I’m one of the 16 SHU-Reps here at PBSP. I write this in response to the ROCK editorial comments in Vol1, No. 2, Dec. 2012. I’m just going to address one area. I won’t even waste my time with the rest of it.
In that ROCK, it states that those up here “put out the dictate that nobody should take an interracial cellie.” This is first I hear of it! That has to be a false rumor, especially when wardens cross CA right now won’t cell-up any individuals from other races in SHU. Hell, here at PBSP-SHU we Mexicans, whites and most Blacks can’t even cell-up with our own race [unless they're related], let alone with someone from another race… that’s a fact!
That said, the only thing that has been said around here, or to our outside supporters, that could have been twisted up in the rumor mill and then spat out to the ROCK, is that SHU prisoners should consider not accepting a celly and remain single-celled. This was being said in order to deprive CDCR of those empty SHU cells, where CDCR cannot fill them with more General Population (GP) prisoners. But, we are not against any SHU prisoners or anyone moving in together. The above was just an opinion.
I’ll further add that the reality in California prisons, as far as integration, CDCR has always integrated GP bathrooms, mess halls, tiers, work places and yards. And prior to the ruling in Johnson v. California (2005) 543 U.S. 499, CDCR had an unwritten policy on GP, that they still have in all SHUs, as I’ve already stated, of not celling-up prisoners from different races together [even if they are homies] which I believe is how that Johnson case came about, where friends from different races who were “compatible” wanted to “voluntarily” cell-up. But CDCR refused the request and Johnson filed suit. And after CDCR lost the case — and we all know how CDCR loves to retaliate by twisting and manipulating court rulings whenever they lose — they turned around and tried to “force” GP prisons at all levels (1 through 4) to cell-up with other races. And this was during the hostilities. Behind that CDCR action alone, a lot of violence erupted on the GP’s, and under information I received, CDCR now only forces levels 1 and 2 prisons to integrate in Dorms [i.e. 3 man bunk beds].
Then, 2001, in order to clean up their own created violence, and under the guise of a security threat that they themselves created, CDCR got around the Court’s ruling by creating Cal. Code of Regulation, Section 3269.1 “Integrated Housing”, and if you read that, you’ll see that no one remotely involved in the so-called racial-hostilities for the past 30 years will be allowed to cell-up with individuals from other races. That rule alone probably excludes everyone in SHU, as well as all prisoners CDCR is now going to label under the new Security Threat Groups, which 99.9% of GP and new prisoners fall under. This further discredits that bunk rumor the ROCK received and printed.
However, if you want to know my personal opinion, on this issue, I feel that as long as two individuals are “compatible” and “mutually” agree to “voluntarily” cell-up with each other, they should be allowed to cell-up, no matter the race. But no one should be “forced” to cell-up together, not even those from the same race and group, especially in SHU where you have to spend 22 ½ hours together in a confined space, sometimes for years. In that situation, the last thing one wants is to be in a cell for 22 ½ hours with someone you are not comfortable with, because that would only be a recipe for disaster in that cell, just waiting to happen.
In Solidarity, Arturo Castellanos, C17275, PBSP-SHU, D-1-121
Received by the PHSS legal team Dec. 19, 2012.