Calipatria shows the way: ASU prisoners win their demands while on hunger strike

Sept 29th 2013, in: SF Bay View
by Kendra Castaneda
When the California prisoner hunger strike began on July 8, 2013, CDCR officials were repeatedly quoted in the mainstream media telling the world that CDCR does not negotiate with prisoners. CDCR portrays the organizers as gang leaders – terrorists whose demands are unworthy of consideration.
Calipatria State Prison signBut on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, the warden at Calipatria State Prison did negotiate with prisoners in the Administration Segregation Unit (ASU), a form of solitary confinement similar to the notorious SHUs (Security Housing Units). Those prisoners were hunger striking to have their own demands – unique to that institution – met while in solidarity with the five core demands made in 2011 and still to be negotiated.

On Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, the warden at Calipatria State Prison did negotiate with prisoners in the Administration Segregation Unit.

The warden promised that day that the agreement they worked out would be put into writing and implemented. On Sunday, Aug. 18, the Calipatria ASU prisoners resumed eating on the condition that if the state did not negotiate with the main reps from Pelican Bay State Prison who wrote the five core demands for some type of change to end perpetual isolation, then the men at Calipatria ASU were going to resume their peaceful hunger strike on Monday, Aug. 26.
Below is a letter from the Calipatria ASU hunger strikers written Aug. 20, shortly after they temporarily ended their hunger strike on the 41st day:
“Greetings to all in solidarity,
“High salutes, best wishes to all of the men and women who supported this historic peaceful movement for human rights, hunger strike 2013!
“Here at Calipatria we are counted and remain determined to bring humane treatment even if it takes sacrifice. Our personal demands have been promised to be met within a month, by the start of September: expansion of canteen; SHU privileges: pictures, sweaters and shoes; pull-up bars; two packages a year; and installation of phones in ASU.
“For these reasons we have stopped after over a month – 41 days – of hunger striking in high hopes the five core demands will be met soon along with all the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective’s demands. Most important, if we see no attention is being given to the five core demands, the majority of like minds will resume hunger striking in solidarity.
“We men are ready to jump back into the hunger strike full throttle to stop the torture to all men and women through peaceful demonstration. Just because our own personal, superficial demands are being met does not mean we lose focus on the five core demands. All five are just, reasonable and most important.
“In the meantime, the real ‘worst of the worst,’ CDCR officials, have shown their true colors, calling this peaceful hunger strike a hostage situation. Also, CDCR’s notice they will not negotiate – does that mean they’d rather see humans die? Only because we won’t sit back and be tortured in silence? Let alone Short Corridor prisoners have been tortured for decades upon decades – all because we want human contact with our love ones?
“Who is really the ‘worst of the worst’ [a phrase officials often use to describe the people they condemn to solitary confinement torture]? Under CDCR, California is in violation of international laws and treaties and with United Nation agreements.

We men are ready to jump back into the hunger strike full throttle to stop the torture to all men and women through peaceful demonstration. Just because our own personal, superficial demands are being met does not mean we lose focus on the five core demands.

“Where is Jerry Brown? Is he another bought politician under the belt of CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the guards’ union, often called the most influential lobby in the state) for the money they donate to his campaign? They do donate millions to protect their job security by keeping governors in their pockets.
“CDCR wastes double or even more taxpayer money to warehouse humans in torture chambers called SHUs and ASUs rather than in general population. The purpose of solitary confinement is big profit only! No type of rehabilitation is provided, period!
“Therefore, we remain steadfast in solidarity for the end to long term isolation. Si se puede is our motivation chant!
“Thanks to all the loved ones, activists, gente at rallies and protests in the rain or sunshine. All that support carried and fed bodies while we hunger struck. Muchisimas gracias! Si se puede! We thank you all.
“Humbly in solidarity,
“ASU Calipatria”
On Monday, Aug. 26, Calipatria ASU voluntarily resumed their peaceful hunger strike in solidarity, refusing meals due to CDCR Sacramento’s failure to keep their word to negotiate the five core demands. Resuming their hunger strike debunked what CDCR officials had told the press: that the main reps forced others to starve. Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard wrote in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, “Hunger strike in California prisons is a gang power play”: “Don’t be fooled. Many of those participating in the hunger strike are under extreme pressure to do so from violent prison gangs, which called the strike in an attempt to restore their ability to terrorize fellow prisoners, prison staff and communities throughout California.”
Beard goes on to state: “Many say they want to resume eating but are afraid of the retaliation they will suffer at the hands of other inmates acting on orders from their gang leaders.”

On Monday, Aug. 26, Calipatria ASU voluntarily resumed their peaceful hunger strike in solidarity, refusing meals due to CDCR Sacramento’s failure to keep their word to negotiate the five core demands.

Calipatria ASU prisoners know the inhumane conditions those in the SHUs endure because they too live in horrific conditions daily with no rehabilitation in solitary confinement, and Calipatria is known for corruption at the hands of the prison guards, so why would these men have to be forced to starve themselves when they are being tortured too?
How is it that 30,000 prisoners – men, women and youth – throughout the state of California at numerous prisons refused meals on July 8, 2013, in peaceful protest to stop their inhumane conditions and torture in solitary confinement under CDCR, but on Sept. 5, when the strike was suspended, it was CDCR stating that only fewer than 100 prisoners were hunger striking?
That would mean what Beard told the Los Angeles Times about this hunger strike being a “gang power play” is not accurate, and Beard stating, “Many say they want to resume eating but are afraid of the retaliation they will suffer at the hands of other inmates acting on orders from their gang leaders,” is inaccurate as well. If the hunger strike was a gang power play that started with 30,000 participants and was suspended when fewer than 100 were still starving themselves, what happened to the other 29,900 prisoners throughout the state who resumed eating? How come they were not retaliated against as Beard predicted?

Why would these men have to be forced to starve themselves when they are being tortured too?

What Beard told the Los Angeles Times was a way to cover up the inhumane conditions these prisoners face daily for years, for decades upon decades, entombed within concrete walls in a dungeon. The only way for these human beings’ voices to be heard was to starve themselves to expose these CDCR officials, who claim rehabilitation but practice torture.
In the Aug. 19 Los Angeles Times article by Paige St. John, “Calipatria prison hunger strikers resume eating, get more calls, cable,” CDCR put its spin on the successful negotiations between the Calipatria warden and the ASU prisoners: “California prison officials insisted the expanded privileges at Calipatria State Prison, near the Mexico border, did not signal a willingness to negotiate with inmates.
“’The warden at CAL did not “reach an agreement” with the hunger strikers,’ said department spokesman Jeffrey Callison. ‘The warden simply informed the inmates that local issues would be discussed only after they ceased their involvement in this disturbance.’”
Contrary to what Callison told the LA Times, the Calipatria warden did negotiate with the men in ASU and verbally met their demands BEFORE they suspended their hunger strike. The demands were not met as a reward for abandoning the strike. Once their own unique demands had been promised, the men chose to temporarily suspend their strike to regain some of their strength but promised to resume it on Aug. 26 if the five core demands had not also been negotiated. They made good on that promise.
On Sept. 3, while the men in Calipatria ASU were again on hunger strike, an official memo was issued regarding Calipatria ASU living conditions in response to the ASU hunger strikers humane demands:
Calipatria memo granting demands 090313
Note: A5 is another segregation unit.
While CDCR officials publicly deny that the prisoners were hunger striking for better conditions, the warden at Calipatria issued and signed a memo during the hunger strike stating they are addressing the concerns about such issues as the cleanliness of their pods and showers. That memo confirms that Calipatria State Prison ASU prisoners have issues concerning cleanliness.
The fact that Calipatria ASU prisoners were indeed hunger striking on Sept. 3, the date of the memo, is proven by the medical receiver’s office daily updates reporting that some of those prisoners were receiving IV fluids due to starvation.
One statement in the memo, however, needs to be addressed and corrected: The Security Threat Group (STG) Pilot Program does not satisfy the five core demands, as the second paragraph implies. The warden’s statement, which must have been approved by CDCR, repeats similar assertions made throughout the strike. Here are the five core demands; compare them to the Security Threat Group (STG) Pilot Program and decide for yourself.
The original five core demands:
  1. Replace group punishment with individual accountability.
  2. Abolish the debriefing policy, and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
  3. Comply with the U.S. Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement.
  4. Provide adequate and nutritious food.
  5. Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates.
Inside Calipatria ASU video frame 0211 by KMYA Titan TV, web

The dungeon known as Calipatria ASU – Photo: KMYA Titan TV

The equivalency CDCR claims between the five core demands and the STG Pilot Program should be debated during the upcoming legislative hearings to be held beginning in October.

The fact is that 30,000 men, women and youth of all races went on a peaceful hunger strike in unity for all or part of 60 days, risking their lives to make their voices heard protesting their inhumane conditions. Why wouldn’t society believe them over state officials who repeatedly prove they are not credible?
If Calipatria State Prison can peacefully negotiate humane demands with prisoners in segregation, then I believe ALL California prisoners, especially those in the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU, need to be negotiated with, and CDCR needs to meet the prisoners’ demands – the five core demands – once and for all. These are human beings held in a system that’s supposed to rehabilitate. Let’s not forgot that.
Kendra Castaneda is a writer and prisoner human rights activist. She can be reached atkendracastaneda99@gmail.com.

CDCR has negotiated and has met Calipatria ASU’s Hunger Strikers’ Humane Demands

The ASU is the SHU of Calipatria State Prison (or: CAL). Kendra Castaneda, a loved one of a hunger striker in Calipatria, helped support the hunger strikers by calling the warden and offering on behalf of the prisoners to negotiate some much needed changes, as part of the larger package of the 5 core demands that the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective have formulated. Here is what the men and Kendra have accomplished:

By Kendra Castaneda
Background story:
On Thursday August 8, 2013, CDCR Secretary Beard ordered a special transfer for my loved one and 5 other men in ASU to go to Tehachapi SHU during day 32 of the hunger strike.  A van pulled up to the ASU building, the 6 men had 1 hour to pack their belongings, a van and 3 police escort cars drove for 7 hours straight to Tehachapi SHU in an attempt by CDCR to break the hunger strike and remove the main reps.
On Friday, August 9, 2013, I called the Administrative Assistant to the Warden Frank Chavez at Calipatria State Prison informing him I knew what CDCR had done.  The lieutenant spoke with me and said to me “well, your loved one is not here anymore therefore you won’t be having anything to do with Calipatria anymore.”  I spoke with him and he listened, I explained that I have volunteered myself to speak on behalf of the Calipatria hunger strikers in ASU and he was going to listen to every word I had to say about negotiating and the hunger strike, and I informed him he was going to contact Secretary Beard and CDCR Terry Thornton as well. 
I told the Administrative Assistant (former IGI) that if CDCR did not start negotiating with Calipatria ASU men within the next few days for their humane demands to be met, then they will have to negotiate with me, and I told them ‘no exceptions’.  I informed him that he was to relay my message to the Warden at Calipatria and to CDCR Sacramento a.s.a.p.  
To my knowledge, on 8/13/2013 the Warden at Calipatria State Prison started to negotiate with the hunger strikers in ASU, and on Thursday 8/15/2013 the Warden went into the ASU and spoke directly with the men while calling Sacramento during the negotiations. 

Confirmed: On 8/15/2013 Calipatria ASU hunger strikers successfully negotiated their humane demands and CDCR Sacramento and Warden Frank Chavez have agreed in writing with majority of ALL of what the men in ASU has asked for.
Result:
The new warden at Calipatria, Warden Frank Chavez had to get approval from CDCR Sacramento and they agreed to Calipatria ASU’s demands:
Expansion of tv-channels: Discovery Channel, This-TV, ESPN, TNT, PBS, History Channel were all approved.

The following items have been added to the ASU Canteen List and approved
Limit 2 packs of tortillas, 3 sausages, 2 pickles, variety of cookies, oatmeal, candy, honeybuns, granola bars, m&m’s etc…, cheese squeeze, chop stick, etc.

Phone calls:
In two months CDCR will install paid phone calls and allow people confined in the ASU 1 phone call a month, it’s been approved.

Colored pencils for Calipatria ASU have been approved.

CDCR said they would look into ‘pull up bars’ for installation for Calipatria ASU.
The only thing that was not ‘approved’ was the 5 core demands Calipatria ASU had added to their demands. Calipatria ASU men informed CDCR if they do not meet the 5 core demands then they will resume their hunger strike. 

This is where you have read it earlier: SF Bay View

To: CDCR Terry Thornton and CDCR Secretary Beard,
You have successfully negotiated with the Calipatria State Prison Hunger Strikers and have met majority of their humane demands; the hunger strikers have resumed eating but only under certain conditions:
CDCR, you have by this Wednesday, August 21, 2013 to start negotiations with the Pelican Bay State Prison main reps Legal Mediation Team/Attorneys for the 5 corehumane demands.  Then CDCR, you have no later than Friday, August 23, 2013 to have successfully negotiated with Pelican Bay State Prison main rep’s Mediation Team/Attorney’s and have it set legally in writing signed by CDCR that majority of all the 5 core demands have been met.
If by this Friday, August 23, 2013, CDCR has not successfully negotiated with Pelican Bay State Prison main rep’s Mediation Team/Attorneys and if nothing has been put into writing that the 5 core demands have been met: Calipatria State Prison in full are going to voluntarily resume their hunger strike on Monday, August 26, 2013.

Hunger Strike Updates Day 39-40

Report received per email:
CCI-Tehachapi SHU Hunger Strikers:
 
About 50 on hunger strike currently at CCI-SHU, they are segregating all whose starving in one building. and moving the ones not participating into another building.
 
Calipatria ASU Hunger Strikers:
 
I have just got word that Warden Frank Chavez and the administrative are currently negotiating with the men for their humane demands set by Calipatria ASU. 
An earlier report:

From: SF Bay View, August 15th 2013:
by Calipatria ASU hunger strikers
Aug. 13, 2013 – Calipatria ASU is holding strong and still pushing in this hunger strike. Even though many have resumed eating, approximately 30 men back here continue to push for humane change by starving ourselves. It’s devastating to see our own people fall and bow down to their captors and be a slave to the system.

Calipatria State Prison-4 by Kendra Castaneda
Calipatria State Prison covers 1,227.5 acres lying 184 feet below sea level in the Mojave Desert near the Salton Sea and the Mexican border, the hottest area in North America. The men in ASU have no air conditioning, even though temperatures can exceed 120 degrees in the summer. During the 2011 hunger strike, the warden, since replaced, ordered the heat turned on and the water turned off. It takes courage to survive imprisonment in Calipatria. – Photo: Kendra Castaneda

CDCr does not care to meet the five demands or anything else related to humane change as it shows in how these officials treat us.

Correctional officers and medical staff are now making comments to us that we are all stupid, and they say to us that they are going to let us starve to death. There were two men that went “man-down” today and the medical staff and COs took more than five minutes to respond even when we were yelling and banging on the cell doors.

The conditions currently in ASU are really bad. Six people were transferred out to Tehachapi SHU due to CDCr’s retaliation. CDCr is violating its own policy and procedures; CDCr cannot transfer an inmate who has medical conditions to a SHU (Security Housing Unit) due to his health.

Correctional officers and medical staff are now making comments to us that we are all stupid, and they say to us that they are going to let us starve to death.

There have been men sent to Centinela Hospital, Ironwood Hospital and even Corcoran Medical Hospital, yet they continue to hunger strike. Many men are filling up Central Health here at Calipatria.

To everyone reading this and still holding strong in this historic movement, we are here with you all. Our love and support to the fullest. We will continue to push for the five demands to be met while we continue to hunger strike in dignity.

In solidarity,

Calipatria ASU

Update from Calipatria ASU

Update from Calipatria ASU (also published in the SF Bay View, scrll down to view it there):

“We got our cable and it’s a big difference. Lots of people here in segregation haven’t had this type of stimulation in years. It allows us to see what’s going on in the world and to actually see beyond these walls. We have 7 channels (not including the institutional channels). We get Telefutura, Telemundo (both spanish), FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CW. Then there’s 3 Christian channels and there’s the institutional channels where they show us “PG-13” movies and play music. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but it’s a lot more than what we had.

The warden said that by next year each prison will establish their own committee to review our cases and determine whether we get kicked out to the mainline. People have been getting validated still but it has slowed down since IGI E. Duarte got re-assigned to the ASU unit. The unity here is strong and us of the like mind and heart are in solidarity with the struggle. We haven’t forgot about the Short Corridor and our support from here is in full. Better days are ahead for us all but most importantly for those who’ve endured these torture chambers for decades and on.”

Respectfully,

Robbie Riva,
CDC# T-49359
ASU – 130
P.O. Box 5008
Calipatria, CA 92233

The corrupt validation process under IGI Duarte

From SF Bay View, Sept 25th, 2012
by German Cabrera

I would like to shed some light regarding Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte. I’ve been in ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) since Oct. 26, 2009. I am currently validated as an alleged associate of a prison gang and I did have a discussion with IGI E. Duarte prior to being placed in the hole (segregation).

That bad day took place on May 14, 2009. IGI E. Duarte and his sergeant forced me to sign what’s called a “safety chrono.” When I refused to do so, I was threatened to be placed in the hole. How it took place was as follows: After taking my work shower on my return from my vocation assignment (job) and yard was recalled completely in B5, I was walking out of the shower and I noticed a sergeant just looking at me. He didn’t say anything though.

I did not have five minutes in my cell when my cell door reopened and I was told by the tower that I had a 115 hearing in the program office. I told him to close my door, didn’t think he was serious. So he did, just to reopen it, and he said, “They want you to go to the program office for a 115.” I asked who is “they”? He replied, “The sergeant.” I replied that the sergeant was just here and did not say anything, plus the sergeants don’t hear 115s – it’s the lieutenants that do – plus I didn’t have any 115s.

I told him to close my door. He (Duarte) insisted but ended up closing it. Seconds later the floor officer came and said, “They want me to cuff you and take you to the office.” I asked, “Do you know who?” He replied, “You know who it is!” Then he went ahead to say “but I’m out of it.” So I told him, “Get out of it then and get away from my cell door.”

He did and minutes later I heard squad’s arrival; it was around five or 10 of them. When I got closer to my door and looked, it was an officer heading towards my cell door real fast. When he arrived, his name tag said “E Duarte.” Duarte started to get loud, stating, “You like attention, huh; you like attention, huh. OK, I’m going to give you attention.” I told him, “I don’t even know who you are for you to get crazy with me.”

That bad day took place on May 14, 2009. IGI E. Duarte and his sergeant forced me to sign what’s called a “safety chrono.” When I refused to do so, I was threatened to be placed in the hole.

He ended up cuffing us up. While I was cuffed up and out of the cell, he was acting dumb with my cellie, trying to intimidate him. Then I was told I needed to sign something and I asked what it was; it was a “safety chrono.” I stated to them, “I’m cool.” Duarte said, “If you don’t sign it, you’re going to the hole (segregation).”

Then it was given to IGI Tamayo, who read it. I then asked him, “This is what you’re using to remove me from general population?” I asked because they did so with another inmate in my building. IGI Tamayo said, “Oh, you’ll know when I come for you.” I got into a little discussion of how come they can’t just take my word that I have no safety concerns and I don’t know what’s really behind this chrono because it doesn’t say if and how it was proven to be true or reliable. So in reality I don’t know what and why I’m signing. Then IGI Sgt. E. Silva jumped in saying to chill out, that I do need to sign it or they will place me in the hole (ASU).

I ended up signing because I had a lot going: I was in vocational training – AA classes – in cell studies plus earning good time credits, and I remained in B yard for five and a half months until the incident involving inmates and COs (correctional officers) in B-2. After the incident with Velarde (Velarde vs. Duarte, Case No. 3:2011cv00287 in the United States District Court, Southern District of California) and CO Magdaleno, who hit the inmate while he was cuffed after the searches, me and other Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics were placed in Ad-Seg – the hole!

I got targeted in this validated process, and I assert and refute the following: I was picked up by IGI pending an investigation into alleged association(s) with a prison gang and as an alleged active member of a street gang/disruptive group. I refute IGI’s source items used against me in this duo-validation individual and collectively and assert that this malicious targeting was done in retribution and revenge for the prior incident involving myself and IGI Duarte in which Duarte exhibited a hostile nature and unnecessarily forced me to sign a “safety chrono” as well as a subsequent incident involving Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics.

I assert that Duarte’s unnecessary force was a personal attack on my character and positive programming in this institution. A fact supporting Duarte’s use of invalid information given by inmates seeking protective custody is illuminated by me remaining on B-yard general population several months with no incident, expounding on this doubly damning attack on my character.

After the incident with Velarde (Velarde vs. Duarte, Case No. 3:2011cv00287 in the United States District Court, Southern District of California) and CO Magdaleno, who hit the inmate while he was cuffed after the searches, me and other Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics were placed in Ad-Seg – the hole!

I have been targeted and harassed on numerous occasions during this validation process and in violation of my due process rights, due solely to my appearance. IGI Duarte, while handing me my street gang/disruptive group validation packet, sneered at me stating to my surprise, “You got it all over your face.”

They’re using my past against me in addition to IGI Tamayo’s alleged interview where he states I admitted to being a gang member. That is a complete fabrication of the events of such day and the abuse of power and malicious harassment by IGIs. I have suffered these unconstitutional harassment specifically at the hands of IGI E. Duarte, IGI Tamayo, IGI Silva with a certain number of searches occurring after facility searches or returning from court in May 2008, with specific reference to incidents such as the constant search and seizure of property with no real provocation, no probable cause, and never yielding any contraband directly related to any association, either street gang or prison gang. Also, their malicious acts, such as withholding my outgoing mail and disallowing my incoming mail, are unconstitutional and put a strain on my family relationships.

The malicious acts of IGI E. Duarte, IGI Tamayo and IGI Silva, such as withholding my outgoing mail and disallowing my incoming mail, are unconstitutional and put a strain on my family relationships.

In 2009 I was given the street gang packet and was made to believe it was going to be submitted; so both packets gave me 11 points to rebut. I know how they go about their evil ways: 1) When Duarte and Tamayo came to pick them up, I slid them my arguments as soon as he got in front of my door and they stated, “You’re done?” looking all surprised. Plus when they left to do the copies they are obligated to give me, the copies were purposely made wrong! 2) All those points were obviously given to me all at once in hopes I get stressed out and not be capable of rebuttal nor do it correctly. 3) The IGIs were hiding my property because most of property consists of legal books and case law and coincidently I had a validation manual.

I made it clear to all involved – officers and officials – how I was not going to allow their criminal tactics to be pushed on me without a fight on my behalf. They all told me IGI has to have it. Then like magic my property appeared but days before I was officially validated by Sacramento.

I have several appeals/602s and staff complaints against IGI and ISU (Investigative Service Unit) as a whole as well as several of them as individuals. But I was expecting them to respond that their COs did nothing wrong. It doesn’t matter to me because I preserved my rights doing so.

Before I bring this to a close, just recently I was served again with the street gang/disruptive group just because I requested the face sheet of that packet out of my central file (C-file) so they retaliated and reserved me. On my interview for it, I came out and IGI Duarte was there. I made it clear: What was he doing there if I have a staff complaint on him?

And this past Monday when I went out for medical within the facility, I ran into IGI E. Duarte; he was the sergeant for that day. Yup, he’s a sergeant now. He was the last one of the squad that placed most all of us in ASU and he will be working in ASU a couple of days out of the week!

I know for a fact there’s a lot of merit in appeals/602s and complaints filed against Duarte. How is it that he got promoted and, on top of that, (got assigned to) work where inmates he conspired against are housed and where he physically hurt an inmate.
I know for a fact there’s a lot of merit in appeals/602s and complaints filed against Duarte. How is it that he got promoted and, on top of that, (got assigned to) work where inmates he conspired against are housed and where he physically hurt an inmate. People out there should request to be provided documents specific to what are the requirements for a CO to become a sergeant and what disqualifies a CO from getting promoted becoming a sergeant?

“Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.” – Ginetta Sagan

Send our brother some love and light: German Cabrera, T-50054, ASU-197, P.O. Box 5008, Calipatria, CA 92233. These letters were written to and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda, a prisoner human rights activist, whose husband, Robbie Riva, T-49359, is currently in segregation at Calipatria State Prison ASU for validation as a prison gang associate, being labeled “worst of the worst” by CDCR. Her husband, like many other men at Calipatria State Prison, was validated by CDCR as a prison gang associate due to IGI E. Duarte authorizing falsified evidence.

My bogus validation and torture at Calipatria ASU

From: SF Bay View, Sept 25, 2012
by Gualberto Lopez

In June 2002, when I was 21 years of age, I arrived at Pelican Bay State Prison. That is the institution where I was housed at after I left LA County Jail. I was at Pelican Bay for eight to nine years, most of the time in the SHU. At each Institution Committee hearing I had, the SHU ICC (Institutional Classification Committee) would always tell me, “We know you are associated with a prison gang.” They tried to make me accept it and force me to accept I was a part of a prison gang many times when I never was. I never bit into PBSP/CDCR’s game that they tried to play with me.

A Mexican Aztec drawing is used as a “source item” by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to label a “Southern Hispanic” as a prison gang associate and put him in segregation (SHU/ASU) for decades calling him “worst of the worst.” Gualberto Lopez is Mexican, and CDCR is persecuting him based on his ethnicity and culture.
Once I finally got out of the SHU at PBSP in 2008, I was allowed to go to general population for about a year and a half given clear status; then I was given a transfer to Corcoran for five to six months. After I did those few months at Corcoran without any 115 write-ups, I was transferred to Calipatria State Prison. In 2010, I arrived at Calipatria, and I was on general population for about six months until I was picked up by Institutional Gang Investigator E. Duarte based on artwork that PBSP tried to use on me when I was there in 2006 to try and validate me.
The IGI’s put me in Administration Segregation (Ad-Seg/A5) at Calipatria for this bogus validation saying that I was involved in prison gang activity when I never involved myself in any such conduct. The reason for me transferring down to a prison further south was to be close to home and to have a better time with all the rest of my family. I wasn’t going to jeopardize that by receiving a 115 write-up now that I was able to be closer to them. But when I was transferred to Calipatria and while in general population, I realized it was harder to receive visits from my family because they had to go through the approval process all over again at Calipatria after being previously approved from Pelican Bay.
When I was served with the bogus validation paperwork, about six to eight IGIs were telling me that they were after me since I was previously from Pelican Bay State Prison. The Calipatria IGIs falsely told me that a confidential informant told them that I was in a prison gang. I was programing just fine and there was no evidence of a confidential informant and the evidence the IGIs tried to falsely slam me with was not strong enough to validate me and was false.
In Gualberto Lopez’ committee hearing report after he was taken into segregation at Calipatria State Prison, the committee members found that Gualberto Lopez cannot be on the general population yard and is a “Threat to the Safety and Security of the Institution.” But this ruling is not due to any confidential information from an informant, and Gualberto Lopez doesn’t have any enemies. It is due to IGI E. Duarte stating he believes Gualberto Lopez is in a prison gang. The committee members include a doctor and associate warden, and the chairperson who signed this committee report for Gualberto Lopez to be kept in segregation is current Warden G.J. Janda.
During this process of this bogus validation, I lost three family members; my family called the prison a few times so I could get the news of the passing of my loved ones. Calipatria never gave me that message while I was in Ad-Seg. The IGIs kept it from me and I had to find out later.
The IGIs at Calipatria, they took away all of my legal documents for my case I was working on and they trashed them. During my first two weeks in ASU, I was given a chrono 1030. It was put in my file by officers without me knowing. I had to ask for an “Olson Review” in the month of June 2011 to find out what they placed in my file.
Then in April 2011, IGI E. Duarte at the ASU unit planted two weapons in my cell on purpose while I was out to yard. I was given a 115 CDCR write up for those weapons placed in my cell by IGI Duarte. My mail is always being tampered with and trashed by officers. All the IGIs, they mess with us by harassment mentally and physically by putting us in cuff tie ups, giving us small portions of food and ripped up clothes, trashing our outgoing mail, planting specific artwork in our cells while we are at the showers or yard that is used later to validate us. The IGIs go into our cell and put toothpaste in our sink with our pictures in the toothpaste and shampoo in our food mixed together.
During the second hunger strike last year in September-October 2011, I was rushed to the hospital and in the emergency room the medical RN staff tried to take blood out of me for the second time in a week. While they were trying to take blood out of me, the nurse didn’t see that she broke the needle in my arm within the view of a lot of fellow prisoners.
At this moment I’m being denied proper “medical attention” for the pain in my feet. I have them all cracked from the bottom. It has been going on for many years. Last month in May, many of us inmates here at Calipatria ASU were finally allowed to be seen at an outside hospital for the first time in years. I was prescribed medication, but CDCR is denying all my medication I was prescribed for my feet by this outside doctor. Also I think my TB is acting up, but Calipatria is not hearing my pleas.
This is how this inhumane, torturous treatment in segregation makes me feel, so depressed, angry, sad, enraged. I’ve lost focus and changed from how I used to be. I don’t see people for how they are now or how I used to see them. My thinking is very different than before. I can’t be around too many people now. I have lack of sleep, and I have trouble concentrating.
All of my communication with my family has been cut off now because either my mail doesn’t get to me or I’m too afraid to worry my family of what’s really going on with me. I’ve been going through this for the last two years here at Calipatria State Prison ASU and I am up for transfer to Pelican Bay State Prison again to be placed in the SHU for years due to this bogus validation.
How long do I have to be tortured for? Will I be rehabilitated? Where are the programs available to rehabilitate me instead of torture me? I don’t know.
Only the governor and the state Assembly have the power to change it. But until then, all I know is that I am being mistreated in this crooked, broken system called California Department of Corrections and “Rehabilitation.”
Can somebody hear me out there?
Send our brother some love and light: Gualberto Lopez, T-81282, ASU-160, P.O. Box 5008, Calipatria, CA 92233.
The Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit’s special agents John Zinna and Jim Moreno approved the evidence submitted by IGI E. Duarte on Gualberto Lopez. The evidence used to label Gualberto Lopez as a prison gang associate – the “worst of the worst” – was an Aztec cultural drawing, two tattoos and a family member’s address in a telephone book. Gualberto Lopez was validated in May 2011. Since then, he has appealed this false validation with CDCR through the court and has been denied all appeals. That means Gualberto Lopez is labeled a “Threat to Safety and Security of the Institution” and is currently on a waitlist to be sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay for the next decade or more due to these four “source items.”

The address in a telephone book of a member of Gualberto Lopez’ family who has no gang ties was used against him by IGI E. Duarte as a “source item” to validate him as a prison gang associate. When the Institutional Gang Investigators search an inmate’s cell, they take the inmate out of the cell and it is easy to plant evidence or write numbers in a telephone book, which is exactly what happened with Gualberto Lopez.


Open Letter: Calipatria ASU/IGI Duarte promoted to work ASU now

“I would like to shed some light regarding my time I have come across with Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte! My name is German Cabrera, CDC# T-50054; I’ve been in ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) since 10/26/2009. I am currently validated as an alleged associate of a prison gang and I did have a discussion with IGI E. Duarte prior to being placed in the hole (segregation).

That bad day took place on 5/14/2009, IGI E. Duarte and his Sergeant forced me to sign what’s called a “safety chrono”, when I refused to do so I was threatened to be placed in the hole. How it took place was as follows: On 5/14/2009 after taking my work shower at my return from my vocation assignment (job) and yard was recalled completely in (B5), I was walking out of the shower and I noticed a sergeant just looking at me. He didn’t say anything though I did not have 5 minutes in my cell when my cell door reopened and was told by the tower that I had a 115 hearing in the program office.

I told him to close my door, didn’t think he was serious. So he did but just to reopen it and said “they want you to go to the program office for a 115.” I asked who is they? He replied “the Sergeant”. I replied to him that the Sgt. was just here and did not say anything plus the Sergeants don’t hear 115’s, it’s the Lieutenants that do plus I didn’t have any 115s. I told him to close my door, he (Duarte) insisted but ended up closing it.

Seconds later the floor officer came and said “they wanted me to cuff you and take you to the office.” I asked “do you know who?” He replied “you know who it is!” Then he went ahead to say “but I’m out of it.” So I told him “get out of it then and get away from my cell door.” He did and minutes later I heard squad’s arrival, it was around 5 or 10 of them. When I got closer to my door and looked it was an officer heading towards my cell door real fast, when he arrived his name tag said “E Duarte”. Duarte started to get loud stating “you like attention huh”, “you like attention huh”, “okay I’m going to give you attention.” I told him “I don’t even know who he is for him to get crazy with me”. He ended up cuffing us up while cuffed up and out of the cell he was acting dumb with my cellie trying to intimidate him.

Then I was told I needed to sign something and I asked what it was; it was a “safety chrono”. I stated to them “I’m cool.” Duarte said “if you don’t sign it you’re going to the hole (segregation).” Then it was given to IGI Tamayo who read it, I then asked him “this is what you’re using to remove me from General Population?” I asked because they did so with another inmate in my building. IGI Tamayo said “oh you’ll know when I’d come for you”. I got into a little discussion of how come they can’t just take my word that I have no issues (safety concerns) and I don’t know what’s really behind this chrono because it doesn’t say if and how it was proven to be true or reliable. So in reality I don’t know (what) and (why) I’m signing then (IGI Sgt. E. Silva) jumped in saying to chill out that I do need to sign it or they will place me in the hole (ASU).

I ended up signing because I had a lot going, I was in vocational training – AA classes – in cell studies plus earning good time credits and I remained in B yard for 5 ½ months until the incident involving inmates and c/o’s in B-2. The incident with Velarde (Harold Anthony Velarde vs. E. Duarte court case in the United States District Court Southern District Of California) and the c/o that hit the inmate while he was cuffed after the searches, me and other Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics were placed in Adseg/Holes! I got targeted in this validated process, asserted and refuted the following:
I was picked up by IGI pending an investigation into alleged association(s) with a prison gang and as an alleged active member of street gang/disruptive group. I refute IGI’s source items used against me in this duo-validation individual and collectively and assert that this malicious targeting was done in retribution and revenge for the prior incident involving myself and IGI Duarte in which Duarte exhibited a hostile nature and unnecessary forced me to sign a “safety chrono” as well as a subsequent incident involving Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics and I assert that Duarte’s unnecessary forcing was a personal attack on my character and positive programming in this institution. A fact supporting Duarte’s use of invalid information given by inmates seeking protective custody is illuminated by me remaining on B-yard General Population, several months with no incident; expounding on this doubly damning attack on my character.

I have been targeted and harassed on numerous occasions proceeding this validation process and in violation of my due process rights, due solely to my appearance (as stated by IGI Duarte who while handing me my street gang/disruptive group validation packet sneered at me stating “you got it all over your face”, pointing to my facial area responding to my surprised utterance.”)

They’re using my past against me in addition to IGI Tamayo’s alleged interview where he states I self-admitted to being a gang member. That is a complete fabrication of the events of such day and the abuse of power and malicious harassment of IGI’s.

I have suffered these unconstitutional harassments specifically at the hands of IGI E. Duarte, IGI Tamayo, IGI Silva with a certain number of searches occurring after facility searches or returning from OTC (out of court) 5/2008. With specific reference to incidents such as the constant search and seizure of property with no real provocation, no probable cause, and never yielding any contraband directly related to any association either gang or prison gang. Also, malicious acts such as derogatory practices of withholding my outgoing mail and disallowing my incoming mail as its unconstitutional and puts a strain on my family relationships.

In 2009 I was given the street gang packet and was made to believe it was going to be submitted so both packets gave me (11 points) to rebuttal. Knowing how they go about their evil ways:

1) Because when Duarte and Tamayo came to pick them up, as soon as he got in front of my door I slid them my arguments and they stated “you’re done?” looking all surprised. Plus when they left to do the copies they are obligated to give me, the copies were purposely made wrong!

2) All those points were obviously given to me all at once in hopes I get stressed out and not be capable to rebuttal nor do it correctly.

3) They, IGI’s were hiding my property because most of property consists of legal books, case law, and coincidently I had (validation manual) when I made it clear to all involved (officers and officials) how I was not going to allow their criminal tactics to be pushed on me, without a fight on my behalf. They all told me IGI has to have it. Then like magic my property appeared but days before I was officially validated by Sacramento.

I have several appeals/602’s and staff complaints against IGI and ISU as a whole as well as several of them as individuals. But I was expected of them to respond that their c/o’s did nothing wrong, it doesn’t matter to me because I preserved my rights doing so.

Before I bring this to a close, just recently I was served again with the street gang/disruptive group just because I requested for the face sheet of that packet out of my central file (C-file) so they retaliated and reserved me. On my interview for it, I came out and IGI Duarte was there, I made it clear what was he doing there if I have a staff complaint on him and this past Monday when I went out for medical within the facility I ran into IGI E. Duarte he was the Sergeant for that day. Yup, he’s a Sergeant now, he was the last one of the squad (corrupted) that placed most of all of us in ASU and he will be working in ASU a couple of days out of the week!

I know for a fact there’s a lot of merit in appeals/602’s and complaints filed against Duarte. How is it that he got promoted and on top of that work where inmates he conspired against are housed where he physically hurt an inmate. People out there should request to be provided documents specific to what are the requirements for a c/o (correctional officer) to become a Sergeant and what disqualifies a c/o from getting promoted becoming a Sergeant?

“Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor” – Ginetta Sagan

Cordially,

German Cabrera

CDC# T-50054

Calipatria State Prison ASU

Written on 8/9/2012, postmarked on 8/10/2012 to Kendra Castaneda and transcribed on 8/14/2012