Statement sent from the men at Corcoran SHU & ASU

Received per email Aug. 16th:

“Greetings, July 24, 2012

We’ve read several of your articles, each one more inspiring then the other… and even though our struggle is far from over, we remain 100%! And grateful for the support of our friends, families and loved ones such as yourself.

It’s an understatement to describe how sacrificing our meals was hard in both hunger strikes last year. Though this validation policy affects us in the SHU/ASUs. It was great seeing how many mainlines also stood up in solidarity, recognizing the harsh dubious and arbitrary CDC policy that has and will affect them in a matter of time. So it leaves one to ask… why not deny the state annual TB testing? Since CDC has already demonstrated not caring for our mental health (health care in its entirety) and well-being. CDC cherry-picks which policies they will enforce and which inmates will be allowed work, school and other trades of productivity. So what happens if everyone refuses to program/work?

Next issue is bed space. For example, here in the SHU/ASU. IGI has been purposely housing debriefers in the same vicinity as validated inmates, in attempt for those debriefers to gather info. However, since these attempts are far from effective. Instead, these debriefers “make up” info (exaggerate) which enables IGI to keep us in the SHU indefinitely. And causes others to be placed on single cell status (for what IGI calls ‘safety concerns’). Thus, CDC time and again harps how bed space is needed. Solely to sponge more money from tax payers. So what if every inmate decided one day to go single cell? Another hunger strike? Whatever is agreed upon, we stand in solidarity with respect!

Andy Rodriguez, CDC# D-89239, Corcoran State Prison SHU

Written on 7-24-2012 to Kendra Castaneda, Postmarked July 27 2012 and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda

Feeling death at our heels: An update from the frontlines of the struggle

“This photo was taken a few days after the first hunger strike ended. I was about 178 pounds; I’d lost 42 pounds,” Heshima Denham wrote on the back. He added these wise words: “Progress requires sacrifice; give up your life for the people.”

From: SF Bay View
Jan 25, 2012
from the NCTT Corcoran SHU

“Death is impossible for us to fathom; it is so immense, so frightening that we will do almost anything to keep from thinking about it. Society is organized to make death invisible, to keep it several steps removed. That distance may seem necessary for our comfort, but it comes with a terrible price: the illusion of limitless time, and a consequent lack of seriousness about daily life. As a warrior in life, you must turn this dynamic around: Make the thought of death something not to escape but to embrace. Your days are numbered. Will you pass them halfhearted or will you live with a sense of urgency? Cruel theaters staged by a czar are unnecessary; death will come to you without them. Imagine it pressing in on you, leaving you no escape, for there is no escape. Feeling death at your heels will make all your actions more certain, more forceful. This could be your last throw of the dice: Make it count.” – Robert Greene, bestselling author of “The 48 Laws of Power”

“This photo was taken a few days after the first hunger strike ended. I was about 178 pounds; I’d lost 42 pounds,” Heshima Denham wrote on the back. He added these wise words: “Progress requires sacrifice; give up your life for the people.”
Written Jan. 8, postmarked Jan. 18, 2012 – Greetings, brothers and sisters: A firm, warm and solid embrace of revolutionary love and solidarity is extended to each of you from each of us.

Since the last hunger strike ended, we have weathered wave after wave of retaliation from the state’s prison administrators that continues unabated to this day. But before I catalog these manifestations of weakness on the part of state prison administrators, we feel it’s necessary to recount why this struggle began and the nature of our resolve to see the five core demands realized.

We have been consigned to ever more aggressive sensory deprivation torture units for 10, 20, 30 and in some cases 40 years, based on an administrative determination that we are members or associates of a “gang” – a term that encompasses leftist ideologies, political and politicized prisoners, jailhouse lawyers and most anyone who in the opinion of Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is not passively accepting his role as a commodity in the prison industrial complex.

These administrative determinations are not due to some overt act of misconduct or pattern of rules violations. No, these “validations” are based most often on the reports, words or accounts of debriefers, rats, informants and other broken men who will say and do ‘most anything their IGI and ISU (Investigative Services Unit) handlers instruct them to, to avoid confinement in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) or carry some other favor from their masters.

After decades of fruitless legal challenges, after years of suffering the deprivations of conditions so inherently evil, inhumane and psychologically torturous that most of you simply cannot comprehend the reality behind these words, most of us came to realize an immutable truth: that the state’s mantra of “the only way out of the SHU is to parole, debrief or die” was something that they not only meant, but was in fact a key feature in developing a subservient and passive pool of prisoner commodities upon which the orderly fleecing of taxpayer dollars could be based.

Thirty years of successful propaganda, of dehumanizing underclass communities and the imprisoned, of lobbying that’s led to the dominance of the CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) in judicial and political elections and appointments – all to mislead an ill-informed public into submitting greater control of their lives and society to an industrial interest that runs counter to the public safety concerns they were vested to protect. Many of us watched this state of affairs progress unchallenged as our protestations fell on deaf ears, year after year, decade after decade, until advanced age and the decimation of our communities forced us onto “death ground,” where you may survive if you can resist, but you will most surely perish if you do not.

We took up a strategy which would pull back the curtain on the state’s practice of domestic torture which has been so well hidden from the people for so long, a strategy in which some of us may yet die: THE HUNGER STRIKE. We would rather starve ourselves, to risk inevitable death, than to be indefinitely subjected to the deprivations of the torture unit.

What must be understood is that existence here is, in many ways, a fate worse than death; and when advancing age brings that mortality into stark focus, the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, “Death is nothing, but to live defeated is to die every day,” resonate. This simple observation defines our resolve in realizing our five core demands.

To say this is a protracted struggle is an understatement; this is a struggle in which we will win or we will die in the effort. Our actions thus far, and the awareness of this international community of their inherent righteousness, has made this adamantine resolve clear, so why then would CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) officials resort to petty retaliatory actions? The answer lies in the very nature of the tyranny and authoritarian power they represent.

Aggression is deceptive; it inherently hides weakness. Aggressors possess poor emotional control and little patience for challenges to their interests. The first waves of retaliation from these types of aggressors may seem strong to some; this is why so many non-SHU general population prisoners dropped out of the second hunger strike as those waves struck them. But, of course, we were unmoved; and the longer such attacks go on, the clearer their underlying weaknesses and insecurity become. It is an act of irrational desperation, but one they pursue out of sheer rote.

Since the second hunger strike ended, we have experienced perpetual retaliation – some overt, some carefully disguised – all designed to erode the minds and wills of those committed to resist. We were denied any medical treatment for our starvation and when we filed emergency 602s to receive renutrition treatment and hunger strike-related injuries, they were not responded to until some 40 days later.

For example, during the first hunger strike, I (Heshima) passed out due to malnutrition and dehydration; the account was detailed in a previous statement. But simply put, their own guilt and fear caused them to assemble some 26 officers before opening my cell and piling on top of my unconscious form in order to shackle my arms and legs in chains and put me in an ambulance.

Mind you, according to witnesses, they casually, even jokingly, left me lying on my cell floor for 35 minutes before jumping on my body. Since then I’ve had a sharp, constant pain in my right side at the base of my ribcage. Though I’ve filed two medical appeals, as of this writing I have still not been treated or even diagnosed for this.

Zaharibu’s cholesterol, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure are so far outside of normal range he is at chronic risk for stroke, heart attack and diabetes – the nurses routinely “forgetting” to bring or administer his insulin when indicated.

Shortly after the second hunger strike ended, we were told, “One of the two pumps that delivers hot water to the institution is broken and we should have the part to fix it in two days.” That was over 50 days ago and we’ve had hot water for a total of three of those 50-plus days. In that intervening time, “due to the lack of hot water” we’ve been fed on paper trays, which ensures all meals arrive cold and grossly under-portioned. Because all we have to wash or shower with in these freezing cells is cold or lukewarm water, 80 percent of us housed in this 4BIL-C-Section short corridor have contracted a cold, upper respiratory tract infection or flu.

Despite numerous appeals and motions to the court, they have not run law library for any of us since August, making it impossible to access legal research, copying service or verified legal mailing, thus jeopardizing the viability of numerous legal pleadings in the courts.

We have often expounded upon the fundamental unreliability of reforms as nothing more than temporary pacification measures that can be repealed at the whim of administrators, and this analysis was again proven only weeks after the second hunger strike ended. Former Undersecretary of Corrections Scott Kernan made a big to-do about the concessions being made to improve the material conditions in SHU, including giving us action at a single special purchase order to purchase newly approved cold weather items by Dec. 31 – or those items would have to be included in annual packages.

Things like watch caps, thermals, tennis shoes etc. were all “approved” for SHU. Memos trumpeting this and Operational Procedure (OP) update chronos were issued to us all, only to be followed by a memo stating the warden of CSP-Corcoran-SHU was effectively repealing the single special purchase order for cold weather items without explanation. This was soon followed by another memo stating tennis shoes orders to SHU would not be allowed until after “Sacramento” made changes to the property matrix, something that was done by Scott Kernan back in October via emergency memo.

Rolling power outages have suddenly become routine here. The mailroom suddenly devised new regulations directing any phony orders to be directed to one post office box, while letters go to another, making it more difficult and confusing for those who care to see to the welfare of their loved ones here. Not to be left out, CDCR trust account officials have raised processing fees on electronic trust deposits called “J-Pays,” some 500 percent, from $1 to $5, increasing the financial burden on underclass families while maximizing their own profiteering.

All of those things are designed to fuse with the daily mental struggles of the reality of indefinite sensory deprivation confinement to have the cumulative effect of eroding the psychology of resistance, and if this were a situation where there was some psychological threshold to breach, they may well have found some here who capitulate. But that simply is not the reality.

This is not a situation where multi-spectrum retaliation – or coercive force of any kind – will somehow diminish the resolve of those of us committed to ending the perpetual torture inherent in these indeterminate SHU units. In fact, quite the opposite is true; such actions only serve to crystallize in our minds the simple fact that we cannot lose. The alternative is simply more unpleasant than the relatively quick sacrifice of death by starvation. They can ratchet up the intensity on these petulant retaliation moves a hundredfold and it will have no other effect than increasing our resolve a thousandfold.

We must win this struggle not simply because it is morally correct, upholds international standards of humanity, opposes governmental collusion in corporate exploitation of underclass people, and serves the interests – social, political and economic – of society as a whole, but also because it’s necessarily our survival. We are men in earnest; consequences have little meaning in the face of such conditions.

Some of you reading these words are no doubt grappling with the reality behind them, attempting to find some point of relatability, some common experience from which to draw a correlation. Unless you’ve experienced this firsthand, such an attempt is an effort in futility. But for the sake of this discussion, I challenge you to run an experiment: Go to your bathroom and close the door. Imagine that you will never leave that room. Your tub and shower, that’s your bed. Yes, your toilet is only a step or two away from where you lay your head. Your food will be brought to you here twice a day.

Stay there as long as you can. How long do you last? Twenty minutes? An hour? Six hours? Imagine you sit in that bathroom for a year, 10 years, 24 years, 40 years. You will never leave that bathroom unless you are released from prison, agree to be an agent for the same people who stuck you in that bathroom, or you die of old age and infirmity. How long would you last? How strong is your will?

Would you submit to snitchery, kowtow to your torturers and become a tool to condemn others to that same fate? Or would you fight, resist to the bitter end, give your life to expose such evil, greedy, draconian hypocrites for what they really are? Hold the mirror of social reality up to the face of every man and woman in U.S. society and force them to confront the human misery being carried to sicker and more depraved depths every day in their names? What would you do?

Some would characterize our effort as insane, as crazy. In “Hagakure: The door of the Samurai,” Yamamoto Tsunetomo quotes Lord Naoshige as saying the way of the warrior (samurai) is in desperateness. Ten or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate.

None of us want to die, but all of us are prepared to do so to realize these five core demands. History dictates no less.

So we wait. We have been told the revisions and changes to the status quo in these torture units will be done this month or by February, but the relentless retaliatory blows we are absorbing as the sobering reminder of what we are dealing with: An entrenched labor aristocracy and political patronage of corporate speculators, who’ve grown rich and powerful off extorting billions from hapless taxpayers and criminalizing underclass people and communities, will resist any effort to curtail their wealth, privilege and socio-political status quo.

These vile and greedy people are extracting more of your tax dollars for their exclusive use than many nations’ gross national product by using us as scapegoats to frighten the people – when in fact many of us are servants of the people, political progressives who would willingly lay down our lives to advance the cause of freedom, social justice and economic equality in the nation.

In the case of the NCTT and those of like mind, ironically that’s why we were validated and consigned to these torture units in the first place. A common practice of corrupt political interests is to criminalize dissent and criticism. Who will care? We are prisoners; who will know these truths? They have already succeeded in lobbying to have media access to prisoners banned unless they consent to who will be interviewed. Again, who will care, who will know?

If you’re reading these words, you now know the only question that remains is: Do you care? Do you care that the very people who you’ve entrusted with ensuring public safety are in fact intentionally working against that interest to maintain a bloated prison industrial complex on your tax dollars and our souls? Do you care that the U.S., which is so vocally condemning other nations, is ignoring its U.N. treaty obligations and maintaining its own expansive domestic torture program in U.S. Supermax SHU prisons across this nation? Do you care that these evils, this blatant hypocrisy is being carried out in your name? Do you care? And if you don’t, exactly what type of society is this we’ve allowed to emerge?

If you are reading these words, you can no longer claim ignorance; to stand idly by now would be complicity. A wise man once said, “All that is necessary for evil men to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We are under no illusions. The ultimate arbiter of our fate – and this society’s fate – is the people. YOU. YOU must rise up against this injustice and inhumanity. YOU must let the state know that substantive change at every level of society is something the people demand.

We have supported, and will continue to support, progressive people’s movements, from the Dream Act to the Occupy Movement, because we recognize the inherent unity of purpose in this single political motive force, the reality that we do not represent disparate social interests but a single determined democratic imperative to put an end to the stranglehold that this greedy elite and its tools currently have on every area of people’s activity in the U.S., to put an end to these exploitive relationships that diminish and impoverish the many for the aggrandizement of the few.

To treat us this way is wrong, evil and unsustainable socially. Stand with us. Lend your voices, your labor, and your ideas to this historical work. We can win, but only with you all by our sides. In the final analysis, this is a struggle to determine the nature of humanity itself. We are on the right side of history; we encourage you all to stand on this same side with us. Our love, loyalty and solidarity to all those who cherish freedom, justice and human rights and fear only failure. Until we win or don’t lose.

For more information on the California prison hunger strikes or the NCTT, contact:

• Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

• J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-46, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

• Kambui Robinson, C-82830, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.

Read these brothers’ previous stories:
“California prison hunger strikers propose ‘10 core demands’ for the national Occupy Wall Street Movement,”

“A brief hunger strike update from the front lines of the struggle: Corcoran-SHU 4B 1L C-section Isolation Unit” (second story in that post),

“From the front lines of the struggle,” and

“We dare to win: The reality and impact of SHU torture units.”

This story was typed by Adrian McKinney.

Why California’s prisoners are starving for solitary change

Californian prisoners have repeatedly gone on hunger strike over the solitary confinement in which some spend decades

By: Sadhbh Walshe
In: The Guardian, Wednesday 11 January 2012

[photo:]
Corcoran State Prison, California, where prisoners have been hunger striking to protest solitary confinement conditions. Photograph: Ben Margot/AP

On 19 December 2011, three prisoners at Corcoran State Prison wrote a letter to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) threatening to go on hunger strike if improvements were not made to their living conditions. Evidently, they received no response from the CDCR: the hunger strike began on 28 December.

This latest hunger strike, the third in less than six months, is small potatoes compared to the previous two, which were state-wide and involved thousands of inmates. According to Terry Thornton, a CDCR spokeswoman, it may already be over. But the fact that Californian prisoners have once again resorted to starving themselves to protest the conditions of their confinement does suggest that something is rotten in the Golden State’s penal system.

The first hunger strike began on 1 July 2011, and ended three weeks later when the CDCR agreed, in theory at least, to address the participants’ five core demands, which amounted to better living conditions, adequate food and clothing, an end to group punishments and most importantly, an end to the gang validation policy that sentences inmates to endless terms in solitary confinement cells, known as SHUs.

One of my correspondents, Anthony, who has an indeterminate SHU sentence (meaning, there’s no end in sight), described to me in a letter what it is about the SHU environment he and his fellow inmates find hard to tolerate.

“We’re entitled to receive 10 hours of ‘outdoor exercise’ a week, but lucky if we get half that. At times, we’re cooped up an entire week in our cells before the opportunity of expanding our lungs with fresh air. ‘Outdoor exercise’ consists of being placed in a dog kennel-like cage, no bigger than our cells. We’re prohibited from all recreational and exercise equipment, compelling most to pace idly back and forth.

“Blinding bright lights remain on 24 hours a day within our (windowless 8ft x 10ft) cells as we have been denied control over them. Our lavatories are electronically installed, allotting each cell two flushes every 15 minutes.”

The SHU residents are not alone in finding these conditions intolerable. On 18 October 2011, after inspecting such facilities, Juan Mendez, a United Nations expert on torture, called for all countries to ban the use of solitary confinement except in exceptional circumstances, and even then, for no longer than 15 days.

Personally, I don’t think I’d get through 15 hours locked up in a concrete box, with no window, bright lights glaring 24/7 and a toilet that won’t stop flushing, but 15 days would certainly be an improvement on 15 years, which is about the average length of time the men who have been writing to me from California’s SHUs have been locked up in these sensory deprivation units.

The CDCR’s Thornton confirmed that many inmates have spent several decades in the SHU (the record so far that I know of is 35 years), but made the point that most inmates earned their stay for acts of violence from which prisoners in the general population deserve to be protected. A valid argument, certainly, but how can you tell if an inmate is still a threat to the mainline population after he’s been locked in a box by himself for 20 plus years?

The problem for SHU inmates is that once they get sent to the box, it’s almost impossible to work their way out of it. Their options are to either “debrief, parole or die”, which as it turns out are non-options. Debriefing, or “snitching”, on other prisoners can provoke retaliation; parole is rarely granted and dying … well, suicides are certainly not rare in solitary confinement, but it turns out many SHU inmates still have the will to live.

The first hunger strike, which involved more than 6,000 inmates, brought little meaningful reform. After three weeks of starvation, the prisoners found that what they had gained amounted to little more than the right to purchase sweatpants and coloring pencils. Less than two months later, despite threats of disciplinary action by the CDCR (pdf), the hunger strike resumed with almost double the number of original participants (pdf). It all got a bit ugly for a while: mail and visiting privileges were suspended; attorneys for the hunger strikers were banned from entering the prison; participants received behavior violation write-ups; and according to several testimonies, the alleged leaders of the hunger strike were placed in freezing cold cells without proper clothing and forced to remain there for 15 days.

Eventually, a deal was reached, with promises from the CDCR to address the prisoners’ demands and to set about instigating a “step down” program, which would allow alleged gang members to earn their release from the SHU – without having to debrief. Laura Magnani, a member of the mediation team representing the prisoners, says the CDCR appear to be negotiating in good faith and progress is being made.

If this turns out to be the case, it’s good news. If not, more hunger strikes seem inevitable as does the possibility that deaths will occur. One would hope it will not take the creation of martyrs to bring about the changes that anyone with a conscience knows are overdue.

From: The Guardian (UK), Jan. 11th 2012

New hunger strike: Petition for improved conditions in Administrative Segregation Unit at Corcoran State Prison

This is a petition to those in power, not yet signable for us, but if someone posts it on a petition page, we’re sure it will reach a lot of people who agree.

Posted On December 30, 2011 in SF Bay View

by Pyung Hwa Ryoo, Juan Jaimes and William E. Brown

(Written Dec. 19, 2011) To: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Matthew Cate, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001, and Chief Deputy Warden C. Gipson, Corcoran State Prison, P.O. Box 8800, Corcoran, CA 93212

Mr. Cate and Mrs. Gipson:

We, inmates currently housed in Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) of CSP (California State Prison) Corcoran, hereby petition California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Matthew Cate and Corcoran State Prison Chief Deputy Warden C. Gipson for the redress and reform of current inhumane conditions we are subjected to which violate our constitutional rights.

Furthermore, this petition will serve as a constructive notice for the peaceful protest which will be carried out as an alternative means of petition in the event that our conditions and demands are not met in a timely manner. [A notation on the cover letter to this petition says the hunger strike started Dec. 28, 2011.]

Petitioners have attempted to address the issues brought up in this petition by filing numerous inmate appeals and grievances and requests for interviews to no avail. Our constitutional rights under the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments are being violated by CDCR and CSP Corcoran officials and therefore we demand the following:
Demand No. 1: THAT INMATES HERE IN ASU BE ALLOWED TO POSSESS TVs AND/OR RADIOS

We are daily being subjected to sensory deprivation which imposes a substantial risk of serious harm to our mental health. As established in numerous scientific studies, prolonged subjection to sensory deprivation has serious adverse effects to one’s mental health. We are subjected to these conditions for months and even years. Our numerous attempts to address this problem by filing 602s are being shut down. The officials are acting with deliberate indifference to our health and well-being, and our Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment is being violated.

Although mandated by a court order to allow inmates in ASUs to possess an entertainment appliance, CSP Corcoran officials refuse to do so citing a memorandum dated Dec. 15, 2008, that permanently exempts a number of prisons, including CSP Corcoran, from having to comply with the court’s mandates due to their “current fiscal situation and costs to retrofit housing units.” This policy is illegal, for our constitutional rights must be protected regardless of CSP Corcoran’s financial problems or the costs to make necessary installations to protect those rights.

Also, the aforementioned exemption memo states that CSP Corcoran is permanently exempt from allowing the use of entertainment appliances in the ASU. The only explanation provided on how and why this prison is exempt is a brief mention of the current fiscal situation of the prison. There is no mention of any follow-ups in a set period of time – e.g., every six months – in which the prison’s budget will be reviewed by the Division of Adult Institutions to see whether the prison still qualifies for the category that justifies exemption.

In other words, once a prison “passes the test” by showing that they currently cannot afford the costs to retrofit the housing units and get accepted in the “exemption list,” that prison is permanently exempt regardless of their financial situation in the future. This exemption policy is clearly unreasonable, and we assert that this policy is merely used as a loophole to get around the court’s mandates to allow us our entertainment appliances.

Furthermore, the exemption memo cannot apply to us because there is no extensive retrofitting required for giving us our radios. The electric outlets are in place and the radios merely need to be distributed and plugged in to work.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) CSP Corcoran officials immediately allow us to possess and/or stipulate to allow us to possess our TVs within two months.

B) CSP Corcoran officials make the necessary installations and/or stipulations needed to allow us to possess our TVs within two months.
Demand No. 2: THAT WE ARE PROVIDED ACCESS TO AN ADEQUATE LAW LIBRARY AND/OR LEGAL ASSISTANCE

The ASU law library is inadequate. Its contents do not comply with CCR (California Code of Regulations) Title 15 §3121 and DOM (Department Operations Manual) §53060.11. There is only one computer that contains the only essential law books in the law library, which is supposed to be shared by 200 inmates. This results in unreasonable delays with inmates not being able to sufficiently access the law library.
There is only one computer that contains the only essential law books in the law library, which is supposed to be shared by 200 inmates.

Furthermore, there is no copy machine in the ASU law library. All our legal copies are therefore forwarded to the 4A facility law library for copying. This results in delays of days or even weeks for us to receive our copies back. Also, there have been instances where our copies have been lost resulting from this unreliable practice.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) CSP Corcoran officials allow us access to an adequate law library and reasonable amount of time to use such law library by: 1) Ordering and replacing all current law books listed in CCR Title 15 §3121 and DOM §53060.11 which are missing from the ASU law libraries contents, or 2) Installing three more computers that contain essential law books for inmate use, or 3) Providing us with adequate legal assistance from persons trained in the law.

B) CSP Corcoran officials install a copy machine in the ASU law library for its use for legal copies and all essential legal supplies be kept in stock.
Demand No. 3: THAT INMATES NOT BE FURTHER PUNISHED UPON COMPLETION OF THEIR SHU TERMS

Inmates are being placed in the ASU after the completion of their SHU terms supposedly “pending transfer.” These inmates are then stuck here for four, five months, in many instances even longer, before finally being transferred to general population. This practice of illegally placing inmates in ASU upon the completion of their SHU terms for long periods of time without proper procedure and with excessive delays on their transfers is resulting in unjustified punishment for these inmates.

Furthermore, inmates undergoing the DRB (Departmental Review Board) process after the completion of their SHU terms are being held in ASU for months and even years while the counselors and committee ignore their repeated requests for a timely hearing on their case. This is in blatant violation of their procedural due process rights.

Inmates undergoing the DRB (Departmental Review Board) process after the completion of their SHU terms are being held in ASU for months and even years while the counselors and committee ignore their repeated requests for a timely hearing on their case.

The inmates submit numerous inmate requests to ASU counselors regarding the delays on their transfers and/or DRB process, but those inmate requests are not being responded to and are being ignored. The counselors are not doing their jobs because of their incompetence and/or negligence; we are suffering these undue delays explained above.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) The counselors here in ASU do not unreasonably delay inmates’ transfers and DRB process and respond to inmate requests in a timely manner.

B) Inmates who are placed in ASU after the completition of their SHU terms be afforded the same privileges as those inmates who are classified as A2-B inmates, which includes but is not limited to quarterly packages, one phone call per month and $120 monthly canteen draws.
Demand No.4: THAT WE BE AFFORDED ADEQUATE AND TIMELY MEDICAL CARE

Medical staff here in ASU unjustifiably delays medical attention and denies proper medical treatment for inmates. Although required by the court’s order in Coleman/Plata v. Schwarzenegger to provide us with adequate medical care, which the CDCR has failed to provide before, CSP Corcoran’s medical department is not in compliance with the court’s mandates. We are suffering violations to our Eighth Amendment rights daily for lack of adequate medical care, and our health and well-being are severely jeopardized.

Furthermore, we are having difficulties pursuing timely medical appeals and grievances. The medical appeals coordinators do not follow time requirements set forth in CCR Title 15 §3084.6 and there are substantial delays on getting responses for our appeals.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) Inmates be provided with timely medical attention upon request and provided with adequate medical care as mandated by the court in Coleman/Plata v. Schwarzenegger.

B) Medical appeals be promptly responded to pursuant to CCR Title 15 §3084.6.
Demand No. 5: THAT WE BE AFFORDED DUE PROCESS IN OUR 115 HEARINGS

We are being placed in ASU and sentenced to SHU terms without being afforded due process of law. The hearing officers automatically find inmates guilty regardless of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence, and their biased perspectives and opinions go unchallenged.

Although the hearing officers are acting as lawyers and/or triers of fact in 115 hearings on the question of guilt, clearly under the guidelines of established case law concerning due process, they are not required to be trained in the law nor registered with the State Bar.

Resulting from their lack of knowledge and competence in this matter, frivolous and false charges not supported by any reliable evidence, which would be thrown out in a court of law, are being upheld and imposed on us. This violates our 14th Amendment rights to due process.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) Hearing officers be required to follow guidelines established by the courts concerning due process, burden of proof and sufficiency of evidence when conducting 115 hearings.

B) Hearing officers be trained in the law so they may be deemed competent to carry out the duty of a trier of fact in 115 hearings.
Demand No. 6: THAT WE BE ALLOWED PHONE ACCESS

Inmates placed in ASU are not allowed access to phones. The only way we are allowed to maintain family and community ties are by writing letters and receiving visits. Not all of us are literate, and not all of us get visits. So the denial of phone access is depriving many of us of the only way to keep in contact with our families and loved ones.
The denial of phone access is depriving many of us of the only way to keep in contact with our families and loved ones.

Furthermore, those of us currently litigating cases who need access to the phone to contact witnesses, private investigators, attorneys, courtroom clerks etc. are not allowed phone access. This results in an impingement on our First Amendment rights to access to the courts.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) Inmates in ASU be allowed one phone call a month on an inmate telephone pursuant to CCR Title 15 §3282(a)(3).

B) Inmates in ASU be allowed confidential calls pursuant to CCR Title 15 §3282(g).
Demand No. 7: THAT WE BE PROVIDED WITH ADEQUATE LAUNDRY EXCHANGE

We are being denied adequate laundry exchange. There are weeks where laundry exchange is not run; most of the time during laundry exchange they are short on pillow cases, sheets and towels; and we are only allowed to turn in one of each item for laundry exchange. This clearly is not in accordance with CCR Title 15 §3031(b).

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) We be provided with a weekly laundry exchange pursuant to CCR Title 15 §3031(b).
Demand No. 8: THAT OUR CANTEEN FOOD ITEMS BE GIVEN TO US IN THEIR PACKAGING

Our canteen is being opened and food items – such as rice, soups, cookies, chips, beans, etc. – are being placed in paper bags before they’re given to us. This attracts ants and insects that go into the bags containing food and thereby pose a serious health risk. Furthermore, the food becomes stale and inedible after a few days due to the food being placed in paper bags.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) Inmates be allowed to keep their canteen items in the plastic bags they come in and/or be allowed to purchase zip lock plastic bags from the canteen to place the food in.
Demand No. 9: THAT WE BE AFFORDED EDUCATIONAL AND REHABILITATIVE PROGRAMS AND/OR OPPORTUNITIES

Inmates in ASU are not allowed any educational and/or rehabilitative programs and/or opportunities. There is no school; we are not allowed to receive any form of correspondence course for lack of proctors, those of us who wish to learn a trade are not able to and those of us who wish to better ourselves to be better individuals of benefit to our society and other citizens are not given that chance.
Inmates in ASU are not allowed any educational and/or rehabilitative programs and/or opportunities.

Furthermore, we are currently not allowed TVs, so we are not able to partake in educational opportunities by watching educational channels or programs or participating in educational programs that are provided by the institution on the institutional channels.

This contradicts what CDCR supposedly stands for, which is to make the communities safer and rehabilitate our prisoners. We wish to better ourselves by participating in educational and/or rehabilitative programs, but we are denied this right.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) We are afforded educational programs such as correspondence courses, proctored exams, vocational courses etc.

B) We are afforded rehabilitative programs in self-help, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous etc.

C) We be allowed to possess our TVs for educational purposes such as to partake in educational opportunities provided by the institutional as well as educational channels.
Demand No. 10: THAT WE RECEIVE THE SAME PRIVILEGES AS SHU INMATES

The inmates housed in the SHU are allowed certain privileges and items from canteen and packages that we are not allowed. These privileges include but are not limited to TVs; educational courses; beanies, sweats and shoes from package; photo ducats; and art supplies from canteen such as colored pens, pastels and sketch pads. Furthermore, SHU inmates are allowed exercise equipment in the yard cages, such as pull-up and dip bars.

Inmates housed here in ASU are D1/D assigned, same as the SHU inmates. Most of us are stuck in this ASU for months and even years. The fact that we currently are not afforded the same rights and privileges as SHU inmates violates our equal protection rights.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) We be afforded the same rights, privileges, items and programs as are afforded to inmates in the SHU
Demand No. 11: THAT NO REPRISALS BE TAKEN FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF OUR RIGHT TO PETITION

We are exercising our legal right to petition in participating in a peaceful protest. This right is protected by the United States Constitution and thereby any sanctions and/or reprisals placed on us for the reason stated above is illegal and a violation of our rights.

THEREFORE, WE DEMAND THAT:

A) No reprisals be taken on petitioners in any form or manner for the exercise of our right to petition.

Conclusion

We petitioners are not deprived of our constitutional rights simply because we are incarcerated behind these prison walls. We are bound by the Constitution of the United States, and therefore its protection extends to us as well. These rights have been violated and disregarded by CDCR and CSP Corcoran officials and therefore petitioners, with the support of members of their class, hereby come together to demand the redress and remedies that have been long overdue.
We are bound by the Constitution of the United States, and therefore its protection extends to us as well.

Petitioners pray that this petition and the issues addressed herein are remedied and the relief sought in each demand granted.

Pyung Hwa Ryoo, F-88924, Corcoran State Prison, ASU 1-167, P.O. Box 3456, Corcoran, CA 93212

Juan Jaimes, V-08644, Corcoran State Prison, ASU 1-165, P.O. Box 3456, Corcoran, CA 93212

William E. Brown, T-58106, Corcoran State Prison, ASU 1-169, P.O. Box 3456, Corcoran, CA 93212

This petition was sent to S. Vargas to be forwarded to the Bay View. It was typed by Kendra Castaneda. Readers are urged to write to these brothers on hunger strike.