Sacramento RALLY & COURT SOLIDARITY to End Sleep Deprivation in CA Solitary Confinement — FRIDAY, MAY 18

Jorge Rico is incarcerated in Pelican Bay State Prison and has brought a civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the loud “security/welfare checks” that he (and others) in Pelican Bay’s solitary units endure every 30-60 minutes 24/7. These so-called “checks”- done by guards – wake and disturb prisoners day and night causing serious sleep deprivation and, as his lawsuit claims, constitute cruel and unusual punishment.as his lawsuit claims, constitute cruel and unusual punishment. (The guards do no checking on top of that). Sleep deprivation is internationally recognized as torture.

Please RALLY at 9am on May 18 in support of Jorge Rico’s case against the “security/welfare checks” and in public outrage against the jarring noise and sleep deprivation they cause. At 10am, after the rally, help form a STRONG COURTROOM PRESENCE at the hearing in his case.  Show solidarity with Jorge Rico while his attorneys argue that his case should not be dismissed at CDCR’s request.

The CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will argue for the court to dismiss Jorge’s civil rights case. Jorge’s lawyers will argue that the case against CDCR administrators, guards, and wardens, must move forward. HERE is a link to Jorge Rico’s Opposition to CDCR’s motion to dismiss.

The PHSS Committee to End Sleep Deprivation asks you to help make a powerful showing of solidarity with Jorge and all people in CA solitary confinement who are suffering from the checks, and who cannot be in the courtroom or outside rallying and speaking about their experience.


Friday, May 18, 2018
Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I St., Sacramento, CA 95814

Sacramento Federal Court/Eastern District
Case name and number: Rico v. Beard  2:17-cv-01402-KJM-DB

9:00am RALLY outside the Courthouse
10:00am COURTROOM SOLIDARITY with Jorge Rico,
prisoner who brought this case (Crtrm #27, 8th Floor)

After the hearing, Jorge’s attorney, Kate Falkenstein, will be available briefly outside the courthouse to speak with community supporters and media.

Note: You must show ID and pass through a metal detector to get inside the Courthouse.


'Solitary Confinement Security Welfare Checks' art by Jaime Amesquita

Artwork by Jaime Amesquita, in High Desert State Prison. “I’m hoping that maybe through the publishing of my art I can bring attention to the long term effects brought by security/welfare checks, like sleep deprivation or PTSD.”

One way CDCR is attempting to get rid of the civil rights cases against the checks is by claiming that the guards and administrators causing the sleep deprivation and harm are only ‘following orders’ and not violating any clearly established right. We recall these words from a person in Pelican Bay solitary, who, like Jorge, has been subjected to the checks’ loud, reverberating banging noise every 30 minutes 24/7 in a small, enclosed concrete and metal cell:

“For decades, military and police forces have used extreme isolation, sleep deprivation and constant banging/noise to cause mental/physical torment and try to break a person’s mind or human will to resist questioning. These are so-called clean torture methods. So CDCR/Pelican Bay State Prison cannot possibly claim, ‘We did not know the cause or effect of this new program’s use of extreme isolation, sleep deprivation, and constant noise/banging.’”

Jorge’s Opposition to CDCR’s Motion to Dismiss quotes the court in another current federal case challenging the checks, Matthews v. Holland:

“It has been clearly established in the Ninth Circuit, since the 1990s, that inmates are entitled to conditions of confinement which do not result in chronic, long term sleep deprivation.” 

These “security/welfare checks” have been occurring for almost three years in Pelican Bay State Prison.

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3/28/18 Liberate The Caged Voices event

LIBERATE THE CAGED VOICES
#1 in a series by California Prison Focus

Build Solidarity
Engage with our caged community members through their stories, letters, and poetry.

Speakers, music, and audience participation.

7:30pm – 9:30pm
Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/837542906455693/

PTSD SC: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Solitary Confinement

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa and Baridi J. Williamson

published in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper:
http://sfbayview.com/2018/02/ptsd-sc-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-solitary-confinement/

California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr) had been locking classes of prisoners up in solitary confinement since the ‘60s as part of CDCr’s para-military low-intensity warfare, to break the minds and spirits of its subjects, California’s prisoner class. CDCr’s solitary confinement has two operating components: 1) punishing you and 2) physically and mentally destroying you.

In the 1970s, CDCr’s report to then Gov. Ronald Reagan on revolutionary organizations and gangs resulted in Reagan ordering the CDCr director to lock up all radicals, militants, revolutionaries and jailhouse lawyers who were considered “trouble-makers.”[i] And a 1986 report by the CDCr task force stated that during the ‘60s and ‘70s, California’s prisoners became “politicized” through the influence of outside “radical, social movements.”

And conscious prisoners began to “demand” their human, constitutional and civil rights,[ii] as exemplified by those politicized prisoners of war (PPOW) like W.L. Nolen.[iii] In the late ‘60s, Nolen and other PPOWs filed a civil rights class action case challenging the inhumane, degrading conditions and institutional racism that was prevalent at Soledad Prison’s solitary confinement O-wing,[iv] as well as throughout CDCr’s prison system to date.

The 1986 CDCr task force report recommended that CDCr build “supermax” prisons for this politicized class of prisoners, which was echoed by the California prison guards’ union (known today as CCPOA) in continuing their low-intensity warfare upon California prisoners up into and through the ‘80s.

Shortly thereafter, California government through its apparatus CDCr, built its solitary confinement torture sites, such as Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Administrative Segregation (Ad-Segs) at Tehachapi in December 1986, New Folsom in December 1987, Corcoran in December 1988 and at Pelican Bay State Prison in December of 1989. All were designed with the malicious intent to destroy human lives through their diabolical low-intensity warfare scheme of mass validation – group punishment – indeterminate SHU classification and enhanced “debriefing” interrogation, known as “snitch, parole or die!”

Each of California’s governors and CDCr cabinet secretaries from 1977 to 2015 knowingly enhanced their system to become more repressive upon the prisoners held in solitary confinement in the SHUs. We prisoners have known for the past decades that California citizens have not condoned the torture of California prisoners. Nevertheless, since the ‘60s, each state governor and legislature knowingly sanctioned solitary confinement torture.

California’s CDCr – with the winks and nods of lawmakers and judges – has held countless prisoners in solitary confinement, whether it is called Ad-Seg, Management Control Unit, Adjustment Center, SHU or Administrative SHU, longer than any prison system within the United States, ranging up to 45 years of torture and acts of racial discrimination from Soledad Prison’s O-wing to PBSP’s new form of solitary confinement torture.

The case of Madrid v. Gomez was the first acknowledgement on the part of California authorities and judiciary recognizing the harm that CDCr had been causing – mental torture – to those held in solitary confinement across the state’s prison system.[v]

We prisoners have known for the past decades that California citizens have not condoned the torture of California prisoners. Nevertheless, since the ‘60s, each state governor and legislature knowingly sanctioned solitary confinement torture.

The Madrid case touched on the harsh conditions and treatment toward the solitary confinement prisoners at PBSP. It is a clear fact that during the years 1989 to 1994, PBSP had one of the most notorious Violence Control Units (VCUs) in the U.S. CDCr-PBSP officials utilized the VCU for to violate prisoners’ human, constitutional and civil rights by beating us and destroying the minds and spirits of so many of us for years.

An example of how some prisoners would find themselves forced into PBSP’s VCU is when the CDCr bus would arrive at PBSP and park outside the entrance doorway to solitary confinement – Facilities C and D. A squad of goons dressed in paramilitary gear with black gloves, shields and riot helmets would be there waiting. They called themselves the “Welcoming Committee.”

These guards, describing themselves as the Green Wall guard gang, using “G/W” and “7/23” as symbols for “Green Wall,” would roam through the SHU corridors assaulting, beating, and scalding prisoners. See Madrid v. Gomez.

The Welcoming Committee would select one or more prisoners and pull them off the bus – usually choosing those the transportation guards accused of “talking loud.” They would take each one to the side and jump on him, then drag him off through the brightly lighted doorway.

These guards, describing themselves as the Green Wall guard gang, using “G/W” and “7/23” as symbols for “Green Wall,” would roam through the SHU corridors assaulting, beating, and scalding prisoners.

When the rest of the prisoners were escorted off the bus into the corridor to be warehoused in the general SHU cells, they would see those beaten prisoners dragged off the bus “hog-tied”[vi] and lying on their stomachs or crouched in a fetal position, sometimes in a pool of blood.[vii] Later, they were dragged off to the VCU, where they were targeted with intense mind-breaking operations.

When these prisoners were eventually taken out of VCU and housed in the general SHU cells, they mostly displayed insanity – smearing feces all over their bodies, screaming, yelling, banging cups, throwing urine.[viii] And it was only when prisoners began to go public about the VCU at PBSP that CDCr ceased those practices.[ix]

The effects of solitary confinement at PBSP compelled CDCr to establish Psychiatric Service Units (PSUs) in response to the Madrid ruling for remedying the conditions that were destroying the minds of all prisoners who were held captive from the time of the Madrid ruling in 1995 through 2014, but they were poor and ineffective. Those released to the PSU from SHU fared no better than others held in solitary confinement at PBSP.

Prisoners in SHU continued to suffer mental, emotional and physical harm with no remedy made available by CDCr until we were released out to General Population units by the Departmental Review Board (DRB) between 2012 and 2014 and the Ashker v. Brown class action settlement in 2015.

These released prisoners were coming from a torture chamber, where by necessity they created coping skills like self-medicating. Typically, when coming out of solitary confinement, women and men prisoners show signs of depressive disorder and symptoms characteristic of self-mutilation, mood deterioration and depression, traumatic stress disorder, hopelessness, panic disorder, anger, obsessive-compulsive disorder, irritability, anhedonia, fatigue, feelings of guilt, loss of appetite, nervousness, insomnia, worry, increased heart rate and respiration, sweating, hyperarousal, serious problems with socialization, paranoia, loss of appetite, as well as cognitive issues, nightmares, muscle tension, intrusive thoughts, fear of losing control, and difficulty concentrating.[x]

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To Prisoner Class Supporters from Todd Ashker (w/proposed Open Letter to Gov. Brown)

To Whom It May Concern,
To Prisoner Class Supporters
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
California Families Against Solitary Confinement
and Public, etc.

From Todd Ashker
C58191 KVSP – ASU- 2/194
Box 5106
Delano, CA 93216

December 5, 2017

This is a follow-up to our October 2017, Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement, “Statement of Prisoner Representatives on Second Anniversary of Ashker v. Brown Settlement.”

In our collective October 2017 “Statement,” we stressed the importance that “…prisoners and our families will have to re-energize the human rights movement, to fight against the continuing violations of our rights.” … reminding all involved, “We must stand together, not only for ourselves, but for future generations of prisoners, so that they don’t have to go through the years of torture that we had to.”

With this in mind, I am sharing a copy of my proposed “Open Letter to Governor Brown, Legislators, and CDCR Secretary Kernan, RE: Attention to Ongoing Human Rights Violations and Related Lack of Reparative Action Necessary To Begin Making Amends for 3+ Decades of Systematically Intentional, State-Sanctioned Torture” …with the hope of helping to re-energize our movement, by gaining wide-spread support for the position/s presented in the “Open Letter.”

As many are aware, our current collective movement began in the bowels of Pelican Bay State Prison – SHU – Short Corridor, wherein prisoners of all races and various geographical areas, became openly conscious of what we had in common- rather than what was different (divisive); we recognized we’d all been subjected to the same adversary’s boots on our necks, all members of a prisoner class subjected to decades of solitary confinement torture.

We became aware of the fact that those of us serving “term-to-life” sentences, were all akin to the living dead, our existence being that of a mind numbing, spirit destroying, endless nightmare. I believe coming together in the “short corridor” wherein we witnessed the toll of our slow decay- together with the prisoncrats progressively punitive, oppressive provocations- was one cause of our awakening, leading to us coming together as the “PBSP – SHU, Short Corridor Collective.”

Our struggle was focused on ending long-term solitary confinement [and improvements to conditions therein]. We stood up together and collectively.  We educated our loved ones and general public about what had been in society’s shadow for far too long. We publicly “drew the line” and said, “No More!”

As a committed collective of fellow human beings (a large majority hailing from working class, poor communities) we lead our struggle — from behind the walls – putting our lives in the balance… at that point, our lives being all we had… We demanded an end to our torture, based on our inherent right – as human beings – to humane treatment, inclusive of dignity and respect for ourselves, our loved ones, and the unfortunate generations to follow.

Notably, our collective membership had been the subject of the states’ decades-long ‘war against the working-class poor, tough-on-crime’ (focused and applied mainly upon the poor), politicized, vilified, and branded as “The Worst of The Worst” in order to justify our subjection to endless torture (lasting more than 30 years)!

In this climate, we came together and utilized non-violent, peaceful protest action, mass hunger strikes and work stoppages, which, together with the support of our awakened loved ones, and countless other people of conscience outside the walls (while all along, suffering with us), exposed our plight to the world community.

In 2012, we introduced our collective “Agreement to End Race-Based Hostilities,” making clear our united intent to no longer be the source of our mutual adversary’s manipulation tactics – centered on keeping us divided and violent towards one another, (thereby used to justify our adversaries agenda – supermax, indefinite warehousing); and thereby demonstrating our humanity in the face of the provocations of our oppressive torturers. We pointed out the fact that, in the absence of race-based violence, our mutual adversary/s would be forced to end their policy of warehousing us in the small cells indefinitely, and open the prisons up for meaningful programming and privileges- beneficial to the prisoner class.

I mention the above points as important reminders of the fact that the main basis for the success we’ve achieved to date has been Our Collective Unity Inside and Outside the prison walls, making strategic use of combined litigation, and peaceful activism- action tools, which, together with our related collective belief in and commitment to Our Cause, is a great example of “The Power Of The People.”

It’s also true that with the progress comes responsibility; we must be vigilant with respect to maintaining, and crucially building on our achievements. The responsibility is ours for doing so. “The novelist Aldous Huxley once said: ‘Liberties are not given; they are taken.’ We are not given our liberties by the Bill of Rights, certainly not by the government which either violates or ignores those rights.  We take our rights, as thinking, acting citizens.” [quoting from Howard Zinn’s The Zinn Reader – Writings On Disobedience & Democracy (1997) at p. 418]

Our adversaries are constantly resisting any change beneficial to the prisoner class! History demonstrates the importance of our need to stand together collectively, and refuse to allow those in power (at the will of the People) to halt our progressive movements’ demands for human rights and real justice, because, historically, every class action, civil-suit ‘victory’ for the prisoner class in California has been manipulated by prisoncrats to the ultimate detriment of those that such ‘victory’ was intended to benefit. It’s a non-stop battle!

What I greatly appreciate, and respect, about our Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement, is what I hope is our part in society’s evolutionary leap in collective human consciousness. Standout examples of this for me, go back to the Arab Spring (2010, I believe), followed by the August 2010 massive Georgia Prison, system-wide work strike, and the January 2011 Hunger Strike at Ohio State Prison.

Reflecting on the above, as well as our historic, collective group mass hunger strike protests across the California system, of 2011-2013, brings to mind an often quoted phrase (as a sort of benchmark of what’s wrong with society) that of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, reflecting on his own incarceration, famously said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Our collective coming together in the context of having been demonized – tortured over 3 decades – composed of working class poor, facing extreme adversity for a powerful, well-funded adversary… toppled (to an extent- losing their supermax jewel, PBSP SHU) by our peaceful protests, and related Global Condemnation (and litigation), epitomizes a great side of our society! I hope it’s an example of a growing social revolutionary process.

Related to the above, and to our common struggle in general, I want to share a few excerpts from The Zinn Reader, a bit of food-for-thought.

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Support Operation PUSH Prisoner Strike throughout Florida prison system, initiated on MLK Day

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition stands in solidarity with the Florida Prison Strikers.

Stay informed and updated with links below. Please help amplify the striking prisoners’ voices.

These are the strikers’ demands (in their words):
1. Payment for our labor, rather than the current slave arrangement
2. Ending outrageous canteen prices
3. Reintroducing parole incentives to lifers and those with Buck Rogers dates

Along with these primary demands, we are also expressing our support for the following goals:

• Stop the overcrowding and acts of brutality committed by officers throughout FDOC which have resulted in the highest death rates in prison history.
• Expose the environmental conditions we face, like extreme temperatures, mold, contaminated water, and being placed next to toxic sites such as landfills, military bases and phosphate mines (including a proposed mine which would surround the Reception and Medical Center prison in Lake Butler).
• Honor the moratorium on state executions, as a court-ordered the state to do, without the legal loophole now being used to kill prisoners on death row.
• Restore voting rights as a basic human right to all, not a privilege, regardless of criminal convictions.

gainesvillemlkbanner

Supporters of Operation PUSH march in solidarity with prisoners on Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, Gainesville, FL, Jan 15, 2018. (Photo from Fighting Toxic Prisons)

Florida Prisoners Are Laying It Down
with a work stoppage, an economic protest

Prisoners’ Statement: FL Prisoners Call for Operation PUSH to Improve the Lives of Incarcerated People and the Communities We Come From (with intro from Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons) https://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/fl-prisoners-announce-operation-push-starting-jan-15-to-cripple-prison-system/

Great Audio Interview: Oakland IWOC speaking on Operation PUSH on KPFA with Cat Brooks Jan 23, 2018 https://soundcloud.com/oakland-iwoc/oakland-iwoc-speaking-on-operation-push-on-kpfa-upfront-with-cat-brooks

Jan 19, 2018 Update on Operation PUSH (originally posted on SPARC) https://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/updates-on-operation-push-in-the-florida-department-of-corrections/

Are Florida prisons suppressing an inmate strike or just lying about it?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/01/24/are-florida-prisons-suppressing-an-inmate-strike-or-just-lying-about-it/?utm_term=.8b74c32b7067

Florida Officials Deny Operation PUSH Is Ongoing, Even As They Retaliate Against Prisoners https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/25/operation-push-update/

Please stay updated through these sites:

rashid-2013-self-portrait1

Recent Call to Action! Demand Florida DOC Stop Torturing Rashid Johnson

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson (#158039) wrote an article about the Florida prison strike, “Florida Prisoners Are Laying it Down” which was published online on January 9, 2018. The following day warden Barry Reddish retaliated against Rashid’s use of his First Amendment rights, ordering that he be given a disciplinary infraction for “inciting a riot”. Further, on January 19th Rashid was thrown in a cold cell, with a broken toilet, no heating, and with a window that will not fully close, allowing cold wind to blow into the cell. The cell has the same temperature as the outside, where temperatures have been repeatedly at or below freezing.  Kevin “Rashid” Johnson was not allowed communication with his attorney or anyone on the outside for 6 days.

UPDATE: People made many calls to the warden in the prison where Rashid is being held.

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STATEMENT OF PRISONER REPRESENTATIVES ON SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF Ashker v. Brown SETTLEMENT

Oct 14, 2017 marks the 2 year anniversary of the approval of the Ashker settlement. We celebrate our victory in the Ashker case, in which virtually all of the over 1600 prisoners then languishing in indeterminate SHU were released to General Population. This victory was achieved through 3 hunger strikes and the non-violent legal and political action of thousands of California prisoners, their families, supporters, and their attorneys.

However, unfortunately our general monitoring is due to run out after two years unless the Court grants an extension. We believe that CDCR is still engaged in constitutional violations that deny prisoners due process and seeks to put us back in the hole, for many, indeterminately under the guise of Administrative SHU.  Our attorneys will seek an extension of the agreement due to CDCR’s systemic violations of the Constitution.  We don’t know what the Court will do, but we do know that prisoners and their families have to re-energize our human rights movement to fight against the continuing violations of our rights. Examples are:

·       CDCR’s continued misuse of Confidential Information to place prisoners back in the SHU, particularly with bogus conspiracy charges;

·       The lack of out of cell time, programming and vocational programs in Level 4 prisons. The last letter of CDCR stands for rehabilitation, and there is almost no rehab programs and opportunities in the level 4 prisons. They function like modified SHUs;

·       The denial of parole to lifers and Prop 57 prisoners who have clean records simply because of old, unconstitutional gang validations and CDCR’s illegally housing us in SHU for years;

·       The turning of the Restrictive Custody General Population Unit which was supposed to be a GP unit where prisoners who had real safety concerns could transition to regular GP, into a purgatory where the only way out is to either debrief or die;

·        CDCR promulgation of new regulations which gives the ICC discretion to put people back in the SHU, allows for many prisoners to be placed in the future in indeterminate Administrative SHU, or to be placed in the RCGP on phony safety concerns.

We must stand together, not only for ourselves, but for future generations of prisoners, so that they don’t have to go through the years of torture that we had to. We need all prisoners – young and old -to make our collective outcry public to ensure that the victory that we have won is not reversed by CDCR behind closed doors. Ultimately, we are the ones who are responsible for leading the struggle for justice and fair treatment of prisoners. That is why we entered into the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, and why it is so important that the prisoner class continue to stand by and support that agreement. We cannot allow our victories to be nullified by CDCR’s abuse of power, and may have to commit ourselves to non-violent peaceful struggle if CDCR continues on its present path.

We need everyone- prisoners, their families and the public – to send comments on CDCR’s proposed regulations to staff@aol.ca.gov, send emails and letters urging Gov Brown to sign Assembly Bill 1308*, make sure that prisoner complaints about unfair treatment are publicized, and to work together to rebuild our prisoners human rights movement.

We cannot let CDCR increase its use of prolonged solitary confinement either by misusing confidential information to place prisoners in SHU on phony conspiracy charges, or through increasing the use of Administrative SHU. As the Supreme Court stated over one hundred years ago in the 1879 case of Wilkerson v. Utah,  it is “safe to affirm that punishment of torture… and all others in the same line of unnecessary cruelty are forbidden by that [the Eighth] Amendment.” The admired historian Howard Zinn noted the application of that decision to the modern SHU:  “All we need then, is general recognition that to imprison a person inside a cage, to deprive that person of human companionship, of mother and father and wife and children and friends, to treat that person as a subordinate creature, to subject that person to daily humiliation and reminder of his or her own powerlessness in the face of authority… is indeed torture and thus falls within the decision of the Supreme Court a hundred years ago.”

    Sitawa (S/N Ronnie Dewberry), Arturo Castellanos, Todd Ashker, George Franco

* AB 1308 became law on Oct 11, 2017 

MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS HUMAN RIGHTS: Reportbacks, Videos, Links, Photos from Aug 19, 2017

MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS HUMAN RIGHTS MARCH was called by prisoners to give voice to their demand: Get rid of the slavery clause in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Amend the 13th!

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, people mobilized in Washington DC and at least 16 other cities, including San Jose and Riverside California, demanding the abolition of legal slavery, and calling on people to organize against mass incarceration and abuse in U.S. prisons. Participants addressed the importance of the history of our revolutionary prisoner-led human rights movements. All over the country, people spoke of the great love, determination, and resilience that has kept them carrying on, in the face of extreme state violence, isolation, and family/community fragmentation.

Amend the 13th

SIGN THIS PETITION to Abolish Legal Slavery in America

https://www.change.org/p/petition-to-the-members-of-the-u-s-congress-to-abolish-legal-slavery-in-america

Millions for Prisoners Sister March in San Jose, CA

The San Francisco Bay View posted this report (with photos & videos) about the Millions for Prisoners Marches that took place on August 19th around the country.

• Nube Brown of California Prison Focus and Rise Up for Justice was a main organizer for the San Jose March.
Nube shares this reportback from the spirited and powerful March & Rally:

On a sunny Saturday, August 19, 2017, people across the country gathered, marched, and rallied in solidarity to support prisoners human rights and amending the 13th.
What an audacious and loving act!

Hundreds gathered in San Jose, CA at Raymond Bernal Jr. Park, where we kicked off the march with a recorded speech by founding member of the Amend the 13th campaign, Heshima Jinsai (Denham). Followed by Troy Williams of SF Bay View setting the tone for a peaceful march.

As we marched and chanted “Brick by Brick, Wall by Wall, We Will Make your Prisons Fall” and “Human Rights Apply to All, Even Those Behind a Wall,” this prisoner-inspired call to action united our community on both sides of the prison walls to join the momentum of the New Abolitionist Movement. Patrons of restaurants, folks on foot, trains, and cars we passed along our route stood to applaud, cheer, and honk their support and encouragement.

The beautiful 1.3 mile route through the Japantown neighborhood led us to the James P. McEntee Plaza just across from the county jail where Michael Tyree had been murdered by three guards, only two years before.

Watani Stiner, despite decades of incarceration and abuse, welcomed the rally participants with exuberance, love, and inclusion, setting the stage for stories to come. We stood in rapt attention as Raymond Aguilar shared his experience of juveniles sentenced to life without parole. Julia Arroyo, on behalf of Mianta McKnight brought to light the lack of resources available to those returning home, especially to girls and women of color. Laurie Valdez spoke on the murder of her young child’s father at the hands of San Jose State University police.

One by one speakers continued to share their lived experience. We encouraged and cheered the speakers, who moved us to anger and sadness, and also motivated us with words of hope and possibility. As we engaged in the dynamic of giver and receiver we created a bond of shared humanity. We were called to listen and to act. And together we closed the rally committed to the work to come. In unity, we will become stronger, more dedicated, and more resolved. We stand firm in our belief that all people, including those incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, deserve their Human Rights. We stand committed to the New Abolitionist Movement to end slavery in America once and for all.

♥ The following Statement of Solidarity went from California to the Millions For Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington DC, delivered by Allegra Taylor, daughter of Hugo LA Pinell:

MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS
HUMAN RIGHTS MARCH ON WASHINGTON DC
AUGUST 19TH 2017
Solidarity Statement from
David Giap Johnson
Willie Sundiata Tate
Luis Bato Talamantez
San Quentin Six &
Former San Quentin Death Row Prisoner, Shujaa Graham
Willie-Sundiata-Tate-Luis-Bato-Talamantez-David-Giappa-Johnson-of-San-Quentin-6-web1statement-of-solidarity-final
Greetings and Solidarity,

We take this opportunity to express our support for this historic event that supports prisoner’s human rights and to amend the 13th Amendment’s slavery exemption clause, so that legal slavery is finally abolished. When you consider the historic application of slavery in America, slavery in any form should not be tolerated in our society. For years we have struggled to defend the civil and human rights of prisoners both during our incarceration and upon our reentry back into our respective communities. We took to heart the principles that were espoused by Comrade George Jackson. We came to prison as criminals but while here we transformed ourselves into revolutionaries so when we return to our communities we can be productive and make meaningful contributions for the betterment of society.

For years we endured indeterminate periods of isolation and sensory deprivation so we know firsthand the inhumane and barbaric treatment that one can be subjected to while in prison. Yet those experiences have not dampen or diminish our resolve to fight for the human rights of those confined to these prisons. As a society, we want to see healthy and wholesome individuals returning to society upon their release from prison. The inhumane and barbaric treatment that one can experience, indeterminate periods of isolation, and sensory deprivation is damaging to an individual’s mental health and physical well being. It is dehumanizing and must end.

Therefore, it is incumbent on us to raise our voices in defense of prisoner’s human rights. This is the way we express our HUMANITY!!

Long Live the Indomitable Spirits of Comrade George Jackson, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell and all Fallen Comrades. Black August Resistance Forever!!

David Giap Johnson
Willie Sundiata Tate
Luis Bato Talamantez
San Quentin Six &
Former San Quentin Death Row Prisoner, Shujaa Graham

Delivered by Allegra Taylor-Daughter of Hugo LA Pinell

VIDEOS from April 19, 2017:

• Millions for Prisoners Human Rights San Jose CA 081917, 1 of 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIamunsd2WM

• Millions for Prisoners Human Rights San Jose CA 081917, 2 of 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrnR4_QQehE&t=441s

• Millions for Prisoners March in DC,  video of Laura Whitehorn and Albert Woodfox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhd3zY_qLUw

millions-for-prisoners-dc-albert-woodfox-supporter-laura-whitehorn-081917.jpg

Photo from SF Bay View: Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 was held in solitary confinement in Louisiana prison for 44 years. He was a speaker at the main march across from the White House. Albert is here with Laura Whitehorn, who also spoke, and is a former political prisoner who works for the release of political prisoners and elder prisoners.

• Ramona Africa was a speaker at the DC rally. Here is  a video of Ramona being interviewed at the rally:
“I speak out 4 my bros & sisters in prison 39yrs 4 crime they didn’t commit” Ramona Africa, MOVE bombing sole survivor   #FightSupremacy#A19pic.twitter.com/VEZ6KM6hDB
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) August 19, 2017

Millions-for-Prisoners-DC-Ramona-Africa-Kilaika-Kwa-Baruti-Krystal-Rountree-081917

Photo from SF Bay View: At the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March and Rally at the White House, three legendary organizers came together: Ramona Africa of MOVE, the only adult survivor of the 1985 bombing; Kilaika Kwa Baruti of George Jackson University; and Krystal Rountree of IAMWE, a principal organizer of the march in DC.

 

 

Excellent Articles

Solidarity in San José with Millions for Prisoners March in DC Bradley Allen on IndyBay; with history, photos, and video.

As a nation grapples with white supremacy, the Millions for Prisoners March comes at the perfect time  -Jared Ware in SF Bay View; includes many photos, art, and references.

Florida locked down all 97,000 prisoners, blocking them from Aug. 19 Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March.

Fearing the peaceful organizing from prisoners and people outside, the Florida prison system (the 3rd largest to CA and Texas) put all its captives, more than 97,000 prisoners, across the state of Florida on indefinite lockdown.

People in all Florida lock-ups were not able to leave their dorms, had all visitation cancelled, and lost other so-called privileges – access to basic needs. This appears to be the first time in memory that the entire Florida prison system was locked down for an indefinite period of time. Read full article here: http://sfbayview.com/2017/08/florida-locks-down-all-97000-prisoners-blocking-them-from-aug-19-millions-for-prisoners-human-rights-march/

Coincidence? Florida’s prison system, as of a recent secret and retaliatory interstate transfer, currently holds captive the revolutionary and prolific writer and artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, who exposes and publicizes abuses in U.S.prisons.

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People in NW Detention Center Solitary Confinement Are On Hunger Strike; Have Issued Demands to GEO Group and ICE

Aug 8, 2017: Fourth Hunger Strike Starts in Northwest Detention Center

Facility in “Modified Lock Down” Since August 5th

Tacoma – On August 8th, 20 people inside the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) started another hunger strike, the fourth this year alone, demanding to be released from  segregation and for all people detained be released to their families and communities– starting with people that are not deportable, those that should be covered under the Convention Against Torture, and those that have waiting for a response on their case for more than 1 year.

This most recent hunger strike is in response to the increasingly appalling actions of the GEO Group, the private prison contractor who runs the NWDC facility.  People in one unit were retaliated against for protecting each other from GEO guard’s assaults, threats and intimidation. On Aug. 8th, at 11am, the whole unit was dismantled, 20 of those were sent to solitary confinement, accused of “starting a riot.” The rest were sent to a different unit. The hunger strike began at 11am, and will not end until the 20 in solitary confinement are sent back to general population.

On Friday, August 4th,  a GEO guard assaulted a youth, who came to the country as an unaccompanied minor, and was transferred to the facility once he turned 18.  When people vocally protested the assault, GEO locked down a part of the facility, disallowing people to use the phones, lawyers were not allow to visit, and the lights where turned off.

Since Saturday August 5th, the whole facility has been in “modified lockdown,” people inside have reportedly been restricted from talking to each other, have limited access to phones, and are taken one at the time to receive medications among other restrictions.

One hunger strike organizer recently was threatened recently by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) with indefinite detention if he did not stop organizing. ICE and his parole officer made it clear if he did not stop organizing hunger strikes, they would transfer his back and forth between facilities, “Why threaten me this way when ICE and GEO both claim we are detainees, not prisoners?” said the person threatened by authorities.

In a recent tour of the NWDC facility for legal groups, ICE admitted to transferring people from one facility to another as retaliation for organizing.

Aug 10, 2017: Hunger Strikers Demand Release from Solitary Confinement in Tacoma’s Immigration Prison

NWDC continues on “modified lockdown” indefinitely

Over 15 immigrants held in solitary confinement continue on hunger strike. The hunger strike began Aug 8th at 11am when 20 immigrants were taken to solitary in retaliation, highlighting poor detention conditions and a violent and hostile environment for up to 1,575 people held by the GEO Group for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The hunger strikers have issued demands to GEO Group and ICE, calling for them to respect the humanity of detainees. The hunger strike will end once all 20 people are returned to general population.

Hunger strikers demand that the 20 people who were placed in solitary confinement for “planning a riot” after the event that happened on August 4th because they yelled at a GEO guard who was assaulting a youth be released back into the general population. The boy had recently been transferred to the NWDC after turning 18, after arriving as an unaccompanied youth and held by child services until he was eligible for detention and deportation. After his assault, GEO guards placed the facility on lockdown — no phones, no lawyer visits, not even lights. Since then, the facility is on “modified lockdown” and even those not held in solitary confinement have reportedly been told that they cannot talk to each other.

HUNGER STRIKERS’ DEMANDS

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“A swift salute to all of the supporters…” Statement from Folsom Prison ASU Hunger Striker, Anthony Estrada

Anthony Joel Estrada Media Release

June 19, 2017
A swift salute to all of the supporters and those concerned with the ongoing fight to reform CDCR’s ASUs [Administrative Segregation Units].

On May 28, 2017, I was “special” transferred under a warden to warden agreement to D.V.I.’s ASU.  This was done as a retaliation for alerting the public of the conditions of confinement at Folsom State Prison (FSP), as well as other ASUs.  I was not the only person transferred, prisoner R. Delossantos F-486401 was transferred to Vacaville CMF, merely for exercising the 602 process.

As of date the Hunger Strike process has been suspended until further notice. It is unfortunate that we as prisoners must use this process in order to shine light on CDCR’s unwillingness to oversee its ASU conditions.

CDCR allowed FSP administration to retaliate, isolate and condone the poor conditions of ASU.  I was transferred to even more extreme conditions where there exists roaches, rodents, no drinkable tap water and the sanitary conditions are that of a third world country.

The fight can always continue with the outside support keeping pressure on CDCR’s top officials and administration to change the property matrix for ASU; to expand “administrative SHU” to cover long-term confinement; to implement educational opportunities, rehabilitation programs, sanitary conditions, pull-up bars in ALL cages; and force all prisons with ASU prisoners to install outlets for use of electronic appliances such as TVs, radios and typewriters.

The ASUs are now CDCR’s new SHU without privileges and incentives under the guise of short-term detention as discipline. This is far from the truth.

This fight affects everyone now and those who eventually come into an ASU.  It doesn’t matter what group you may run with or circumstances for ASU placement, this is what it is — back to toothpaste in jelly packets, drinking out of milk cartons, clothes all tore up, freezing during the winter.  ASUs are limited to housing now that the Coleman case created STRHs (Short Term Restricted Housing units), we’re back to square one. So I encourage prisoners and supporters alike with voices louder than mine, to look into this, assist me by 602ing conditions in your ASUs, for those going out on mainlines look into conditions in their facility’s ASU.

I will continue fighting administration, now through the courts, and hope for relief. Any assistance, guidance or moral support from those aware or educated would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you all outside supporters who held rallies and lent their voices for change, I will not let your support go to waste.

Respectfully

Anthony Joel Estrada

Anthony is now at “New Folsom” Prison. CDCR is punishing Anthony with a Serious Rules Violation, claiming that his hunger striking created a “gang-related mass disturbance.”  Here is Anthony’s address if you want to write him.

Anthony Joel Estrada, T80277
California State Prison-Sacramento
P.O. Box 290066
Represa, CA 95671


Hunger Strikers’ DEMANDS AND GRIEVANCES at Folsom Prison

Constitutional Violations And Significant Hardships We Are Forced To Endure In Folsom State Prison, Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), Building 4

Within ASU Building 4 at Old Folsom State Prison (FSP), the majority of prisoners being housed here are CSP-Sacramento, High Desert and SATF prisoners. These same prisoners are all awaiting court proceedings and/or district attorney referrals; therefore, all 115 disciplinary reports against them cannot and have not been heard to receive findings of “guilty” to receive a disciplinary action.

This is important to note, because ICC (Institutional Classification Committee) still imposes a “Projected MERD” (Minimum Eligible Release Date) based on the initial 115 report, as if found guilty for the offense, violating due process of hearing and evidence. With the projected MERD imposed, prisoners still cannot be deemed “SHU” term or be transferred to “SHU housing” because the 115 report is pending district attorney rejection or conclusion of court proceedings.

This forces prisoners to remain housed in ASU for long term confinement of anywhere from a year to 14 months depending on the offense. This leads to prisoners sitting idle, in forced single cell. The following demands are in line with fair and dignified treatment of a human being:

1. PROVIDE ADEQUATE ACCESS TO COURTS AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Denial of adequate access to courts and legal assistance: The “law cage” is inadequate for prisoners who are illiterate, non-English speaking and/or undereducated. Many of the men here are facing serious charges that carry life sentences and even the most educated could not mount a proper defense or do legal research on their own. Access to properly trained legal assistance that a law library provides is in line with Lewis v. Casey et al (1996) No. 94-1511. Currently, there is no access to legal forms, copies or printing. It has been long established the “paging” system is in violation.

2. PROVIDE MEANINGFUL EDUCATION, SELF-HELP COURSES AND REHABILITATIVE PROGRAMS
Denial and/or lack of meaningful education, self-help courses and rehabilitative programs: Wright v. Rushen, 642 F2d 1129 (9th Cir. 1981), held FSP shall provide its ASU prisoners with education and rehabilitative programs. ASU prisoners are not afforded GED programs, and the high school diploma program is split between the entire facility and ranch plus ASU. Therefore, we are placed in a hard spot; ASU prisoners are neither first nor second priority, leaving no educational opportunities.

The college program is nonexistent at best, to add to the problem, those previously enrolled are forced to drop classes due to no TVs for video assignments, preventing them from acquiring degrees. FSP provides absolutely no self-help courses or counseling in anger management, behavior management etc. FSP provides absolutely no substance abuse counseling or programs, such as N.A. or A.A.

3. ALLOW POSSESSION OF TELEVISIONS
Denial of TVs: FSP has flat out lied on the ability to provide the necessary electrical outlets to allow the possession of a TV. Instead of fixing this issue years ago, FSP continues to cover up the fact the funds allocated (Inmate Welfare Funds) are spent leisurely on non-inmate stuff. Per Title 15, §3190(3), ASU prisoners are allowed the choice of a TV or radio.

Prisoners are forced to choose a radio due to FSP’s unwillingness to provide outlets. With no programs, education or meaningful time out of cell, the sensory deprivation, sitting idle, causes prisoners to lose their minds, forcing prisoners to harm themselves in order to get mental health care, which provides TVs per Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. ____(1994) “[O]ne does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

FSP’s attitude of “make us,” “we’re exempt,” is in violation and promotes prisoners to harm themselves to get a TV. Examine FSP record of prisoners needing mental health care while housed in ASU.

4. PROVIDE EXERCISE EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING PULL-UP BARS, FOR MEANINGFUL EXERCISE IN YARD
Denial of exercise equipment, including pull-up bars: CDCR began installing pull-up bars in all SHUs and ASUs throughout CDC prisons. FSP is one of the last if not the last ASU to install pull-up bars.

This was done so men can receive meaningful exercise in the small dog kennel type cages used as yards. With no ability to run around and exercise our legs, prisoners are left to sit idle for hours. CDCR agreed the pull-up bars were meaningful equipment. The permanent injunction in Toussaint v. McCarthy, 597 F. Supp. 1388 9N.D. Cal 1984) covers FSP, saying ASU prisoners shall be provided meaningful exercise. FSP has the necessary vocational jobs and classes to install the bars and build the equipment at minimum to no cost.

5. END CRUELTY, NOISE AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION OF WELFARE CHECKS
Sleep deprivation from welfare checks: Correctional officers (COs) on first watch create excessive noise with keys while walking every half hour; mixed with uncourteous loud metal on metal contact, it creates unnecessary cruelty and punishment. A CO’s equipment and keys can be properly secured on their person to prevent the excessive noise, yet when asked for courtesy, the noise is made extreme as a retaliation, thus waking prisoners every half hour the entire night.

6. KEEP ORIGINAL PROPER PACKAGING FOR COMMISSARY AND CANTEEN
Commissary and canteen: All items are repackaged into TRASH BAGS! This is forcing prisoners to use toothpaste out of trash bags. Deodorant that is gel is repackaged to trash bags, which causes the deodorant to evaporate and lose its purpose to keep the funk away. Coffee jars are repackaged to trash bags which causes coffee to go stale and harden. This is an irrational practice with no real security or safety reason, as proven by the fact that all packaging in canteen and quarterly packages is allowed within the SHU.

7. GIVE NON-DISCIPLINARY STATUS TO QUALIFYING PRISONERS
Denial of NDS (Non Disciplinary Status) to qualifying prisoners: Title 15 Article 7 Segregation Housing §3335 (A)(1) outlines and stipulates criteria for NDS. FSP’s warden is denying this status based on an underground memo of criteria not approved by the APA. FSP’s warden is attempting to extort information out of prisoners in order to receive NDS after being placed in ASU for “non-disciplinary” reasons.

FSP’s warden is attempting to force prisoners to cooperate with institutional investigations, violating a prisoner’s right to invoke the Fifth Amendment.

8. PROVIDE ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING AND SHOES
Denial of personal clothing and shoes: Prisoners are forced to walk around in their boxer underwear and state-issued T-shirt, which are normally extremely used and too large or too small. Prisoners are moved around the prison like this and remain all day like this.

Prisoners are provided one jumpsuit that is always over-sized, with no ability to wash or exchange it.  In the cold winter months, prisoners are denied warm clothing or beanies to prevent sickness while out on yard.

During the summer, the warmer months, prisoners are denied appropriate clothing to cover up and still maintain coolness. It is a decency factor of allowing prisoners clothing and properly fitted shoes to remain dignified and in touch with the civilized world. There is no reasonable security issue or factors to deny a person decency.

9. PROVIDE FOOD BOWL AND CUP
Denial of a food bowl or cup: FSP is forcing its ASU prisoners to eat out of recycled (“washed”) trash bags, old zip lock bags and milk cartons and to drink from a 3 ounce “rubbery” reused cup. See Estelle v. Gamble, 424 U.S. 97 (1976). This treatment is unnecessary cruelty and punishment and violates prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights. The amendment embodies “broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity and decency.”

pdf of Folsom Hunger Strikers’ Demands and Grievances

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