Following the historic gains made against solitary confinementlast month, people in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU report the use of “welfare” or “suicide” checks occurring every thirty minutes, 48 times a day. The checks are being conducted in an aggressive way and prevent people from sleeping for over thirty minutes at a time. Loud stomping, the slamming of doors, the striking of electronic wands against buttons installed by cell doors, and the shining of lights into prisoners’ faces are routine. Deprivation of sleep is widely seen as a form of torture.
• Alleged sleep deprivation at Pelican Bay State Prison | KIEM TV Sept.23, 2015 [VIDEO]
• Statewide protests against solitary confinement | Crescent City California News | The Triplicate Sept. 25, 2015
Front page article: Statewide Protests Over New SHU Policy http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/Statewide-protests-against-solitary-confinement
Pelican Bay State Prison was among several sites across the country to see coordinated demonstrations Wednesday protesting solitary confinement. Lawyers, activists, and family members gathered outside Crescent City’s state supermax prison to protest a recently implemented Inmate Welfare Check System ….
⇒⇒ Demand that the noisy, aggressive checks stop.
Contact Warden Clark E. Ducart, Pelican Bay State Prison,
P.O. Box 7000, Crescent City, CA 95531-7000 CDucart@cdcr.ca.gov (707) 465–1000 ext. 9040 Please bcc your message to email@example.com or email us stating, “I called Ducart.”
This settlement represents a monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California, and across the country. California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate SHU confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action. This victory was achieved by the efforts of people in prison, their families and loved ones, lawyers, and outside supporters.
Our movement rests on a foundation of unity: our Agreement to End Hostilities. It is our hope that this groundbreaking agreement to end the violence between the various ethnic groups in California prisons will inspire not only state prisoners, but also jail detainees, county prisoners and our communities on the street, to oppose ethnic and racial violence. From this foundation, the prisoners’ human rights movement is awakening the conscience of the nation to recognize that we are fellow human beings. As the recent statements of President Obama and of Justice Kennedy illustrate, the nation is turning against solitary confinement. We celebrate this victory while, at the same time, we recognize that achieving our goal of fundamentally transforming the criminal justice system and stopping the practice of warehousing people in prison will be a protracted struggle. We are fully committed to that effort, and invite you to join us.
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa
“This litigation was led by the plaintiffs – those held in the SHU – from the beginning, not the lawyers, who properly understood their role as carrying out the strategy of those they represented to fight for their release and further their movement. It should be studied.” Bret Grote, Attorney, Abolitionist Law Center
After decades in solitary they joined forces. Here’s what happened.
Today’s New York Times science section features a front-page piece about the research that CCR commissioned and compiled for our ground-breaking challenge to long-term solitary confinement. … 10 expert reports we submitted to the court in Ashker v. Brown, the class-action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in solitary in California’s Pelican Bay prison. …
According to the expert reports, prisoners subjected to prolonged solitary experience a form of “social death” that is not cured upon release, but rather lingers as a “post-SHU syndrome” characterized by social withdrawal, isolation, and anxiety. …
The international and domestic experts agree that such prolonged isolation is not only unnecessary for prison security, but actually counter-productive, as well as a violation of international law. …
By bringing public scrutiny to the severe physical and psychological harm our clients and so many others are suffering as a result of their isolation, we hope to continue turning the tide against this form of torture until it is eradicated from the U.S. once and for all. Read entire Center for Constitutional Rights article here:https://ccrjustice.org/home/blog/2015/08/04/solitary-confinement-social-death-nyt-shocking-data-ccr-case
by Erica Goode Aug. 3, 2015
The article appeared in print on August 4, 2015, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: Punished for Life. Here’s an excerpt:
In 1993, Craig Haney, a social psychologist, interviewed a group of inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s toughest penal institution.
He was studying the psychological effects of isolation on prisoners, and Pelican Bay was among the first of a new breed of super-maximum-security prisons that states around the country were beginning to build.
Twenty years later, he returned to Pelican Bay for another set of interviews. He was startled to find himself facing some of the same prisoners he had met before, inmates who now had spent more than two decades alone in windowless cells.
As the grievous loss of Kalief Browder reveals, we must act with urgency to end the devastation of solitary confinement. To that end, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture announces the release of a new NRCAT film, Breaking Down the Box, a 40-minute documentary for communities of faith, to expose the torture of solitary confinement in the context of mass incarceration in the United States.
Produced by filmmaker Matthew Gossage, the film examines the mental health, racial justice and human rights implications of the systemic use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. It is a call to action for communities of faith to engage in the growing nationwide movement for restorative alternatives to isolated confinement that prioritize rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and recovery. Watch the film online and then download or order a DVD for use in your congregation or community, at no cost. More resources and DVD order form at www.nrcat.org/breakingdownthebox
Watch a new documentary exposing the torture of solitary confinement in the context of mass incarceration in the U.S. Film and resources for faith communities at www.nrcat.org/breakingdownthebox
We encourage you to share this new resource in your community during June Torture Awareness Month and throughout the year. Additional promotional and discussion materials are available at www.nrcat.org/breakingdownthebox.
Thank you for your commitment to building a #TortureFreeWorld together.
Rev. Laura Markle Downton
Director of U.S. Prisons Policy and Program
Lucas has been creating powerful short videos about the CA Prisoner Hunger Strike Human Rights Movement over the past year, and now plans to tell the story in a more full and comprehensive manner, focusing on those who know it best: family members of the hunger strikers and those who’ve spent time in the SHU.
Any and all help spreading the word about this fundraising campaign will be deeply appreciated.
Watch the hour-long panel that took place on July 17, 2013 in Berkeley, CA. Panelists include:
Andres Thomas Conteris, CloseGitmo.net – Stop U.S. Torture in Gitmo and U.S. Prisons; Director, Program of the Americans of Nonviolence International — recently interviewed hunger strikers in Pelican Bay SHU
Steven Czifra is a UC Berkeley student who spent a total of eight years in solitary confinement, including five in the Pelican Bay SHU. Along with other UC students and professors, he is taking part in a rolling solidarity fast in support of the prisoners and their demands.
Larry Everest, covers the prisoner hunger strikes for Revolution newspaper and is the author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda. (See Revolution Interview: Carol Strickman, from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition Prisoners’ Struggle Against “Cruel and Unusual Punishment Amounting to Torture“)
Danny Murillo was arrested at 16 years young, and sentenced to 15 years in state prison. 17 months were spent in Administrative Segregation (the hole) and six years in the Security Housing Unit (the SHU). Currently an undergrad student at UC Berkeley in the Ethnic Studies department and a George Miller Scholar.
On July 8, California prison authorities admitted that over 30,000 prisoners had joined the hunger strike by refusing meals. The Los Angeles Times said this “could be the largest prison protest in state history.” Prisoner representatives from the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement said, “our nonviolent peaceful protest of our subjection to decades of indefinite state-sanctioned torture, via long-term solitary confinement will resume…consisting of a hunger strike/work stoppage of indefinite duration until CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands, the heart of which mandates an end to long-term solitary confinement (as well as additional major reforms).” See statement here .