Tag Archive: CA prisoner hunger strike

A Year After Mass Hunger Strike in California Prisons, What’s Changed?

hungerstrikeFrom Truth Out/ By Victoria Law

On July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners launched what became a 60-day mass hunger strike. One year later, however, Luis Esquivel is still sitting in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) in solitary confinement in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison. “Right now, my uncle is in his cell with no windows,” said his niece, Maribel Herrera. “It’s like sitting in a bathroom – your sink is there, your toilet is there, your bed is there. And you’re just sitting there. I can only think about that for so long because it hurts.”

Herrera’s uncle has been in solitary confinement for 15 years. “I hadn’t seen my uncle since I was a child,” said Herrera. “I can’t even remember hugging him.” When she visited him in 2012, her first-ever visit to Pelican Bay, more than 850 miles away from her family’s home in San Diego, hers was the first visit Esquivel had received in seven years. (more…)

One Month After Historic Hunger Strike Ends, Legislators Hold Hearings About Solitary Confinement

shutdownshuBy Victoria Law/ from Truthout

Families and former prisoners held for years in solitary confinement expressed optimism October 9 after the first of several California Public Safety Committee hearings about the punishment, promised in exchange for an end to prisoners’ 60-day hunger strike over the summer.

“Tell us the truth, even if it’s not pleasant,” State Assembly member Tom Ammiano told California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials, advocates, formerly incarcerated people and family members.

On Wednesday, October 9, the California legislature’s Public Safety Committee held the first of several hearings about the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. These hearings were prompted by a 60-day hunger strike that rocked California’s prison system this past summer.

On July 8, 2013, over 30,000 people incarcerated throughout California refused meals. (more…)

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For October 2013 Is Now Available

halloweenHello Friends and Comrades,

1) We have two versions of the political prisoner birthday poster for October.  Here is one version as well as an extra spooky negative image one for Halloween. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

Some News And Updates:

2) Jorge Cornell, whose birthday was last month, was transferred two weeks ago. If your birthday card for him was returned, please resend it to this address:

 Jorge P. Cornell #28152-057
FCI PETERSBURG MEDIUM
P.O. BOX 1000
PETERSBURG, VA  23804
 

3) Political prisoner Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 has been given less than 2 months to live and he’s now on hospice care inside the prison. He, along with one other person, has been in solitary confinement for the past 41 years. He wrote this heart wrenching statement recently and there’s some petitions folks can sign to try to get him compassionate release. Not to mention his birthday is in October so make sure to send him a card.  Herman passed away on October 4th after enduring 42 years of solitary confinement. (more…)

Pelican Bay solitary confinement case set to expand

guardtowerpelicanbayFrom Los Angeles Times

OAKLAND — A federal judge Thursday said she is likely to allow a lawsuit alleging that solitary confinement conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison amount to psychological torture, to be expanded from the cases of 10 prisoners to include about 1,100 inmates now held in indefinite isolation.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken expressed concern at a hearing, however, that changes the state has made in how it identifies inmates for isolation means those prisoners won’t be included in the pending class-action lawsuit.

What’s more, lawyers for the state say they are in the process of moving some existing prisoners out of confinement in Pelican Bay’s super-maximum security isolation cells.

“I’m wondering how I would manage a class that has people moving in and out,” Wilken said. Nevertheless, she used Thursday’s hearing in Oakland to set Nov. 3, 2014, for the trial. Her ruling over whether that trial will be a class action, or remain confined to the few inmates who filed the case, is yet to be decided. (more…)

CA Prisoner Hunger/Work Strikes roundup with Ed Mead

I-stand-with-CA-prisoner-hunger-strikeFrom The Final Straw

This week William talks with Ed Mead, editor of CA Prison Focus magazine to discuss the results of the hunger and work strikes that swept west coast prisons since July, resulting in one prisoner death and at one point including the participation of 30,000 hunger strikers. The strike, the third over two years, was meant to bring attention to and pressure against the state for it’s practices of indefinite detention in solitary confinement without recourse, the silencing of prisoner activists, lack of programs for prisoners to prepare for the outside world, the institutionalization of snitch-culture through “debriefing”, group punishments and not providing adequate and nutritive food. More info can be found at: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

This Thursday in Oakland, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) will be holding a press conference following a legal hearing around posing a class action lawsuit around inhumane conditions in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay. Show up if ya can! Details at: http://ccrjustice.org/pelican-bay

http://www.prisons.org/
http://www.prisonart.org/

The second half of the show features new metal and punk tracks from Primary Stress, ANCST & more.

The playlist for this episode can be found here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/7677

This show will be streaming at AFM from 9/23/13 thru the 29th, podcasting at radio4all.net and later will be archived at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org

Hunger striker considers where we go from here, wonders, ‘Will the Legislature dupe us too’?

Protesters from Humboldt County unfurled this banner outside Pelican Bay State Prison on July 8, the first day of the 2013 mass hunger strike, the largest in history with 30,000 participants initially. The huge banner reappeared at many subsequent rallies. – Photo courtesy PHSS Humboldt

Protesters from Humboldt County unfurled this banner outside Pelican Bay State Prison on July 8, the first day of the 2013 mass hunger strike, the largest in history with 30,000 participants initially. The huge banner reappeared at many subsequent rallies. – Photo courtesy PHSS Humboldt

From San Francisco Bay View

Written Sept. 8, 2013 – First and foremost we want to give a lot of respect and love to all the human beings who made their voices heard and the countless dedicated supporters and organizations who beat the drum as well as the pavement demanding an end to solitary confinement, LONG TERM solitary confinement.

To the 30,000 hunger strikers who courageously stood up, we commend each and every one of you, no matter if you did one day or the whole 60 days. We have had three hunger strikes in which none of us could imagine such courage would stem from such a peaceful protest. But as I have written in an article called, “Because I’ve seen men,”* my own personal strength and resolve has been improved on. I could not have ever expected to be amongst such courageous individuals. I salute each and every one of you.

We want to always give much respect and love to the six prisoners who sacrificed their lives despite what CDCr propagated against you. We know each and every one of you died for a cause that’s more honorable than anything, especially in a world where men and women die every day for nothing. We also know none of you were suicidal. We will forever hold you all in our memory, high before the world. (more…)

Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

hungerstrikeFrom Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!

The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.

To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.

Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside.  We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety.  The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will. (more…)

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For September 2013 Is Now Available

birthdaycupHello Friends and Comrades,

1) Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for September. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

Some News And Updates:

2) The campaign to have Earth Liberation Front prisoner Marie  Mason moved from her special isolation unit is underway! Please write a letter today. You can download the “Move Marie” here: trifold color brochure  The text version and a sample letter are available here.

3) Brother Abdullah is in debilitating pain and unable to walk without assistance, due to an acute case of sciatica. Abdullah has suffered in this state for over two weeks and has, to no avail, submitted to all prison procedures, which are required in order to get medical attention, namely the “sick-call process.” (more…)

Day 52, Prisoners Isolated, Disturbing News from Corocran, Strike Participation Grows, Prisoners Remain Committed: “CDCR is not going to break us.”

I-stand-with-CA-prisoner-hunger-strikeFrom Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

California prisoner hungers strike advocates and supporters continue their efforts to compel state decision makers to negotiate with hunger strikers as they endure their 52nd day without food.  Meanwhile legal observers at Corcoran State Prison say that the 70 people are still on strike at that facility are facing harsh relation by prison officials including the denial of medical care—even for those coming off strike—and the confiscation of personal property.  At Pelican Bay, the four main representatives of the Short Corridor Collective—the interracial group in that facility’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) that initially encouraged their fellow prisoners to take up the peaceful protest—have been totally isolated in a single cell block in the prison’s stand-alone Administrative Segregation Unit.  Late last week 51 prisoners being held in the same area were summarily and forcibly removed to other prisons.   Meanwhile the CDCR’s own numbers show a steady uptick in strike participation over the past several days. (more…)

US judge approves force-feeding California inmates

In this Aug. 17, 2011 file photo, a pair of inmates are seen in their cell in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif. California prison officials with the backing of a federal health care receiver are seeking court permission to force-feed inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike that is entering its seventh week.

In this Aug. 17, 2011 file photo, a pair of inmates are seen in their cell in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif. California prison officials with the backing of a federal health care receiver are seeking court permission to force-feed inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike that is entering its seventh week.

From The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge approved a request from California and federal officials on Monday to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.

Officials say they fear for the welfare of nearly 70 inmates who have refused all prison-issued meals since the strike began July 8 over the holding of gang leaders and other violent inmates in solitary confinement that can last for decades.

They are among nearly 130 inmates in six prisons who were refusing meals. When the strike began it included nearly 30,000 of the 133,000 inmates in California prisons.

Prison policy is to let inmates starve to death if they have signed legally binding do-not-resuscitate (DNR) requests. But state corrections officials and a federal receiver who controls inmate medical care received blanket authority from U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco to feed inmates who may be in failing health. The order includes those who recently signed requests that they not be revived. (more…)