California’s SHUs & the Hunger Strike:
The video below was created by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity leading up to the start of the strike on July 1st:
Click Here to watch “Three Thousand Years to Life,” a short documentary from 1973 when guards went on strike, prisoners took over Walpole State Prison (Massachusetts).
Listen to Isolation Units in US Prisons Panel Discussion (San Francisco, April 2011) coordinated by Center for Constitutional Rights, discussing the history and ramifications of solitary confinement.
Articles & Readings
A Survivor’s Manual for Solitary Confinement by Kijana Tashiri Askari (Nov. 2011) written for prisoners.
Hunger Strike Recap: CA prisoners Showed the Way! a thorough summary of the hunger strike that started at Pelican Bay July 1st, 2011.
- Hungry for reform, SF Bay Guardian July 3, 2013
- Support the Pelican Bay hunger strike, by Shaka At-thinnin, SF Bay View
- Californian prisoners prepare for hunger strike, by Peadar King, Irish Times
- California prisoners inspire the world, by Willie Ratcliff, SF Bay View
- CDCR to prisoners: Submit to force-feeding to get demands met, by Paul Redd et al, SF Bay View
- Sabotage, by Mutope Duguma et al, SF Bay View
- Treating us like slaves: an analysis of the Security Threat Group Step Down Program, by Randall Sondai Ellis et al, SF Bay View
- Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective: How many will die when hunger strike resumes? by the four main hunger strike reps, SF Bay View
- Demands from the San Quentin State Prison Adjustment Center, by A/C reps, SF Bay View
- Life expectancy of prisoners, by Carl S. Harrison, SF Bay View
- Corcoran SHU staff told to ignore legal mandate to protect lives of hunger strikers, by J. Heshima Denham et al, SF Bay View
- Chowchilla Freedom Rally: It just ain’t right, by Wanda Sabir, SF Bay View
- Build a movement to close solitary confinement, by Mumia Abu Jamal
- Reflections on our accomplishments so far – no more suffering in silence, by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Ronnie Dewberry, one of the four main reps), SF Bay View
- San Quentin 3 declare solidarity with prisoners’ agreement to end hostilities, by Sundiata Tate, David Johnson, Bato Talamantez, SF Bay View
- California prisoners make historic call to end hostilities between racial groups in California prisons and jails, by Short Corridor Collective (hunger strike reps), SF Bay View
- The solitary confinement profiteers, by Mutope Duguma, SF Bay View
- Monster Kody: an interview wit’ author Sanyika Shakur, by Minister of Information JR, SF Bay View
- A day in the life of an imprisoned revolutionary, by J. Heshima Denham, SF Bay View — a must read
- Let’s rock! The musings – or mental fog – of a hunger striker, by Gabriel Huerta, SF Bay View — this is a little gem, a classic that we republished in the April paper to give the guys a boost. It inspired the name of a major newsletter for Cali prisoners, called Rock.
“A Cage within a Cage: A Report on Indeterminate Security Housing Unit (SHU) Confinement & Conditions” by Lauren Liu with Robin Rederford, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (July 2011). Click here to download a pdf of the report (about 20 pages)
Confronting Torture in US Prisons by Angola 3 News, AlterNet
An interview with activists/journalists and co-founders of the new Solitary Watch website, James Ridgeway and Jean Casella. They talk about some of the history and purpose of solitary confinement & Pelican Bay, as well as some media strategies for organizing against torture and imprisonment.
“What Is the Prison Industrial Complex?” by Rachel Herzing
“The New Inquisition: Gang Validation” by Steve Champion
A piece written by Steve Champion, currently locked up in San Quentin State Prison, detailing how gang validation/labeling is used to criminalize and repress political thought, expression and action in prison.
“Georgia Prison Strike: A Hidden Labor Force Resists” by Michelle Chen
“How Does the Biggest Prison Strike In American History Go Unnoticied?” by Mark Anthony Neal
California Prison Focus (CPF)
CPF is an organization of community activists, prisoners, and their families working to abolish the CA prison system in its current condition, by investigating and exposing human rights abuses with the goal of ending long term isolation, medical neglect, and all forms of discrimination.
LSPC is a non-profit organization with a history of over thirty years of working to restore rights of incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated people, release people from prison & reunify people, families and communities during and after incarceration. Guided by the vision of people in prison and of formerly-incarcerated people, working in unity with expert attorneys and policy advocates, LSPC seeks to transform the injustice of mass incarceration.
All of Us or None is a national organizing initiative started by formerly-incarcerated people to fight against discrimination faced after release and to fight for the human rights of prisoners. All of Us or None is determined to win full restoration of civil and human rights for former prisoners, with the goal of building political power in the communities most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex.
PARC is a prison abolitionist group committed to exposing and challenging all forms of institutionalized racism, sexism, able-ism, heterosexism, and classism, specifically within the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). PARC believes in building strategies and tactics that build safety in our communities without reliance on the police or the PIC. PARC produces a directory that is free to prisoners upon request, and seeks to work in solidarity with prisoners, ex-prisoners, their friends and families.
Critical Resistance (CR)
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. As such, our work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness. The success of the movement requires that it reflect communities most affected by the PIC. Because we seek to abolish the PIC, we cannot support any work that extends its life or scope.
The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) is a national grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment. CEDP has active chapters in cities and campuses across the United States—including California, Texas, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. To win abolition, we need to build a grassroots struggle. CEDP believes that those who have experienced the horrors of death row ﬁrst hand–death row prisoners themselves and their family members–should be at the forefront of our movement.
CCWP is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). CCWP sees the struggle for racial and gender justice as central to dismantling the PIC and we prioritize the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted in building this movement.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. AFSC’s work is based on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends, the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.
Bar None is a volunteer run, grassroots organization located in Humboldt County, California, which stands in solidarity with incarcerated people and their allies with the belief that prison abolition is a necessary part of building a future that is just, equitable and empowering for everyone.
Kersplebedeb, a one-person project devoted to producing and distributing radical books and pamphlets and agit prop materials.
The Abolitionist, a publication and organizing tool for prison industrial complex abolition printed by Critical Resistance. Sent to over 2,000 people worldwide, primarily prisoners in prisons, jails, and detention centers.
StoryTelling & Organizing Project (STOP), an international project that documents and uses examples of how people use community-based interventions to stop harm and violence without involved policing, imprisonment, or traditional social services.