American Friends Service Committee

HUNGERSTRIKE UPDATE, DAY 35 for Humane Conditions in CA Prisons

Please read and take action now. If you are in the Humboldt region, please come to the Arcata Plaza on Thursday in Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers, 5PM FOR THE 5 DEMANDS!  There are Solidarity events all over CA and the world. Check out the calendar on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website  & create your own events!

Before you read the Hungerstrike News, please sign these petitions:

FOUR PETITIONS TO SIGN! (don't worry about accidentally signing a petition twice; it won't let you)

 

http://www.change.org/petitions/gov-jerry-brown-stop-indefinite-solitary-confinement-in-security-housing-units?utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

 

http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-jerry-brown-stop-the-torture-in-california-2

 

http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8249

 

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51040/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11455

HUNGERSTRIKE NEWS

Vol. 3 #26, August 11, 2013 

Day 35 Countdown for Humane Conditions

Carol Strickman, Mediation Team
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

Some California prisoners got good news on Friday: the Federal Communications Commission agreed to limit how much companies can charge for phone calls made from behind bars. But this welcome reform does not affect SHU prisoners. Why? Because SHU prisoners in California are not allowed to call home. Lack of family phone calls is one of the reasons why California’s SHU cells are characterized as solitary confinement – the harsh deprivation of family and social ties.

Prisoners in the SHU are not even allowed to write letters to their loved ones, if their loved ones are also incarcerated. The letters they are allowed to write are copied and scrutinized by gang investigators for evidence of gang involvement. And gang investigators find “gang involvement” everywhere they look – even in the drawings of a five year old girl who sends her artwork to her daddy. Imagine a little girl getting her drawing back from the prison because it is considered gang-related. Gang investigators will even reach out to family members and friends who write to SHU prisoners, warning them that they face possible investigation themselves merely for corresponding with a SHU prisoner.

SHU prisoners in long-term solitary confinement value their family relationships above all else. So that is what SHU prisons try to destroy. Consider this: a mother with two sons in prisons (one in general population and one in SHU) cannot write to both. Why? Because she knows that gang investigators will link her sons to each other through her address, thereby jeopardizing the son in general population with gang validation and placement in SHU.

This is the meaning of cruel and unusual punishment. How long would you tolerate these sorts of attacks on you and your family? Would you be driven to hunger strike because of these and other cruelties?

CDCR has created the conditions that drive prisoners to desperation. Whether it be a lonely suicide in an isolation cell or a united peaceful protest, the message is clear: SHU prisoners have been pushed beyond the limit of what human beings should have to bear. It is horrifying to witness CDCR’s response to the current hunger strike: crank up the cruelty and let them die.

Today is Day 35.

On behalf of the Mediation Team,
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, (510) 289-7225

 

Hunger Strike Mediation Team
Dr. Ronald Ahnen, California Prison Focus and St. Mary’s College of California
Barbara Becnel, Occupy4Prisoners.org
Dolores Canales, California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement
Irene Huerta, California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement
Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee
Marilyn McMahon, California Prison Focus
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children
Azadeh Zohrabi, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children

Please Also Read Intense Informative Countdown Reports
Day 34:  http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/day-34-countdown-for-humane-conditions/
Day 33:  http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/day-33-countdown-for-humane-conditions/

SHU isolation cell to be installed on State Capitol South Steps Aug. 14

by D’Andre Teeter, San Francisco Bay View

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, in support of the California prison hunger strikers and their five demands, invite the public to visit an installation of a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell on the California State Capitol South Steps in Sacramento.

The cell will be on display – and you can walk right in to see how it feels – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14. A press conference, featuring Assemblymember and Public Safety Committee Chair Tom Ammiano, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, people formerly incarcerated in California Department of Corrections (CDCR) SHUs, SHU prisoners’ families, and other voices of support and conscience will be held at noon.

Read more.

California’s Continuing Prison Crisis

New York Times Editorial, August 10, 2013

California has long been held up as the land of innovation and fresh starts, but on criminal justice and incarceration, the Golden State remains stubbornly behind the curve.

Bonnie Kerness: Pioneer in the Struggle Against Solitary Confinement

November 8, 2012  by Solitary Watch Guest Author Lance Tapley

In 1986 Ojore Lutalo, a black revolutionary in the Trenton State Prison — now the New Jersey State Prison — wrote to Bonnie Kerness’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Newark. His letter described the extreme isolation and other brutalities in the prison’s Management Control Unit, which he called a “prison within a prison.”

“I could not believe what he was telling me” about the MCU, she says. She reacted by becoming “this lunatic white lady” calling New Jersey corrections officials about Lutalo.

Kerness immediately went to work trying to stop MCU guards from harassing prisoners by waking them at 1 a.m. to make them strip in front of snarling dogs leaping for their genitals — to arbitrarily have them switch cells. She got this practice stopped.

Lutalo’s letter also began to open her eyes to the torture of solitary confinement, which in the mid-1980s was just starting to spread across the country as a mass penological practice. Coordinator of the AFSC’s national Prison Watch Project, Kerness had worked on prison issues since the mid-1970s. Now she became an anti-solitary-confinement activist. In 2012, she has been one longer and more consistently than, possibly, anyone else.

September 2012 Issue of Rock Newsletter

Here is the September issue of the Rock newsletter. It was mailed out to prisoners August 29, 2012. This and previous issues are available by clicking on the “Rock Newsletter” link at http://www.prisonart.org.

DOWNLOAD September 2012 Rock Newsletter HERE (small file pdf): http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/files/Rock 1-9.pdf

"Working to extend democracy to all."  Communication is a human right!

Testimony About TORTURE in CA Solitary Housing Units

Hidden Behind Concrete and Barbed Wire: Hearings Expose Torture in California's SHUs

"My brother has been in Pelican Bay SHU for the last ten years. I'm here today to be the voice, not only for him, but for all of the prisoners who are suffering in the SHU and for all of the prisons in California. There are a lot of questions that I want answered. I want to know what our elected officials are going to do to change what's being done? Why is it 30 days later and still nothing has been done when the CDC agreed to part of the prisoners' demands? I want to know why my brother is tortured on a daily basis year after year. Why is he not fed correctly and why is he so pale and skinny? Why does my mom have to cry every time she goes to see him? Seeing everybody that has come out today just lights my fire, because I know that I am not alone and I can let him know that he is not alone."

Amber

12, 000 Hunger Striking Prisoners! FACEBOOK links & VIDEO

Prisoner Hunger Strike Grows to Nearly 12,000!

Numbers released by the federal receiver’s office show that on September 28th, nearly 12,000 prisoners were on hunger strike, including California prisoners who are housed in out of state prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. This historic and unprecedented number shows the strength and resolve of the prisoners to win their 5 core demands and is a serious challenge to the power of the California prison system and to the Prison Industrial Complex in general.