Tag Archives: solitary confinement

Return to Corcoran-SHU from CCI-Tehachapi for “step 3”

This is reblogged from: Prisoner Human Rights Movement

Posted on 25 May 2015

A report from Jabari about his return to CSP-Corcoran for “step 3″ of the “Step-Down Program”:
April 19, 2015

They finally officially opened up the step 3 program here at CSP-Corcoran, and they needed volunteers from CCI-Tehachapi for this, so I volunteered. Anything to get away from that hell-hole in the mountains.

This is what I have gotten from my 32 days back at Corcoran
First and foremost it is true that they have this 8 to 10 correctional officers’(c/o s’) ‘welcoming party’ that welcomes each bus or van of transfers at the front gate when you first step off the bus. You are welcomed with this bully attack upon you that is strategically and tactically launched to provoke a physical response from each individual who steps off the bus.
With us, we arrived in a convoy of three vans. In the first van were two young Southern Mexicans, in the second van were me and an older Afrikan Brotha, and in the last van was a Caucasian (a close friend of mine). Thus we were able to witness this bully attack and prepare ourselves for it before we were made subjects to it.

Welcoming squad
There were about 8 c/o’s hovering around the exit door of the van with a lieutenant carrying a handheld cam-recorder, an overseeing sergeant and a questions sergeant, who threw a barrage of questions at you like a drill sergeant in the army, to confuse and throw your thinking off, so that you cannot form a clear thought to launch an effective physical attack back and/or take your mind completely away from the fact that they removed the block lock off your handcuff, removed your handcuff, removed your waste chains and your ankle chains, and then handcuff your hands behind you.

They do all this in one quick well-rehearsed motion, in which one c/o acts as though he is peacefully assisting you off the vehicle, but as soon as he has a nice firm grip on your arm, he snatches you off of the vehicle into the crowd of bully attackers, where the one in front of you grabs a fistful of clothing in your chest-area with one hand, then with the other hand he has a firm grip on your other arm. Then another grabs a fist full of part of your clothing, while behind you, you have a guy with a hand full of part of your clothing, another firm grip of your arm, and at the same time he is kicking your foot far apart from your other foot. On the other side of you, behind you, there is another guy doing the same thing: kicking your other foot out. They are directly behind you and a guy has a firm grip on your forehead, with his fist he is pushing into the back of your neck and the hand that is gripping your forehead is also pulling your head backwards and he is yelling at you saying “Look up at the sky! Look up at the sky!” while the sergeant is yelling a barrage of questions and demands at you. “Look-up-at-the-sky!”

It’s all crazy and you truly have to be a very well disciplined person to get through this well-organized attack without attacking back. With us, we all understand and realize that we can not mistake aggressive action for effective action to get our point across, which requires a strong life commitment and discipline.

Moving forward, after successfully making it past Corcoran’s bully squad, we were given one of everything as far as laundry and lining are concerned. But upon our second Thursday here we were given 3 boxers for underwear, 3 t-shirts, 3 pairs of socks, new tennis [shoes] and sheets, pillows,
pillowcases. The 5 men who came with me, we all got our property on the 23rd day after our arrival, and for me, all the property that CCI-Tehachapi seized from me when I got there was still being stored there, thus it came back to CSP-Corcoran with me. Corcoran gave me back everything except for my radio and tv, but I did get the radio that was purchased for me in Tehachapi by a friend. So everything CCI-Tehachapi took from me, Corcoran gave back (except for the radio&tv), and some of my pictures which put me over the 40 allowed.

Yard
Yard is run three times a week for 1-Left (1L) and three times a week for 1-Right (1R) on off-setting days: week 1 1-Left get yard on Monday-Wednesday-Fridays, and the top tier has first yard from 8:30AM to 11:30 AM, and the way the c/o’s do it to maximize time is tha the two officers who escort the first yard cage in, will go and get the first cell on the bottom tier and bring them out to the yard cage from where they just took the first prisoners out of. Thus it maximizes the time and gets the next yard out quicker, who stay out until 3:30 PM.

Unit 1-Right has on week 1 Tuesday-Thursday-Saturdays, again with the top tier from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM, and the bottom tier 12:30 to 3:30 PM. Then it rotates for the second week, in which 1-Left will have Tuesday-Thursday-Saturdays, and 1-Right will have Mon-Wed-Fridays.

All Sundays are for “make up yard”: if there is fog, or yard is closed or stopped for some reason, or you have a group meeting, you will get make up yard on Sunday, in which you might go out with 1-Right and 1-Left. [note: typist heard that this make up yard has recently been denied to people in 1L without any reason given].

Breakfast is passed out at 7 AM every morning and it is picked up at 7:30AM. They have trays with lids now, but they are bigger than at CCI-Tehachapi. Thus people are counted every morning in time for yard to start at 8:30 on time and sometimes earlier.

Visiting
Saturdays visiting starts at 8:30 AM for 4B yard and ends at 11:30-12:30. 4A yard starts at 11:30 and ends at 3:30 PM.
On Sundays 4A starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 12:30 PM, and 4B starts at 11:30 AM and ends at 3:30 PM.

Prisoners can have a visit on both Saturday and Sunday but your visitor cannot the same person: for instance, your sister can’t visit on both Saturday and Sunday, but your sister can visit on Saturday and your brother on Sunday. And your visit can last from anywhere between 1 to 2 hours, depending on how many people are visiting, if space is needed or not needed. So you see some guys out there for 1:15, 1:30, 1:45 up to 2:00. And when making an appointment for that coming week, you can also reserve a spot for the following weekend, and it doesn’t take an hour or longer to make an appointment.

Laundry
Laundry is the old laundry-bag system by putting dirty laundry in laundry bags, sending them out to be washed and returned to you. When ordering laundry they will accommodate you with sizes up to 6XL boxers, 6XL t-shirts. The size you fit.

Canteen
Food is about the same except they give you fresh oranges here every day – different from the apples in CCI-Tehachapi. Fresh real fruit juices, real maple syrup and canned fruit. Real jelly.
The canteen has a couple of extra items such as digital antennas, cable connectors, and L-connectors for flatscreen tv’s, chillibeans in pouch, spicy vegetable soup, bowls and cups with lids, Irish Spring soap (60 ct), and Dial soap (85ct).

TV Stations
These range from 39 stations up to 90 station, depending on building section and cell. In the section and building we are in, guys are getting 39 to 70 stations: all the PBS stations, all local stations, Spanish stations, movie stations, etc. etc. You get a lot of tv stations here that you have to get out of the air with digital antennas or loose wire. Radio stations are the same, you get many radio stations.

Showers
They are not walking to showers yet, but they say they are going to start letting us walk alone this coming week and then soon after they will extend available jobs. Up to now I am the only Afrikan in this section [but this has changed at the time of typing this, 5/9].

Jabari Scott, H30536
CSP-Cor-SHU 4B-1R-64
P.O. Box 3481
Corcoran, CA 93212

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On Racism, Resistance and State Violence – A Discussion on the Politics of Greed and Hate

By N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU

“We all agree that ‘race’ is invented, but are then required to defer to its embeddedness in the world.”-Paul Gilroy

“ ‘Racism’ is used to justify and facilitate the exploitation of peoples, and it’s based on the false belief that humanity is divided into a plurality of ‘races’ that stand in relation to each other as ‘inferior’ or ‘superior’ based on physical and/or cultural differences. There are no ‘races’ – only people(s), groups of people(s), united and distinguished by common history (social development), habits, interests etc. – sometimes we call all of this … ideology. 

To be ‘anti-racist’ is, first of all, not to hold the false belief in an alleged plurality of ‘races,’ to be ‘against racism’ is to combat all beliefs and practices that facilitate the exploitation of peoples, particularly when such exploitation is supported by the social construction of ‘race.’
 

Any attempt to destroy ‘racism’ without an explicit link to the struggle against capitalism ultimately serves only to reinforce ‘racist’ ideology and to shield capitalism from attack. On the other hand, an attempt to combat capitalism without an explicit link to anti-racist discourse and struggle allows capitalism to use belief in ‘race’ held by oppressed peoples, and appeal to the ‘racism’ of citizens of the oppressive state, thus undermining all revolutionary initiative.” – James Yaki Sayles (Meditations on Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings by James Yaki Sayles)

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

The events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri present us with yet another opportunity to address the inhumanity of racism. But the country will again not take advantage of it because we will continue to treat this act of inhumanity as though it is an isolated incident, and not an act that flows from the very structure of the nation.

 This is a system that, over hundreds of years, has indoctrinated people (particularly “law enforcement” elements) to look at people, and based on their physical characteristics, particularly their Black skin, determine whether they represent a threat and respond accordingly. Because Afrikan, Latino and Native American men (males) have – for hundreds of years – been considered to be the enemy, the “savage,” the “worst of the worst,” there is this kill-first mentality (and anytime you fire “a hail of bullets” at a person the intent is to kill), and that intent to kill is motivated, either consciously or unconsciously by fear and/or hate!

No one wants to think that they are under the influence of patriarchal authoritarianism / White male supremacy in how we think or conduct ourselves. We have been indoctrinated to believe that it’s not the system, it was a mistake, an over-reaction on the part of the individual officer–or Klansman–and all it takes is for that individual to be fired or prosecuted and the country is satisfied…until it happens again, and again, and again! We genuinely do believe that this is not the same country as it was 30, 40 or 50 years ago and we believe this in the face of so much racist / sexist / misogynistic / homophobic / religiously intolerant / anti-poor hate!

What we are facing in this nation, as it relates to the murders of New Afrikans (Blacks) by police is simply the ongoing legacy of socio-economic relations between the White ruling class and the New Afrikan underclass, a manifestation of patriarchal authoritarian White supremacy enforcing the dictates of the race caste system in Amerika. Institutional racism is a structural component of Amerikan culture and property relations. As such it cannot be “reformed.” It is irrational to assume you can legislate away hate in a society where every institution reproduces and reinforces it in the population’s core (and developmental) psychology.

The very nature and structure of American society preserves White male supremacy and hatred of New Afrikans (Blacks), it is only that within policing this power dynamic is most visible (it is the police who in the first line of defense for the ruling class and the police have the most frequent contact with the population). This power dynamic, as it relates to policing, gives its visibility primarily to the fact that the underlying basis of power upon which White male hegemony in Amerika rests is violence. It is a power which must be seen to be effective.

As consciousness of oppression metamorphoses into resistance, no matter how minute, fleeting or legitimate that resistance may be, the response of the state’s police forces is violence–lethal force…murder. It has always been thus, from the slave catcher to the “strange fruit” of the lynching trees, from the slaughter and raiding of  rosewood, to the slaughter and siege of Ferguson–the initial, the primary, the first response of the police to New Afrikan resistance is violence.

What should disturb us is the irrationality of people and pundits who condemn resistance to such overt force; the condemnation of those who seek to exert their own coercive force to end such hate-based violence. In Ferguson there is a great deal of talk of “outside agitators” who have come in and “hijacked” the protests [for instance here on the Daily Beast, 8/19/14, and echoing here], as though, somehow, no one outside of that community has an interest in abolishing hate. Every citizen who has an interest in creating and maintaining a society/world based on equalitarian principles should converge on Ferguson, and anywhere else in which the humanity of people and the planet is under assault.

When you look at the historical record, particular forms of protests have intensified, particularly over the last 30 years, only because the system that produces the inhumanities remains in place. Even people, particularly young people, who may not be knowledgeable about the country’s history, are immediately introduced to that history. Images from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, and beyond, are introduced to them. They look around and see citizens, neighbors and others within their own communities and towns rushing out to buy guns, symbols of hate and destruction, instead of joining the protest in fear off those whose humanity has been assaulted. This is the most definitive proof that among large segments of the population, nothing has changed in their thinking. Even among some segments of the New Afrikan (Black) population, it is felt that the officer/the system acted appropriately -and that represents the most definitive proof that, among large sections of the population, nothing has changed.

In a clear illustration of the institutional nature of racism in Amerika, the mass media instantly sought to tacitly defend the police by professing justifications for murdering this latest New Afrikan child, Michael Brown, while condemning direct action force by protesting as “criminals,” “looters,” “outside agitators,”  [see here and a later ‘analysis’ here ] and “thugs,” [see also this news on October 2nd] “seeking to capitalize off the latesttragedy,” as opposed to the rational, although disorganized, response to some 400 years of unbroken racist violence against New Afrikans (and Native people) in Amerika.

Yet, irrationally, New Afrikans continue to refer to themselves as “Afrikan Americans”– an oxymoron which consciously ignores the fact that “Americans” had killed “Afrikans” as a practice in Amerika since 1619… And therein lies the contradiction–the psychological cleavage of the New Afrikan mind when subject to Amerikan state violence: they unconsciously do know this, and act to move against it just as one would reflexively swat at flames on one’s flesh or a stinging bee on one’s skin, you meet the pain of force with force of your own, in order to make the pain stop. 


It is an act of intelligence with intent, yet many would have us accept such patently racist violence with nothing more profound or transformative than passive pleas of “hands up-don’t shoot!” to justify such irrationality. They point to Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi’s courageous examples of nonviolent resistance, while conveniently ignoring the fact that both were killed for their efforts and their aspirations have yet to be realized. The rabid poverty, gross inequality and brutalization of women, which dominates neo-colonial Indian society is not the “independence” Brother Mahatma gave his life for and the fact that we are even having this conversation with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and countless others cold in the ground, is the best proof the dreamers’ dream remains Amerika’s nightmare. These mentacidal (mental suicide) contractions in social analysis render the prospect of solutions–effective solutions–all but impossible.

Many of the New Afrikans (Black), clerical,  political and community leaders we’ve heard speak thus far have, in the midst of the latest events in Ferguson called for a change in the way law enforcement officers police New Afrikan communities, in hopes of returning these state agents to their stated role of “serving and protecting” our communities. Because this starting premise is so incorrect, every other idea or effort that flows from it will prove equally flawed, a voyage into circular thought which will inevitably lead us back to the same problem repeatedly. The first thing we must understand is what the police is, and what is their purpose.

The police, at their core, are the enforcement mechanism of the state’s dictates on the populace. The state is a tool to ensure the dominance of the ruling class and its cultural imperative (capitalist White supremacy) over all other classes and cultural interests. This determines the policies’ purpose. The purpose of police in the capitalist state is to “serve and protect” the ruling class (and their constituents) while controlling, containing and repressing the remainder of the population, especially underclass and non-White communities. 

The core flaw in thinking by mainstream (state-approved) and clerical “leadership” in the New Afrikan and other concerned communities is it begins with the premise that police are in their communities to “serve and protect” them, when all objective observations and historical analyses reveal the police’s function is to control, contain and repress them… Until this is understood, accepted and acted upon, the development of viable solutions by New Afrikans to this scourge will be futile.

Consider this: within the bowels of the prison industrial complex’s Super Max (Secure Housing Unit or SHU) torture units in California, hundreds of New Afrikans have been consigned to “the hole” for the remainder of their lives (if they are not broken) for studying their culture, history, political ideas–and even current events if they are presented through a New Afrikan lens. 

In recent 128-B chronos authored by I.G.I. Officer T. Turmezei, the overly racist hostility of  the state is on full display. In the documents, the officer actually criminalizes New Afrikan cultural celebrations (like “Black August Memorial”), the terms “Black,” “Brother,” “Elder,” and “Comrade,” stating:

“[Subject] specifically identifies his B.G.F. allegiance with “Comrade,” ethnic race as Black through “Brother”… In so stating, [subject] identifies himself as a “comrade” of the B.G.F.”
He goes on to state:
“…[subject]’s B.G.F. allegiances is further supported [by]…the use of the word “elders” to identify the senior membership of the B.G.F. housed at Pelican Bay …Within the prison system a Black would not reference a White, Hispanic or other raced gang member as his “elder.” Members and associates of the B.G.F. show reverence and allegiance to senior B.G.F. membership of the B.G.F. housed at Pelican Bay State Prison.”

That the terms “brother” and “elders” is commonplace in most every underclass community, regardless of racial competition, and the term “comrade” is universally used in leftist circles of every hue and has been since the 1800’s, we can only assume he has another motivation for such baseless lies.

He goes on to criminalize progressive political parties like the B.R.L.P. (Black Riders Liberation Party), publishers like “Chicago Zine Distro” and legitimate newspapers like the “San Francisco Bay View” as “documented vehicles of dissemination for the training material and communications among members of the B.G.F. prison gang.” If this warped racist perspective was not so demonstrative of the institutional racism which is a structural aspect of the state, perhaps this officer could be laughed off as an ignorant, misinformed crackpot. However, the unfortunate truth of the matter is the one thing all of these things have in common is their connection to New Afrikan (Black) culture, thought and expression.

There are, as we speak, hundreds of crips, bloods, Muslims, Christians and non-affiliates validated as members or associates of the B.G.F. for no other reason than seeking to study, express or embrace their culture, history and political ideas. Though these New Afrikans (Blacks) have no relation to any revolutionary formation, what they do all have in common is their Black skin and their common historical experience with, and development in, capitalist Amerika. The state, unable to bring itself to just admit its hatred of New Afrikan (Black) males and their need to repress any expression or pursuit of self-realization, instead outlaws being “Black” itself–our very culture, history, expression and manner of relating to one another is reduced to a “gang” or “gang activity” and used by the state as a pretext to subject thousands of indefinite SHU torture.

Men who have no affiliation to the B.G.F. or any other progressive revolutionary formation are routinely validated and slammed in the SHU in hopes of breaking their minds. Unfortunately, reflecting many episodes in New Afrikan Liberation history, some New Afrikans (Black) prisoners who have been wrongly validated as freedom fighters have blamed not the state, but the freedom fighters for their being subjected to these torture units; a manifestation of their own under-development which unwittingly aids the state by destroying unity and promoting antagonisms between New Afrikans (Blacks)–all of whom are being subjected to the same racist repression.

Nevertheless, consciousness is directly proportional to oppression and as more of these New Afrikans (Blacks) are confronted with the intensification of these institutional racist practices, the greater their consciousness will become and lead to their turning their antagonism on their actual adversary–the authoritarian police state, as opposed to those who have spent their adult lives resisting the attacks of the capitalist order upon all New Afrikan (Black) people (and have-nots from all cultural groups).

It is possible to change all of this. People must remove, through the ballot box, on a state and federal level, those officials who support the maintaining of a system that produces, indeed encourages, hate and greed! We must replace them with officials who will not subordinate themselves to moneyed interests (who have a stake in maintaining the system that exploits humanity and the planet to enrich themselves). This is the same system that built the torture units called Supermax prisons and the same people who have amassed fortunes by creating and then exploiting human misery.

It is the institutions upon which the authoritarian state and its capitalist masters rely to maintain this hate and greed, that we must focus our efforts on transforming, until the process of progressive social change reaches its logical conclusion. This means we must act to install officials who will oppose the nature and structure of the authoritarian state, officials which will actively wage struggle against racist, sexist, classists homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic and anti-youth thinking and practice within those institutions.

This means restructuring these offices and the electoral process itself, which has been hijacked by moneyed interests. The numeric superiority of the underclass in the context of the democratic process counter-balances, and is capable of overcoming, the moneyed interests of the ruling elite. This will require us to overcome the irrational thinking which deludes many of us into believing our interests, and the interests of the ruling class, are one and the same. Such transformative consciousness is produced only in the crucible of progressive struggle, active participation in organized efforts to eradicate the manifestations of hate and greed demonstrated in such social atrocities as the murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson police, and the criminalization of culture inherent in CDCR’s approach to New Afrikan (Black) men (and others as well) in prison today.

We must begin to view and resist these social contradictions in their interconnections. Our failure to collectively resist actually contributes to the niggerdization of every non-White cultural group by the institutional racism inherent in the authoritarian state.

The current immigration crisis is a prime example of the expansion of this hate. The state, supported by significant swathes of the population is engaged in a blatant anti-Mexican, anti-South American campaign couched in the poorly veiled auspices of “the rule of law.” Indicative of the underlying authoritarian superiority complex of the settler mentality, “Americans” in these border states are holding dehumanizing, anti-immigrant rallies and hurling racial slurs at people (many women and children) whose land the U.S. took by force and violence or which was decimated through imperialist adventures.

Where California now stands is Northern Mexico, part of the traditional home of the Mexica people. Mexicans, who were attacked and driven south by the U.S. military in Amerika’s genocidal bid to fulfill its “manifest destiny”.

In the face of such historical crimes, how then are indigenous people “illegal immigrants”? This history is still being perpetuated in today’s xenophobic venom and congressional policy intent. There is no difference in these forms of hate and the U.S. continued financial and military support for Israeli imposition of Apartheid in Palestine. There is no different in CDCR criminalizing the SF Bay View and the U.S.-backed Egyptian military junta criminalizing journalists from Al Jazeera who were objective in their reporting on the “Muslim brotherhood”. Our failure to oppose these manifestations of hate embolden those who advance these values and ensure they are preserved and reproduced in the next generation.

Based on our society’s current level of development, the only hope we have is to relentlessly struggle against these manifestations of greed and hate in every institution in society, and in so doing, allow the series of illuminations which will flow from such a process of social evolution to reach its logical conclusion: the quantitative increase in the consciousness of the people, leading to a quantitative transformation of society. It is our sincerest hope that each of you challenge yourselves to make such a commitment and join us in forging a more free and just world.

Until we win or don’t lose.

Zaharibu Dorrough, D83611, CSP-COR-SHU, 4B-1L-22, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Heshima Denham, J38283, CSP-COR-SHU, 4B-1L-39, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Kambui Robinson, C82830, CSP-COR-SHU, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Jabari Scott, H30306, CCI, 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

August-October 2014

Typed from handwritten letter by Adrian McKinney for the SF Bay View.
Edited by NCTT webmaster. Posted here on SF Bay View, Oct. 25th, 2014 

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Tehachapi SHU is the worst of any SHU, prison or jail I have seen in 23 years

In: SF Bay View, October 8, 2014
by Aaron Jabari Scott 

Jabari Scott

On Aug. 28, 2014, I spoke with the Corcoran State Prison Step Down Program (SDP) facilitator who confirmed I was on the list to be transferred to Tehachapi (California Correctional Institution, or CCI) and that I would be stepped up a step – from Step 2 to Step 3 of the SDP.

On Sept. 2, after returning from law library, I was told to pack it up for transfer to Tehachapi. As I was rushing to pack and separate my things – from things I was taking with me and things I was leaving behind – the floor staff returned to my door no more than five minutes later and told me that a van was waiting on me; therefore, they were going to pack my property for me, because I had to get on that van.

Thus I was not given a moment to properly express a heartfelt goodbye to all those I have shared a huge part of my life with. Leaving that building section and prison for my last time was the saddest departure I ever took from any place in my life. I just pray I see all my brothers again, somewhere down the line, in a much better place than what we have endured for way too many years. In the meantime I will always keep them with me no matter what.

Anyhow, after my third day here, that old saying my mother so often preached came clear to me: “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side of the fence!” With that I must say that Tehachapi State Prison (CCI) SHU is the worst prison or jail I have ever been in during my 23 years of incarceration. From the clothing to food portions, to medical, etc., etc., which I will elaborate further on.

Next, the facilitator, Villareal, and Warden Davey did keep their word; therefore, on Sept. 16, 2014, I was advanced up a step, to Step 3, so that’s all good. But the big lie is that there is a functional Step 3 and 4 program at this prison.

That’s a lie, and “functional” is the furthest thing from the truth this prison could ever boast about, because this prison is so unfit in so many ways that it could never ever be a functional Step 3 and 4 until it has completed a major overhaul and retro-fitting. With that, the staff here would have to be retrained and they would have to get rid of their old style of thinking and oppressing prisoners as well before they could even begin to start moving toward establishing a genuine Step Down Program.

They (CCI, Tehachapi) have admitted that security-wise they cannot allow most of the movement set forth in the SDP, because there are way too many blind spots that put prisoners and staff at risk – a security risk – and it’s going to cost them in the hundreds of thousands of dollars just to do one building. Therefore, in the meantime we are getting fucked out of all our opportunities, programming and amenities.



The big lie is that there is a functional Step 3 and 4 program at this prison. That’s a lie, and “functional” is the furthest thing from the truth this prison could ever boast about, because this prison is so unfit in so many ways that it could never ever be a functional Step 3 and 4 until it has completed a major overhaul and retro-fitting.




On Sept. 26, 24 days after my arrival, I received my property, wherein my TV, radio, thermals, books, cosmetics (hygiene), cup and pictures were confiscated. My TV and radio, staff said, were “altered,” because of holes in the electric cord, and my radio had a small cut in the casing to access the ground wire.

My thermals had a patch sowed on the elbow to cover a small hole. Books had sexual content. Hygiene was not in clear see-through container. The cup, they said, could be made into a weapon.

I had over the 40-picture maximum allowed, so they took the rest. They took my Bible, dictionary and thesaurus, because they were without the original covers. Thus I have no TV or radio, nor Bible etc. I am going to start a fundraising campaign to raise the money to buy a new TV and radio. [A supporter has sent Jabari a radio. – ed.]

Now back to the issues here. They are not allowing us to have any containers for canteen or otherwise, because they said we have in-cell electric plugs that we could use to melt down the plastic and make a weapon – but now the contradiction is that seven days a week our lunch comes in plastic lunch bags and every item in our lunch is wrapped in plastic.

When you arrive here, they give you a bed roll and a clothing roll. The bed roll consists of two blankets and two sheets. The sheets are badly worn – thus I immediately had to wash mine by hand.

The clothing roll consists of one pair of boxers, one t-shirt, one pair of socks, one towel. The t-shirt and boxers are all very badly used, so that you can see the excreta of the previous owners and all the sizes are kid sizes – so small and tight-fitting that they are disrespectful, undignified, dehumanizing, demoralizing etc.

One would never want to be caught wearing them outside of one’s cell. If you did, the whole yard would never let you forget about it. And the sad part about it is, that is your full issue, all you are issued for your whole stay here, period.

Once a week they have laundry exchange that is on a take-it-or-leave-it exchange, wherein you have to exchange a full roll to get a full roll in return. You cannot exchange just one or two items. Full roll only.

All clothing rolls are pre-made, wherein size and cleanliness are not considered. They just throw the four items together, roll them up, which makes it a gamble on the size you receive and how clean they are. My cellie Sitawa has been here since July 17, 2014, and has been doing this laundry exchange thing every week since, and he still has not yet gotten a full set of clean clothes his size.

They issue you a small paper Dixie cup and a small, thin plastic picnic spoon that you use to drink and eat with for the duration of your stay here, and you have to maintain your Dixie cup and picnic spoon for two or three weeks, until supply exchange.

Cell cleaning supplies: They issue you a small yellow rag, and once a week you have to push your rag under your door on the ground, and an officer will come by and pour disinfectant on your rag. You have to sop up as much disinfectant as you can that was on the ground and then squeeze it into a milk carton to preserve it as long as possible. This practice is so disrespectful that we refuse to participate in it, although these are the only cleaning supplies they issue.


Cell cleaning supplies: They issue you a small yellow rag, and once a week you have to push your rag under your door on the ground, and an officer will come by and pour disinfectant on your rag. You have to sop up as much disinfectant as you can that was on the ground and then squeeze it into a milk carton to preserve it as long as possible. This practice is so disrespectful that we refuse to participate in it, although these are the only cleaning supplies they issue.



TV stations are ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MY13, COZI, two Spanish stations and four church stations. They have no PBS or any learning stations or animal (nature) stations, and the sad part about the above stations is, the signals all struggle to stay in range all day long, every day, and at least three to four times a day each one goes out at different times and stays black from 30 to 50 seconds, and some blink in and out, fighting to come in. Then some will go blue for one to two hours.

These stations are crazy, so I am not missing my TV yet. But I wish I had my radio, because they do have good radio stations, from what I am hearing from the guys who have radios.

We have no in-cell mirrors, and the only mirror we have access to is a very small mirror on our shower door and it’s so small you can’t even see your whole face in it.

For property, they have a policy that your property is supposed to follow you immediately after you get off the transportation bus. All the floor staff know about this policy: IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations) is aware of this policy, our counselor is aware of it, but the property officer refuses to adhere to this policy.

It took 24 days for me to get my property. With that, the property officer follows a very, very foul practice wherein TVs and radios regularly come up missing. And he confiscates whatever he can, for the smallest, pettiest reasons.

So you can believe you will be angry when you finally receive your property. When he goes through your property, he is on the hunt to take what he can, as much as he can.
Medical ‘care’

My cellie Sitawa and I were both in the pain management program at our previous prisons. For over five years at Corcoran SHU, I took various pain meds and different strengths of medication, until I was finally prescribed a combination of pain medication that comfortably managed my pain, and for three successful years I had no pain issues on those doctor-prescribed meds.

On Sept. 9, after arriving here, I was removed from the pain management program and taken off of all pain medication.

On Sept. 10, I was summoned to the medical clinic here where I was seen by a doctor, Dr. H. Tate, MD. Dr. Tate is an old war veteran who has a high threshold for pain, and he believes that all prisoners should too.

He also follows the strict practice of “If it’s not killing you, …” he will save the state money by not treating you. Thus, Sitawa and I were removed from all pain medication and reduced to over-the-counter Tylenol. So we are forced to bear through our pains throughout the day, and some nights we aren’t sleeping throughout the night because of the pain we are forced to fight through.


Dr. H. Tate, MD. Dr. Tate is an old war veteran who has a high threshold for pain, and he believes that all prisoners should too. He also follows the strict practice of “If it’s not killing you, …” he will save the state money by not treating you. Thus, Sitawa and I were removed from all pain medication and reduced to over-the-counter Tylenol. So we are forced to bear through our pains throughout the day, and some nights we aren’t sleeping throughout the night because of the pain we are forced to fight through.



Yeah, this ain’t a “Step program” and it isn’t even fit to be a SHU program, which makes you question why they even attempted this project here and put “Step bodies” here, when staff knew they would not be able to provide us with the basic policies that govern and make up the program. We are having group meetings, group dining, group yard, no tier tenders, and we are only able to walk to showers once a week without being cuffed and escorted.

We can’t buy our own cups from canteen. We can’t have the containers that many canteen items come in, when in Corcoran and Pelican Bay they let you have everything, and they sell personal cups and bowls in their canteens. And those prisons are Step 1 and 2 of the SDP.

Those in Steps 1 and 2 at Corcoran and Pelican Bay have way more privileges and they are treated with more respect and trust than we are at Tehachapi, and we are supposed to be in a “more advanced” step. With that, this whole program and the atmosphere of the program is supposed to be about individual accountability, where we are all held accountable for our own actions, and no longer being punished as a group.

Well, we are still being punished as a group here in Tehachapi; and there is not even a thought about accountability. We have no rights here – no rights at all and we’re forced to have to endure the worst SHU in California.



With that, this whole program and the atmosphere of the program is supposed to be about individual accountability, where we are all held accountable for our own actions, and no longer being punished as a group. Well, we are still being punished as a group here in Tehachapi; and there is not even a thought about accountability. We have no rights here – no rights at all and we’re forced to have to endure the worst SHU in California.




Send our brother some love and light: Aaron Jabari Scott, H-30536, CCI Tehachapi, 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi, CA 93581. This letter was written Sept. 29, 2014.

Resistance to Torture is not a Game

A reply to Debra J. Saunders from the NCTT in COR – SHU
“Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man, its publication is a duty.” 
 Anne Louise Germaine de Staël
Here’s how you know corporate mass media journalists like San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders are simply the public mouthpieces of the state’s authoritarian apparatus:  the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex has been maintaining the single largest domestic torture program on planet Earth in SHU torture units across the nation, with 12,000 of its 80,000 victims in California and instead of every investigative reporter in the nation researching and reporting on the existence of systematic torture in U.S. prisons it barely gets a mention in mainstream media and when it does, it is nothing more than a recycled version of the same distortions and mischaracterizations issued by the very prison administrators responsible for the inhuman practice.  Because of the blatant distortions and outright lies contained in the Op-Ed piece masquerading as “journalism” such as Debra J. Saunders “Prison Hunger Strike Is a Dangerous Game” (S.F. Gate 8/23/13), we feel compelled to correct them with the truth.
A good place to begin this discussion, because it was so thoroughly mocked by Ms. Saunders and CDCR masters, is settling once and for all the fact that indeterminate SHU confinement is torture, and why.  It is a three-prong, systematic process including “validation, indeterminate SHU confinement, debriefing,” which taken together is by definition torture.
Let us first define torture. The U.N. Convention Against Torture (C.A.T)of which the U.S. is a signatory, defines “torture” in Article 1 as,
”Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of, or with the consent of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
Let’s begin with, “Any act which pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted…”
The body of evidence cataloging the severe mental pain irreparable physical and psychological damage of prolonged and indefinite sensory deprivation confinement is so overwhelming, so irrefutable that it stretches back over 100 years in U.S. science and jurisprudence alone.  In 1890, the Supreme Court ruled, In Re Medley the court observed of the practice,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to rouse them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal were non-reformed, and in many cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of subsequent service to the community.”
(U.S. Supreme Court, In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168  (1890) ). In Great Britain, as in other countries, public sentiment revolted against this severity, and by the Statute of 6 and 7, William IV, Chapter 3, the additional punishment of solitary confinement was repealed.  (In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168, 170 (1890)).”
Experts in the field of psychology, psychiatry and human behavior from Bonnie Kerness, Craig Haney, to Doctor Stuart Grassian have universally determined even brief stays in sensory deprivation confinement causes significant psychological injury: 
To quote Craig Haney of U.C. California, Santa Cruz,

“There is not a single published study of solitary or super-max-like confinement in which non-voluntary confinement lasting longer than ten (10) days, where participants were unable to terminate their isolation at will, that failed to result in negative psychological effects, including such clinically significant symptoms as hypertension, uncontrollable anger, hallucinations, emotional breakdowns, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.” 

The SHU torture units in California were uniquely designed for this purpose, and as CDCR spokesperson, disguised as a journalist, Debra. J. Saunders, seeks to reduce prisoners’ legitimate resistance to indefinite torture to “a game”, men like Billy “Guerro” Sell and Armando “Baby Paya” Morales are being driven to hang themselves right here in Corcoran SHU because these conditions in fact do intentionally inflict mental and physical pain and suffering of such severity that men kill themselves to escape it. 
50% of all California prisoner suicides occur in SHU, though it houses only 5% of the prison population. The cause of this disproportionately lethal impact has been crucial and articulated by experts in the field ad-nauseum, with universally agreed-upon findings, that long-term SHU confinement causes severe mental and physical suffering amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or…torture.  Instead of relying on the overwhelming body of  scientific evidence and the leading psychological experts in the field of solitary and supermax-style confinement – CDCR groupies – like Debra J. Saunders rely on baseless opinions and outright lies of prison industrialists like Jeffrey Beard, who say that neither solitary confinement or torture exist in California.  

In an August 13, 2013 Rolling Stone– article, citing the California Penal Code definition of torture, CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton claimed this penal code didn’t fit the definition of torture, “The intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose.” 
Oh, but it does fit that definition and countless personages over the last 100 plus years have reported just that. But before we get into the “purpose” aspect of SHU, we think it’s important for us to analyze the psychosis, which seeks to justify and has always sought justification for this type of inhumanity.
Authoritarian powers of the world, and those who support them, like Debra J. Saunders, have always cloaked their dehumanization and abuses of certain segments of the population in the name of “the law,” “nature,” and in some cases, “God.” The U.S. since its inception has been a nation founded upon the patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology, The cultural foundation of reactionary man in which the values, cultural mores and ideas of the ruling elite are reproduced in those they exploit. For centuries it was illegal for women to own property, vote, or have any meaningful control over their daily lives, their bodies, or their futures. When women resisted this patriarchal enforcement of their second-class citizenship, they were brutalized, jailed, reviled, and often killed.
Though the intimate oppression of women finds its origins in the development of the modern family unit, the economic role women played as sexual and domestic chattel, is equitable in most men’s minds to any other valued beast (cattle, sheep, horses, etc). This oppression was enforced with biblical scripture which cloaked women’s subjugation in “the word of God”. Laws flowed directly from the pulpits that mirrored the same. After centuries of resistance and progress this same patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology responsible for 19th century sexism, misogyny and brutality of women is the same psychosis responsible for its modern perpetration, and the creation of torture units across the U.S. prison industrial complex.
The same authoritarian psychosis which rationalized the systematic genocide of over 50 million Native North Americans as “the white man’s burden” in service to Amerika’s “Manifest Destiny,” is the same authoritarian psychosis that pits prisoners against prisoners in gladiator fights in Corcoran SHU, and boiled them alive in Pelican Bay SHU; is the same authoritarian psychosis that invoked biblical ”scripture” and “the law” to justify enslaving 100’s of millions of Afrikans in Amerika and murdering 100’s of millions more during the trans-Atlantic slave trade; is the same authoritarian psychosis responsible for Jeffrey Beard reducing tortured prisoners’ peaceful hunger strike to end indefinite torture, to a “gang  power play”; is the same authoritarian psychosis which stripped Jews in Europe of their rights under Nazi occupation before marching them to extermination camps; is the same authoritarian psychosis responsible for Debra J. Saunders advocating that the label ”gang member” is a justification for the U.S. prison industry to erect the largest domestic torture program on the face of the earth.
The authoritarian psychosis of reactionary men and women is infinitely capable of rationalizing its own evil and justifying it under “the rule of law.” The CDCR spokesperson, Terry Thornton, can bluntly say torture isn’t torture, and somehow convince herself of the delusion that it is the same way the Victorian-era preacher convinces himself the repressed woman is “happy,” docile and joyous in her submission, and it is the same waythe union soldier convinces himself he is “doing the  native savages a kindness by resettling them on a reservation to be taught the proper ways of civilization; is the same way the prison industry convinces themselves that the prisoner who “bed checked” in the same tiny cell for years, decades, deserves it because he is a validated prisoner; and it is the same as the District Court Judge today who convinces himself that the SHU prisoner has no 8th Amendment rights to be free of torture.
At Corcoran SHU there is a forced double-celling policy. The legal minimum requirement for the amount of cell space for two people in one cell is 60 square feet. In Corcoran SHU cells, because the beds sit next to each other here, there is no more than 15 square feet for two people. The toilet is less than 2 feet from the bed. The toilets are on metal and stick out into that space. Only 3 flushes are allowed every 12 minutes.  It is common for the cell and tier to reek of feces, including during morning and evening meals. We routinely have our yard privileges taken away and find ourselves regularly confined to the cells 24 hours a day almost every single day for weeks.
The c/o’s (correctional officers) also function under the same warped psychosis of the patriarchal authoritarian mass psychology. It is a psychosis, which is cultural in capitalist society and all encompassing.  In each case, dehumanization plays a central and necessary role in the function of the psychosis. To inflict inhumane treatment on another human, the mind forces the perpetrator to dehumanize the subject of his or her cruelty. In this instance, the justification for our dehumanization is the label “violent gang member”.  As some read these words, a part of your mind is automatically and irrationally skeptical and repulsed by anything, no matter how noble or correct you may feel you are, associated with the term “violent gang member,” and that’s because you’ve been conditioned that way over the course of the past 35 years. 
In that same time period, the U.S. prison population has exploded by 800%!  A monolithic, multi-billion dollar prison industrial complex has spread its tendrils into almost every aspect of economic, social, political, and cultural life in AmeriKa. SHU torture units have sprouted up in almost every state in the union, with more and more human beings consigned to them indefinitely for ever more arbitrary and nonsensical reasons, all fueled by your tax dollars and political will. They accomplished this the same way they accomplished the invasion of Iraq, by telling you enough lies, enough times, with sufficient intensity that in your mind it’s taken on the aura of truth. Even though it’s a lie. 

This brainwash has gone on so long that it’s now become the standard “go to” narrative of CDCR. Reality, veracity and common sense have little place in that narrative.  It is designed to frighten you by dehumanizing you, and by doing so they create the social illusion that you and I are separate and adversarial entities; that we lie outside the legal definition of ”person,” as though we did not come from and will not return to the same communities you now live in; the same communities our mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, children and kin live and pay taxes in, right alongside you. It’s both insidious and evil, and more to the point, prohibits a basis for torture.

We’d like to elaborate:
On August 23, 2011, former CDCR Under-Secretary, Scott Kernan, in response to several psychiatrists and psychologists’ expert testimony that indefinite SHU confinement was a violation of international standards prohibiting torture, responded, “The real human rights violation is the violence the gangs carry out.” This is the identical narrative of every CDCR spokesperson, official, and administrator, at present.  Current CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton, who, in some of the most warped logic we’ve ever seen, put into print, stated in the wake of Billy “Guerro” Sell’s  alleged suicide here at Corcoran that the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition activists and Billy’s family members were somehow “exploiting his death”  in order to “mislead the public: about a hunger strike orchestrated by violent gang members.”  As previous analysis has already established, suicide is often employed to escape the torture of the SHU. 50% of all prison suicides occur in SHU, though only 5% of the prison population is housed there.  Implicit in such statements is, “So what?   We’re torturing them, they are “violent gang members,” so why should anyone care?”
This very rationale is prohibited under C.A.T., Article 2; and the Convention Against Torture, states, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture,”  that includes the label “violent gang member.” When the U.S. signed C.A.T. at the close of WWII they were conscious of this type of dehumanization, as they had just witnessed it in liberating the Nazi death camp footage; so inflicting it on their own citizens within their own borders proves the acts intentional.  We have established that indefinite SHU confinement causes “severe pain and suffering, both physical and mental.”
We have established that CDCR officials are actually aware of this, which brings us to the “purpose”aspect of the torture definition. CDCR has stated on multiple occasions, the purpose of indefinite SHU confinement is to “administratively segregate gang members from the general population so the other 95% of prisoners can program without the violence of gang members.” Since the beginning of the validation – indeterminate SHU – debriefing process in the mid 1980s, violence in CDCR facilities only increased exponentially. So this is either an outright lie, or “gang members” are not the origin of prison violence. This fact was one of the many contradictions former Undersecretary Kernan was confronted with by legislators at the August 23, 2011 Public Safety Committee Hearings in Sacramento, concerning the CDCR practice of “administrative segregation” which in actuality, does not necessitate indefinite confinement in SHU torture units. If indefinite confinement in solitary was truly not the aim of prison officials, a standard level IV 180 design prison yard setting exclusively housing “validated prisoners” could serve the same end for $24,000 less per prisoner per year.
Current costs per year are $78.000 per prisoner to house men in SHU, but only $54,000 per prisoner to house men on a normal level IV 180 design yard, annually.
No, the true purpose of indefinite SHU confinement is to break men’s minds; to coerce them through punitive sanctions to debrief; to provide information on yourself and/or others to prison officials; to become a state informant; to snitch. This process has been articulated, its etiology explained, its key architects named, in the NCTT-COR-SHU article, “Creating Broken Men.” The process is further analyzed in the article “Creating Broken Men 2” and mentions its current evolution in CDCR’s STG Pilot Program.
We encourage you all to review them at www.sfbayview.com or ncttcorshu.org  or in the newsletter Prison Focus #39, available on line at www.prisons.org along with the inspired thoughts by the many prisoners who have written on these issues. 
However, we can illustrate the CDCR’s methods briefly by using CDCR’s own language:  Article 22 of the Department Operating Manual (D.O.M.)(50270) of their governing “gang management” system.  In D.O. M. (52970.5), CDCR states their gang management strategy shall be to identify gang affiliated inmates and parolees; …take interdiction action, and apply sanctions.”   In D.O.M.(52070.5.4) “Gang activity sanctions: “inmates… in violation of criminal and administrative statutes shall be dealt with in the strictest possible…manner.  This shall include, but not be limited to loss of privileges, increase in custody, loss of work credits (read: loss of parole), enhancement of penalties; segregation from the inmate general population (read: indefinite solitary/sensory deprivation confinement).
Let’s stop for a moment; the language here is grossly misleading at its outset. The disturbing truth is, though CDCR uses language like “violent gang members” and  “violation of criminal and administrative statutes”, very few, if any “validated” prisoners were consigned to SHU for committing any act.  It is these alleged “administrative statutes” – the arbitrary standard – that allows this.  “Validation” is not, nor has it ever been about “behavior.”
The violent crimes that Debra J. Saunders definitively attaches to the D. Short Corridor Main Reps occurred 20 – 40 years ago.  Are any of us the same persons that we were two (2) decades ago?  Of course not.  Most validated prisoners have had no rules violations of any kind in years – or even decades. The “validated “ gang theory is predicated not on what you have done, but instead, like in the Tom Cruise Dystopian film, “Minority Report,” you are punished for what officials believe you may do; that just their suspicion that you are a so-called “gang member” is sufficient to determine you are predisposed to inevitably carry out an act of violent crime.  Such a systematic process in a supposed “open and democratic society” should horrify and outrage every citizen. Yet these dubious “gang activity sanctions” have been codified in CDCR regulations, “calculated to force an individual or group of individuals to comply with an obligation or submit to that authority, state or group of states; (2) a coercive provision of law or penalty designed to enforce obedience.”  In each case we see “sanctions” equated with force. But what is the end in this case?
We find out answer in D.O.M. 52070.29.2  “Role and Responsibility of the Gang Intelligence Operations. Debriefing Team,” which states, “the primary objective of the team shall be to debrief validated prison gang members housed in the SHU.”  Here we see “validated prisoners in the SHU” are identified as the primary focus of debriefing efforts by CDCR. The purpose provision of the torture definition under C.A.T., article 1 states:  “pain suffering… intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person… When such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”  This is the very definition of debriefing.  “To learn enough about the subject and the object’s current gang (D.O.M.52070.19.2)..Information obtained during a debriefing shall be documented on…a debriefing report.” (D.O.M. 52070.19.8) Validation/indeterminate SHU confinement/debriefing is all about gathering information, coercing the subject to become an informant on others (a third person), and this becomes a tool of the state. This is unequivocally torture by any definition.
Any narrative to the contrary, be it asserted by CDCR groupies like Debra J. Saunders or a CDCR spokesperson like Terry Thornton, you now know what you are hearing is sick people trying to justify torture.
The representation of “lies as truth” and the employment of state-controlled journalists to give those lies the air of legitimacy has always been the preferred method of the authoritarian order to maintain cultural hegemony, and the August 24, 2013, article by Debra J. Saunders is a prime example of this process.  Here we have a collection of completely uncorroborated sound bites by CDCR officials and outright lies being presented by a so-called journalist that has made no effort to verify the truth of any of her “fun SHU facts”. Obvious contradictions are often the first indication of state duplicity.  Ms. Saunders opens this pro-CDCR Op-ed piece (It is not serious journalism) by castigating the commitment of hunger strikers by noting participation went from 30,000 persons to 79 persons in 16 days, then 4 paragraphs later puts forward the absurd contradiction that so-called “gang leaders” have coerced everyone with threats to go without food. The truth is repression breeds resistance. We’re discussing indefinite torture. No one requires compulsion to resist torture, or the prospect of the same happening to them.  That CDCR, with the aid of irresponsible journalists like Ms. Saunders, were able to “force feed” that contradiction to Judge Henderson does not lend that false narrative any credence.
U.S. Courts have allowed this torture to continue in numerous cases for over 30 years knowing full well all the actual facts articulated in this piece, in consistent support of prison officials maintaining SHU torture units. Taking judicial steps to neutralize the lethal component is in the interest of the State, of which the Courts are a part.  A convenient lie was floated devoid of any verifiable evidence, it was accepted by the judge, and he pulled the fangs from the hunger strike. This tripe by Ms. Saunders is no more journalism than is “The National Inquirer.”  One of the standards of American journalism is to always verify sources; “facts.”  The entirety of the “article” posted on SFGate, is to justify CDCR employees telling Deborah J. Saunders one unsubstantiated lie after another, and Ms. Saunders just putting it into print without bothering to verify it, or if any of this even occurred.
Joyce Hayhoe, of the Federal Receiver’s Office, allegedly told Ms. Saunders one hunger striker would take food “if he could hide it” and yet another would eat “if he could be transferred”; yet neither Ms. Saunders nor anyone at the SFGate site bothered to contact, or even identify, these alleged prisoners to verify this, or if they even exist. Saunders quotes CDCR as reporting that “a hunger striking prisoner assaulted his cellmate who refused to share food,” yet the columnist did not seek to verify the existence of either prisoner, or even if such an incident occurred. This far surpasses irresponsible reporting, and is a smear piece masquerading as journalism, which is equitable to some state official telling a journalist that Barak Obama is really a member of the Taliban, that journalist having printing up the story, and the newspaper publishing it, with no attempt to verify this with either Barak Obama or the Taliban. That “journalist” would be fired, and rightfully so.
Debra Saunders goes on to state that CDCR employees gave all hunger strikers “Gatorade and vitamins”, but no such thing occurred here at Corcoran. If a hunger striking prisoner accepted Gatorade here, it would take you off the hunger strike. Officers not only did notmake daily rounds to see who needed medical attention, but custody staff went out of their way to not offer strikers any attention. It was the exclusive province of CCHCS medical staff and they were instructed by Chief Medical Officer, J. Wang, to ignore the CCHCS mass hunger strike, fasting, and re-feeding care policy (IMSP&P, vol 4,Chapt.22.2).  Daily rounds, consisted of nothing more than a nurse with a clipboard coming by your door and asking, “are you still on a hunger strike?,” then walking away. That’s it. 
We have 4 appeals with documentation of intentional medical neglect/deliberate indifference, by COR-SHU medical staff toward hunger strikers here. You would appear very thin, in the face of the July 28th, 2013, 68 page Corcoran State Prison Health Care Evaluation Report condemning Corcoran CCHCS as the worst in the state, that she would make some effort to determine if  “care” for prisoners was actually what CDCR was “reporting” it was. But again, that would imply serious journalism, and that’s simply not what we’re discussing here.
Here are some NOT so fun facts about SHU:
  • SHU does constitute “extreme isolation:, with or without a cellmate, as the conditions of sensory deprivation confinement, enforced idleness, sharing a space barely large enough for one person, let alone 2 (the physical structure of Corcoran-SHU cells affords even less room), and the inescapable psychological degradation that accompanies the horrifying realization that you will never get out of this tiny, monotonous, sterile space is universally experienced. None of this is mitigated (and is often exacerbated) by having a cellmate.  SHU is torture; SHU is extreme isolation, and that must be judged by its effects (which are objective and quantifiable), not by the sarcastic commentary of a CDCR groupie’s opinions, who could  not begin to fathom, let alone accurately report on, what a day in SHU is like.
  • According to the information CDCR spokesperson Terry Thornton provided Debra J. Saunders (accounting for its dialectic), 50% of Tehachapi SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement; 60% of New Folsom SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement; 65% of Corcoran SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement’ and 90% of Pelican Bay SHU prisoners are in solitary confinement  – and at the same time, she continues to insist, there are no prisoners in solitary confinement in California.
  •  SHU prisoners can purchase a small, 13” TV or am/fm radio, at their own expense. There is no “cable TV” in Corcoran SHU, and the reception fed to us from the antenna is so poor, you’re lucky to get 5 of 13 local stations they air to come in clear at any given time.  Corcoran needs cable service.  In other SHU torture units that may have a few cable stations, it’s due to the remote locations of these prison. Cable service is the only way you’ll get any TV reception at all (like Pelican Bay).  All TV programming, equipment, and service is paid for in full by prisoners from our Inmate Welfare Fund, not the state. As you read this, COR-SHU prisoner Reps are seeking to negotiate with the Corcoran administration to pay for our own wireless cable channels from our IWF, which is managed badly by the State.) 
  • SHU prisoners, with enough money, can pay to earn a degree; and this opportunity is only as a result of concessions realized after the 2011 hunger strike.  Prior to this, SHU prisoners were not allowed access to any education at all.  If you don’t have the thousands of dollars to pay for college courses, you will remain without it, and as woefully uneducated and unemployable as when you arrived in SHU, just as CDCR likes it.
  • In SHU, your mail is screened, and routinely withheld, by I.G.I. staff. Should they take exception with your political views, artwork, culture, or most anything they choose, your mail will be confiscated and you’ll be subjected to even more punitive sanctions by CDCR.
  • You can receive visits with your family on weekends; behind a thick pane of glass, talking over a telephone in the wall, for only an hour – no human contact. SHU torture units are by design, situated in remote, rural areas of California, far from the urban centers most SHU prisoners hail from, which makes visits difficult to impossible for most SHU prisoners to get any outside contact at all.

In the final analysis, misinformation disseminated by pro-torture activists like Debra J. Saunders moves beyond the realm of “irresponsible journalism”: and into active support for systemic torture. In U.S. capitalist culture, the news is a powerful tool of the ruling class and the State to a degree that misinformation is now par for the course, but that doesn’t make it correct. Misusing it in such a way as to justify a practice dependent on dehumanizing and brutalizing other humans to achieve its ends, is neither “objective” nor in the public interest.
When such reporting is grounded in lies, intentional distortions, and rampant mischaracterizations, it becomes complicity in these human rights abuses themselves.  Article 4, section 2 of C.A.T. states in part, “Each State party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (and) shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to any act by any person which constitutes complicity…in torture.”  This “article” by Debra J. Saunders places her in violation of article 4, section 2 of C.A.T. and makes her complicit in torture.  If there is any justice in this world, when pro-torture prison industrialists are judged by the people, Debra J. Saunders and her ilk will be right with them. For now, history has already judged them, and they have been found wanting. 

NCTT– COR-SHU
For more information on the NCTT-COR-SHU and its work product, contact:
Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D83611
J. Heshima Denham, D38283
Kambui Robinson, C82830
Jabari Scott, H30530

Address for all is: 

CSP-COR-SHU 4B-1L
P.O. Box 3481
Corcoran, CA 93212

ON UNITY OF PURPOSE WITHIN THE PROTEST MOVEMENT

“A Small Body of Determined Spirits Fired by an Unquenchable Faith in Their Mission Can Alter The Course of History”   Gandhi


Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

History teaches us that unity is strength; that the collective will of a people expressed toward a common goal often results in that goal being realized. This should indicate to us all the vital nature of preserving unity of purpose within the protest movement, and within the movement to abolish domestic torture units in particular (solitary connement units, SHUs, super-maxes, etc). Protest movements in the U.S. are often formed out of necessity because the U.S. state and the oppressive, exploitive methods it uses against the people who stand in opposition to, are one and the same, sharing a mutual interest in repressing a specic segment of society or reaping some material benet from their exploitation. In the case of indenite sensory deprivation connement and mass incarceration in general, we nd both an oppressive and exploitive dynamic.

The unemployed area, a necessary component of surplus labor value expropriation in the U.S. capitalist arrangement (wage slave system) is key to a process we can call underdevelopment. In the U.S. such underdevelopment is targeted and contained, for the most part, in poor and minority communities, where no viable place in the mainstream economy is available to these segments of the population. They must resort to the underground economy to survive. These survival activities, be they service based (narcotics, prostitution, illegal gambling, etc), or predatory (robbery, extortion, identity theft, etc) are all “against the law.” Exposing those forced into the underground economy to imprisonment being the predatory capitalist state that the U.S. is, corporate and political interests from across the industrial spectrum, saw an opportunity in this, reminiscent of the old southern prison bond system, only in this case it was not the prot that could be made from exploiting prisoner labor, but the prot that could be made from each prisoner representing a portion of the publics’ tax dollars which could be expropriated (taken) by a new joint venture of industry and labor aristocracy (prison guard unions and administrators) on an ever-expanding industrial scale.

With the cooperation of the politicians, who overnight created a new and powerful constituency which only required them to parrot the ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric to harness such powerful lobbying and polling resources, law enforcement and judiciaries who would, of course, see an expansion of power and privilege of their own, as legislators enacted ever more intrusive laws broadening the net and widening the gavel for potential citizens daily lives to be intruded upon by the ‘rule of law’ – and more of their tax dollars. The prison industrial complex was born, forming a sixty four billion dollar oligarchy of corporations, and the state that tendrils extend well beyond that meager dollar amount annually.

As the U.S. became the most populous prison population on earth, those subjected to those contradictions, prisoners, resisted, some becoming advanced socio-economic and political activists, who sought to actively resist the social evil of the P.I.C. The state and its corporate masters saw no distinction between these and other groups of prisoners that formed within these environments, and when pitting them against each other did not work the concept of the supermax was born, a place where those who would not submit to the prescribed role of oppressed man would be sent to, subjected to, experimental psychological torture techniques until they “paroled, debriefed or died.” These units were even more lucrative than the expanded prison yards sprouting up like mushrooms across the rural areas of the nation, their very concept and purpose requiring a more robust infusion of tax payer dollars, and giving rise to an interest to manufacture the fantasy of the “worst of the worst,” while simultaneously media access and independent oversight, but capitalism, with its imperative of “unending growth” is, as always, unsustainable, and the prison industrial complex is no different.

As contradictions of its own explosive expansion collided with the limits of U.S. socio-economic capacity, the prospect of eternal damnation in these torture units nally burned away the miasma of disunity affecting the thousands of men and women consigned to these torture units, leaving only their mutual interests behind. Finding its organizational expression within the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor collective and its unity of purpose in the historic “Agreement To End Hostilities” the movement to these torture units which began so many years ago when the U.S. government replaced Alcatraz with Marion, has not reached its highest form with this national coalition.

But, as most may realize, the unity of our coalition and thus its very purpose is under constant assault, everything from political immaturity to cointelpro-style attacks, challenge our resolve every day. As such, we feel it important to have a discussion about the most fundamental aspects of unity and how adhering to them will not only preserve our purpose, but ensure our circuit. Unity is based on dialogue and commitment; dialogue which is egalitarian and open in its inclusion, yet productive and efcient in its outcome. We should dialogue regularly at all levels around those points which we seek to unify on and from that common ground, commit to those actions and ideas which will most effectively realize our purpose.

Unity does not require uniformity. Coalition building is all about people from different walks of life, politically, socially, sexually, culturally, economically, educationally and geographically coming together to realize a shared value. In this case, the very basic human right that we should all be allowed is to live free of torture. Unity is a broad enough concept to encompass differing opinions and perspectives without it fracturing into a factualism which can be exploited by our collective opposition.

This is why dialogue is such a vital component of unity. The views and perspective of those we are waging struggle with are important, and bilateral communication is the cornerstone of conict resolution. If unity is based on its purpose, it will be difcult to encounter a dispute which cannot be resolved through dialogue. Commitment to a course of action, and to one another, is often as powerful as the unity itself.

Power concedes nothing without demand and actively seeks to destroy opposition to its authoritarian dictates. Commitment to remain unied is a form of unilateral political discourse all its own, which demands that he oppressive power bend – or break. As July 8th approaches and principled people across this nation and abroad prepare to take up this struggle with us, we should all be comforted by the victorious win underlying our unity of purpose. As we speak, hunger strikes in Guantanamo Bay have gripped international attention, yet right here on U.S. shores, over 80,000 men, women and yes children, are languishing in identical conditions, in SHUs, supermaxs and Ad Seg units, from Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi to ADX and Oregon State Prison – solitary confinement.

There is only one force which has any hope of abolishing this inhumanity in the U.S. once and for all: The Unity of Purpose of Principled People Like You and Us. Be amazed and inspired!

N.C.T.T. – COR-SHU

Published first in: The Rock, vol. 2 (2013) nr 7 July, pp. 9-10.

Cellmate or not: Indeterminate SHU confinement is torture

Cell of Todd Ashker in PBSP
Indeterminate SHU confinement is torture, and though not all those thus situated are in cells alone (some have cellies), this makes the torture no less acute, and in some ways even more challenging.

Like all oppressed people, prisoners confined to these torture units must not only contend with seeking ways to resist the unrelenting, daily assaults on their psyche and humanity, but must also contend with the prospect of people who have never been subjected to the inexorable psychological and physical degradation of being confined to a bathroom with 2 bunks crammed into it for 23-24 hours a day, every day, trying to define ourreality.

It has recently been suggested that those confined to these sensory deprivation torture units indefinitely, but who have a cellie, are not in “solitary confinement,” as though another human occupying a space not even large enough for one will somehow mitigate the deleterious effects of this isolation. It doesn’t. The only marked difference is the number of stressors you must contend with in a day. Having a cellmate under this circumstance forces you to modify your daily life to account for the mood swings, biological activities, and other idiosyncrasies of someone who is always– no matter how far in this tiny cell you go – only 2 steps away from you. 

As men who have a collective 60+ years in these torture units, both with cellies and without, we can state definitively what constitutes “solitary confinement” is the complete and total isolation from sensory stimuli and “normalized” human social interactions which accompany the unique conditions of torture unit confinement (i.e. S.H.U.’s, S.M.U.’s, supermaxes, ad-seg’s, etc.), not whether another human has been crammed off into this tiny space with you.

The love, friendship, admiration and respect we hold for one another is genuine and abiding, but has no impact on how isolation affects the mind, and how you may perceive others or their activities. We may hold a conversation with one another, or a neighbor through the vent, then not say a word to another for 2 or 3 days save “excuse me” when sliding past or using the toilet; that anyone truly believes having a cellmate somehow lessens the effects of this isolation only reveals their ignorance of this reality. 

For someone to attempt to define our reality in these torture units, who’ve never experienced it for a month, let alone decades, is no different than U.S. government officials and policy makers attempting to define the realities of the First Nations (Native Americans) who they had massacred, forced onto reservations, and then into “boarding schools” where they raped children of their language, culture, identity and innocence. Can anyone identify the reality of the Apache child whose hair is cut to serve his tribal identity  and then beaten for speaking their native tongue, but that Apache child? No, of course not! Neither can anyone define the reality of the prisoner(s) confined in U.S. domestic torture units across the U.S. like Pelican Bay, Corcoran, and Tehachapi save those of us who have, and do, live this reality. Just as many men who have had cellies have committed suicide to escape these torture units as those without.

Solitary confinement must be defined by the effects this isolation, and the torture techniques used to break men, has on those so situated. We should know. All of us have been both with and without cellies over our periods of indefinite SHU confinement. Despite our level of development and continued advancement it would be the height of hubris for us to contend this isolation has not adversely affected our minds and bodies. For anyone to consider these conditions anything less than torture could only be a prison industrialist, or some other type of draconian public official.

In the final analysis, torture must be defined by the effects it has on its victims and no one who has been confined to these indefinite torture units for any length of time, either single or double celled, has escaped the psychological and physical devastation of the torture unit.

N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU
May 2013

NCTTCorSHU.org

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.

CDCR’s Security Threat Group Pilot Program: a document intentionally designed to fail

California’s CDCR’s Security Threat Group Pilot Program (which includes its proposed step down program [S.D.P.] ) is a document intentionally designed to fail. It not only grossly deviates from the behavior-based intent the department swore to the public, legislators, and prisoners subjected to these torture units for the past 10, 20, 30, or 40 years – but actually codifies an expectation of all prisoners to become state informants in the service of maintaining these torture units in violation of already established law.


As you can see on the “Reporting S.T.G. involvement” segment of the “Step Down Program” in the official CDCR press release ( see illustration below, marked with our *, page 4), CDCR has codified an expectation that one becomes a “confidential informant,” qualitatively no different than debriefing. They state in clear language that prisoners “have the responsibility to report S.T.G.  or criminal activity when known or observed by you.”
This is informing, snitching, ratting and will result in someone else being subjected to years of torture. They go on to state:

“This process is not intended to compromise your safety, but to enhance your safety through the identification and removal of those involved in S.T.G. or criminal activities.”

This is an intentional lie. By CDCR’s own admission, one of the primary reasons they have maintained these torture units and created ‘sensitive needs yards’ is that such informing will incur violent retaliation against suspected informants. Their inclusion of this provision has a more insidious purpose related to their Schenerian behavior modification program, but for purposes of this discussion we’ll stick to the 8th Amendment violation inherent in this action by the state.

In Griffinv. Gomez, the U.S. Northern District Court held,

“The crushing conditions of the SHU present an overwhelming incentive for an inmate to risk debriefing… (and) [CDCR’s] refusal to reconsider the classification of former gang members who are unwilling to risk retaliation (for informing) renders their segregation effectively permanent (Docket no. 120, at 8). It is this mutual reinforcement that extended (prisoners) stay in the SHU for over 20 years… Further confinement is tantamount to indefinite administrative segregation for silence – an intolerable practice in modern society.”


The court accordingly found this compulsory requirement to inform violates the 8thAmendment of the U.S. Constitution, yet here we see CDCR not only expanding it outside the confines of the debriefing process, but codifying it as an expectation for inclusion in the S.D.P., something no principled man or woman currently consigned to these torture units will submit to under anycircumstance, and CDCR is fully aware of this fact. They are fully aware that it ciolates established law. They are fully aware that it violates the U.N. Treaty against Torture and other cruel and degrading treatment… They just don’t care. They are counting on the disinterest and political apathy of youthe people – to turn a blind eye to their maintenance if these torture units in your name, with your tax dollars. The only question facing us as a society is: will you? Only you can answer that question.

Our solidarity always – N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU
NCTTCorSHU.org

“Reporting STG involvement”

Creating broken men? A discussion on the U.S. domestic torture program

December 4, 2012: SF Bay View

by Zaharibu Dorrough, J. Heshima Denham, Kambui Robinson and Jabari Scott, NCTT Corcoran SHU

“Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing a third person.” – United Convention Against Torture, Art. 1, Sec. 2

We extend our heartfelt greetings to you, brothers and sisters.

Many discussions are taking place on the nature of the indefinite solitary confinement program in the U.S. prisons and whether or not it constitutes torture. The debate on what to do about the program itself is being held at every level of social organization, from the U.S. Senate to the United Nations, from the California Legislature to the short corridors of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.

[Corcoran State Prison – Photo: Ben Margot, AP]

Academics from multiple disciplines, from psychologists to sociologists, have all weighed in with the objective, scientific analysis that indefinite SHU confinement is not only torture, but even limited SHU confinement results in irreparable psychological damage. Yet, as with the Bush era “torture papers,” the socio-economic and political interests of the capitalist tend to supersede and supplant objective evidence, moral reason and human decency.

Such debate, which only continues in the presence of arguments contrary to the obvious reality of the U.S. domestic torture program in SHUs across the U.S., is not only ludicrous, it’s reality, and it is this lethal component to the debate which forces us to share a perspective which should end the debate definitively, leaving behind only the inescapable truth: Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika, and it continues to exist in your name, with your tax dollars, because you allow it to.

A recent incident here in Corcoran SHU’s short corridor compels us to give voice to the outrage we should all feel at the continued maintenance of the indeterminate SHU debriefing process of the U.S. domestic torture program: Another suicide, Armando Morales (Baby Paya), a validated Mexican prisoner from Los Angeles who had been confined to SHU for almost a decade, hanged himself after the IGI moved him from the 4B-1L-C-Section short corridor, to 4A-1R.

The reason(s) that Armando was moved are the typical ones associated with the coercive tactics employed to break men’s minds: After his girlfriend had been compromised by IGI and other state and federal law enforcement, those same agencies mounted an effort to put pressure on Armando, who was actually a baby in terms of what he did and did not know, as it relates to the enormous pressure that law enforcement will apply to coerce information from persons they’ve targeted.

In response to that pressure, he took his own life. Naturally, IGI and the state will seek to escape any culpability, and their response to this is that each person is responsible for his own conduct. We should all recognize the illegitimacy of such a position – that this is nothing more than an excuse to try and separate themselves from a situation that they are responsible for by their reckless and barbaric disregard for our humanity.

Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika. 

We know this primarily because the vast majority of us have been in these tortuous madhouses for decades. One day is too long and not a single illegal act or rules violation has been committed by us to justify this, which is, by international law, unjustifiable.
But we also know this because our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose. The domestic U.S. torture program carried out in SHU (aka SMU, control unit etc.) style prisons finds its origins at a meeting of social scientists and prison wardens held in Washington, D.C., in 1962, recruiting the findings of Dr. Edgar Schein, which he delivered to them in his man-against-man brainwashing. In addressing the group Dr. Schein stated:

“I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of politics, ethics or morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior and attitudes by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captive populace lives.” 

The techniques he espoused would also require, to be effective, a new type of environment conducive to altering the very foundations of one’s perception of reality. For this the state took Dr. Levinson’s sensory deprivation prison unit design and a form of Skinnerian operant conditioning called “learned helplessness.”

This last technique is a key factor of both validation based indeterminate SHU confinement and the debriefing process. “Learned helplessness” is a systematic process of conditioning to crystalize in the imprisoned victim’s mind that he has no control over the regulation of his existence, that he is completely dependent on the state and its guards for the necessities of “life,” that he is helpless and must submit to the state’s power and control.

Our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose.

This is, of course, contrary to core human consciousness and a linear thought divergence into two options, “resistance or escape.” The program is designed to apply maximum punitive coercion against “resistance” from the outset – from physical removal from the general (prison) population to sensory deprivation, using informants, collaborators and agent provocateurs to erode trust amongst those of like circumstances, punishing uncooperative attitudes, prohibiting collective thought or expression while simultaneously employing group punishment, arbitrary punishment and property restrictions etc.

At the same time, those who are capable of prolonged or indefinite resistance through ideological consistency, political development or force of will – like victims of crucifixion left to rot on crosses during the Roman Empire – they serve as powerful deterrents to those of lesser psychological resilience or those in general population to not resist and instead explore the second option: escape.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. Due to the successful corporate influences of the prison industrial complex on the legislative, political and, to a degree, cultural processes in the nation over the past quarter century, most validated SHU prisoners are serving mandatory minimum, enhanced or BPT (Board of Prison Terms) based sentences and their very confinement to SHU is prohibitive to their parole.

A cell in the Corcoran SHU

The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole:

 “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.” 

This reinforces the psychological pressure on those already weakened by the enforced conviction that they have been abandoned by and isolated from society – and only through submission and subserviency can they be socially accepted as human beings.

This form of “escape” – debriefing – is consistent with points 7, 8 and 9 of Dr. Schein’s behavior modification techniques: (7) exploitation of opportunities and informers; (8) convincing prisoners they can trust no one; (9) treating those who are willing to collaborate in far more lenient ways than those who are not.

Again, our personal experience with the state and its use of such opportunistic broken men against those of us who are committed to resistance has been demonstrated here at Corcoran-SHU on a number of occasions in which agents posing as revolutionary progressives have tried to undermine the efforts of the NCTT (New Afrikan Collective Think Tank), and when those efforts failed, they locked up and debriefed.

It was only through our collective education and insight and experience with these periodic Cointelpro-style attacks on progressives which allowed us to identify and resist the attack and mitigate its political disorder. But this does not negate the damage done by the broken males to the unity and progress of resistance in the SHU population.

Though political immaturity by some elements played a role in the mistrust and disunity that resulted from it, in the broader population, it is the nature of the domestic torture program itself to create such broken males that we must understand is prohibited by the international community – and the U.S. knows this in analyzing the effects of such broken males on the psychology of certain elements in SHU. Other such examples of torture being put to such use against those who resist in Pelican Bay, here and across the U.S. is legion.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole: “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.”

In the etiology of the U.S. domestic torture program, Marion Control Unit was the first. When former Marion Warden Ralph Aron was asked why the torture unit was built, he replied, “The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.” These broken males thus serve to not only damage or destroy progressives in prison but the attitudes and ideas of progressives in society at large.

It was always meant to be this way. To be sure, Dr. Broder, the psychotherapist who implemented Dr. Schein’s brainwashing program at Marion envisions those paroled broken men as “therapeutic technicians” who will take these techniques and warped views back into the community. Some 30 years later we have a snitch culture that derides objective facts in favor of a corporate media-created fantasy, and it owes some of its existence to the disastrous effects of isolation, which leads to the inevitable final “escape”: Death! Suicide rates in these sensory deprivation torture units are magnitudes higher than those in general population.

Speaking these words simply does not convey the reality of what we all know intimately: the transient appeal of the void as an alternative to endless isolation. We all know of the disastrous effects of isolation because we have seen what it does, along with the pressures that the state brings to bear on us all daily in its efforts to break us, efforts that include compelling the taking of one’s own life.

“The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.”

If this domestic torture program did not exist, Armando and so many others would still be alive today. But his is only the “escape” view of death. There is also a “resistance”-based view of death – that all of us who will never be counted amongst the broken men not only understand, but have demonstrated twice before, and may well be compelled to do again: peaceful protest in the form of hunger strikes, mass single cell, work stoppage etc.

Christian Gomez died [a year ago], not “escaping” these torture units but “resisting” these torture units, and it is this dialectical view of this final option – that death is an active and practiced form of both escape from and resistance to indefinite SHU confinement – is the final and definitive proof that it is, undebatably, torture.

During an assembly hearing on solitary confinement on August 24, 2011, a former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity. People are dying who could be saved while you are reading these words.

A former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity.

And now you know. This is a system that must be abolished. It is a system that has robbed us all of some part of our humanity and has caused us to lose our way as a nation. So many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

They have proven that they will not do so without compulsion. We must ensure that they do so, as a nation of the people, for the people and by the people. If we are doing anything less, we are complicit in the state’s hypocrisy.

The Pelican Bay D Short Corridor has given us the proper onus for unity in their historic “agreement to end hostilities” issued for Oct. 10, 2012. We call upon all of you brothers and sisters across the nation in prison yards and hood blocks, in SHUs and barrios: Take up this call also. Turn your attention not toward one another, but to those who have condemned us all to languish at the lowest rungs of this locked anti-poor society: the ruling 1 percent.

Many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

Join the movement – embrace, support, join or form your own local Occupy or anti-prison industrial complex formation. Build coalitions. And in doing so, change this world. Come, let us make peace.
Our love and solidarity,
Corcoran SHU NCTT:

  • Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, 4B-1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212 [53?]
  • J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Kambui Robinson, C-82830, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Jabari Scott, H-30536, 4B-1L-63, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

NCTT stands for NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism) Collective Think Tank. All are held in solitary confinement, an internationally recognized form of torture, in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) at Corcoran State Prison.

Published in: SF Bay View, Dec. 4th 2012

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On the Ideological Persecution and Political Hypocrisy of the CA Department of Corrections (2003)

This was published in 2003, and shines a light on the unchanged and discriminating ways and reasons of “validating”   (= finding reasons for locking people up in solitary confunement without any end in sight) prisoners on the basis of political ideologies. See also this recent article on SolitaryWatch about the “validation-process”

Heshima wrote that this article was used as a pretext to keep him slammed in the solitary confinement torture unit. He asked the webmaster to post the attached “Confidential Information Disclosure Form” that shows the prison took this 2003 article published in California Prison Focus as ‘evidence’  of ‘gang activity,’ precisely what the article was refuting.

Published in: California Prison Focus Nr 18 (2003)

In the confines of the concentration camps which make up California’s Department of Corrections, those prisoners who express through word or deed any political belief or ideological standpoint divergent from what prison administrators deem the “norm” are labeled clear and present dangers to the general prison population and treated as such, despite the constitutional and regulatory safeguards against political persecution that the CDoC, as an agency of the state, claims to uphold. This pattern of hypocrisy and persecution  is responsible for the single largest population of purely political prisoners in the U.S.A., in the form of “validated” Afrikan prisoners in the state of California.

The CDoC has fully embraced and become a master of employing Amerikkka’s methodology of espousing an ideal on paper or within the confines of their regulations, but exercising a completely opposite pattern of behavior when such regulatory assurances benefit those who they categorize as  enemies such as  activists of revolutionary ideology. The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Subsection 3004 states in part:

“…employees will not subject other persons to any form of discrimination because of race, religion, nationality … political belief…”.


The Constitution of the United States of Amerikkka, arguably one of the most perfectly written “theoretical” documents on socio-political freedom, ensures in the most elegant terms the right of every citizen, free or bond, to exercise whatever political belief he or she so wishes.

These assertions of ideological magnanimity on the part of the CDoC and its mother state are as empty and hollow as the cells here in Corcoran SHU. 

For example, on October 6, 1995 at Pelican Bay State Prison, L.L. Anderson, then a Lieutenant in ISU (now a Captain) stated the following in a validation memorandum on a prisoner whose political ideology was revolutionary in nature:

“Confidential memorandum dated 11/1/93.  
This memorandum clearly outlines subject’s affiliation with terrorist organizations (i.e. The New Afrikan Peoples Organization and the Afrikan Socialist Party) and support of a New Afrikan  Revolutionary Nationalism (N.A.R.N.). N.A.R.N. is considered synonymous with the Black  Guerilla Family ‘prison gang’ and is now accepted as a source for validation purposes.”

Incredulously, Mr. Anderson goes on to state:

“Some correspondence connects subject with individuals linked to the Weather Underground and the Nation of Islam. These two terrorist organizations are well noted for their sympathies to overthrow the government.”

I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of Afrikans in Amerikkka and abroad who subscribe to the political ideology of New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Maoism-Leninism-Marxism, and Scientific Socialism, as well as the millions of Muslims who adhere to the religious doctrine of the Nation of Islam will and do take offense to L.L. Anderson, and the CDoC relegating their beliefs and faith to “prison gangs” and “terrorist groups”, not to mention the total disregard for their own regulations and the guarantees set forth in the Constitution of the United States of Amerikkka. 

This example of hypocrisy is not the exception, but the rule when dealing with progressive elements in the prison population.

I myself was validated as a member of the so-called “Prison Gang/Terrorist Group”, the Black Guerilla Family at High Desert State Prison in August of 2001 in perhaps one of the most ridiculous examples of fabrication of evidence and misrepresentation of facts in the history of the validation process.

Nonetheless, the primary content and theme of this ridiculous validation packet was my affiliation with, and belief in, New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Scientific Socialism, and my assertion of the inherent behavioral obligation to righteousness and egalitarian mores. Not a single document, or piece of paper, even those I.G.I. Correctional Officer D.D. Shaver fabricated, made a single reference or allusion to the BGF or any other organizations in particular-but as L.L. Anderson stated back in 1995, 

“…New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism is considered synonymous now with … prison gang(s)…”.
It is my contention that the reality of political freedom and the right to exercise such does not extend to those whose freedom has been abrogated by the legal farces men call “courts of law”.


Despite the obvious hypocrisy of the CDoC and its insistence on persecuting New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalists, I’m not naïve enough to react emotionally to this phenomena, quite the contrary, I approach virtually everything with cold objectivity and analytical emotional detachment and therefore can understand intellectually why the state fears us so. 

As an ideological system, New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist and Scientific Socialism is in diametric opposition to the actual “penological interests” of the CDoC which is the genocide of Afrikan and Latino males in this state. In order to justify the existence and prevalence of the prison industrial complex as a societal necessity here in California, the state must relegate the proponents of Nationalism/ Socialism/ Egalitarianism within the concentration camp environment to the status of “criminal”, “terrorist”, or “gang member” in order to neutralize the organizing and psychological liberating effect the proponents of such have on the masses of otherwise uninitiated prisoners who find themselves, more often that not, in the clutches of the Department due primarily to the socio-economic disenfranchisement, behavioral modification, and educational/employment disparities based on race which are systemic built-in mechanisms for the Amerikkkan social infrastructure. The entire so-called criminal justice system and the prison-industrial complex it serves, is not a solution to the ills of society and I  challenge any objective analyst to state its aims are “justice”.

This entire machine is nothing more than a mechanism to “legitimately” exterminate a specific portion of this Nation’s population, particularly Afrikans and Aztecs, but first creating the social conditions which offer no other viable choice to meet the basic needs save the transgression of countless laws, then ensure the conviction and lengthy incarceration of those who do transgress, ending in the doom of the strongest aspects of the non-white male population, and all in the name of the law.

Allowing the purveyors of revolution in the concentration camp environment, the political freedoms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the California Code of Regulations, would be in effect allowing the prisons of California to become revolutionary universities.

Men who entered these pits of perdition, instead of becoming more savage and inhumane would be truly rehabilitated in the sense that the former capitalist-criminal ideals, which lead them to prison in the first place would be replaced by egalitarian mores, and the state would be release true democratic idealist and scientific socialists into the uninformed chaos of mainstream society where they will educate and influence the poor, oppressed masses to a truth that would mean an end to the capitalist ideal and the reality of the system of white supremacy.

This is something the current system of power is not prepared to do. One must concede, from a purely intellectual and objective point of view, were I a “Babylonian”, I would do whatever necessary to maintain my position of power as well, including crushing the rights of my incarcerated citizens and throwing those who would expose me for the charlatan and fascist that I am in the deepest, darkest, dankest cell I could find.

Here in California, these cells are called Corcoran and Pelican Bay SHU. For this reason, those who embrace the ideology of social change should be aware of the fact that the second you are identified as such you will be persecuted in the California Department of Corrections.

In fact, if you take up the mantle of the revolutionary activist, and you fear or feel you could not withstand the full force of the state brought to bear on you in the most hospitable ways-perhaps you should not embrace revolution. I have stated many times before that the most difficult occupations on the face of the Earth is that of the professional revolutionary. You must be a historian, sociologist, and intelligence officer, detective, psychologist, counselor, military strategist, and warrior.

You must above all love the people, and do all of this while attempting to conceal what you are in plain sight of an enemy who would love nothing more than to throw you in a SHU cell for the rest of your life. George Lester Jackson stated in his sage masterwork, Blood in My Eye, that “…revolution is a war for the minds of the masses”, and it is my contention that the only thing that separates the makers of history for those whose histories are made for them, is the power to alter their environments, the power of change. 

That power, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing more or less the power of information. Revolutionaries educate the masses, but it is virtually impossible to do so in the concentration camp environment, while living according to the ethical and behavioral precepts you are espousing, and not eventually be compromised. No matter how progressive the results engendered by revolutionary agent in any particular prison sector, for or against prison administrators; no matter how righteous the aims or outcome of such activism-it will be deemed a threat, and the proponents of change will be attacked and relegated to the harshest, most isolated conditions these “people” can concoct. This is merely the reality of the situation, and must be addressed as such. The political (and all too often actual) survival of revolutionary activists within the concentration camp environment depends solely on one’s ability to remain clandestine.

The CDoC’s hypocrisy, and the states support thereof, should be viewed by all revolutionary activists and proponents of human rights, as verification of the righteousness of our cause and should serve as a motivational factor for true commitment.

Oh yes, if you believe in New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Scientific Socialism, or a plethora of other progressive political beliefs, and you find yourself in a California prison, you will be persecuted for your belief. But this does not negate the fact that it is your human, Constitutional and regulatory right. The level of persecution you sustain for exercising this right will vary from individual to individual, but it will be directly proportional to the effectiveness of your influence on the people and the social conditions you find yourself in.

Nonetheless, in the final analysis no level of persecution or obvious hypocrisy will alter the truth, and the truth of the matter is those who prescribe to such political beliefs as New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, are not members of a “prison gang”, nor are they “terrorists”, they are fearless men and/or women who call the oppressor an oppressor, and are prepared to do whatever is necessary, including enduring persecution, to alter that reality. I state, without apology, that if we apply the CDoC’s description, the BGF are not a “prison gang” or “terrorist group”, these brothers are a revolutionary organization no different, or less legitimate than the Afrikan Peoples’ Socialist Party, the New Afrikan Peoples’ Organization, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and I’m sure they, like all other progressive organizations do not see the future of the world through the prism of Amerikkkan geopolitical interests, and thus by the CDoC’s definition, are a threat to those interests.

Yet under the rubric of Amerikkkan psychology, Israel, a state that bombed Palestinians out of their homes to create this nation-state after W.W.II is an ally-Nation, and the Palestinian people who resist with force the apartheid-like conditions, they are forced to live under are “terrorists” and “extremist”. In fact, any organization, group, state, or nation opposed to Amerikkka and its interests are labeled “criminals”, “gangs” or “terrorists”. Namibian foreign minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, a leading office of the Afrikan Union, while at a recent summit of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Coolum, Australia stated: “We think the…definition of terrorism is built only around enemies of the U.S….” [see: http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0320/p09s01-woaf.html], and I must not only agree, but raise my fist in solidarity with every other Afrikan prisoner “validated”, and serving and indeterminate SHU term in the state of California in declaring to the world-we are living examples of this reality; that even in the confines of prison, we are hunted down, rounded up, and buried under the penitentiary.

However, what is more important and vital to this discussion, and what I wish to share with every reader of this beautiful publication, is: sacrifice is the basis of all struggle and no level of persecution or hypocrisy will deter the truly committed from serving the people, the party, and the revolution-this is my human right-and yours as well-exercise it…think on these things, they are cause for great meditation.

          Heshima DenhamOriginal: http://www.karnataka.prisons.org/documents/cpf18.pdf

In PDF

Click to enlarge: Confidential Information Disclosure Form: see under nr 3.