Statement by Pelican Bay SHU prisoner on September 11, 2011

Sept. 11, 2011 – Many people are blind in society to prison abuse in SHUs. They don’t care or aren’t aware until their eyes opened up by others, prison advocates or a family member or friend lands in prison, that changes how they view prisoners. It happens all the time. Everyone in prison and advocacy groups outside need to do their part to bring awareness and changes to issues of prison torture and neglect. The unity from all sides, voices combined as one is powerful and is what gives our struggle more life and motivation to demand positive changes and reform.

Truth and justice and human rights need to be taken to the public; that’s where the power will be. It’s all about raising public awareness. The overwhelming support we received from outside during the strike was really strong. Many inmates don’t realize this,  that the power for real change of prison policies is in the hands of our advocates, straight out. For so long CDCR abuse of inmates was covered up, sure many California politicians knew but didn’t care, we’re animals to them.
You know already that the SHU is a world within a world. Like any other part of the prison it has its own routine, rules, and regulations. For a long time we were denied all sorts of privileges, some may not seem important to the average man, but in this deprived hell hole, they mean a lot to most inmates. The approval of sweats top bottom, a beanie too means a lot to inmates in SHU because it does get cold here. And the thermals that this prison allowed us to order over the years isn’t the good quality heavy duty thermals – the material really thin and starts to rip after a few washes. And the approval of 1 photo a year, about time. Too many inmates haven’t taken a picture in 10-30 years other than the prison identification photo retaken every 4-5 years here.

Without (CPF and advocates) support a lot wouldn’t have got done for the strike. A lot of inmates here just don’t know how big of a role (you all) played in the strike, lawyers and all the staff there. I told some guys in my pod just imagine if the attorneys weren’t involved representing us during the strike, would we have been successful gained any ground of victory with CDC PBSP? I don’t think so! I’m very grateful to them all.

Yes, the hunger strike (July) worked and shed light on the CDCR abusive inhumane mistreatment of SHU inmates. The truth is out now and we’re on the radar screen. The strike was effective in a number of ways, achieving what many said was impossible: that the CDCR won’t give in to our demands not caring. Well, we all know what happened.

The hunger strike in July showed CDCR our unbreakable spirit to fight for our human rights and willing to die for this cause, starve to death to stop PBSP CDC torture and abuse. What we did in prison and supporter outside changed things big time. Nobody expected any changes to come so soon, but that says a lot that the CDCR can no longer ignore our complaints and cries. They know the truth is out – the attention and watchful eyes of the community is on CDCR now.

The hunger strike was but a prelude for true justice, as the pelican is finally airborne and can’t be stopped.

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