Corcoran SHU prisoners start hunger strike for decent healthcare; support needed now

Sept. 28th, 2014
From: SFBayview

On Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, three men locked inside unit 4B-1L of the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) of California State Prison-Corcoran started a hunger strike:
Heshima Denham (J-38283), followed on Sept. 27 by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough (D-83611), and Kambui Robinson (C-82830) will join them the following day for a few days or as long as he can considering his poor health.

The medical care at Corcoran SHU is so bad that life-threatening situations have occurred on too many occasions to the people in the SHU and possibly also elsewhere at CSP-Corcoran that they have had to resort to a hunger strike, the ultimate nonviolent protest, in order to make this point known to the warden, the medical receiver appointed by the court to oversee California’s notoriously bad prison healthcare, and the administration of the California Department of Corrections (CDCr).

Several factors made the three decide to protest the lack of healthcare now: Kambui has diabetes that is very badly regulated with a HBA1C of 9.3 – far too high for diabetics, especially with those already suffering loss of eyesight and neuropathy – and Zaharibu has dangerous, untreated, extremely high cholesterol, making him very vulnerable to stroke, and he has untreated gall stones and a CPAP machine [for sleep apnea, can cause strokes] without an extension cord to work effectively.

Custody staff interfering with medical staff is causing dangerous situations.

What can you do to help?

Ideally we want Michael (Zaharibu) Dorrough and Kambui Robinson moved to Vacaville or New Folsom medical facilities. Kambui’s situation is most critical:

He needs more control over his insulin-dependent diabetes – better regulation, prevention of more complications, and a special diet for diabetics, with sufficient carbohydrates, low fat, whole grains, access to glucose and daily exercise outside his cell. He also needs a diagnostic scan to determine nerve damage in his brain.

For Michael Dorrough (D-83611): normal access to the CPAP machine, treatment for high cholesterol levels and treatment for gallstones.

[Note: Both Michael Dorrough and Kambui Robinson also need to be moved away from the Central Valley due to Valley Fever!]

Finally, for Heshima Denham (J-38283), we need an MRI-scan to make a diagnosis of the pain in his right side and treatment for whatever is causing it. Heshima was recently also diagnosed with PTSD.
Please keep in mind these are medical issues that should be treated with discretion.

Although I concentrate on these three people who are on a hunger strike, they have expressed that they are striking for all people with a disease or injury needing better care, chronic or not, at CSP-Corcoran.

Although I concentrate on these three people who are on a hunger strike, they have expressed that they are striking for all people with a disease or injury needing better care, chronic or not, at CSP-Corcoran.

Call or write to the Corcoran warden, or leave a message with his secretary. Below is a proposed script:

Call or email Warden Dave Davey, at 559 992-8800 or, or write to him at P.O. Box 8800, Corcoran, CA 93212-8309.

[Please cc emails to: Dr Clarence Cryer, , Chief Executive Officer in charge of health care at CSP-Corcoran.]

Call or send a copy of your letter or email to Diana Toche, Undersecretary for Health Care Services and Undersecretary for Administration and Offender Services, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Correctional Health Care Services, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA 94283-0001, 916-691-0209,

Also send a copy to the Medical Receiver, California Correctional Health Care Services, Controlled Correspondence Unit, P.O. Box 588500, Elk Grove, CA 95758,

Finally, contact the Ombudsman, at

Suggested script for your phone call, email or letter:

I am contacting you concerning the lack of specialized healthcare for people inside the CSP-Corcoran SHU, especially those with chronic diseases. I would like to make you aware of the fact that there is a hunger strike going on inside to demand that people with diabetes or sleep apnea and in need of special diets and other mental and physical healthcare get treated as they would when not incarcerated. Insulin-dependent diabetics with complications and patients with CPAP machines, mental illness such as PTSD and other mental challenges should not be in the SHU but in a medical facility.

The healthcare system in several California prisons is failing badly and we demand prompt action now:

Either move the diabetic patients and the CPAP-machine patients, as well as all other chronic disease patients, to a medical facility or improve the healthcare system, including the rules for, for instance, MRI scans in CSP-Corcoran.

MRI scans are only allowed when there is a physically visible wound. This is wrong!
Also, prevent custody staff from interfering with medical issues, please!

I respectfully insist you act this week to start making specific and general improvements to the healthcare in CSP-Corcoran SHU, before lives are lost.

Thank you.

Back Broken: No Adequate Medical Help at Kern Valley State Prison

Please share this letter, in hopes his voice will be heard and someone helps him and contacts him, he needs help and is in intense pain with being denied proper medical treatment by CDCR, he needs proper tests and surgery asap and CDCR is denying all pain meds or anything that will help him walk, his address is below.

Dearest Kendra,                                                                                                        6/25/2012

Hi how are you doing? I’m sorry I have not responded back to your last letter but the reason for that is because I suffered a misfortune, I broke my back on 4-6-2012. And till this day, I have not been getting adequate medical treatment. I am currently under excruciating pain and am wearing this cardio vascular vest since April 20th 2012. 

Here are the facts of my misfortune, on April 6th 2012 while on the yard playing spores I went for the ball and three bodies landed on my back while I was pinned semi bent, I held their weight for a quick second but then I fell and my back broke in half. I was unable to get up at all and the correctional officers forced me to walk to medical or they told me that I was not going to get any medical treatment or seen I should say. 

So the other two inmates had to carry me to the yard clinic and laid me down on the bench and left. While there I explained to c/o’s and medical staff how my back felt while there was forced to get up and into shackles by c/o’s until the paramedics arrived.

Short thereafter  arrived in Delano Medical Regional Center where I was put in a room for hours until x-rays were performed on my back only to tell me that nothing was wrong with me, quoting from them “you only have back ‘spasms’.” I was like how are you going to tell me there’s nothing wrong when I’m telling you I cannot walk nor stand on my feet? I was kicked back on the yard with no pain medications, no walker, etc… 

On April 11, 2012, I was seen by the yard doctor and I explained to him that I couldn’t walk and that my back feels loose and that I’m in severe pain. He then examined my back and noticed it was swollen and had bumps so he ordered x-rays and so on. 

April 13 2012, I went and got x-rays. On April 17 2012, while in my cell I get called to the institutional hospital and as soon as I arrived the Doctor tells me that I have fractured vertebrae L-1 and a squished disc. I was sent to Bakersfield to be seen by specialist and was told I could end up paralyzed.

Look I’m sorry I may not make any sense but it’s a little difficult for me to focus, I been on my back for 2 months and some change now wearing this vest that does not help me at all, let alone this pain I have to go through 24/7 since having put this vest on. I have not received any pain medications nor a walker, etc… Although I have a (CDCR) Chrono for such. Look I don’t want to bored you with my problems but I wanted to ask you if by chance you know of any law firms that deal with suits, I’m unable to write and the appeals that I do submit are all being sent back to me and need legal & professional help.

As for the hunger strike at Corcoran (ASU), the warden (Warden Gipson) promised all these things on the petition but did not follow through on anything and yes, Christian Gomez died due to not eating. Sorry for this long delay hope to hear back from you, may you and your loved ones enjoy your day/night…


Juan Jaimes

CDC# V-08644

K.V.S.P., A-6-107

P.O. Box 5101

Delano, CA 93216

Written on 6/25/2012 to Kendra Castaneda, postmarked on 6/27/2012 and transcribed on 6/29/2012. Due to his handwriting very scratchy, it was difficult to make some words out.

Juan Jaimes was one of the main three petitioners for the Corcoran ASU hunger strike for better conditions that happened in December 2011/January 2012 who was transferred to Kern Valley State Prison by CDCR in hopes the strike broke up.