Hundreds of California prisoners in Solitary Segregation Petition the United Nations to intervene

From the website of the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law:

California holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other state in the United States or any other nation on earth. The treatment of these prisoners is barbaric and numerous experts agree amounts to torture. It destroys their mental and physical health, and destroys them spiritually. They live like prisoners held in a Gulag, not a modern democracy. They are locked in solitary segregation merely because they may have associated with a gang, and remain in isolation until shown to be “gang free” for “six years.” These prisoners engaged in a widely publicized hunger strike during the summer of 2011, and are now suffering retaliation (more time in solitary segregation) because they had the courage to protest their treatment by refusing to eat.

Hundreds of prisoners have joined together to petition the United Nations to intervene by conducting on on-site investigation, permitting Red Cross visits, and ultimately ruling that the California’s policy on isolated segregation amounts to torture and violates well-established international human rights norms.

These prisoners are joined in their petition by a coalition of the following organizations: California Prison Focus; Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law; Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes; Fair Chance Project; California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement; Justice for Families; The Real Cost of Prisons Project; American Friends Service Committee; Community Futures Collective; Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights; California Prison Moratorium Project; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; and Disability Rights Legal Center.

The petition names as responding parties the United States of America, the State of California, Jerry Brown, Governor of the State of California, and Matthew Cate, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

To obtain the United Nations Petition click HERE (PDF)

To obtain the 22 Quotes by main United Nations Petitioners click HERE (PDF)

See also the article in the Mercury News:

California inmates petition UN to monitor prisons
By Gillian Flaccus Associated PressAssociated Press
Posted: 03/20/2012 01:55:24 PM PDT
March 20, 2012 8:55 PM GMT Updated: 03/20/2012 01:55:24 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES — An attorney for hundreds of California inmates held in solitary confinement in the nation’s largest prison system because of their gang ties said Tuesday that he will petition the United Nations to intervene to stop the practice and launch an investigation into their living conditions and mental and physical health.

The petition, which asks the international body to allow an independent party to interview prisoners and review their medical files, comes after about 6,000 inmates at 13 prisons statewide went on a hunger strike last summer. They have since staged smaller and more intermittent strikes to protest what they call inhumane and torturous conditions in the so-called segregation housing units, or SHUs.

The petition announced Tuesday was drawn up on behalf of 400 inmates who wrote letters seeking help after being assigned to the isolation cells for years because of their gang ties, said Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. A half-dozen family members of inmates currently living in solitary confinement joined Schey at a news conference and shared stories of brothers, husbands and sons who have spent decades in the segregated cells.

“It’s one thing to place a person into solitary segregation because they’ve assaulted another prisoner or threatened another person with violence. We’re not arguing with that,” Schey said. “What we’re arguing is the vast majority of people … are being put in solitary and the key thrown away merely because they’re alleged to be a gang member or maybe even just an associate of a gang member. The punishment is barbaric compared to the allegations.”

Read the rest here: