This letter is from prisoner who prefers to remain anonymous. This letter is dated Sept 29th, 2011 and the coalition received this letter on October 4th, 2011.
I trust that you are well upon receiving this. I needed to write to make you aware of the acts of retaliation taking place here as a result of our going back on the hunger strike on September 26, 2011. Today we were told that anyone who participates in the hunger strike will not be allowed to go outside to the yard cages. And we were not allowed outside. [We were also threatened with being issued rules violation reports (115s) for furthering or promoting gang activity.]
It was also ordered that our legal mail be opened “out of our presence.” Both of these and other acts of retaliation were authorized by the facility captain, Captain Castro. There are two of many acts of retaliation that has occurred since the July hunger strike started. This (only) section has not been to the law library in over a month.
Several people in this section have ordered items (sweats, beanie caps, etc.) but no one in this section has received anything. We have been told that no one in this section will be issued anything while the hunger strike is taking place. Threats of canceling visits for this section have also occurred.
I wrote to you and made you aware of the massive retaliatory cell search that occurred on August 16, 2011 in which books, photos, TV cables and other items were destroyed. There was no signature on many of the cell search receipts to show who was responsible for it, and none of the receipts listed the items taken. The same Captain Castro was responsible for this occurring – admitted it was wrong. And told us that we would be reimbursed for the items taken. Most of the guys in the section have been reimbursed. None of us who are Afrikan have been.
There is a very obvious and clear, and deliberate effort being made to try and provoke us to react violently. And it is even more obvious that captain is at the heart of it.
They did start weighing us today. Naturally, many of us have lost weight. I am on medication for high blood pressure (and cholesterol) and have been for several years. My blood pressure today was 153/88. And no one saw anything wrong with it.
In particular, the effort(s) to provoke violence is being directed toward this section, the so-called short corridor. And only toward those of us who are participating in the hunger strike. Not the guys in the section who don’t support it. Everyone here understands the importance of non-violent protest. But no one really knows what is going on. (And we do understand that Pelican Bay is the priority). And it’s this constant almost daily bombardment of disrespect and foolishness. It makes for an extremely toxic climate. And in the case of this spot, a historically toxic climate. Some of us have filed appeals to ensure that a record is maintained.
We were told today that on the legal mail, as it relates to hunger strikers, the mail will be held up and the attorney will be contacted by the gang unit (I.G.I.) and asked if they are representing the inmate sending the mail. If the attorney says no, they will ask the attorney if they can open the mail. And then they will open it! It’s almost comical. It is clearly illegal. They should not even be holding the mail up. This is the best proof of how they literally create their own reality and then come up with these really wild excuses to legitimize their reality, their lies. This is only directed toward those people who are participating in the hunger strike. It is retaliation. It was also decided that those of us on the hunger strike will be weighed once every eight days! A nurse comes by each morning and asks if you are ok. That’s it.
I must get this ready to go. I am exhausted. I will keep you posted on things on this end. Without sacrifice, there can be no gain.