Letter from a prisoner in Pelican Bay SHU
(postmarked June 13, 2011)
Hello, my name is [withheld]. I live in Pelican Bay SHU and was recently denied for my inactive review for a single source which was my name and number in someone else’s address book….
This entire review process is a complete sham, the only way for me to be able to see the mainline is to become an informant.
The active/inactive process is truly a house of cards and I honestly believe the courts fully understand this, which is why they honestly fear intervening because the validation program would crumble……
So these words are written with a clear and focused mind on the task ahead. There’s been months of soul searching, real personal tug of wars but ultimately it’s brought about my decision to hunger strike.
With a tear in my eye I can/do look back over my life and fully realizing the tremendous amount of pain and damage I’ve caused my family and friends as a youth.
My story was a violence fueled path of sheer destruction and for all of those I hurt, I do take full ownership of..
If turning back the hands of Ole Father Time was a reality I’d be in line to heal those who were hurt…
Though standing before you today is no boy but rather a 37 year old man who believes with his maturity came truth of/in himself which ultimately led to his integrity and honor as a man.
Whereas I’ve been in Ad/Seg and SHU for merely 8 years, all around I can clearly see my future in cells aside and below me, 10 years, 16 years, 22 years….
In the quietness of my mind I am struck by the immense task of adjusting my mind and body to these extreme isolation realities decade after decade without going insane…….
It’s not too promising when year after year all I see is the effect of these extreme conditions of deprivation crushing once prideful and courageous men into shells of their former selves…
I do pray to the gods above that they allow my spirit and soul to burn bright and to endure.
So the past, present, and future. Our litigations they have failed. The state and federal courts are unwilling to call this prolonged isolation and legalized psychological torture, just that, torture!
Because when a man walks into that debriefing room he’s been totally broken, broken to the point of saying anything for one sole purpose to stop the pain and if that’s not a confession under extreme pressure and torture then I don’t know what is…
Every avenue has been taken to get out of here with my pride, dignity, and honor in hand. I’ve tried the institution appeals, a total joke and as I stated earlier the courts refuse to make any substantive changes and without that CDC will continue to justify keeping me and the rest in these extreme conditions of isolation for the mere fact that we are labelled as gang members and simply refuse to become informants and debrief…
So in with the realization of the fact that the courts will allow me/us to die here there’s been long thought as to how to peacefully resist this prolonged psychological torture. The collective conclusion is that the only means left available to us is to go on a serious hunger strike.
I volunteered to give all that I have for myself, my family and those who know and respect me.
I in no way, shape or form am I suicidal nor do I wish to harm myself in anyway. But the facts are that CDC has drawn a hard line in the sand and the only way from underneath these conditions are to debrief or die. I wish to do neither.
I can’t articulate exactly how badly I want to hug my mother or speak to my father over the phone or send them a yearly photo of their son. But it’s huge!
Instead I am limited to maintaining my relationships with family through the mail and IGI has always viewed I/M [inmate] mail as a key component in the debriefing policy in where they are able to put pressure on relationships in the hopes of breaking them up and further isolating us with the hope we choose to debrief.
I choose to stand defiant, I stand tall and always silent and I exercise my option to fully protest via hunger strike.
I will not become just another broken faceless soul forced to become a confidential informant for CDC to relieve this burden only to burden someone else…
I hunger strike with the hope of gaining some form of relief so the next load of men, young and old, won’t have to be broken down, drove insane or killed to find relief…
I must end with a word for my beautiful family. I love them all and have learned many valuable lessons of respect, understanding, duty, and integrity by their stellar examples. They truly are my rock in dark times and I love them all.