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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 49]
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The 2 Strikes Law: How it is being used as a revolving door into the abyss of indeterminate SHU terms

No doubt even throughout the global community many have heard of the infamous "3 Strikes Law." In California if someone gets 3 felony convictions they face a sentence of LIFE in prison. The law has created quite a bit of controversy and there's been a few token reforms to it that mean about as much as calling San Quentin (SQ) a "Correctional Center" instead of a prison.

SQ's Adjustment Center (AC) is also in the midst of controversy and in the process of implementing reactionary token reforms in much the same way. They also implemented what could be called "The 2 Strikes Law." The SQ oligarchy calls their oppressive tool of retaliation Operational Procedure (OP) 608 Section 825 A.4. Here's how it gets implemented:

On 25 December 2015 while en route to group yard Sergeant Rodrigues waved a piece of paper in a prisoner's face, after asking him if he remembered refusing to show his asshole to officer C. Burrise the other day. Rodrigues tells the prisoner he is going to the AC for receiving two serious Rules Violations Reports (RVRs) within 180 days of each other. A death row prisoner receives an indeterminate SHU term for that.

The two RVRs involve the prisoner's refusal to submit to unclothed body search procedures either prohibited by OP 608 Section 765(2) (local prison rules) and state law, or not applicable to East Block (EB) prisoners. In fact, before either of these RVRs were fabricated the prisoner had filed several staff complaints citing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and alleged "sexual harassment under the guise of security." The prisoner also wrote an informal letter to Specialized Housing Division Facility Captain J. Arnold asking him to abolish his "Perversion Enforcement Team Training Project" (PETT Project). That got the prisoner a punitive cell search response resulting in the confiscation of a loaner TV and theft of art supplies valued at $48. So now you know the motive. But let's see what else this means for ALL death row prisoners thinking Seigle & Yee are to the rescue.

Seigel & Yee are the attorneys currently representing the "AC class" regarding the long-term/indeterminate SHU program conditions experienced by death row prisoners in the AC. One prisoner who corresponded with Seigle & Yee attorney Emily Rose Johns in early 2014 from his recently acquired EB (SHUII) cell reports advising her a wave of prisoners formerly doing indeterminate SHU terms in the AC was flowing into EB and being assigned to the "Sun Deprivation Program."(1) This prisoner came over to EB just ahead of that wave. Johns's response to our dilemma was, "We intentionally kept the scope of the case narrow for many reasons, including out of respect for the experience prisoners in the AC had with the Thompson case."

So now it's about time that someone points out that experience prisoners in the AC had with the Thompson case, including not rescinding the 2 Strikes Law, and that OP 608 Sec. 825 A.4. is still being used as a revolving door into the abyss of indeterminate SHU terms. How leaving that door wide open could be hailed as a reform or "respect for the experience of prisoners in the AC had with the [SQ/Seigel & Yee] case" remains to be seen by a lot of prisoners literally LEFT IN THE DARK for years.

This unfolding experience brings to mind an article from a recent issue of Under Lock & Key.(2) It sets the record straight, explaining in detail the "reforms" hailed in the media regarding indeterminate SHU terms with respect to prisoners subject to the cruel and unusual conditions in the Pelican Bay gulag. Just as the so-called reform left the doors wide open to every other SHU in California's gulag system, merely limiting the time spent doing an indeterminate term at Pelican Bay to 2 years. It's nothing, NOTHING different than SQ's 2 Strikes Law being intentionally contested. Torture cannot be reformed. So the practice of long-term isolation must be ABOLISHED. The construction of more SHUs at SQ must stop because it is torture.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Control Units] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Back in the SHU II D.R.

Fuck Social Control


Grade A to the East Block from S.W.A.C.
Struggling with all my might
No official record of a 10 30
Nobody has flown a kite

I'm back in the SHU II D.R.
I'm talkin bout CDCR noise
Back in the SHU II D.R.

Been away so long they hardly knew my face
No parade or welcome home
Bought a good guitar could not afford clear-case
T.V. coming on state loan

[Chorus 2:]
I'm back in the SHU II D.R.
No sun on the out alone yard, boyz
Not in the SHU II
I'm in the SHU too
Back in the SHU II D.R.

[Verse 3]
Now the Ukraine psych doctor Anderchuck
She brings me peace of mind
No psycho pills make me scream and shout
But Jasmine's always on my mi mi mi mi mi mi mind [so it's on!]

[Solo/riff, repeat chorus 2 (lines 1, 2, 5) verse 3]

Yo California shut the SHU down north and south
U$A from east to west
You just gave them property that I'm allowed
No guitar but all the rest

Just like in the SHU II D.R.
Can't settle for C.D.C.R. ploys
Back in the SHU II D.R.



Go to:
http://www.guitaretab.com/b/beatles/24462.html for the chords. If you haven't figured this out yet, "Back in the SHU II D.R." is a parody of the Beatles hit song "Back in the U.S.S.R.". Isn't Paul in town? Send him a copy.

Notes:
"Grade A" is a privilege status. "S.Q.A.C." is San Quentin Adjustment Center. The out alone yard mentioned in chorus 2 consists of dozens of cages under a huge metal canopy which blocks all sun except what pierces through rust holes in it. Jasmine is the brand name of my guitar. California's SHUs are getting more like the Security Housing Unit II for death row ? the SHU II D.R. known as East Block. And in many ways it's all the same... only the names have changed... and every day I feel I'm wasting away... Alright now.

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[Death Penalty] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 38]
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New Twist on Death Row SHU

Three former California governors recently backed a petition for a ballot initiative which would dramatically accelerate the execution of death row prisoners. At the same time we have experienced a more extreme than usual delay in the processing of death row SHUII and III mail. As I will explain, there is an important connection between these events.

The main selling point for the proposed bill is saving loads of money by arranging faster executions of the 747 prisoners currently warehoused on San Quentin's four death row SHUs and the women all but forgotten in Cowchilla. In addition, death row prisoners would no longer be confined exclusively in the San Quentin and Chowchilla torture units. They would be placed among the general population.

It is noteworthy that the Calincarceration Corrupted Peace Officers Association (California Correctional Peace Officers Association - CCPOA) didn't give financial support for this bill. Many assume the lackeys, bullies and cowards who comprise that security threat group probably thought it wasn't in their best interest to all of a sudden meet face to face with the un-cuffed death row prisoners they've been torturing their whole career. But the fact of the matter is the higher ups in the CCPOA actually had enough sense to realize no amount of their support could buy enough votes to pass such political double talk into law in this state.

Acting proactively in case the bill passes, the CCPOA at San Quentin decided to mobilize in preparation. By citing wild interpretations of prisoner correspondence to give the public an illusion that the bowels of hell were opened upon them, the prison tried to transfer a large number of formerly grade A and B SHUII and III prisoners to other SHU programs across the state.

They almost had a window of opportunity to "justify" building more control units within existing prisons. But as of today the death row SHU expansion project in San Quentin's Carson section is stalled.

"Persons other than inmates should address any appeal relating to department policy and regulations to the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions. Appeals relating to a specific facility [like San Quentin or Chowchilla] procedure or practice [like excessive delays in the processing of mail to and from loved ones and prisoners' rights organizations] should be addressed in writing to the warden..." - California Code of Regulations, Title 15, 3137. Appeals Relating to Mail.

For more info go to: www.cdcr.ca.gov/regulations/adult_operations
See also page 12 of ULK for info on the grievance campaign.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is correct that the CCPOA has been entirely silent on this new ballot initiative to accelerate death row executions. But we don't agree with h interpretation that the CCPOA is just standing down because they don't think it has a chance of passing. Rather we see this position as lining up consistently with the CCPOA's primary goal: protect the jobs of the many prison workers. Faster executions would reduce the San Quentin prison population, and that would threaten jobs there, so it should not be surprising that the CCPOA is silent on this new ballot initiative. This is a rare case where their interests align with ours, and we can take advantage of the situation to stop passage of this reactionary bill.

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