What does it mean to be paroled from prison? Before release, all I had was time. It was all torture. Now, I don’t have time. The effort to sustain myself takes most of my time and energy. Freedom, for me, means having time to work out who I am, how I want to relate to others.
Obituary for Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez, Native American who agitated against his wrongful conviction for murder.
Readers’ Views from the March-April 2014 issue of News & Letters, part 2.
Sacramento, Calif.–At the Legislative Hearings on Feb. 11, experts presented their analyses, which showed that even the very small changes California Department of Corrections (CDC) said they were implementing, in fact they are not. No policies are being changed to address the problems brought out by prisoners and their families. One family member was taking the legislators to task, saying that the promises of reform the legislators vow to make now, they made 10 years ago. Nothing changed. Things got worse.
ENVIRONMENT UNDER THREAT
Recently I attended a talk near Berkeley, Calif., by a retired professor about the effect of environmental damage on political instability in the Middle East. He spoke disparagingly of Arab countries, but was full of praise for Israeli technology and “adaptive science.” He stated that autocracy was the best way to confront [=>]
Faruq, a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, reviews “Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz” (PM Press, 2013), written by a revolutionary theorist forced to endure the psychological and physical torture of solitary confinement for the past 40 years.
Alex Sanchez, co-founder of Homies Unidos in Los Angeles, spoke in support of prisoners’ call to cease hostilities, backing the solutions arrived at by those who used to be part of the problem.
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on Sept. 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).
Editor’s note: Marie Levin spoke at many of the demonstrations. This statement is from July 31.
Oakland, Calif.—My name is Marie Levin. My brother, Sitawa Jamaa, is in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay. He has been on hunger strike since its beginning, 24 days now. It’s a shame that our government has allowed [=>]
On July 8 over 30,000 prisoners in California started an indefinite hunger strike to demand their human rights. Prison officials have retaliated against the prisoners’ right to peacefully protest.
On July 8, 2013, another hunger strike was launched here inside the security housing unit (SHU) in an ongoing effort to try to bring an end to the injustice of long-term SHU confinement. On July 12 I was prevented from receiving the July-August issue of N&L because page 9 had an article on the Pelican Bay hunger strike.
Sacramento, Calif.–On Feb. 25, around 100 people, mostly family members of prisoners organized as California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), gathered on the state capitol steps. They shared their stories before a historic second legislative hearing on California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC) policies regarding prisoners held in the Security Housing Units (SHUs). An [=>]
From the January-February 2013 issue of News & Letters:
Pelican Bay families support prisoners
Editor’s note: California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) came together during the prisoners’ 2011 hunger strike initiated by prisoners in Security Housing Unit (SHU). To support the prisoners’ ongoing movement, specifically the Agreement to Cease Hostilities (see Nov.-Dec. 2012 N&L), CFASC [=>]
Agreement to End Hostilities
(NOTE: All names and the statement must be verbatim when used and posted on any website or media, or non-media, publications)
August 12, 2012
To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:
Greetings from the all PBSP-SHU [Pelican Bay State Prison-Security Housing [=>]
Prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, Virginia, went on hunger strike on May 22. More details can be found at the Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers blog, which lists the ten demands here. You can join a facebook group to support the strike.
News and Letters Committees issued this solidarity statement:
The courageous [=>]
September 28, 2011
The SHU prisoners hunger strike started again as of Sept. 26….Apparently the level of prisoner participation surprised California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)….Despite the attempt to undermine and stigmatize the latest effort, the general consensus of the prisoners is that there is no stopping until some real quality changes are made [=>]
Pelican Bay, Calif.–On Sept. 26 Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoners resumed their hunger strike, suspended on July 20, to give California prison authorities a chance to make good on their promises to address the prisoners demands (see “Pelican Bay SHU struggle continues!” Sept.-Oct. N&L). Especially important to the prisoners was getting out of perpetual solitary confinement, [=>]
November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters now on the web…
Lead: Occupy Wall Street strikes deep chord, challenges rulers
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, since beginning in New York City’s Zuccotti Park–renamed Liberty Plaza–on Sept. 17, has spread to hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. and linked with the occupation movements in Europe. [=>]
Los Angeles–On Aug. 13, 30 youths, mostly young women, gathered at the County Twin Towers Prison to support the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike. With the drumbeat and the performance of Aztec dancers, the protesters held individually made signs that read: “Prisoners are human beings, give them their rights”; “We stand in solidarity for prisoners’ [=>]
Pelican Bay, Calif.–Here in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), a number of us prisoners decided to launch a peaceful collective protest in the form of a hunger strike starting July 1. This action is necessary due to the anti-human, draconian institutional policies implemented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Pelican Bay, Calif.–The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), was suspended on July 20. The conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks persist. According to prison officials themselves, at one point 6,600 inmates in at least 13 [=>]
A special report from News and Letters Committees:
Stop torture in California prisons!
The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), officially ended on July 20th but what persists are the conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks. Prisoners we [=>]
Editor’s note: Prisoners at Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHUs) are going on a hunger strike July 1 to demand the prison recognize they are human beings. This follows the Georgia prison uprising and the Ohio prisoners’ actions earlier this year. Prisoners at Corcoran State Prison announced they are joining the strike. Several cities, including [=>]