CDCR’s new con game to undermine our class action suit

by Randall ‘Sondai’ Ellis, in: SF Bay View, November 29, 2014

In order to successfully advance in each step of CDCR’s newly enacted Step Down Program

Randall “Sondai” Ellis was locked up at the age of 16, about the time this picture was taken, for a crime that took no one’s life. At 19, he was placed in solitary confinement on the testimony of “confidential informants.” CDC has never identified them or revealed their testimony. Like many other accomplished jailhouse lawyers, he’s still there 32 years later. “My friends call me Sondai,” he says, “which means to push forward and endure.”

Randall “Sondai” Ellis was locked up at the age of 16, about the time this picture was taken, for a crime that took no one’s life. At 19, he was placed in solitary confinement on the testimony of “confidential informants.” CDC has never identified them or revealed their testimony. Like many other accomplished jailhouse lawyers, he’s still there 32 years later. “My friends call me Sondai,” he says, “which means to push forward and endure.”

(SDP), prisoners are expected to fill out and complete a series of thought policing or brainwashing workbooks. One such workbook is entitled “The Con Game” and purports to elucidate for the prisoner via “self-directed journaling” the ways in which he either consciously or unconsciously is a con artist and criminal.

However, empirical evidence irrefutably proves that the true con artists and criminals are CDCR, the Department Review Board (DRB), Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI), Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and the Classification Staff Representative (CSR) – and the con game they’re running is the SDP, replete with such old cons as “Three Card Monty,” “Smoke and Mirrors,” “The Bait and Switch,” word games and manipulation.

So let’s look at it. It appears that the court has issued CDCR yet another “save.” It has effectively permitted CDCR to undermine the class action lawsuit filed in Ashker v. Brown et al., CV-05796-CW, challenging the use of long term solitary confinement and the lack of any meaningful periodic review of our status towards release from said confinement, as was mandated – but never enforced by a court – in Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1098-1101(9th Cir. 1986).

Following the suspension of the hunger strikes, CDCR issued a series of memorandums that it said would effectively move it away from the current status-based punitive system to a more behavioral based individual account­ability system, where a man would be punished based on his individual actions and not based on this current “he said she said” game. That game has evolved into a mechanism whereby the so-called investigators fabricate so-called evidence of gang activity and association and membership and is based on things like “your name was discovered on a roster in another validated prisoner’s property” or whatever comes to their imagination.

The court, seeming to support the prisoners’ position in Ashker v. Brown, denied CDC’s motion to dismiss the suit saying that “CDCR may be violating prisoners’ con­stitutional rights by confining them to the SHU indefinitely and without offering them a meaningful way out.”

It has effectively permitted CDCR to undermine the class action lawsuit filed in Ashker v. Brown et al., CV-05796-CW, challenging the use of long term solitary confinement and the lack of any meaningful periodic review of our status towards release from said confinement.

True to its form, CDCR released a few hostages from the SHU and set in motion a pilot program that it touted as a change to the current policy. It sold this policy to the Legislature in a series of hearings and informed the prison population via a series of memorandums.

CDCR claimed to be initiating case-by-case (CBC) reviews of every prisoner assigned to the SHU, beginning with those with the lengthiest validation dates, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s etc.

In the meantime CDCR began playing “Three Card Monty.” It claimed that as part of these reviews, the DRB would look back four years for evidence of “gang activity” to determine one’s placement within a given step in the so-called Step Down Program (SDP). The CCPOA, the guards’ union, threw a fit, filing a motion to intervene in the case. It claimed that CDCR was putting guards in danger if they released these guys.

As the process evolved, the court hinted that the new pilot program wasn’t a cure for the prisoners’ claims because it was only a pilot program, so CDCR moved to make the program permanent by enacting a rule change with the OAL. At the same time, CDCR set up a sanctioned “punishment facility” at Tehachapi, where the program is so dysfunctional, so disrespectful, so degrading, it is said to be even worse than the torturous conditions that spawned the hunger strikes at Pelican Bay!

Here, the DRB selects who it will subject to additional punishment by pl­acing him in either Step 3 or 4 under the guise of there being some sort of recent gang activity uncovered by the IGI or OCS – “smoke and mirrors.”

In a subsequent ruling, the Ashker court ruled to certify the case as a class action and said that anyone confined to the SHU at Pelican Bay for 10 continuous years could adequately represent the class and anyone placed into the new SDP could not represent the class! So CDCR began relocating the named plaintiffs to the new punishment facility Step 3, though one or two went directly to the general population.

And wouldn’t you know it, the DRB has changed its focus. It is no longer reviewing those with the lengthiest validation dates. They are now focusing their reviews on those who have been confined to the SHU at Pelican Bay the longest.

Randall-Sondai-EllisSo anyone who left here for whatever reason – out to court, transferred for

medical treatment or sent to another SHU for a brief period, as experienced by myself – is not viewed as having been held hostage in Pelican Bay for 10 continuous years. Many of us were transferred to Corcoran SHU back in ‘99-‘00 as part of the first con game, the active/inactive reviews.

CDCR set up a sanctioned “punishment facility” at Tehachapi, where the program is so dysfunctional, so disrespectful, so degrading, it is said to be even worse than the torturous conditions that spawned the hunger strikes at Pelican Bay!

Now all of a sudden our DRB reviews will be scheduled according to the date they deem you were “returned” to the PBSP SHU. So one can end up being in the SHU 30 to 40 years, as in my and other prisoners’ cases, as long as he’s transferred to another SHU before he reaches the now requisite 10-year continuous mark – “word games and manipulation.”

This effectively undermines the entire case, and CDCR is taking the “save” it’s been given by now “bait and switching” its stated procedure of reviewing the hostages by length of validation, to those by length of placement in the Pelican Bay SHU. They didn’t even bother to issue a memo for this latest arbitrary policy shift, proving their nefarious if not criminal intent.

This is nothing but a con game, a scheme to buy time so that they can conspire to ensure that they keep this place full of hostages. After all, they have a 10-year window to torture their next victims to death, or worse, at “the punishment facility.”

This con game must be viewed for what it really is, an ongoing and contin­uing conspiracy designed to keep as many hostages in the SHU as possible, while the guards sit back and collect exorbitant pensions in the name of safety and security. Who said crime doesn’t pay?

This con game must be viewed for what it really is, an ongoing and contin­uing conspiracy designed to keep as many hostages in the SHU as possible, while the guards sit back and collect exorbitant pensions in the name of safety and security. Who said crime doesn’t pay?

In closing, Ashker v. Brown should be amended to make a claim for damages we suffered as a result of being subjected to these unconstitutional practices, which have resulted in irreparable injury to their victims. For more information, visit Justiceforsondai.wordpress.com.

Release the hostages!

Send our brother some love and light: Randall ‘Sondai’ Ellis, C-68764, PBSP SHU D1-223, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Letters from hunger strikers: I still feel like I can keep pushin’, so I will

Reblogged from: SF Bay View

by Randall Sondai Ellis

Written Aug. 7, 2013 – I just wrote you a few days ago about my location change; however, there’s been yet another change. We’ve been moved to Ad Seg H-Row.
Hunger strike rally Oscar Grant Plaza 'Cali Dept of Corruption, Retribution' 073013As you might have guessed, yes, it’s freezing cold over here. Abdul is down the row from me, Sitawa and Mutope are next door on G-Row – I think that’s the row.

At the moment, I still feel like I can keep pushin’, so I will.

We are still holding up despite considerable weight loss at this point. We were all able to get some sunlight yesterday.

I saw the doctor and my blood pressure appeared to be stable 122/78. My sugar levels were low – 58 – and my liver he said was working overtime. He said he was concerned because with the low sugar levels and high liver levels, at some point I may experience complications.

At the moment, I still feel like I can keep pushin’, so I will. On Saturday, a few guys were taken to Folsom for treatment: Baridi Williamson and Mume Redd. They’ve begun to move all hunger strikers to Ad Seg, which holds about 98 people if single celled or twice that if doubled.

Send our brother some love and light: Randall Sondai Ellis, C-68764, ASU H-199, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Retaliation at Tehachapi SHU

by Johnny Clipper
Written July 31, 2013 – Greetings! I would like to start by saying thank you to all those who support this peaceful hunger strike.

I’m currently a peaceful hunger striker here at Tehachapi State Prison on 4B Yard of the SHU. Everyone around me is in good spirits doing the best we can under the circumstances.
The reason I’m writing you this letter is to inform you and the public of what’s going on here at Tehachapi 4B Yard.

Those of us on the hunger strike that have come off and go back on are not being weighed in even after we have refused nine meals. Nor are they counting us as hunger strike participants.
Medical staff are only doing weigh-ins once a week. Rules Violation Reports – 115s – were handed out to all prisoners who participated in this peaceful hunger strike.

I believe these three issues are in retaliation for our participation in this peaceful hunger strike.

Here are three things that are going on now: 1) the refusal of medical evaluations to hunger striking prisoners, 2) the placement of sandbags in front of hunger strikers’ doors as a psychological tactic to induce a sense of imminent death, 3) those who are receiving trays or have begun accepting their trays have reported that the portions of food being issued now are significantly smaller than what was issued prior to the hunger strike’s commencement.

I believe these three issues are in retaliation for our participation in this peaceful hunger strike.
“Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” approved by the U.N. Economic and Social Council on July 31, 1957, states in Resolution 663 CI (XXIV), on the recommendation of the First Congress: “The medical officer shall see all sick prisoners daily, along with those who complain of illness or are referred to his (or her) attention.

“The medical officer is to report to the director on prisoners whose health is jeopardized by continued imprisonment and on the quality of the food, hygiene, bedding, clothing and physical regimen of the prisoners.”

Thank you for hearing me out. We stand as one here on the 4B Yard moving forward in solidarity. Thank you for your time and support.

Send our brother some love and light: Johnny Clipper, G-39264, CCI 4B-1A 201, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

Hunger strikers, be strong and of good courage

by Marvellous Amir Warrior (Greene)

Two thousand five hundred plus slaves have answered the call
It is their fate that a few shall fall

The bigots had our demands thumb tacked to a wall
Some fascists are not worried about it; they’d rather follow baseball

Round 2 of this war has begun
Those on the front lines know death is no fun

So this is for them, the marvelous warriors, who are unsung
This time, the outcome shall be different, unlike a boring rerun

In 180 days, I wonder who shall be still standing
A hunger strike, unlike a fast, is truly demanding

They callously took it from us; we had grandfather standing
The farce and shame of CDC is repressive, oppressive and vexing

We are tired of their lies and united we stand
Married to the cause, the outcome shall be grand

Pray for us, our beloveds, in the golden heartland
Call and email Jerry Brown’s office now; don’t be bland!

Send our brother some love and light: Marvellous Amir Warrior (Greene), K-29392, PBSP A1-122L, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

To witness people say no to state-sanctioned torture is a beautiful sight indeed

From: SF Bay View
Posted On December 18, 2011
by Randall Sondai Ellis

Written Oct. 2, 2011 – I want to thank everyone for all the warm support they’ve shown in these crucial moments. The support we feel from the people has forever changed me. To witness people in the world stand up and say no to state-sanctioned torture is overwhelming and a beautiful sight indeed. Thank you all!
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World renowned Black Panther artist Emory Douglas stands in solidarity July 18 in front of CDCR headquarters in Sacramento.

On Sept. 27, 2011, the state took the first steps at trying to break the hunger strike [which had resumed the previous day, on Sept. 26, after the first round in July]. At around 9 a.m. they called a number of individuals – whom they considered to be involved in some way or another with the negotiations surrounding the strike – telling them that a state senator sent the inspector general to meet with them to see what’s going on up here.

Well, these men never returned from this supposed meeting with the inspector general and instead were moved to the ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) building to isolate them from the rest of us. About six or eight men were moved from D2 to the ASU building. I do not know how many were moved from the other buildings, but they were moved from there as well. Their personal property and other belongings were confiscated and put in storage.

Only you, the public can demand to know what kind of conditions these men are being forced to endure inside the freezing cold ASU building. One is not even permitted to keep their shoes inside their cells. The strike will not end until these men are returned. [See “Hunger strike organizer: Ad-Seg/ASU units are bad news [2]” by Todd Ashker and “They took the 15 of us hunger strikers to ASU-Hell-Row [3]” by Mutope Duguma (James Crawford) for reports from two of the men taken to the Pelican Bay ASU.]

Only you, the public can demand to know what kind of conditions these men are being forced to endure inside the freezing cold ASU building.

On Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., prison officials conducted a search of D2 and confiscated all food items, canteen, coffee, kool-aid, all food items from every cell – even from those who were not participating in the hunger strike – in typical group punishment fashion.
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When the July 8 Bay of Rage march brought the noise to the North County Jail at Seventh and Clay in Oakland, prisoners could be heard banging on the windows of the jail to show they were aware of the demonstration outside.

On Oct. 1, all visits for those on hunger strike were cancelled.

It’s important to understand that we are at this critical moment in history because the judicial system has failed to act and have made numerous excuses disguised as legal opinion to overlook blatant constitutional abuses.

When the 4th Circuit first came down with its ruling dealing with the segregation of suspected gang affiliates in Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1101 (9th Cir. 1986), the court said because the segregation of suspected gang affiliates was not a disciplinary measure, prisoners were only entitled to minimal due process protections when they are placed in segregation for suspected gang involvement.

The court said because the segregation of suspected gang affiliates was not a disciplinary measure, prisoners were only entitled to minimal due process protections when they are placed in segregation for suspected gang involvement.

This meant that anyone suspected and/or accused of so-called gang activity is entitled to only the most minimal due process protections, these being 1) notices, some notice of what you’re suspected of; courts have ruled that this notice doesn’t need to be detailed and 2) an opportunity to express your views to the gang investigator about his decision.
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On Friday, July 8, Bay of Rage held its third anti-budget cut demonstration, this time in solidarity with hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and across the California prison system. After a short rally at Telegraph and Broadway, a defiant march snaked its way through the streets of downtown Oakland toward the North County jail at Seventh Street and Clay, where chants and speeches rang out calling for an end to the prison industrial complex and the capitalist system that necessitates incarcerating so many people. – Photo: Dave Id, Indybay

This meant that prison officials did not have to prove anything, anything at all, about your suspected gang involvement. All they had to do was write a sensational report about the so-called gang, fit you into the story and, boom, you’re done unless, of course, you’re willing to snitch and compound those lies with sensational lies of your own.

Over the years prisoners subjected to the whimsical accusations of the gang investigators and their informants have attempted to bring about some sort of constitutional protections to such broad arbitrary authority, only to fall short in the face of a judiciary afraid to act and place some kind of constitutional protection against these wild, frenzied accusations that cannot be proven against the individuals to whom they are leveled.

Again the 9th Circuit addressed the subject in Bruce v. Elfist, 351 F.3rd 1283, 1287 (9th C.R. 2003), again stating that the segregation of gang members is not a disciplinary measure and therefore all that is required is “some evidence” to support the administrative decision. Again the court refused to place any protections at all (beyond the minimum) on this unbridled authority to accuse without proof by simply requiring that the administrative decision contain “some evidence” which of course is the word of the administrator.
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The last thing CDCR seems to want to do is what these protesters at CDCR’s Sacramento headquarters want them to do: Meet prison hunger strikers’ demands! – Photo: Grant Slater, KPCC

The court in Toussiant did require that prisoners placed in segregation must be reviewed every 120 days – now 180 – for consideration for release and those reviews must amount to more than meaningless gestures. Again courts have refused to enforce this footnote when prisoners began showing how their 180 day reviews were in fact meaningless gestures. They had become nothing more than a session where the prisoner is asked, “Would you like to debrief?” The committee elects to retain the prisoner in SHU based on his membership or association with a prison gang who’s involved in criminal conspiracies against others.

The 9th Circuit briefly addressed the issue of debriefing in Castro v. Toebune, 29 Fed. Appx. 463 (9th Cir. 2002), saying the debriefing process, by which prisoners leave the prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) and during which prisoners are given opportunity to receive more lenient treatment from prison officials in exchange for information concerning gang activity in prison, did not violate the inmate’s privilege against self-incrimination where inmates were not compelled to debrief. Obviously the court does not consider conditions that amount to torture inflicted for the sole purpose of forcing one to debrief to be a compelling act. Justice truly is blind.

The 9th Circuit said the debriefing process did not violate the inmate’s privilege against self-incrimination where inmates were not compelled to debrief. Obviously the court does not consider conditions that amount to torture inflicted for the sole purpose of forcing one to debrief to be a compelling act.

It boils down to the court’s continued failure to act and its continued insistence on twisting logic to justify draconian policies and practices. The so-called Castillo settlement, we were told, was going to improve the process and afford us more protection against arbitrary state action under the guise of so-called gang activity. Well, that turned out to be the same old window-dressing, hidden with codes and tricks.
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The signs and resolute faces tell the story at this hunger strike solidarity rally.

The first thing it did was abolish the 180-day review requirement for consideration of release to a so-called inactive review every six years. We’ve found that the review is arbitrary and is really a slick method used to temper indefinite confinement. For example, instead of saying the prisoner was validated in 1976, they now say the prisoner was validated in 1976 as a gang member and re-validated in 2004, again in 2010 etc.

Therefore each inactive review constitutes a re-validation, requiring only the whim of the gang investigator to determine one’s fate. A prisoner is not allowed to refuse an inactive review. The IGI shows up at your cell saying cell search, cuff up, when they walk you down to a holding cage. They will then tell you this is your inactive review and proceed to removing all your property from your cell. They have already determined your fate; this is just an exercise in brute state authority.

If your cell doesn’t turn up a newspaper or a book that belongs to another prisoner, they will recycle something – such as saying your name was discovered on a roster in another prisoner’s cell. Anything can be and is considered gang activity. The Castillo settlement only required that the IGI now write their nonsensical reasons down on paper and give the prisoner a copy. That’s all.

Anything can be and is considered gang activity.

I’ve personally witnessed this sham. In 2000 I was transferred to Corcoran SHU for the lack of documentation for gang participation after a so-called inactive review. Obviously their goal was to manufacture documentation of gang participation in Corcoran SHU and tell state controlled media outlets that Pelican Bay has begun releasing prisoners under the new inactive program.
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After the first round of the hunger strike ended in July with promises of reform, the silence from state officials was deafening. This rally aimed to prompt the governor, a champion of just causes in his younger days, to declare and enforce an end to torture. – Photo: United for Drug Policy Reform

What many prisoners were never told is the settlement contains a clause that forbids a court from granting any prisoner relief for a violation of any of its terms. The courts in a series of unpublished decisions held the Castillo settlement to have corrected unconstitutional practices, but it didn’t establish any additional rights at all. So again the courts played the old bait and switch.

The Castillo settlement contains a clause that forbids a court from granting any prisoner relief for a violation of any of its terms.

The Supreme Court ruled in Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460 (1963), that solitary confinement cannot be used as a pretext for indefinite confinement. However, these words have no meaning at all, especially since they were overruled in Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472, 477-75 (1995), finding that to even have any due process protections at all, state action must impose an artificial and significant hardship on the prisoner within the ordinary incidents of prison life.

The District Court in Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1155 (N.D.Cal. 1995), recognized the conditions in the SHU exposed a prisoner to an artificial and significant hardship but stopped short of taking any action beyond the minimum to address it. Instead, the court said more torture could mean more time is needed to see just how such confinement would affect the prisoner. Some comfort to all the men who have died thus far from state-sanctioned torture!

The court said more torture could mean more time is needed to see just how such confinement would affect the prisoner. Some comfort to all the men who have died thus far from state-sanctioned torture!

In Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 223-25 (2005), the Supreme Court threw prisoners yet another rebuke when it endorsed the concept of limited due process addressing a claim brought by the prisoners of the Ohio supermax facility. The court said since prisoners’ placement in the Ohio supermax renders them ineligible for parole, some due process must be provided before they are placed there. Some due process simply means the minimum process allowed.
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San Francisco’s progressive Assemblyman Tom Ammiano held a hearing in Sacramento Aug. 23 on the conditions that led to and the demands that came out of the hunger strike. The historic hearing drew prisoners’ families and supporters from all over California. – Photo: Revolution

For decades – me personally for 28 years – we have sat here and watched this process develop into an arrogant and abusive monstrosity, when it was first publicly proclaimed that the only way to leave the SHU is by debriefing, paroling or dying. It should have been a clear indication that prisoners confined to the SHU indefinitely were in fact in punitive segregation.

When the state legislature passed SB 16X taking good time credits away from anyone housed in the SHU for disciplinary reasons, with a footnote that added “or upon validation as a gang member or associate,” it should have been a clear indication that prisoners housed in the SHU indefinitely are in fact in punitive segregation without having been found guilty of breaking one single rule.

Prisoners housed in the SHU indefinitely are in fact in punitive segregation without having been found guilty of breaking one single rule.

As luck would have it, the 9th Circuit has also addressed this issue in Munoz v. Rowland, 104 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 1997), stating the fact that a non-disciplinary finding about Munoz’s gang affiliations may one day influence a purely administrative classification decision should he someday return to prison is far too “ephemeral to constitute collateral consequence for mootness purposes.” Again the court chose to be blind to the core facts of punishment being doled for non-disciplinary reasons. Essentially it’s an accusation that because we think you’re a gang member we think you might do something wrong, so here’s your punishment.
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This banner graced the site of Occupy Oakland at newly renamed Oscar Grant Plaza outside City Hall on its opening day, Oct. 10. – Photo: Sharon Peterson

However, the court in Munoz, did say that associating with gang members is not standing alone a crime even outside of prison. Now ain’t that something? The court seemed to recognize that to be guilty of a crime, it requires more than mere association.

Yet on the other hand, they openly allow an entire class of people to be subjected to torturous conditions admittedly to extract information and then refuse to call it punishment. In fact a federal judge boldly has said that validated prisoners are serving life without parole as long as they are housed in the SHU, contributing to the abuse that has brought us to this moment.

They openly allow an entire class of people to be subjected to torturous conditions admittedly to extract information and then refuse to call it punishment.

In Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521 (2006), the Supreme Court said courts must accord substantial deference to the judgment of prison officials. This even goes beyond just deference. Now they are entitled to double deference.
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The same banner led the another march to CDCR in Sacramento as the second round of the hunger strike was ending, on Oct. 15. – Photo: Bill Hackwell
Prison officials are stuck in a mindset that began in the 1940s-1960s when the first case ever decided in California was filed, entitled Jordan v. Fitzharris. In an unprecedented move, the federal court in San Francisco decided to hear the case. It would be the first time a federal tribunal would investigate state prison conditions.

The case went to trial on Aug. 9, 1966, before U.S. District Court Chief Judge George B. Harris, who found “conditions of a shocking debased nature.” And the song and dance began to sweep and reform cruel constitutional abuses under the rug for all time.

The fomenting of gang violence – the pitting the races against each other as a means of keeping control – is the only methodology they know and have ballooned into a billion dollar industry. At a time when other states are being forced to slash budgets and cut spending, California has been quietly building four new prisons. The majority of the stimulus money sent to California was used to pay correctional guards without one word of an outcry.

The fomenting of gang violence – the pitting the races against each other as a means of keeping control – is the only methodology they know and have ballooned into a billion dollar industry.

Prisoners have become cogs caught in the grip of an ever widening prison industrial complex – the subjects of pensions and budgets. No wonder any changes will have to be approved by the stakeholders. At a hearing held in the Del Norte County Superior Court in 2002 relative to the confiscation of mail, the state’s gang expert – who, by the way, is Correctional Counselor Specialist II D. Hanks – had the following exchange:
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Photo:
The prisoners who organized the hunger strike succeeded in spreading the word – relayed by their families and supporters – to prisons and prison activists around the world. This banner appeared in Philadelpha. Even in Palestine, prisoners held a hunger strike in support.

Q: What is a terrorist?

A: A terrorist group is a group that has been identified as accomplishing their means through acts of terrorism, such as bombs, as murder, weapons manufacturing and dissemination, looking to attack individuals and groups based on their nationality.

Q. So what you’re talking about is terrorism groups that would fit the definition of Penal Code 186.22?

A: That’s part of it. That’s part of what’s identified as street terrorism, for which individuals could be prosecuted and given enhancements to their sentences.

Q: That’s a gang enhancement, isn’t it?

A: That’s what’s known as a gang enhancement, but it’s also identified as street terrorism.

Q: So it’s a fancy name to talk about street terrorism – gangs – gangs and street terrorism can be the same thing?

A: They could be.

Q: Is gang as defined under 186.22 and street terrorism groups synonymous?

A: They can be synonymous, yes.
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This hunger strike solidarity rally was held outside the Harlem Office Building on July 9.
Q: Okay. When aren’t they synonymous? Let me rephrase that. What gang that would fit the definition of 186.22 would not be a street gang or a street terrorism group?

A: Well, an individual can be identified under 186.22, prosecuted or receive a gang enhancement under that for participation in a gang without necessarily contributing personally to an act of terrorism.

Q: Well, acts of terrorism – let me stop you there. Aren’t you talking about a gang event? Isn’t that what’s defined under 186.22, a gang-assisted event?

A: Yes.

Q: OK, and you’re saying that that also is an act of terrorism, street terrorism?

A: Prison gangs fall under 186.22 as well.

This is actual testimony from their correctional specialist and in their minds they are trying to work towards the development of a model to condition the public to the belief that they are dealing with a bunch of terrorists using the euphemism of gang. With a validation protected by only minimal due process protecting but carrying such enormous collateral consequences and in the face of court ruling after court ruling refusing to recognize these consequences, prisoners have come together to shout, Enough!
They are trying to work towards the development of a model to condition the public to the belief that they are dealing with a bunch of terrorists using the euphemism of gang.

George Jackson reminded us over 40 years ago to “(s)ettle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act.” It certainly is refreshing to see prisoners finally heeding that advice, as we have certainly pushed ourselves into a corner mindlessly being pawns in their game.
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Prisoners in the Collins Bay Federal Penitentiary in Kinston, Ontario, hung this banner July 4 from a window overlooking the Kingston City Hall.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. The five core demands of the hunger strikers are simple, reasonable, just and dynamic: 1) End group punishment and administrative abuse, 2) abolish the debriefing policy and modify the active/inactive review criteria, 3) comply with the recommendations regarding long-term solitary confinement, 4) provide adequate and nutritious food, 5) expand programming, correspondence courses and other privileges for indefinite SHU housing status prisoners.

Now the CDCR proclaims to be willing to make changes to its gang management policies. Those changes thus far seem to be the same old bag of tricks. They’re proposing now to come take all our property and evaluate us every six months to give us something back – in other words, to make us jump through a hoop where the hoop keeps moving until you eventually jump off a cliff.

They are proposing to recycle these same old allegations and require the segregated gang affiliate to sign the form admitting these allegations, and should one refuse to sign, that too is deemed to be an admission to membership and one’s refusal to debrief.

The CDCR should have to prove its accusations of gang activity, membership or association, providing the full panoply of constitutional protections. This is the only way to put an end to this frenzied, unbridled gung ho mindset that has developed unchecked for decades.
The CDCR should have to prove its accusations of gang activity, membership or association, providing the full panoply of constitutional protections.

Now the record is clear and the arbitrariness is adequately documented. If the courts will not discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights, then the people must demand a change as is our/your right. Please keep the men just moved to the ASU in your thoughts and prayers and demand that they’re treated justly and humanely in their courageous efforts to end state-sanctioned torture – because no doubt their torture has been taken up a notch.

Randall Sondai Ellis is a prisoner at Pelican Bay who’s been in the SHU for the last 28 years for allegedly associating with gang members and refusing to debrief. He has been in prison for the last 30 years since the young age of 16. He can be reached at Randall Ellis, C-68764, SHU D2-213, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532-7500. Send our brother some love and some light.