Oct 18, 2013 UN Official comes to Berkeley: LONG TERM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
Video of the hearing can be viewed or downloaded at the California state channel archives:
Look for the title “Joint Informational Hearing on Segregation Policies in California Prisons” dated October 9, 2013. It is just about four hours long, so it’s a very big file and takes a long time to download.
When Will Solitary End?
I sit in solitary confinement,
Monitored and evaluated,
Tortured in more ways than I care
To remember or burden you with,
With hopes I’d crack and beg,
Beg to be let out of this torturous place
And crack, losing the bit of sanity I have left
Like so many others before me and so many others
Yet to fall, fall prey to the prison’s administrators,
To the countless tactical torturous games they play.
I am but one of a few hundred who still stand strong,
Fighting to survive, accumulating deep embedded scars
With each passing day, learning to be resilient to all
That’s thrown and piled up against me
In such a difficult, miserable place.
Lonely and deprived of so much, I sit here
Beyond desperate for a helping hand, for something,
Someone, for a movement, for human rights lawyers
And all the advocates out there to put an end
To this heinous practice of solitary confinement
And take me away from this place with my dignity intact.
I hope it’s soon, before many more fall prey
And lose themselves in this dungeon of hell and misery
That’s been in place for far too long.
My actions will soon come
Hoping that they’ll draw the attention needed
To end this heinous practice
Once and for all.
by Dennis Cunningham, Michael Deutsch & Elizabeth Fink
PRISON LEGAL NEWS VOL. 22 NO.9 Sept 2011
This year, September 9 will mark the 40th anniversary of the rebellion at Attica State Prison in upstate New York. As one of the prisoner leaders, L.D. Barkley, announced to the world, the rebellion was “but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”
The sound of Attica was heard loud and clear, but the fury at the time was reserved to the assault force: several hundred violently angry white state police officers and prison guards who carried out the massacre that ended the rebellion on September 13, 1971, with 43 men dead. The fury of the oppressed themselves has been a work in progress since that time.
L.D. was one of many politically aware prisoners in New York and elsewhere who identified with the struggle for liberation world-wide, with consciousness growing out of the civil rights movement, the urban uprisings of the 60s, and the ideology and practices of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. This consciousness was given voice in the writings of George Jackson and Eldridge Cleaver, especially Soledad Brother and Soul on Ice, whose searing indictments of injustice, racism and cruelty in California prisons echoed across the country and inspired resistance.
A manifesto demanding reform had come out of California’s Folsom Prison in 1970 and made its way around the country and into Attica, and the prisoners there had delivered a manifesto of their own to New York state authorities, which was ignored, several months before the rebellion. George Jackson was assassinated at San Quentin on August 21, 1971; a few days later the prisoners at Attica staged a surprise protest at breakfast, during which nobody ate and nobody talked. The guards were stunned and unnerved at the unanimity of the protest action.
A number of the prisoners had been involved in previous, smaller rebellions at the Tombs jail in New York City and the state prison at Auburn. Various chapters of political groups on the outside had formed inside, including the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican Young Lords, and the Black Muslims had a large organized contingent at Attica as well as in all other New York state prisons at that time. Political literature flowed freely, and the groups were often able to gather in the exercise yards and at various work sites and other locales in the institution. Grievances against the guards, the administration and the system were many and widely shared, especially on the part of the Black and Latino prisoners who came mainly from New York City, and almost all the rest from other big city environments like Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.
The entire staff at Attica at the time was white except for one Puerto Rican guard who worked in a watchtower and had no contact with prisoners. The surrounding rural area of Western New York where the guards came from was mostly what some call “up South,” to denote the level of racial antipathy and outright bigotry endemic in the local population, and thus in the prison work force.
At the same time there was a strong and growing belief among the prisoners that they had clear-cut rights under the Constitution that guaranteed fair and decent treatment, as well as freedom from discrimination; that despite years of peaceful petition and advocacy, their rights were largely ignored by the prison administration; and that much of the abuse and brutality they experienced from the white guards was a matter of official policy. Many prisoners had come to feel that something must be done.
* * *
"Working to extend democracy to all." Communication is a human right!
Dec. 8, 2011
... I honestly believe that there will not be a better time to challenge the legality of warehousing people in isolation than now.
(Telephone press briefing held on May 31, 2012)
by BILL QUIGLEY Feb 23, 2012
I’ve been eating well this summer, enjoying the local fruits and vegetables of northwest California, while sixty miles away a group of men risked their health by refusing to eat for three weeks. I’m in Big Lagoon, surrounded by ocean, lagoon, and forest in an area of coastal California described by National Geographic as among the top twenty “unspoiled” tourist destinations in the world. An hour’s drive north of here is Pelican Bay State Prison, a state-of-the-art hellhole that was recently the center of a three-week hunger strike led by prisoners in the Secure Housing Units (SHU).
Thursday, October 13th, 5-7pm: Vigil to Support the Hunger Strikers! 200 North Spring Street. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (We will be in front of City Hall, 1st and Spring Street on the North Steps). Click here for more info
Thursday, October 13th, 5-7pm: Vigil to Support the Hunger Strikers! On the Corner of University & Fairmount in East San Diego. Click here for more info
Support the Prisoner Hunger Strike -
Demand an End to Torture
by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity