Games the gang investigators play

This is a piece from Aug 16, 2012, published in the SF Bay View, but it is as relevant as ever: nothing has changed within the CDCr and in how the Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) work! The public and those who represent them should take serious note that IGI is often said to be acting without any court-intervention, giving punishment to imprisoned people on often false reports, falsified reports, made-up reports. If a possible crime occurs, should the accused not be given a trial? And what are the reasons for the possibly substantiated rumors that IGI might falsify reports? Could it be to keep the SHU’s filled with so-called “validated” prisoners, allegedly gang-members, or in the new vocabulary of CDCr: “Security Threat Groups” (STG)?

For a SHU-prisoner, the prisons receive more money from you, the tax payers, than for a prisoner in General Population. Think about it, and start asking your representatives questions!

This is just a quick note to say thank you for the March issue and another April and May issue of the S.F. Bay View you sent. I read the March issue and can see why these fascist captors of mine kept it from me. They already look at us New Afrikkkans as suspected “gang” members and anything political or educational we read they label it gang material. It’s absurd!

They’ve been keeping my mail for at least an extra week after I receive it from my family, and any books or other forms of reading material they hold for a month or so before they issue it to me. I know it’s a game the IGIs (Institutional Gang Investigators) use to keep us New Afrikkkans, Southern and Northern Mexicans, oppressed Whites and Native Amerikkkans buried alive in these concrete tombs under their three-point gang validation, which, since our statewide hunger strike, they continue to do.

I’ve seen four gang validation packages issued out within the last two weeks by these IGI oppressors, who in all actuality are their own gang. I remember reading about IGI Duarte in Calipatria State Prison being under investigation himself for putting together false validation packages on comrades; well, he isn’t the only one to do so. I’m more than certain if the CDC got more IGIs under investigation for false acts to get brothers validated, these tables would really turn and society would see who the real gang members are.

Thank you for continuing to be the driving force in bringing awareness to the free world about our constant struggles to fight our oppressors. I’ve given out the other two Bay Views you sent to some comrades to read and hopefully get subscriptions as well.

In true solidarity struggle,

Comrade T

Survey questionnaire from the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign

From: SF Bay View, Nov 6th 2012

This  Survey questionnaire is being presented to the community for the purpose of making a qualitative assessment of the CDCR’s mail policies and practices in relation to prisoners and our families’ First Amendment constitutional right to send and receive mail and our 14th Amendment constitutional right to be provided with adequate notice of the reasons for our mail being stopped or disallowed, so that we can have
the opportunity to be meaningfully heard as to why our mail is being stopped or disallowed.

The data gathered from this survey will be utilized as material evidence in an ongoing case aimed at obtaining a permanent injunction in court. The injunction would enjoin CDCR’s Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) and Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) from arbitrarily accusing prisoners, our families and law abiding citizens of the free community of promoting gang activity via the mail that prisoners are sending to and receiving from our families and members of the free community. A permanent injunction will only be granted upon a showing of irreparable harm and when the constitutional violation is proven to be of a systemic nature.

Therefore, it would be greatly appreciated if the community could take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

Questions for prisoners:

  1. What prison are you in?
  2. How long have you been in this prison?
  3. Have you ever had your incoming mail or outgoing mail stopped or disallowed on the grounds of allegedly promoting gang activity? If yes, did you receive a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice”?
  4. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, did the reasons listed on the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” provide you with a specific explanation as to how you were allegedly promoting gang activity? Or was the explanation vague?
  5. Since the year 2006, how many “Stopped Mail Notices” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notices” have you received as a prisoner?
  6. If you have ever had your mail stopped or disallowed, were you ever issued a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” that stated: “You were promoting BGF related activity” because your mail made a reference to any of the following:
    • George Jackson
    • Black August
    • New Afrikan
    • New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism (NARN)
    • Black Panther Party
    • George Jackson University
    • New Afrikan Institute of Criminology 101
    • New Afrikan Collective Think Tank
  7. Have the allegations of gang activity in the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” ever been used against you in your Inactive Gang Status Reviews? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.
  8. Have the allegations of gang activity in the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” ever been used against you to deny you parole at your parole suitability hearing? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.
  9. Have you ever been placed on mail restrictions in relation to receiving a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” for alleged gang activity where you were told that you could not write to a specific member of the free community? If yes, how long were the mail restrictions?
  10. Have you ever received a CDC 115 Rules Violation Report for allegedly promoting gang activity via your outgoing or incoming mail? If yes, please list the months and years that this happened.

Questions for family and community members:

  1. Do you have a friend or family member in prison? If yes, what prison are they in?
  2. Do you regularly write to your friend or family member in prison? If yes, how often?
  3. Have you ever received a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” stating that your mail is being stopped or disallowed because you are promoting gang activity? If yes, please list the months and years.
  4. When the prison sent you the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice,” did the notice inform you that you have a right to file a 602 appeal and/or a citizen’s complaint pursuant to CCR Title 15 Sections 3291(b), 3391(d), and Penal Code Section 832.5?
  5. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, did the reasons listed on the “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” provide you with a specific explanation as to how you were allegedly promoting gang activity? Or was the explanation vague?
  6. Since the year 2006, how many “Stopped Mail Notices” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notices” have you received as a family or community member?
  7. If you have had your mail stopped or disallowed, were you ever issued a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” that stated: “You were promoting BGF related activity” because your mail made a reference to any of the following:
    • George Jackson
    • Black August
    • New Afrikan
    • New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism (NARN)
    • Black Panther Party
    • George Jackson University
    • New Afrikan Institute of Criminology 101
    • New Afrikan Collective Think Tank
  8. Have you ever been placed on mail restrictions in relation to receiving a “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or a “Mail Disallowal Notice” for alleged gang activity where you were told that you could not write to a specific prisoner? If yes, how long were the mail restrictions?
  9. Were you ever subjected to any criminal prosecution as a result of CDCR’s Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) or Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) accusing you of promoting gang activity per any “Stopped Mail Notice” and/or “Mail Disallowal Notice” that you were issued by the prison?

I would like to thank the community in light of everybody taking a minute to answer the questions within this survey questionnaire. This is a time sensitive request. At your earliest convenience, please mail all survey questionnaires to:

Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, c/o Attorney Carol Strickman,
Re: First Amendment Campaign,
1540 Market St., Suite 490,
San Francisco, CA 94102.
Members of the public can email responses to Azadeh@prisonerswithchildren.org.

All Power to the People!

Freedom, Justice and Human Rights Coordinator

They circle like vultures

In: SF Bay View
October 27, 2012

by Alfred Sandoval

The Department of Corruption’s draft of the Step Down Program [for release from SHU without “debriefing,” i.e., snitching or inventing information about other prisoners to be used as evidence for their validation and SHU confinement] – well, it’s crap! I really believe that it was intended to get a negative reaction – because in the new version, it would actually take five years, whereas their last proposal was four years!

The new draft allows for any CO (correctional officer) or staff member to have any prisoner placed in SHU for anything they deem necessary, citing safety and security and public safety, even without any disciplinary action. Many of us have seen first hand the abusive nature of sadistic, racist and misogynistic CO staff who fabricate information to “break” prisoners.

Of all the alleged changes to the policy, not one allows for real scrutiny of the information used to indefinitely house prisoners in the dungeons of California’s prison system – the SHUs. But then look at how much money – taxpayers’ money – is made off of one prisoner’s SHU housing.

The so called shareholders are reaping in money hand over fist while prisoners in the SHU are routinely mistreated and denied medical care. I really was not surprised when Gov. Brown vetoed the media access bill. Imagine having an Abu Ghraib exposed on his watch!

Many of us have seen first hand the abusive nature of sadistic, racist and misogynistic CO staff who fabricate information to “break” prisoners.

Right now I have a civil suit pending in the Northern District Court – Sandoval v. D. Barneburg et al, No. C12-3007 LHK (PR) – citing excessive use of force by PBSP IGI (Institutional Gang Investigation) unit. The DVD that documented all the injuries inflicted on me disappeared from an evidence locker. But I knew it would; these COs have a well formed code of silence that guarantees impunity to all COs and staff who abuse prisoners.

Some actually belong to the PBSP “honor guard.” Since the hunger strikes, the COs and IGIs have continued to attempt to incite conflict between prisoners, but we all know it’s a divide and conquer tactic. Many of us have 20-30 years in the SHUs and many have actually grown up together through the system, so we know what’s what and know when we’re being played by the COs and staff.
The warden has made it clear that he will not sign any order for the items agreed to during the mediations because he is retiring in January with a full pension.

Since the hunger strikes, the COs and IGIs have continued to attempt to incite conflict between prisoners, but we all know it’s a divide and conquer tactic.

Recently many prisoners have been reclassified as “high risk medical,” but it’s a sham to give prisoners false hope of actually getting medical care that is not overseen by the IGI unit. The chief medical officer will state the prisoner can be treated here, thereby nullifying the “high risk” portion, but PBSP will get the extra state funds to house us here until we die.

Many of the prisoners who are dying refuse to go to the clinic. Most wait until the very last minute because the clinic rooms are nasty, without reading material or TV or anything but a single bed. So once you’re taken to the clinic, you just sit on the bed and wait to die. It’s a guarantee that the IGI will stop by to ask if you’re ready to debrief before you die. They circle like vultures.

Send our brother some love and light: Alfred Sandoval, D-61000, PBSP SHU D4-214, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532. This letter was written to and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda. It was written on Oct. 21.

[photo: Imagine your life encased in a 7-by-11-foot cage with no window, the light on 24/7 and no privacy, under the watchful eyes of people paid to break your spirit – and your body – all because they fear you have influence with other prisoners. – Photo: North Coast Journal]

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.

Short Corridor Collective Announces Agreement to End Hostilities

Short Corridor Collective Announces Agreement to End Hostilities
Posted on September 11, 2012 http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/short-corridor-collective-calls-for-statewide-end-to-hostilities/

See also: SF Bay View

Representatives of the CA Hunger Strike issued a statement calling for an end to all violence and hostility between different groups of prisoners throughout the state of CA from maximum security prisons to county jails. The statement asks prisoners to unite beginning October 10th, 2012.

In their statement sent to Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, the representatives explain:

We can no longer allow CDCR to use us against each other for their benefit!! Because the reality is that collectively, we are an empowered, mighty force, that can positively change this entire corrupt system into a system that actually benefits prisoners, and thereby, the public as a whole… and we simply cannot allow CDCR/CCPOA – Prison Guard’s Union, IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU, to continue to get away with their constant form of progressive oppression and warehousing of tens of thousands of prisoners, including the 14,000 (+) plus prisoners held in solitary confinement torture chambers [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg Units] for decades!!!

Read the entire announcement from the Short Corridor Collective here.
CA PW posted it verbatim here under with screenshots of the PDF document.

Agreement to End Hostilities
August 12, 2012

To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:

Greetings from the entire PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Hunger Strike Representatives. We are hereby presenting this mutual agreement on behalf of all racial groups here in the PBSP-SHU Corridor. Wherein, we have arrived at a mutual agreement concerning the following points:

1. If we really want to bring about substantive meaningful changes to the CDCR system in a manner beneficial to all solid individuals, who have never been broken by CDCR’s torture tactics intended to coerce one to become a state informant via debriefing, that now is the time to for us to collectively seize this moment in time, and put an end to more than 20-30 years of hostilities between our racial groups.

2. Therefore, beginning on October 10, 2012, all hostilities between our racial groups… in SHU, Ad-Seg, General Population, and County Jails, will officially cease. This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end… and if personal issues arise between individuals, people need to do all they can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle such disputes; do not allow personal, individual issues to escalate into racial group issues!!

3. We also want to warn those in the General Population that IGI will continue to plant undercover Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) debriefer “inmates” amongst the solid GP prisoners with orders from IGI to be informers, snitches, rats, and obstructionists, in order to attempt to disrupt and undermine our collective groups’ mutual understanding on issues intended for our mutual causes [i.e., forcing CDCR to open up all GP main lines, and return to a rehabilitative-type system of meaningful programs/privileges, including lifer conjugal visits, etc. via peaceful protest activity/noncooperation e.g., hunger strike, no labor, etc. etc.]. People need to be aware and vigilant to such tactics, and refuse to allow such IGI inmate snitches to create chaos and reignite hostilities amongst our racial groups. We can no longer play into IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU’s old manipulative divide and conquer tactics!!!

In conclusion, we must all hold strong to our mutual agreement from this point on and focus our time, attention, and energy on mutual causes beneficial to all of us [i.e., prisoners], and our best interests. We can no longer allow CDCR to use us against each other for their benefit!! Because the reality is that collectively, we are an empowered, mighty force, that can positively change this entire corrupt system into a system that actually benefits prisoners, and thereby, the public as a whole… and we simply cannot allow CDCR/CCPOA – Prison Guard’s Union, IGI, ISU, OCS, and SSU, to continue to get away with their constant form of progressive oppression and warehousing of tens of thousands of prisoners, including the 14,000 (+) plus prisoners held in solitary confinement torture chambers [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg Units], for decades!!!

We send our love and respects to all those of like mind and heart… onward in struggle and solidarity…

Presented by the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective:

Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124

[NOTE: All names and the statement must be verbatim when used & posted on any website or media, or non-media, publications]

Pelican Bay SHU confiscates prisoner’s letter, warning him not to ‘associate with SF Bay View’

From the SF Bay View, August 31st, 2012

Writer’s name withheld

[photo: Prison authorities seem to fear any prisoner who writes for publication almost as much as they fear the world renowned prison writer George Jackson. The letter written to the Bay View by this prisoner was confiscated in July, despite Mutope Duguma’s victory in appeals court in June ordering Pelican Bay to release his letter to the Bay View on First Amendment grounds.]

Allow me this opportunity to wholeheartedly convey my appreciation for your commitment to being the voice of the forgotten and disenfranchised. Some inmates have been in this hell-hole for 20-plus years and had no means to raise their voices. This was the result of cowards unwilling to challenge CDCR and its powerful union, and it’s the courage that you’ve shown that has allowed us, as a collective, to realize we do have a voice, but only through unity. So I would commend you on your undying commitment and hard work.

The reason I’m writing this letter is to advise you and your loyal readers of the retaliation that Pelican Bay State Prison gang investigators have taken up against those of us inmates who chose to respond to your July 2012 issue, where one of your writers invited us to submit suggestions on how we PBSP SHU inmates should proceed in our “peaceful” protest against the new security threat group (STG) policy.

On July 22, 2012, I wrote a letter to you wanting to express my gratitude for the hard work that you do for us. In the letter I included my suggestion on how we should proceed in our opposition to the STG policy and asked if you would transcribe my suggestion in your next issue.
It’s the courage that you’ve shown that has allowed us, as a collective, to realize we do have a voice, but only through unity.

Two days later, I’m served with a serious rule violation charging me with “inciting a mass disturbance” (hunger strike). At the time I’m being issued this rule violation report, the officer is telling me that any attempts to associate with the SF Bay View will be met with punishment. The reporting officer, Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) D. Milligan, confiscated the letter that I wrote to you, finding that I was attempting to submit the letter for no other purpose than inciting other inmates to participate in another hunger strike.

In an effort to retaliate against me for what they call “associate with SF Bay View,” the reporting officer purposely misconstrues my letter and takes my suggestion out of context. In fact, the charge that Officer Milligan is making against me couldn’t be any more contrary to the point I’m proposing.

First, I’m proposing that we respond to the STG policy by way of a “peaceful” protest. Peaceful, as I understand it, is defined as “without disturbance.” However, I’m being charged with inciting a mass disturbance. Second, I specifically address the point I’m trying to make in my suggestion. In doing so, I make clear how I feel that we have the better hand while the November election is in sight.

I explain, “There are ramifications for the government to keep us out of the media,” further suggesting that “we should not let them (CDCR) hold us off past the election.” I went on to propose that “we should start immediately where we left off with our last hunger strike – emphasis on where we left off.

In an effort to retaliate against me for what they call “associate with SF Bay View,” the reporting officer purposely misconstrues my letter and takes my suggestion out of context. In fact, the charge that Officer Milligan is making against me couldn’t be any more contrary to the point I’m proposing.

Now, in order for Officer Milligan’s charge against me to stand, the question turns on “where did we leave off.” The fact is “we” were never on a hunger strike. Although I received a rule violation for participating in a hunger strike, ultimately I was found not guilty, because that would require me having been a participant, which was never the case.

But that’s all beside the point. As my suggestion specifically notes, there are ramifications for the government to keep us out of the media, especially in light of the fact that there are elections in sight. “Where we left off with our last hunger strike” is we all agreed to do everything we can to expose the torturous conditions that we were “subjected to by way of reaching out to the media.”

This meant that we would write to newspaper companies and television broadcasting stations. Nowhere in my proposal am I attempting to incite a mass disturbance. Hence “peaceful” protest.

Now I’m writing in hopes that you can warn your subscribers of the retaliation being done to those of us who, as Officer Milligan put it, “associate with SF Bay View” and inform them not to be discouraged or dissuaded in our struggle to have our voices heard. I would consent to having you publish whatever is necessary in order for your readers to get an idea of the retaliation that has occurred here. However, I wish to remain unidentified in order to avoid further reprisal by prison officials including Officer Milligan.

Now I’m writing in hopes that you can warn your subscribers of the retaliation being done to those of us who, as Officer Milligan put it, “associate with SF Bay View” and inform them not to be discouraged or dissuaded in our struggle to have our voices heard.

Also I would ask that you help me obtain some legal counsel in order to explore some legal remedies, as it’s clear the actions by prison officials here violated my constitutional rights. Moreover, if I’m found guilty of the charges, I will lose my good time credits.

Thank you for your commitment and understanding.

Rules Violation Report

This is what Officer Milligan wrote in a Rules Violation Report dated July 24, 2012: “On Monday, July 23, 2012, at approximately 0830 hours, while assigned to the Institution Gang Investigations Unit (IGI), Investigative Services Unit (ISU), Officer #7, I received for review a one page letter authored by [identification withheld], currently housed in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), Facility D, Unit 9, [cell number withheld] at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). The letter was dated July 20, 2012, and was addressed to the personnel of the publication of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper and its supporters, regarding a suggestion for a ‘hunger strike.’

“At the beginning of the letter [he] expressed his appreciation to the personnel at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper by complimenting them for being successful in assisting the inmate population housed in the SHU, at PBSP, and other institutions within the State of California, in helping bring ‘unity’ to all inmates who participated in the ‘hunger strike’ in July 2011, throughout the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). [He] also states in the second paragraph of the letter that he recently read the latest issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper (July 2012), and noticed a section authored by a “fellow inmate” (unidentified), housed in the SHU, at PBSP, who was asking for “suggestions and how to move forward with our peaceful protest” in opposition to the new Security Threat Group (STG) policy proposed by the CDCR and the new validation policies concerning gang management. [He] asks that his ‘suggestions’ be considered for publication in the next issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. However, [he] asks that his name be withheld and remain anonymous, so not to draw attention to himself and avoid reprisals from CDCR staff. [He] ends the paragraph by asking that the following ‘suggestions’ be transcribed in the next issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. (This is typed in italics verbatim as it was authored by [him]).

“’To all representatives of the peaceful protest against the new STG policy: I’m writing in response to the invitation to submit suggestions as to the next move we should take in our peaceful protest. I would propose that we not wait for the new policy to come out for the fact that we all know what the policy looks like and firmly reject it. I feel that we all have the better hand while the November election is in sight and there’s ramifications for the government to keep us out of the media, so we should not let them (CDCR) hold us off past the elections. Rather, we should start (immediately) where we left off with our last hunger strike, discontinue all negotiations with CDCR officials, make it clear that our protest is indefinite, meaning no date will be set as to when the peaceful protest ends, and make it clear that validated inmates shall not be housed in this (PBSP) SHU for long periods. Forever forward, D-9 Consensus.’”

“Based on my training and experience as a Correctional Officer, and after having reviewed the letter authored by [him], it is clearly evident that [he] is attempting to submit this letter and his ‘suggestions’ for no other purpose than inciting other inmates housed in the SHU, at PBSP and within the State of California, to participate in another ‘hunger strike’ which would ultimately lead to another mass disturbance similar to the ‘hunger strike’ experienced in July 2011, while remaining anonymous to avoid any reprisals. This behavior meets the criteria established in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Section 3005(a), Conduct, which states in part, ‘Inmates and parolees shall obey all laws, regulations, and local procedures and refrain from behavior which might lead to violence or disorder, or otherwise endangers facility, outside community or another person.’ (Attachment of letter provided).”

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