To: Scott Kernan, Undersecretary of CDCR
Matthew Cate, Secretary of CDCR
PBSP Warden Greg Lewis
From: T. Ashker
Date: October 12, 2011
Re: September 26, 2011 Resumption of Hunger Strike
As you are aware the peaceful hunger strike suspended July 20th, resumed on Sept. 26th. Your response to date has been to retaliate against the only PBSP-SHU prisoners willing to engage in a respectful, reasonable dialogue with you in July/Aug., in order to resolve issues prior to permanent damage/death.
We acted in good faith—when we agreed to suspend our H.S. July 20th, and we assisted you in getting the other prisoners to end their H.S. as well. Your retaliatory act(s) against us—to date—has been to subject us to additional torture via ordering us moved to PBSP-Ad/Seg Stand-Alone Building, on strip cell status, in ice box isolation cells—deprived of our property, incl. personal hygiene items, vitamins-beverage items [we are on a no-solid-food H.S.], address books, writing-reading material, and legal material [on Oct. 6th, we rec’d some legal stuff—not all of it]; as well as denying many of us at least one legal visit, and personal visits—yard, our TV appliances, etc., etc., etc.
Since placement here, Warden Lewis has stated: “…as soon as you eat, you can go back to your SHU cells.” No other PBSP prisoners on H.S. have been treated this way.
Such acts violate the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, amongst many other principles governing humanity!
Since arriving here on Sept. 29th, Warden Lewis, and others, have told us that you [CDCR] have been honoring your end of our July 20th, and Aug. 19th, agreements.
Our position is—you [CDCR], have not done so—as exemplified by the following examples [partly responsible for resumption of H.S.].
1) July 20th, we pointed out the importance of being able to buy wall-calendars of our chioce, from “approved vendors” [deined in CCR, Title 15 sec. 3000, as “any licensed vendor”].
Your July 20th memo allowed this. However, your Sept.27th memo changed this to “…purchase from canteen.” A violation of our agreement [we explained to you re: value of being able to buy our own—based on individual interests—as we did for 18 years here! Not some generic thing off canteen, or from pkg vendors!!]
2) Aug. 19th, we gave you and Warden Lewis, a memo which included a ref. to sweat shorts; and we discussed the issues re: (1) photo per yr., and art material…when free of serious disciplinary for one year.
Your Aug. 29th, memo included the term “serious” disciplinary re: photos, but omitted term “serious” from art material. And Warden Lewis’ Aug. 29th memo omitted the term “serious” re: photos… thus, committee has been denying photos/art material based on Administrative violations. Your Sept. 27th memo, also omits the term “serious” from photo issue.
And, your Aug. 29th memo re: “sweats” did not specify the shorts, but the Warden’s Aug. 29th memo does [because he knows it was agreed to], then he denied the shorts via Sept. 13th memo, based on non-reference to shorts in your memo.
All the above of which are violations of our agreement.
Other issues remain a problem – e.g. the food [we do appreciate ombudsman Malone’s monitoring. However, her visits here are known in advance—thus, such monitoring can be improved upon via a log book in each unit, wherin staff verify and log complaints—which Ms. Malone can review].
Medical Care [CMO Sayre, et al.], and denial of transfer to CSP-SC medical SHU for chronic conditions—remain a problem.
And lack of expansion of items, and # allowed re: canteen and pkgs—is a problem, and phone call issue has not been addressed.
Finally, the lack of any specifics re: getting out of SHU—is a big problem.
Last of all, you should know that many staff’s attitudes here re: photos, art material, etc. [e.g. Sgt. dropping off Warden’s Aug. 29, memos on 8/30 to the block—loudly directing staff to writ’em up for any reason you can think of,” and staff’s response thereafter], in order to deny such things …is unprofessional and irresponsible, e.g. creating a lot of hostility between staff and prisoners!
Again, we hope the above issues can be addressed and made right in the near future, and thank you for your consideration.