrera case, the courts decided that laundry lists and drawings are not to be used as active gang material. So I have a lot of legal research to do on this.

Also, I have just filed a 602 on CDCR for "withholding" a letter from MIM(Prisons). They cited that MIM is asking prisoners to disrupt daily operations of CDCR. So I'm in litigation to get CDCR to give me that letter.

I have to say, our daily struggles from behind the walls will continue as long as this corrupt system continues to abuse the mass of the prison population who are wrongly accused of gang ties, etc.

Long term and indefinite isolation is by all standards inhumane and excessive punishment for any person no matter what his crime is. This places serious stress on any person's psychological and mental state of mind. I personally have experienced a lot of this oppression and abuse by CDCR for the past 12 years here at Pelican Bay SHU.

Things have to change. The current cycle of abuse and the systematic way in which it's applied is more than any human spirit can take. It's a miraculous accomplishment that so many of us still housed here at Pelican Bay SHU still have our sanity.

Well it's no surprise that CDCR just told all those on the hunger strike that they will not be allowed to see/talk to their visitors because their visits were canceled. But those prisoners who didn't take part in the hunger strike will be allowed to visit their loved ones. It's a sad disturbing turn of events, but it's our reality.

My viewpoint on this hunger strike is that these material items such as sweats, photos, colored pens, etc., are not what we really want, but rather are items that should have been part of the established curriculum for the SHU all along.

I am a lifer, as you know, and I can't imagine having to spend the rest of my life living here at Pelican Bay SHU. And I don't want to see youngsters brought to the SHU behind CDCR lies and have to suffer the same fate we are all suffering now.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Strikers Continue until Debriefing Stops

The refusal of this prison to meet all of the five demands has resulted in yet another hunger strike here in Pelican Bay. The demand that was left untouched by prison officials was the debriefing process. This debriefing process has forced people to either snitch on someone or simply make up gangs in order to get out of the torture chamber known as Security Housing Unit (SHU), and this has gone on for decades.

Just think, most people in SHU are here for b.s. and are not even what the prison claims they are, do not really belong to gang xyz, etc. And so when someone can't take the torturous conditions and wants to get out of SHU, officials require them to debrief (inform) on others, yet this person may not even know anything to tell about even if he or she wanted to, so many times this persyn will make up his own random people while at other times this may be the time for personal vengeance like how men are sent to Gitmo often because their neighbor in Pakistan didn't like the loud music he played.

This pathetic way of "weeding out" supposed gang members or security threats is broken and changes nothing, the truth is SHU is a racist operation directed at the oppressed nations. In addition, guards are getting paid higher salaries for working in these units. Of all the people in SHU, none are the rich, the wealthy, no billionaire ever been validated as a gang member, I have yet to meet a millionaire in SHU. We are the poor, those coming from barrios and ghetto projects, those who can't even walk down the street in our hood without getting tracked by a predator pig and slammed against the wall threatened, beaten, or worse we of the oppressed nations are open game in the streets of the united snakes.

Today is the fifth day into the strike and there is no light at the end of the tunnel and most know this. Here in SHU conditions cannot possibly get worse, we are stuffed into solitary confinement boxes, locked into isolation for the rest of our days - what is worse than this existence?

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Corcoran ASU Participating in Hunger Strike

I am a California State prisoner incarcerated in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) of Corcoran State Prison. The ASU where I am housed is currently undergoing a hunger strike in support of the one kicked off in the SHU. I am in support of it as well, for I believe solidarity is needed amongst the oppressed to resist and fight against the oppressor. Many people do not see that when it comes down to it, there are only two sides, but these past few months have done a lot to enlighten and educate many behind these concrete walls.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [Political Repression] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Struggle Remains Strong and Steady in Corcoran SHU

"Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression." - Malcolm X

As most of you may know, we are engaged in a protracted struggle to secure our liberation from perpetual torture and uphold our human rights. On July 1st the Pelican Bay SHU D-Corridor Collective called for an indefinite hunger strike to peacefully protest the decades and decades of subhuman conditions we have endured in these sensory deprivation torture units. The NCTT, along with 6,600 other prisoners and untold thousands the world over answered that call. We did not eat for 21 days. I personally lost 42 pounds and had to be rushed to the emergency room at least once. Men older and less physically resilient than myself, some with chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma and cancer survivors, made these same sacrifices, and we are prepared to make those sacrifices again, taking them to their ultimate conclusion if necessary, to achieve what is by right ours already.

This makes the events of 16 August all the more perplexing, even though we were forewarned and expected it. At approximately 08:00 on 16 August 2011 some 20 to 25 Correctional Officers (COs) and some 10 to 12 ISU and IGI ["gang intelligence"] officers converged on 4B1L-C-section under the pretext that they'd received a "kite" alleging New Afrikan and/or "southern" Mexican partisans in 4B1L-C-section were going to "assault staff."

For months, IGI has been attempting to manufacture fear and reactionary resentment amongst building COs that New Afrikans were planning to attack staff during Black August memorial. Mindful of the daily injustices visited upon indeterminate SHU prisoners, and already fearful of the dreaded retribution, some staff actually bought into this absurdity. There was no threat, there was no "kite" found — this was simple unadulterated retribution for the hunger strike and the unwanted public attention it has brought to the domestic torture camps they are managing at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi SHUs.

We were all stripped down and escorted out of the building and placed in the small management yard caged (imagine a K-9 kennel cage — that's what our yard is). For approximately 6 hours they systematically tore our cells up, cut open mattresses, tore down or trod upon personal photos, confiscated any item they felt would hurt us on a personal level, with abject disregard for personal property regulations. Coffee and tooth powder was strewn over personal letters and laundry was taken or trod underfoot. We were brought back to our cells only to find what I can only describe as the leavings of a tornado of F-5 proportions.

That this was done as retaliation was itself insulting, how it was done was blatant disrespect — but what perplexes the mind is what did they hope to gain by such a transparent reactionary response? We are, and have demonstrated historically, that we are fully prepared to die to secure our human rights and dignity. So surely this could not be some act to deter resistance. Perhaps it was an act of provocation, an attempt to engender a reactionary military response to a psychological and political attack? But no, this couldn't be the case because unlike the blindly violent monsters they would make us out to be, the truth of the matter is that we are men of principle who believe in self-defense and clearly exhausting all legal and peaceful means of protest. Unlike the state, for us violence is a last resort and we are not, and cannot be, compelled to react to provocation or allow such to deter us from the legitimate struggle for our, and the people's human rights and dignity.

So this leaves us with the obvious conclusion that like a petulant child or a bully who's been exposed for the sadist they are, they strike out blindly, to inflict whatever discomfort they can in an act of impotence and frustration; an acknowledgment of their weakness in the face of the people's power.

Men in ernest are not afraid of consequence. There exists no set of retaliatory actions, no sanctions they can bring to bear, that will deter our course, as long as we have you, the people, supporting us we will win. Together we can attain even greater victories than these. It is our sincerest hope that you continue to support this effort and open yourselves up to the prospect of more progressive initiatives to come. Stand with us and we will forge a brighter tomorrow.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria Prisoners Staying Strong in Hunger Strike in Face of Harassment and Abuse

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.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 23]
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CDCR Responds with More Group Punishment, Isolation, and Gang Charges

hunger strike petty demands
In an attempt to quell resistance, the above list of
petty actions have been approved according to a memo from the CDCR.
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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


Notes:
(1) CDCR Memo re: INMATE PROGRAMMING EXPECTATIONS RELATIVE TO HUNGER STRIKES 27 September 2011

State of California

Memorandum

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

(3) CDCR Memo re: REVIEW OF SECURITY HOUSING UNIT AND GANG POLICIES 27 September 2011

State of California

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Memorandum

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:

  1. Authorization of watch caps for purchase and State issue. Authorization of wall calendars for purchase in canteen.

  2. Authorization of exercise equipment in SHU yards (installation of permanent dip/push-up bars is still under review).

  3. Authorization of annual photographs for disciplinary free inmates. Approval of proctors for college examinations.

  4. Use of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) Ombudsman for monitoring and auditing of food services.

  5. Authorization of sweat pants for purchase/annual package.

  6. 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

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