LIBERATE THE CAGED VOICES community event — May 22

LIBERATE THE CAGED VOICES
A series by California Prison Focus (CPF)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
7:00pm-9:00pm

The Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster St #170
Oakland, CA 94612

Build solidarity! Engage with imprisoned community members through their stories, letters and poetry.

An interactive event to shift the narrative, and find out what’s really going on in California’s prisons.

Speakers, music and audience participation.

$5-$20 donation appreciated. No one turned away for lack of funds.

For questions, contact@prisons.org
www.prisons.org


California Prison Focus (CPF) is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to exposing the abuse, violation, and neglect of basic human rights concerning our community members behind bars. CPF publishes a quarterly newsletter, providing a platform for otherwise silenced voices of those on the inside and continues to fight for ending solitary confinement torture. Founded in 1991, the all-volunteer group operates entirely on individual donations and small grants.

CPF is a founding member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition.

 

Special Review of How Salinas Valley State Prison Handles Allegations by Prisoners of Staff Misconduct

by the Office of Inspector General (OIG)

In January 2018, the secretary of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and attorneys from the Prison Law Office requested that the OIG assess the prison’s process of handling inmate allegations of staff misconduct, “staff complaints.” The department allows local prison supervisors to conduct “staff complaint inquiries,” which are a preliminary collection of evidence pertaining to an allegation. Our review included a retrospective paper review of 61 staff complaint inquiries the prison completed between December 1, 2017, and February 28, 2018, and an onsite monitoring review of 127 staff complaint inquiries the prison initiated between March 1, 2018, and May 31, 2018. This totaled 188 staff complaint inquiries, which included 268 allegations. Our review also included our assessment of nine additional complaints submitted to the department by the Prison Law Office.

FULL REPORT (137pgs): Special Review of Salinas Valley State Prison’s Processing of Inmate Allegations of Staff Misconduct
https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019_special_review_-_salinas_valley_state_prison_staff_complaint_process.pdf

FACT SHEET (6pgs): Special Review of Salinas Valley State Prison’s Processing of Inmate Allegations of Staff Misconduct
https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/2019_special_review_-_salinas_valley_state_prison_staff_complaint_process_-_fact_sheet.pdf

Special Review found Salinas Valley’s Reviews of Allegations of Staff Misconduct involved: Poor interviewing techniques Poor evidence collection Poor report writing Lack of training Lack of independence: Display of bias, Inappropriate reviewers, Breached confidentiality

Salinas Valley rarely found misconduct from its staff complaint inquiries, and in the few cases where it determined that staff violated policy, it did not always provide corrective action—until we asked about it. The hiring authority determined that subject staff did not violate policy in 183 of the 188 complaint inquiries we reviewed (97%).

A reviewer’s rank of service had little effect on the quality of the staff complaint inquiry; we found the work across all ranks to be lacking in quality. Sergeants performed the poorest at 70% inadequate. Lieutenants, the most common reviewers, produced inadequate inquiries 52% of the time.

Below are excerpts from the OIG’s Full Report included in the OIG’s Fact Sheet:

2019_Special_Review_DEFICIENTInterviewSkills-Fact_Sheet-page-4

2019_Special_Review_DISPLAY Bias-Fact_Sheet-page-4


Electronic copies of reports published by the Office of the Inspector General are available free in portable document format (PDF) on our website at www.oig.ca.gov .

Office of the Inspector General, 10111 Old Placerville Road, Suite 110, Sacramento, CA 95827

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SOLITARY MAN: A Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison @ Berkeley Marsh Cabaret, Monday 3/18

A two person play with music performed by Fred Johnson and Charlie Hinton to celebrate Charlie’s 74th birthday and recovery from cancer. Music by City Jazz will follow the performance.

Solitary Man: A Visit to Pelican Bay State Prison
March 18, 2019 — 7:30pm
Berkeley Marsh Cabaret, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
  1 block from Downtown Berkeley BART

Poscard Marsh2

In Solitary Man, Charlie travels to Crescent City to visit a lifer named Otis Washington (played by Fred). A 64 year old native of New York City, Otis has been imprisoned since 1975 and at Pelican Bay since it opened in 1989. They get to know each other during the visit, and Otis explains some of what he has learned and experienced.

Solitary Man is directed by Mark Kenward.

No-Host Bar at the Marsh

Tickets: $15 Call 415-282-3055 or visit www.themarsh.org/rising/rising/
Scroll down to Solitary Man, click on the purple bar

Charlie says: “Fred and I want to continue performing, so if you or your organization would like to work with us to present the show, please let me know.” www.lifewish.org

Here is a video preview of the play!

http://lifewish.org/solitaryman/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/solitarymantheplay/

 

LIFER FAMILY SEMINARS (March 16 & April 6, 2019)

Hope you can attend one of the first 2 seminars this year, March 16 in Sacramento and April 6 in Yorba Linda. We’re doing some new things this year; for a start, at our Sacramento event both Jennifer Shaffer of the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) and CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz will be speaking in person, providing insight and answering questions.  For Yorba Linda and other events in coming months, we’ll have a video of both Diaz and Shaffer–the best we can do, absent cloning.

Also, for those who have an understanding of the basics of the parole policy, we’re offering a deeper dive into some of those areas, via small groups in the afternoon, concentrating on several areas, from new laws (commutation 1437 and 1391), to how to prepare a parole plan, to what to expect and do after the hearing, whichever way it goes.  And–for those newer to the journey, we’ll also provide a small group to outline how the whole system works.

Be sure to sign up, the easiest way is via our new and improved website, on the Events page, which, for the first time will allow you to register with a credit card.  We’re finally in the 21st Century!

Staff,
Life Support Alliance
Together we can do this, one step at a time.
19 03 16 Sacramento_LSA

Updates on 2019 laws, policies & procedures.

Lifer Family Seminar
Have Hope*Get Help*Come Home

Saturday, March 16, 2019
8 am-3:30 pm
Capital Christian Center, 9470 Micron Ave, Sacramento, CA 95827

Parking on site, directions and maps provided prior to the event. Registration and check in begins at 8 am.

This is a pivotal time for lifers; get the latest, most accurate and complete news on parole outlook, challenges of release and re-entry.

A Day of LEARNING and SUPPORT. Your Lifer CAN Come Home
Learn from officials, attorneys, advocates and successfully paroled lifers

What you and your inmate need to know

  • Insight & Causative Factors
  • Comprehensive Risk Assessment
  • Parole plans & re-entry

$35 up to 3 days prior; $40 at the door
Pre-Registration Requested
Seminar fee includes lunch & materials

Send Check or Money Order to

  • LSA, P.O.Box 277, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741 (sorry, no credit or debit cards)
  • Payment may be made also via PayPal; See EVENTS page at lifesupportalliance.org

LIFE SUPPORT ALLIANCE  Promoting Public Safety & Fiscal Responsibility
Publisher of CALIFORNIA LIFER NEWSLETTER & Lifer-Line newsletter
staff@lifesupportalliance.org  (916) 402-3750

19, 04-06 Yorba Linda_LSA

First Southern California Seminar of 2019
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Support Hunger Strikers in Corcoran State Prison – SOLIDARITY PROTESTS 2/16 & 2/17

Prisoners are hunger striking against indefinite lockdown and group punishment.

Corcoran HS support Feb 2019

 Corcoran State Prison Protest outside
→ in solidarity with people inside who are peacefully protesting against torture ←

Sat & Sun/Feb 16 and 17
11:00am – 2:30pm (both days)

in front of Corcoran State Prison entrance
Corcoran, CA 93212

Families are mobilizing for this weekend’s protests.
Please participate if you can!!

Contact number:  562.537.7068.

On Jan. 9, 2019, an estimated 250 prisoners went on hunger strike within Corcoran State Prison’s 3C facility in response to an indefinite lockdown. They have asked that this info be made public and that their DEMANDS BE HEARD.

corcoran_demands

Corcoran State Prison (3C Yrd)
SIX CORE DEMANDS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  1. Lift Lock-Down.
  2. Allow Visits.
  3. Allow Us To Attend Educational, Vocational & Rehabilitation Programs That We’re Enrolled In.
  4. Allow Us To Receive Commissary & Packages.
  5. That We Be Given Our Weekly 10 Hrs Of Mandated Outdoor Exercise Yard.
  6. That We Are Treated Fairly.

***WE’VE BEEN ON THIS PEACEFUL HUNGER STRIKE SINCE JANUARY 9TH, 2019 AND HAVE YET TO SEE CHANGE… WE WILL CONTINUE THIS HUNGER STRIKE UNTIL OUR VOICES ARE HEARD.

UPDATE: On January 9, 2019, an estimated 250 prisoners initiated a hunger strike within California State Prison – Corcoran’s 3C facility in response to an indefinite lockdown. On Jan 28, after three weeks of refusing food trays, the warden met with representatives, granted full canteen privileges and promised to work out a separate yard schedule. The strikers suspended their hunger strike and were ready to continue negotiations in good faith.

Over the last two weeks there has been NO PROGRESS on receiving full canteen or separate yard time. The warden has reneged on all pledges so the strikers of 3C refused breakfast trays on Monday, Feb 11 and held a day long noise demo banging on doors and windows. The initial demands remain and strikers insist that they be dealt with in good faith.

BACKGROUND: All units within Corcoran’s 3C facility have been on “modified program” for four months now. This essentially means a “lockdown” in all meaningful aspects – no visitation, no canteen, no packages, no educational, rehab or vocational programming, and little yard time.

The pretext for this indefinite lockdown by CDCr of hundreds of prisoners for months on end is an altercation on Sept. 28 which saw three prisoners from their unit attacked and put into the infirmary. Group punishments and indefinite isolation are standard practices by CDCr and must stop.

These practices only escalate trauma and conflict and ultimately only promote violence and destabilization within facilities. The effects are not an accident or “regrettable by-products.” This is how CDCr interprets its mission: control by brutalization and division.

The above info is from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.
See more articles and interviews about the strike below.

PLEASE MAKE PHONE CALLS!

The hunger strike representatives have requested phone calls be made to officials in Sacramento to amplify the demands.

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Feb 24 California Prison Focus event: STEEL BARS AND REAL SCARS – Watani Stiner

Feb 24 CPF event _Watani and children

SPOKEN WORD & PERFORMANCE
Sunday, February 24, 2019

2 – 4 pm
Sherith Israel – 2266 California St. San Francisco, CA 94115

 

California Prison Focus presents Watani Stiner and Children of the Revolutionary: Larry Stiner Jr., Latanya Stiner, and Lige Stiner.

Witness the devastating impact of imprisonment on families as seen through the eyes of a formerly incarcerated father who successfully escaped from San Quentin before he voluntarily returned, and the son and daughter left to grow up without him.

Join us to hear the poignant reflections and stories of this family trio as they recount their journey through those long years of separation. Through spoken word and performance, they will share their stories of childhood, imprisonment, escape, exile, and political activism while offering their perspectives on how incarceration and family separation affected each one of them personally.

Support an end to mass incarceration.

Free event hosted by California Prison Focus
For questions: contact@prisons.org
http://www.prisons.org


California Prison Focus (CPF) is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to exposing the abuse, violation, and neglect of basic human rights concerning our community members behind bars. CPF publishes a quarterly newsletter, providing a platform for otherwise silenced voices of those on the inside and continues to fight for ending solitary confinement torture. Founded in 1991, the all-volunteer group operates entirely on individual donations and small grants.

CPF is a founding member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition.

COURT FINDS SYSTEMIC CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS BY CALIFORNIA DEPT OF CORRECTIONS

Extends Settlement to End Indefinite Solitary Confinement in California

January 28, 2019, Eureka – Late Friday, a federal judge found that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is systemically violating the due process rights of prisoners. The judge ruled that CDCR is violating the Constitution by repeatedly relying on unreliable and even fabricated confidential information to send California prisoners to solitary confinement. The court also found CDCR is using constitutionally flawed gang validations to deny people in prison a fair opportunity for parole.

Read Court’s Decision here (Jan 25, 2019): https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/order-granting-extension-motion.pdf

As a result of evidence submitted by the prisoners’ legal team, the judge extended by one year the terms of an historic settlement agreement to end indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons, including a provision allowing monitoring by plaintiffs’ counsel.

“The purpose of the settlement was to eradicate constitutional violations related to CDCR’s use of solitary confinement. Unfortunately, California is still violating our clients’ fundamental rights to due process. This ruling is an opportunity to remedy those continuing violations,” said Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights Rachel Meeropol. “It also sends a clear message to CDCR and California’s new governor: until the constitutional violations end, the courts will be watching.”

Under a 2015 landmark agreement, nearly 1600 prisoners were released from isolated Security Housing Units (SHU) and CDCR agreed to substantially reform the process by which prisoners were placed and held in the SHU. Prisoners are no longer sent to SHU based solely on gang affiliation—often established on the basis of extremely insubstantial evidence—but only due to specific and serious rules violations.

The judge’s decision underscored the serious problems in California’s old gang validation system and the way it continues to impact prisoners:

“Plaintiffs have provided the court with ample evidentiary examples that demonstrate that the CDCR’s old process for gang validation was constitutionally infirm (for example, because CDCR’s interpretation of the word ‘activity’ also included something described as, ‘non-action piece[s] of evidence’). As a result, prisoners’ validations were sometimes based on as little as . . . having received correspondence (regardless of the content) or artwork, a birthday card, or other possessions from a validated gang member . . .  or for the artwork they possessed (such as art containing Aztec or Mayan images). . .  Plaintiffs also provide evidence from a number of class members’ parole transcripts in support of the contention that gang validation is a highly significant, if not often a dispositive factor in parole consideration, and that when prisoners dispute their validation at their parole hearings, Commissioners consider the challenge itself to constitute evidence of dishonesty and a manifestation of a lack of remorse or credibility.”

“Now that a judge has determined that California’s gang validation system is deeply flawed, the Parole Board must immediately stop relying on these old validations and give our clients a fair chance to earn release,” said Carol Strickman of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

The judge’s decision also focused on how California distorts confidential information, describing one disciplinary case where “the potentially exculpatory part of the [confidential informant’s] account was never disclosed, and instead it appears to have been replaced by an inculpating statement that the [confidential informant] never uttered;” another case where a “prisoner was told that the evidence against him included two confidential sources . . .  however, according to the underlying confidential memorandum, there were not two sources, there was only one, and that person stated that he did not witness the event in question;” and many more, leading the judge to conclude that “time and again, the shield of confidentiality for informants and their confidential accounts is used to effectively deny class members any meaningful opportunity to participate in their disciplinary hearings.”

Lead counsel at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Jules Lobel, explained, “CDCR relies extensively on confidential in-custody informants, even though the California legislature and experts around the country recognize they are often unreliable. We hope this decision will provide momentum for California and other state prison systems to take steps to ensure that this type of unreliable evidence is not used to send people in prison to solitary confinement.

Ashker v. Governor of California was originally filed by prisoners who had been isolated in the SHU for more than a decade based on alleged gang affiliation. The lawsuit followed coordinated hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 by over 30,000 prisoners statewide. On the third anniversary of the settlement agreement, former SHU prisoners published a statement marking their progress and highlighting work that remains in order to fully remedy their unconstitutional conditions.

The Ashker plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, California Prison Focus, Siegel & Yee, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, Bremer Law GroupPLLC, Ellenberg & Hull, and the Law Offices of Charles Carbone.

Read the magistrate judge’s decision here.

Original post: https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/court-finds-systemic-constitutional-violations-california

For more information, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights’ case page.


The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, The Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.

PRISONERS ENDANGERED

Sacramento, Calif.— On Dec. 14, 2018, families of prisoners and supporters held a rally in front of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s (CDCr) headquarters against the CDCr-induced violence that many of their loved ones are experiencing.

snydemo

Dec 14, 2018 Rally at CDCr Headquarters: FAMILIES UNITED TO STOP MERGED YARDS! Stop the Merging of Sensitive Needs Yards and General Population in CA State Prisons!

PROBLEM IS OF CDCr’s OWN MAKING

The violent gang environment in prison was created in large part by CDCr’s own policies, which set prisoners against each other along racial lines. In a procedure completely discredited by the prisoners’ own mass movement based on an “Agreement to End Hostilities,” CDCr exacerbated the gang problem by incentivizing snitching.

To get out of solitary, the infamous Institutional Gang Investigators demanded information to use against other prisoners without regard to its validity. CDCr “protected” their growing snitch population by placing them in Special Needs Yards (SNY).

The SNY population grew. Recently, CDCr started reintegrating those prisoners. Their pilot program, almost entirely voluntary, was reasonably successful. Prisoners can work out their differences given a chance.

What we were protesting was the deplorable escalation of violence when the reintegration program became no longer voluntary.

Ruthie, a member of Inmate Family Council (IFC) at Avenal Prison, recounted an IFC meeting where the plan was presented to families. Almost immediately prisoners reported incidents. The only way large-scale violence was prevented there was that the SNY prisoners refused to go. They are locked up in ad-seg for refusal, but they are not budging.

DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE

The families call it “deliberate indifference. They are intentionally putting inmates’ lives at risk.” What can we do? Ruthie asked that prisoners forward to her copies of their write-ups (called 115s). Some of those include pictures of the injuries, which are very graphic.

At another facility, Norco, the forced reintegration resulted in riots, stabbings, and fires being set. You could hear prisoners screaming for help from across the street. Family members’ persistence in demanding answers from the prison halted reintegration there for a time. But when Norco reintegrated again, a family member reported their loved one had his nose, eye-socket and ribs broken. He now has a spinal injury and is in a wheelchair.

The whole SNY setup is unsustainable. General population prisoners from Wasco were told they were being transferred upstate. Instead they were bused to North Kern prison’s SNY. There the warden met them and assured them that the SNY population did not want any problems, they were safe. But as they were going to the yard, the SNY prisoners lined up along the fence and started calling them out.

Protocol in such cases is to close down the yard. Instead the call went out over the loud- speakers that all prisoners had to report to the yard. The more than 30 prisoners were attacked by the entire SNY population. They were beaten with locks, had their heads split open, and were stabbed. They also received 115s for “participating in a riot” and were put in ad-seg.

As the Agreement to End Hostilities proves, prisoners are reaching for new human relations among themselves, asserting themselves independently of their guard-overlords. Solidarity among and with prisoners is the only way out of the mass incarceration nightmare.

Urszula Wislanka

  • NEXT RALLY is Friday, Feb 15, 2019 1:00pm:
    In front of CDCr Headquarters, 1515 S St., Sacramento, CA 95811
  • SIGN THIS PETITION and get other people to sign it! bit.ly/cdcraction

SIGN PETITION & RALLY Against CDCR’s Merging of General Population & Sensitive Needs Yards

NO NDPF*
STOP MERGED YARDS!

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO CHALLENGE CDCR’S
MERGING OF GENERAL POPULATION (GP) AND
SENSITIVE NEEDS YARDS (SNY):

  1. SIGN THE PETITION AND GET OTHER PEOPLE TO SIGN IT.
    bit.ly/cdcraction
  1. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1PM
    SMACK DOWN ON SACTOWN
    RALLY IN FRONT OF CDCR (California Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation)
    1515 S STREET
    SACRAMENTO, CA 95811
  1. SEND A SURVEY TO YOUR PEOPLE INSIDE CA STATE PRISON TO GET THEIR OPINIONS AND EXPERIENCES.
    E-MAIL YARI TO GET IT MAILED IN yari@youth4justice.org
  1. SIGN YOUR GROUP, SCHOOL, ORGANIZATION ON TO THE LETTER TO CDCR SECRETARY RALPH DIAZ.
    e-mail us at action@youth4justice.org to sign on

THANK YOU!!!

* NO NDPF = NO Non-Designated Programming Facilities
A Non-Designated Programming Facility is where SNY (Sensitive Needs Yards) and GP (General Population) inmates are forced to cohabitate and program on a Non-Designated Yard together.

Follow NONDPF Cainmates on Facebook

Read this NDPF information document

Parole After SHU materials

We have a section on our website Parole After SHU materials that can be accessed at https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/education/parole-after-shu-materials/. Below is a copy of that section updated as of Jan 9, 2019. We wanted to make sure you know it exists and has lots of information.

PHSS Parole Committee
P.O. Box 5586
Lancaster, CA 93539

Life Support Alliance Seminar – Outlook for Parole 2018 (pdf)
The enclosed materials were produced by Life Support Alliance for their Inmate Family Seminar in Long Beach in September 2018.

Life Support Alliance puts on a number of these seminars each year in both Southern and Northern California. (They have several scheduled for 2019, including Sacramento, Yorba Linda, Fresno/Bakersfield area, Bay area and others). The seminars present a wealth of material, much more than can be included in the attached written materials. We recommend that you urge your family or other supporters on the outside to try to attend one these seminars from time to time.

The enclosed handouts from the September 2018 seminar were current as of that time, and there’s no guarantee they will remain accurate or current, because things are changing all the time. We hope they will be useful to you.

Information about Life Support Alliance and its programs and publications is included in the handouts. These include a way to request their free monthly newsletter, Lifer-Line.

Lifer Parole Packet (pdf) updated May 2017
Compiled by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. This guide is a compilation of resources from UnCommon Law, Life Support Alliance, & the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition to help Lifers navigate the parole process, including the psychological evaluations.

Webinar: Parole After SHU from April 11, 2017
There are two videos, one is a training for parole attorneys and family advocates, and the second is a community presentation specifically for people with family members currently in or recently released from SHU to General Population. There are also links at the bottom of the page with related materials.

Transcript (Part 1) from Oct 7, 2017 Parole After SHU Seminar (pdf),/span>

Rethinking Parole for Long-term SHU Prisoners (pdf) prepared March 2017

Tips from Hearings (pdf) from Life Support Alliance newsletter October 2017

Psychological Effects of Long Term SHU (pdf)

Some Reflections on the Effects of Long Term SHU: Imprisoned Responses to Reading Excerpts from Dr. Terry Kupers’ Report (pdf) 2017