For Immediate Release – Friday, June 2, 2017
WHAT: Rally & Press Conference to Support Folsom Prison Hunger Strike
WHEN: Sunday, June 4th from 12:00pm-2:00pm | Press Conference @ 1:00pm
Folsom: Folsom State Prison | E Natomas & Folsom Prison Road (Folsom, CA 95630)
Los Angeles: Twin Towers Jail | 450 Bauchet St (Los Angeles, CA 90012)
Folsom—On Sunday, June 4th, 2017, human rights advocates will hold a rally outside of Folsom State Prison (FSP) to amplify the voices of people incarcerated in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at FSP, who have been on hunger strike since May 25th. Prisoners in Building 4 of ASU are striking because they are forced in live in conditions that are inhumane and constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution. Despite the fact that FSP is aware of the dangerous consequences of prolonged social isolation, they continue to deprive prisoners of basic human needs, including normal human contact, environmental and sensory stimulation, mental and physical health, physical exercise, sleep, access to courts, and meaningful activity.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is aware (Madrid-Ashker-Coleman) that the conditions of extreme isolation will likely inflict some degree of psychological trauma, including but not limited to: chronic insomnia, severe concentration and memory problems, anxiety and other ailments. The CDCR and the general public have a heightened awareness about this issue because of the prisoner hunger strikes that swept California in 2011 and 2013 and involved more than 30,000 prisoners. Those strikes led to Ashker v. Brown, a federal class action lawsuit asserting that prolonged solitary violates the 8th Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) and putting someone in solitary based on gang association violates the 14th Amendment (no due process). The case reached settlement in September 2015, ending indeterminate solitary confinement terms in Security Housing Units (SHUs), but did not prevent prisoners from being kept in prolonged solitary confinement in Administrative Segregation.
FSP continues to claim that lack of money prevents them from abiding by CDCR’s stated goals, and are content to not only ignore the suffering of men in its care, but to retaliate against them for their peaceful protest.
“On the afternoon of May 27th, someone called on my husband’s behalf relaying his message that Warden Ron Rackley and Ombudsman Sara Smith had a meeting with him where they communicated that they were upset with the hunger strike and threatened to take away his visits, move him to another prison, give him a 115 and revalidate him as a Security Threat Group (STG) gang leader for his role in organizing the hunger strike. On May 28th, I arrived to visit and the Sergeant informed me that my husband is no longer at FSP and was moved to DVI Tracy.” —Raquel Estrada
Folsom prison hunger strikers have the following demands, which are published in greater detail here.
PROVIDE ADEQUATE ACCESS TO COURTS AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE
PROVIDE MEANINGFUL EDUCATION, SELF-HELP COURSES AND REHABILITATIVE PROGRAMS
ALLOW POSSESSION OF TELEVISIONS
PROVIDE EXERCISE EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING PULL-UP BARS, FOR MEANINGFUL EXERCISE IN YARD
END CRUELTY, NOISE AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION OF WELFARE CHECKS
KEEP ORIGINAL PROPER PACKAGING FOR COMMISSARY AND CANTEEN
GIVE NON-DISCIPLINARY STATUS TO QUALIFYING PRISONERS
PROVIDE ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING AND SHOES
PROVIDE FOOD BOWL AND CUP
Endorsed by Sacramento Solidarity Network, California Families Against Solitary Confinement, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community, All of Us or None, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, Democratic Socialists of America Sacramento, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Showing Up for Racial Justice Sacramento, Freedom Outreach, Underground Scholars