Tag Archives: Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective

Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

Posted on September 5, 2013 by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity
Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.
To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.
Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside.  We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety.  The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.
With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike.  We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.
The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court — that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced — in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.
We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.
We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.
After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison.  But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.
In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable.  (See: AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES)
Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met.  We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.
In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!
From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals.  However, there’s still much to be done.  Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.
Respectfully,
For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124
Link to original

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence From the NCTT-COR-SHU

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence. From the NCTT-COR-SHU
“To overcome the intelligent by folly is contrary to the natural order of things; to overcome the foolish by intelligence is in accordance with the natural order. To overcome the intelligent by intelligence, however, is a matter of opportunity” (Zhuge Liang)
Greetings brothers and sisters. On August 12, 2012 the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) in all prison and juvenile facilities and called for its extension to our communities. The strategic and material benefits for our ongoing human rights struggle, [for] thousands of prisoners and their families is obvious.
What may be less obvious is the unprecedented opportunity for social progress and community development represented by the A.E.H.; and more precisely why its popularization in the communities from which prisoners hail, and all similarly affected communities nationally, is so vital. The potential benefit to our interests collectively is equally as vital as the abolition of domestic torture units and mass incarceration as a whole, and in fact, may serve as a new front in that struggle.
In a recent 60 Minutes” exposé a New Jersey state trooper and former Iraq/Afghanistan Occupation Force Veteran began employing counter-insurgency techniques imported from those Middle Eastern battlefields to “clear and hold” poverty-stricken communities in New Jersey. As we watched this program they employed everything from quantification of tattoo I.D. and inter-communal violence data, to “winning the hearts and minds” of residents in order to increase informants amongst the population. The increase in arrests and convictions stats which followed came as no great surprise…nor did the corresponding imprisonment that followed. We noted the lamentable that followed. We noted the lamentable economic condition of the state and this community, in particular at the outset of the story, but only a passing reference was made to potential economic development opportunities that had any hope of empowering that community and those that lived in it.
One of the prevailing factors which prompted this further militarization of law enforcement was the alleged violence between street tribes (i.e., “gangs”) and that surrounding the local drug trade knowing full well these phenomenon are structural aspects of the capitalist arrangement which force many in those communities to form (or join) street tribes for social empowerment or enter the underground economy (narcotics trafficking, etc.) as a survival activity, it reveals this new counter-insurgency-inspired approach was just the latest tactic to win public support for yet another streamlining of the school/poor community to prison pipeline and expansion of the prison industrial complex (PIC).
The NCTT is not simply an analytical body. It is an analytical body whose goal is to provide practical solutions to society’s ills. We immediately began to make inter-connections on the theoretical level between these phenomena, the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.), collective community development programs, and a commitment to total community inclusion. This New Jersey community could have been any community in Watts, L.A., West Oakland or Southeast San Diego. We thought: would such repressive and authoritarian state measures be justifiable if an effective A.E.H. was in place?
Furthermore, if there were community-owned and operated economic ventures, educational development initiatives, and socio-political empowerment platforms inclusive of, and beneficial to, everyone in the community would there even be a needfor the residents to sell dope to, or ride on, one another?
If our communities were self-sufficient, politically-empowered, and markedly less violent would that not translate into less of our brothers, sisters and children being exposed to the prospect of imprisonment and our communities being subjected to the militaristic occupation tactics of the state? It is our contention that the potential exists for this and much, much more.
The violence and rebellion against private property and bourgeoisie “law” which accompany the desperation of poverty and social alienation have long been the foundation for justifying the introduction and passage of draconian laws and GeStaPo-style enforcement tactics in depressed communities. We can assure you, the NYPD is not pushing “stop and frisk” on the [denzins] of the Upper East Side. These self-fulfilling prophesies of underdevelopment have decimated entire generations of young men (and women), consigning them to the (maw of the) PIC. It has also been utilized as the chief cornerstone in the state’s justification for the maintenance and expansion of SHU torture units. It is the very basis of the “worst of the worst” propaganda that Stainer and his ilk continue to spout.
The A.E.H., designed to preserve and expand the solidarity of our prisoner human rights struggle has also had the objective effect of further undermining the state’s untenable position by taking that argument away from them. If intra-prisoner violence is no longer occurring as a result of the A.E.H., how then can intra-prisoner violence be used as a way to confine men to torture units indefinitely as “the worst of the worst?” It obviously can’t.
However, what may not be obvious is the A.E.H. provides us with a unique opportunity to also take that argument from community-based law enforcement agencies and remove tenuous justifications they’re currently employing to terrorize our communities. It is a crime to be poor in America. From the indentured servitude and pauper’s prisons of the 18thand 19th century, to the array of criminalization measures used today (i.e., “gang injunctions,” prohibiting citizens from congregating with their own friends and neighbors; “stop and frisk”- powers which legalize profiling, and mandatory drug testing for recipients of public financial aid–the ugly essence of criminal presupposition) the U.S. capitalist state has always sought to criminalize the poor.
The A.E.H. can alter the historic dynamic by providing our communities with an environment in which to restructure our socio-economic reality and common ground upon which to pursue mutually beneficial cooperative efforts, independent of the hostile, antagonistic state and its modern predatory capitalism.
But how would that look on the ground? To answer that question we discussed the validity and practical application of such an undertaking, in relation to the realities on the ground. The final interpretation of that analysis led us to two basic conclusions:
1) Many of our younger brothers and sisters are so embroiled in these cycles of violence and retribution that if the A.E.H. were embraced en masse beyond the walls, not only would it require a productive program of genuine material benefits for them, to act as an incentive and fill the void previously occupied with contra-positive activities, but
2) We’d also need principled and respected soldiers on the ground to mitigate misunderstandings.
The remainder of this discussion will thus be a direct outgrowth of these two primary prerequisites.
The NCTT-COR-SHU has previously articulated within the context of comprehensive community development and social transformation three pilot programs. It is our contention that these same pilot programs and other initiatives specifically developed for youth social empowerment, such as “The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP)”, initiated within the confines of a universally-adopted and mutually enforced Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) can give us the tools to reclaim our own communities from police state occupation, rebuild them into bastions of collective prosperity and shared success, while denying the PIC and the capitalist state the opportunity to exploit our young homies, g.homies, comrades and the intra-class/race contradictions we’ve had to endure under this corrupt system (divide and rule).
We took the time to explore the viability of these ideas by engaging those right here in this torture unit (Corcoran-SHU) from every cultural group on whether this would be something their homies and communities would be interested in. If brothers and sisters didn’t have to worry about being tripped on, or having to ride on cats that rode on their homies, would they be interested in pursuing and working in community-owned businesses and agricultural communes that kept all the funds, fruits and employment in their community? Prison industrialists, corporations and politicians are consistently drafting laws to criminalize our daily lives and cultures. Would they be interested in organizing all their families, homies and home girls without felony records into voting blocks and lobbying bodies to push legislation that benefited theirinterests (i.e., abolishing the slavery provision of the 13thAmendment that precludes those convicted of a felony from voting, creation of community-based parole boards so their loved ones could finally get a date, or abolishing “gang injunctions” that criminalize associating with friends and neighbors you’ve grown up with all your life)? We held these conversations with young and old alike, from every cultural group and affiliation, and the response was universally positive. Some had never even viewed these concepts as a possibility, but by the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective the A.E.H. has given rise to possibilities previously unimaginable.
It is our contention that a concerted effort by all cultural groups and affiliations to extend the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to all communities in society where we have influence, coupled with designating specific personally-respected and reputable soldiers – to ensure the A.E.H. is understood and adhered to by their communities would give us both the social climate and manpower to organize effective closed-circuit economic initiatives, sustainable agricultural communes, and block-vote democratic initiatives.
In so doing we would transform the socio-economic paradigm in our communities, increasing the options and opportunities of our peoples without having to submit to the expropriation of our labor and talent by those who’ve built an industry around our inequality and enforced human misery.
What are we suggesting is extending the A.E.H. to the streets as a basis upon which to build an independent economy, our own self-sustaining agriculture and organized political power capable of ensuring our communities and loved ones are no longer a marginalized segment of the population preyed upon the fuel the prison industrial complex (for more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to: NCTTCorSHU.org or see “A Discussion on Strategy for the National Occupy Movement” @sfbayview.com and nettcorshu.org.
But there is even more opportunity for us here, brothers and sisters. One of the universal complaints of responsible thinking soldiers from all cultural groups is [that] our young brothers and sisters are receiving no meaningful development and are left to the tender mercies of the U.S. capitalist counter-culture of predatory greed and reactionary violence. They are emulating the irrationality inherent in the poor and powerless preying on the poor and powerless as a path to power and prosperity. This is not to castigate the quality of our young soldiers but to acknowledge structural setbacks in orientation and development.
Those who were following the “Each One, Teach One” tradition are either (to a great degree) isolated in prisons, SHU’s or have turned their backs on the community completely for upward class mobility. There is even an unsavory segment who are actually taking advantage of this situation of uneven development for their own selfish gain. In either regard, all of us can agree that increasing the quality of young men and women being developed in our communities will empower us all, further improve the problem-solving skills of our young brothers and sisters, and improve the quality of life for all our people(s).
To that end, we propose the adoption and implementation of the “Youth Community Action Program” as a model for both developing and empowering our young sisters and brothers in the hoods, projects, barrios, rural towns, suburbs and trailer parks where our communities are situated. The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP) is both an educational/training program and a co-operative economic nonprofit initiative which targets underclass youth and neighborhoods employing volunteers from the youth’s own community and family to work in concert with YCAP activists in a two phase development initiative.
Phase I – Involves a five (5) times a week, 2-½ hour (after school) educational and training initiative that focuses on history (from the true perspective, think: Zinn, Diop, and Dela Valle); cultural awareness to retard racial conflicts and strife between oppressed nationalities and citizens stemming from stereotypes and misconceptions of Asian, New Afrikan, Mexican/Latino, Euro-American, and Middle Eastern (etc.) cultures; computer- and technological literacy, the arts (visual, music, dance, etc.) and science/engineering; three out of every five days a week the final hour will be devoted to martial arts, self-defense training and strategic thought (to promote self-discipline and critical thinking). Participants must comply with participation in Phase I to be eligible for Phase II inclusion.
Phase II – Involves establishing a collectively-owned community-based venture which each youth participant will own an equal stake in and be trained in the area of the venture which best suits them. All will receive equal revenue portions/pay (collective work and responsibility, equalitarian distribution of wealth).
Perhaps one of the more enjoyable commonalities shared by all the cultural groups engaged in A.E.H. is a fondness for the custom-car cultures. Building on the intra-cultural commonality, the pilot venture can be a custom-car garage (think “pimp by ride”) where we can seek in-kind donations of equipment and old cars (all tax-deductible), cash donations and fundraiser revenues to fund the rest. Volunteers from this industry will train such youngsters in exchange for marketing publicity for their own ventures while we also seek industry-related sponsors. The cars will be retrofitted, rebuilt and “pimped out” into custom low riders, donks, and euro-tuners and then put on the lot for sale and website auction. The proceeds from each sale or client “fix-up” will be split equally among the youth (50% of the profit), 20% will go to expand the nonprofit initiative, 20% will go to a college fund for them all, and 10% will flow back into expanding the venture. We, in this manner, provide them with an economic incentive to be indoctrinated into collective practices and progressive activism, bring the community closer to one another, and introduce a new source of revenue into the underclass community where that chapter of YCAP is based.
The positive social impact on our communities for our people who live in these communities should be significant. But equally impact-ful is all this progress would originate with the A.E.H., and the A.E.H. originated from prisoners in the SHU (the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective, to be precise). Can you all imagine the political success for our movement to abolish indefinite SHU confinement which would glow from such irrefutably positive public opinion? In the face of such success we would eradicate the myth that we are “the worst of the worst” while exposing the intention underdevelopment and predatory law enforcement practices of a capitalist state which has effectively dehumanized our communities, our families, our very children.
Central to understanding and responding to our indefinite torture as validated SHU prisoners and to human misery endemic of underclass communities where the majority of us come from is understanding the nature and structure of U.S. capitalism and our relationship to the productive system. The fact that we are holding this discussion with you from a SHU, and underclass men/women are virtually the entire prison population, is the best proof that the relationship between our communities and the ruling class of the productive system is a hostile one, one where we seek to wrest power from them sufficient to reclaim our humanity and enforce our dignity in the arenas of social life, while they in turn are disinclined to relinquish their authority to dehumanize and exploit us. As long as we are bound by the paradigm of the dominant culture, functioning within the labyrinth of our own exploitation by a socio-economic structure which institutionally disfavors both our communities and ourselves, regardless of cultural character, will continue the cycle of torture and misery.
What must be understood is the small social forces which have deemed our communities “high crime areas” and we (SHU prisoners) “the worst of the worst” are the same social forces that have reduced the social ties between people to naked self-interest and callous cash payment; the same forces who have transformed personal worth into mere exchange value, and subordinated countless of our hard-won freedoms to their one and only freedom – the freedom of “free trade.” We are mere commodities to them, piles of human flesh they can use to expropriate a specific annual amount of the social product (taxes) depending on where they warehouse our flesh (G.P., SHU, Administrative-Segregation (Ad-Seg.), etc.) – our exchange value tabulated by prison industrial labor aristocrats (CCPOA, Administrators) and corporate interests to determine exactly how they need to manipulate public opinion and the electorate to maintain their privilege. We have an opportunity with the A.E.H. to fight back!
We have the opportunity to forge a new socio-economic and political paradigm which is structured outside the confines of the dominant culture, and definitely serves the interests of our communities, our families, us. The only question is do we collectively possess the political will to carry the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to its logical and victorious conclusion?
But this is all theoretical, a discussion designed to promote and inspire a glimpse of one possible future and encourage us all to consider it. We have a chance to not only change our communities for the better, but to definitively turn public opinion in our favor in the protracted struggle to abolish the domestic torture units SHU prisoners are condemned to endure.
No matter where this discussion leads, the very foundation of the premise would not exist if not for the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective in enacting the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.). We all, and society as a whole, owe them their thanks. Think on these things. They are cause for great meditation.
NCTT-COR-SHU.
For more info on the NCTT-COR-SHU or its work product go to NCTTCORSHU.org or contact:
Zaharibu Dorrough, D80611, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
J. Heshima Denham, 38283, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1l-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Kambui Robinson, C82830, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Jabara Scott, H30356, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.
For more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to:

Twitter: @NCTTCorSHU

This essay was also posted on: SF Bay View (August 30th, 2013)

July 8th: Peaceful Protests of refusing food in CA SHU’s and elsewhere will resume if demands are not met!

Please spread this flyer, thank you! Also follow NCTTCOrSHU.org (this site), Californiaprisonwatch.org, Stopmassincarceration.org, SFBayview.com, Prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com, and other sites with updates.
Also actions of solidarity are planned in other states (Louisiana for one, Ohio may follow). CDCR should at least hear and talk with the prisoners and their representatives!

Latest on CDCR’s proposed new ” STG” program is that NONE of the prisoners in the units in at least Cor-SHU 4B 1L have signed a “contract” that CDCR has installed to push prisoners to comply with their new solitary confinement punishment rules.

Unity in organization

From: SF Bay View

by Kamau M. Askari, Feb. 26th, 2013

Organization is a framework through which collective power can be achieved. Organization is also a byproduct of unity.

Prisoners of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds and ideological and political persuasions have forged a united front – best reflected by the Short Corridor Collective confined in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit – around common goals and interests of ameliorating the tortuous concrete conditions inherent to long-term solitary confinement.

  

[photo: A rally organized by LA’s Youth Justice Coalition ushered in a new era for California prisoners – the End to Hostilities – on the day it took effect, Oct. 10, 2012. A prisoner at Corcoran said recently, “The End to Hostilities has opened up a whole new world to us.” Spreading the spirit of solidarity to the streets is critical now that the California prison system has expanded eligibility for indefinite placement in solitary confinement from prison gangs only to street gangs. – Photo: Virginia Gutierrez]

The previous call for prisoner hunger strikes on July 1 and subsequently Sept. 26, 2011, constitute the initial acts of mass prisoner unity.

Out of this initial unified front has spiraled the positive, productive and progressive mass prisoner cessation of unscrupulous racial violence and hostilities within prisons throughout the system of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR), as well as various communities of California society at large.

Those of us who study the dialectical laws of development as it relates to history and the science of struggle are acutely aware that any activities geared to unifying and organizing prisoners pursuant to the particulars of a prison movement – in this instance challenging the tortuous conditions of long-term solitary confinement – will be targeted for neutralization by prison authorities who stand to benefit the least from a progressive change in the currently existing relations relative to long-term solitary confinement.

We know this because we also know that prison mirrors society! Prior history and practical experience inform and guide our present approach so as not to repeat mistakes of the past.

For example, in the 1960s-1970s era of the Black Liberation Movement in Amerika, which sought to achieve political, socio-cultural, economic and national independence for New Afrikan (Black) people, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launched a counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) for the precise purpose of identifying, disrupting, discrediting, disabling and/or destroying Black revolutionary nationalist organizations and formations: namely, Black Panther Party (BPP), Black Liberation Army (BLA), Republic of New Afrika (RNA), Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), et al.

Behind prison walls similar events were occurring, yet the level of class and racial social relations were intensified substantially beyond that existent in society. CDCR propaganda fostered a relation that perpetuated a state of racial hostilities and violence among prisoners, which has proceeded until the current initiative undertaken by our Short Corridor Collective.

Now this brings us to our focal point of discussion: making ineffective prison authorities’ counter-productive plots, and identifying individuals whose activities seek to undermine our prisoner unity and organization.

Any activities geared to unifying and organizing prisoners pursuant to the particulars of a prison movement – in this instance challenging the tortuous conditions of long-term solitary confinement – will be targeted for neutralization by prison authorities who stand to benefit the least from a progressive change in the currently existing relations relative to long-term solitary confinement.

Prisoners must be dedicated, committed and determined to maintaining the progress made in our racial and social relations thus far – exercising vigilance and caution against having our prisoner racial and social relations deteriorated or undermined by any tactics or measures which could possibly be employed by prison authorities and/or some programmed androids having the same type of functions and objectives, i.e., collaborators, agent provocateurs, infiltrators, asinine lackeys etc.

The key to maintaining progressive prisoner relations is to not let “subjective sentiments”, i.e., personal prejudices and biases, petty differences, prisoners sitting around hating on other prisoners through their own personal misery or envy, etc., take precedence over prisoner unity in organization.

Prisoners must remain cognizant of the fact that our ultimate goals and objectives, i.e., ending tortuous, long-term solitary confinement, and maintaining progressive prisoner racial and social relations are greater than the varying manifestations that can give rise to differences among prisoners stemming from petty subjectivism!

Send our brother some love and light: Kamau M. Askari, b/n Ralph A. Taylor, D-03780, D3-102, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531. Kamau is coordinator of the NARN Collective Think Tank.

Corcoran SHU prisoners join Pelican Bay hunger strike

Corcoran SHU prisoners join Pelican Bay hunger strike

June 30, 2011

from the NCTT Corcoran SHU

[Photo: Prison guard George Sherman carries a rifle in the control room of the Pelican Bay SHU whenever a guard enters one of the groups of 10 cells. Corcoran SHU prisoners say the SHU there is designed the same way. – Photo and caption: John Burgess, Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Greetings to all who support freedom, justice and equality. We here of the NCTT SHU stand in solidarity with and in full support of the July 1 hunger strike and the five major action points and sub-points as laid out by the Pelican Bay Collective in the policy statements.

What many are unaware of is that Facility 4B here in Corcoran SHU is designated to house validated prisoners in indefinite SHU confinement and has an identical ultra-supermax isolation unit short corridor, modeled after Corridor D in Pelican Bay, complete with blacked out windows, a mirror tinted glass on the towers so no one but the gun tower can see into our cells and none of us can see out, flaps welded to the base of the doors and sandbags on the tiers to prevent “fishing,” a means of passing notes etc. between cells using lengths of string, and IGI, Institutional Gang Investigators, to transport us all to medical appointments. Also, we have no contact with any prisoners or staff outside of this section here in 4B/1C C Section, the “short corridor” of the Corcoran SHU.

All of the deprivations, save access to sunlight, outlined in the five-point hunger strike statement are mirrored and in some instances intensified here in the Corcoran SHU 4B/1C C Section isolation gang unit. Medical care here, in a facility allegedly designed to house chronic care and prisoners with psychological problems, is so woefully inadequate that it borders on intentional disdain for the health of prisoners, especially where diabetics and cancer are an issue. Access to the law library is denied for the most mundane reasons or, most often, no reason at all. Yet these things and more are outlined in the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU’s five core demands.

Corcoran State Prison

What is of note here and something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control, i.e. torture units and human experimental techniques against prisoners, not only in California but across the nation. Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units. The purpose of this “treatment” is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.

Many lawsuits have been filed in opposition to these conditions, yet the courts have repeatedly re-interpreted and misinterpreted their own constitutional law to support the state’s continued use of these torture units. When approved means of protest and redress of rights are proven meaningless and are fully exhausted, then the pursuit of those ends through other means is necessary.

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.

Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units.

A cell in a Security Housing Unit (SHU) – Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

We urge all who read these words to support us in this effort with your participation. Please call your local news agencies, notify your friends on social networks, contact your legislators and tell your fellow faithful at church, mosque, temple or synagogue. Decades before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs were described by Congressman Ralph Metcalfe as “the control unit treatment program [of which] long-term punishment [is] under the guise of what is, in fact, pseudo-scientific experimentation.”

It is important for all to know the Pelican Bay Collective is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don’t care and will allow the torture to continue in your name. It is our belief that they have woefully underestimated the decency, principles and humanity of the people. Join us in opposing this injustice without end. Thank you for your time and support.

Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don’t care and will allow the torture to continue in your name.


In Solidarity,
NCTT Corcoran SHU, 4B-1C – C Section, Super-Max Isolation Unit

This statement was submitted by Haribu L.M. Soriano-Mugabi, K-15721, CSP Corcoran, 4B-1L-42L, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212, who asks readers to distribute copies and submit it to more publications “so as to inform the general public of our fight to change the inhuman conditions we are subjected to for our political beliefs or because we were falsely identified as politically active in an organization.” The statement first appeared on California Prison Watch.