Tag Archive: California

Day 38 Countdown for Humane Conditions

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

Today marks the 38th day that Governor Brown and the California Department of Corrections have sat and watched as hundreds of Californians continue to starve under inhumane conditions in our prisons in an effort to make the state recognize their humanity. This has been a very long and drawn out battle involving decades of litigation, multiple hunger strikes, and many promises by the CDCR that it is finally “doing the right thing” all while vehemently denying that there are serious problems within the state prison system.

California’s prison system is undisputedly in a disastrous state of crisis. That Governor Brown has fought tooth and nail against correcting the crisis – even asking the United States Supreme Court to approve his non-compliance with the Court’s order to fix the prison system so that it no longer violates the US Constitution – is telling. California’s prison system has become a rogue beast devouring billions of dollars in state resources, destroying the lives of the people it has been entrusted to rehabilitate and their families, and continuing to operate in a way that endangers the safety and well-being of both prisoners and the public. It’s time for California to really engage in an honest effort to do the right thing. (more…)

California Inmates Launch New Hunger Strike On October 10th

From Solitary Watch

On October 10th, inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison and California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi launched a hunger strike. The hunger strike, which has in total involved five hundred inmates, coincided with the date of an announced racial cease-fire issued by inmates in Pelican Bay referred to as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. The group, which consists of several inmates who are said by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to be leaders of criminal prison gangs including the Aryan Brotherhood and Black Guerilla Family, issued a call for all inmates to cease racial conflict and urged unity among inmates across California.

It has been speculated that because this same group also lead the historic hunger strikes that took place last year, inmates misinterpreted the October 10th date to launch a hunger strike. (more…)

Skaters Attack! Mob of 1500 Riot in Los Angeles

(from capitalist press)

The mob of skateboarders and skate fans who ran amok through Hollywood on Saturday night, captured on a YouTube video by a driver caught in the middle of the mayhem, garnered national attention just as it attracted a swift crackdown by riot police.

Skaters were seen vandalizing businesses and throwing bottles, while bystanders are seen running — resulting in the deployment of more than 100 Los Angeles police officers in riot gear. (more…)

Trans Women in San Diego Prison Stage Hunger Strike

From The Bilerico Project

Two trans women incarcerated in the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County have been on hunger strike for over a week in an attempt to be allowed to share a cell together. Because they are trans, prison officials refuse to take them off single-cell status. Presumably, they have both been restricted to being in single cells to prevent them from having to share a cell with a man, however, it’s clear that this is not for their own protection when there are two of them and they want to share a cell together.

According to a statement released yesterday, the hunger strike began on Friday September 21st and they are asking their supporters to call in and help: (more…)

Have You Ever Read The Book Monster?

Greetings, We just received some good news, especially if you ever taught or read the book Monster by Sanyika Shakur.

Our comrade Sanyika Shakur author of the book “Monster” was recently released from Pelican Bay supermax in California and needs financial assistance. Please help if you can. Donations can be sent to Brad Greene, 55N. 5th Ave. #210, Tucson, AZ 85701aa

One Year After Historic Hunger Strike, Isolated California Prisoners Report Little Change

From Solitary Watch

At this time one year ago, a three week hungerstrike across California prisons had been concluded, and the California Assembly had begun planning a hearing on the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. The conditions of the California Security Housing Units, where over 3,000 inmates are held in isolation, many for decades, had come to the public’s attention. In the time since August 2011, there would be another round of three week hunger strikes, a smaller series of hunger strikes at the Corcoran Administrative Segregation Unit, a new “Step Down Program” announced in California, a federal lawsuit filed by Pelican Bay SHU inmates, and a US Senatehearing on solitary confinement.

Even so, the situation in the SHUs and ASUs remains much as it did one year ago. A few concessions by prison officials, such as issuing sweatpants and allowing family photos, did nothing to change the problem of long-term isolation and non-existent due process.

It should be reiterated that in California, the majority of SHU inmates are not necessarily there for conduct, but for gang membership.

In a letter to California activists, Pelican Bay hunger strike leader Alfred Sandoval reports feeling  like “just banging my head against the wall because nothing ever changes around here. Right now the Department of Corruption and the current administration have been attempting to pacify prisoners with items…ie. sweats, watch caps, and various food items from canteen–in hopes of distracting us …”

He continues, “the sad fact is that some have been complacent and accepted the physical and psychological abuses as normal because it has been implemented in small increments over decades, year after year so it has become the norm.” (more…)

The SAFE California Act: ‘No Thank You’

By Kevin Cooper

I have been asked what I think about “The SAFE California Act,” which is being pushed as a real alternative to this state’s death penalty. I have been asked by activists, death row inmates, and certain family members of death row inmates. I have also asked myself this same question. After all, it is our future which is being voted on by the people of California in November 2012.

I must add this. At no time was I, or to my knowledge, any man or woman who resides on death row within this state asked our opinion about the SAFE California Act by the sponsors of this initiative, the people who bank rolled it, or the people who collected signatures in support of it. I wonder why that is? I am personally against this initiative, and I do not support it for a couple different reasons. First and foremost, this ‘Act’ is just another version of the death penalty. We who will be affected by it will still be living in inhumane conditions. We who are on death row will also lose our legal habeas and habeas appeal process that we have and are currently entitled to under the law. So we are in fact taking a step backwards in our ability to challenge our convictions. We are also having to take our fight for our collective human rights to another level. What I mean by this is, Level IV prisons within the State of California are some of the worst prisons in the world! They are worse than death row in the violence that takes place, in the lack of programs, including educational programs, they stay on lockdown, and many families cannot get to these isolated prisons to visit their loved ones. I also look at this through the historical eyes of how people of African descent have been continually locked up within this country. For example, those of us who know the truth about this country’s history, and acknowledge this truth have to admit the following . . . (more…)

Illegal prison cellphones being disabled in Calif.

By Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A private company that owns the pay phones in California’s prisons will pay millions of dollars to install technology that prevents inmates from using smuggled cell phones to make their calls instead.

The deal with Global Tel Link addresses the growing problem of cell phones within the nation’s largest prison system, where the technology has been used by inmates to run criminal enterprises, intimidate witnesses and organize attacks on guards.

The move also comes at no cost to taxpayers because the private firm expects to see demand for its pay phones soar, Dana Simas, a spokeswoman from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Tuesday. (more…)

Family of California Prisoner Who Died on Hunger Strike Speaks Out

By Sal Rodriguez, Solitary Watch

The family of Christian Gomez, the 27-year-old prisoner who died while on hunger strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison, is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents in the future are avoided.

In a phone call with Solitary Watch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Terry Thornton confirmed that Gomez had been placed in solitary confinement in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) pending investigation of assault on another inmate with a weapon on January 14, 2012. Thornton would not confirm the status of this investigation. Gomez was serving a life sentence for first degree murder and attempted murder.

Christian Gomez had not told his family members of his intentions to participate in the January 27-February 13 hunger strike held by ASU inmates in protest of their conditions. According to an interview with Gomez’s sister, Y.L., she “found out when the coroner Tom [Edmonds] implied that there was a possibility of a chemical imbalance due to a hunger strike he was participating in. That’s the first I heard of this. Back in [September or October] when he first was transferred there he did tell me that they were having a hunger strike to fight for their rights but he was in general population.” (more…)

Occupy Oakland prisoners attacked inside Santa Rita Jail

From yael@sfbg.com:
In the aftermath of the mass arrests of Occupy Oakland protesters– and whoever else happened to be on the wrong street at the wrong time– on Jan. 28 in Oakland, there have been loads of reports and rumors about brutality inflicted on those arrested. Most of those arrested were held in Santa Rita jail.

My observations:

I spent 20 hours in jail, and I saw some cruel treatment. I saw people suffering after being denied medication. I saw people with allergies to the food that was provided refused any substitute and unable to eat, sometimes for more than 24 hours. I saw people crammed into holding cells meant for groups a third their size, so that some people had to remain standing, sometimes for more than 24 hours. As many arrestees were wearing clothing coated in tear gas and pepper spray, those chemicals continued to waft through cells and affect all present.


I have reports directly from sources of arrested occupiers being beat up in jail with police batons. At least 20 people were zip tied, meaning their hands were cuffed behind their backs– (more…)