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.

 

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
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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

Rally Against Continuing Solitary — The Four Prisoner Reps Will Be PRESENT in Court Conference AUG 21, 2018

RALLY at the San Francisco Federal Courthouse while the four CA Prisoner Hunger Strike and Ashker Class Representatives ‘Meet and Confer’ with CDCr to address the continuing solitary conditions that violate the Ashker lawsuit settlement agreement. The four prisoner hunger strike representatives will be present in the courtroom, an historic presence!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

RALLY 11:30am

Phillip Burton Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102

Help create a strong show of solidarity with prisoners fighting for human rights!

What’s going on? The prisoner class-led movement and the Ashker v. Gov of CA class action lawsuit resulted in the release of over 1400 people from solitary confinement Security Housing Units (SHUs) to what the CA Department of Corrections (CDCr) calls “General Population.” However, many of those people continue to be subjected to conditions of extreme isolation. With little to no out-of-cell time and no chance for social interaction, they are still in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT.

On July 3, 2018, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled:

The Settlement Agreement was intended to remove Plaintiffs from detention in the SHU, where they were isolated in a cell for 22 ½ to 24 hours a day.… many Plaintiffs [now] spend an average of less than an hour of out-of-cell time each day, which is similar to the conditions they endured in the SHU.  … This demonstrates a violation of the Settlement Agreement.” FULL RULING HERE

and “…a substantial percentage of Plaintiffs in Restricted Custody General Population (RCGP) are …not permitted to exercise in small group yards or engage in group leisure activities. This does not comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement.” FULL RULING HERE

The Ashker Plaintiff class reps and legal team were ordered to meet and confer* with CDCr lawyers to explore a resolution of these two issues.

The four prisoner hunger strike representatives- Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Todd Ashker, Arturo Castellanos, and George Franco- will be present in the SF courtroom.

Please join the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS) outside the San Francisco Federal Courthouse to show our solidarity with prisoners who struggle against solitary confinement torture, who organize across racial/geographic lines, and who- through hunger strikes, massive solidarity, formal complaints, the Agreement to End Hostilities, and the Ashker civil rights class action lawsuit- forced CDCR to release people from solitary confinement SHUs.  The organizing prisoners brought international attention Continue reading

Reportback from HEARING in Jorge Rico’s Case Against Sleep-Depriving Checks

Report on Jorge Rico Hearing

by Charlie Hinton

A number of hardy souls ventured to Sacramento on May 18, 2018 to a federal court hearing on CDCr’s motion to dismiss Jorge Rico’s suit opposing the every half hour Guard One “security/welfare checks” that take place in isolation units throughout the state. With Guard One, guards press a metal baton into a metal receiver positioned either in or besides cell doors, making a loud disruptive noise in most cases, waking prisoners up every 30 minutes and causing sleep deprivation. The good news is that the magistrate judge, Deborah Barnes, gave every indication she will deny CDCr’s motion and will move the case to its next stage. She suggested several times to CDCr’s lawyers that at this very early stage of the case, there was no basis for a motion to dismiss, and she said at least twice “I’m really struggling with your arguments.”

Rico Rally photo,5-18-18

There are currently 6 suits against the “checks” before this judge, and Kate Falkenstien, above in the center wearing a pink blouse, represents 3 of them, including that of Jorge Rico. In a press conference after the hearing, she explained the 3 arguments of CDCr.

In a motion they filed the day before, CDCr claims that because Mr. Rico has been moved from Pelican Bay SHU to general population, the case is now moot. The judge asked “Can’t he again be moved into SHU?” Which is exactly what has happened. During the last year or so, he’s gone from SHU to RCGP (from where he filed the suit) to SHU to Ad Seg  to SHU and now to GP.

The judge said that Rico’s claim would be viable for damages, but it was “questionable” whether injunctive relief could be sought.  [The judge’s point being that, at the present time, the conduct that would be enjoined does not affect Rico, the sole plaintiff in this case, because he is no longer in SHU.]

Prisoner rights campaigner Marie Levin commented outside the courthouse, “Regardless of Mr. Rico’s present or future housing assignment, he still suffered what he suffered when he suffered it.”

Second, CDCr argues that although sleep deprivation is illegal, they don’t think it’s illegal to keep people awake in this way. They didn’t know it was wrong. Ms. Falkenstien brought up a case from Alabama, Hope v. Pelzer, in which Alabama prison guards tied Mr. Hope to a hitching post with his shirt off in the sun for seven hours, offering him water twice and never a bathroom break. He sued, under the grounds that this was a violation of the 8th amendment guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. Alabama said they knew it was illegal to tie a person for a sustained time to a fence or a cell door, but they didn’t think it was illegal to tie a person to a hitching post. The Supreme Court ruled for Mr. Hope.

CDCr’s third argument is that the Coleman judge has already ruled that Guard One is acceptable. Ms. Falkenstien argued for Rico that Coleman was a case involving mental illness, and neither Jorge nor many other prisoners undergoing the “checks” are mentally ill, and that even if one case has been decided, each person should be able to be heard in court.

In Ms. Falkenstien’s original brief in opposition to CDCr’s motion to dismiss, she argued 1) an Eighth Amendment challenge to the Guard One checks
 was not actually litigated in Coleman, 2) Rico Is neither a Coleman Class Member nor in privity 
with Class Members, and 3) the Coleman order can also be collaterally challenged, 
because none of the Coleman class representatives are 
affected by the Guard One checks.

Commenting on CDCr’s claims, the judge remarked that it was well established that sleep deprivation can rise to the level of an 8th Amendment violation. She said she was having a hard time with CDCr’s argument, and further, that she would be shocked to find any mention of sleep deprivation in Coleman, or anything in Coleman saying that if the checks using the Guard One system cause sleep deprivation, “that’s okay.”

Judge Barnes declined to dismiss the case and on Monday, May 21, 2018 she ordered the parties to brief the mootness issue (about Mr. Rico currently being out of the SHU) before she rules on the motion to dismiss.  The briefing is going to take about a month in total, so we won’t have a final answer about whether the case will be dismissed until the end of June at the earliest. We are optimistic, however, she will dismiss CDCr’s motion and move forward with the case.

pdf of this Report (with photo) HERE