Pelican Bay prisoner representatives meet with top Corrections staff

by Arturo Castellanos
From: SF Bay View, Oct. 20th 2013

Oct. 2, 2013 – This is a short update from the four principle SHU reps here at Pelican Bay State Prison to inform you that Mr. Michael Stainer [director of the Division of Adult Institutions], kept his word and arrived here on Sept. 25 and 26 with Mr. Ralph Diaz [warden at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF) at Corcoran] and Mr. George Giurbino [retired director of the Division of Adult Institutions]. We went through all 40 supplemental demands as well as some aspects of the step-down program, where we also gave them written suggestions on loading up each step with real meaningful incentives.

  

Although they were adamant on not rescinding or reducing any RVRs [Rules Violation Reports] for participating in the hunger strikes, they were forthcoming in other areas. For example, there will be additional allowed personal property items in SHU. The memos on those and other supplemental demands will be out soon and placed in the new CDCR DOM [Department Operations Manual] Article 43 as soon as possible.

Those memos should be more specific so prison staff and prisoners will know what kind and size of the items is or is not allowed so the same problems from the June 5 memos won’t re-occur. On other issues, it will take time for them to investigate and confirm or not on what we argued regarding those, and on still others, like not rescinding the RVRs, they clearly stated “no,” which we prefer to a vague answer that only will string us along. But over all, the meetings were positive and productive.

With all the above and the promises of future meetings in person or by phone conference with Mr. Stainer or his staff regarding any updates on the above and step-down program and the first Senate-Assembly hearings this month in Los Angeles, as we explained to Mr. Stainer, as long as we continue to see forward progress, we do not foresee that the other 16 reps and prisons will want to resume the hunger strike anytime in the near future.

They also granted and reinstated our monthly meetings with this administration and the new warden, Mr. Ron Barnes, to deal with any new or pending issues at the institutional level. These meetings are vital to deal with any new issues and prevent future problems or having to file a lot of unnecessary 602 appeals. We are not MAC [Men’s Advisory Council] members, and if the same has not been put in place in your SHU prison – including women – then you need to sweat your warden about it asap.

They also granted and reinstated our monthly meetings with this administration and the new warden, Mr. Ron Barnes, to deal with any new or pending issues at the institutional level. These meetings are vital.


Finally, if any of you on PBSP GP [General Population] or any prison have gone through the potty watch be sure you contact the Prison Law Office but address your letters Attn: Sara Norman [Prison Law Office, 1917 Fifth St., Berkeley CA 94710]. She’s an attorney there. She came up asking for names and information on this but we only see some of you laying on cold concrete as we walk by those nasty-ass holding cells. So it’s very important that you get at her asap to stop this torture.

We stopped them from using the tubes. Now we need to stop the further torture of having nowhere to sit or lay down other than cold nasty concrete and taking craps out there in the open. This is wrong! And it needs to be stopped now!

Prison Law Office is asking for names and information on potty watch, but we only see some of you laying on cold concrete as we walk by those nasty-ass holding cells. So it’s very important that you get at them with your information on actually going through it  so they can stop this torture.


On this issue, Mr. Stainer explained that x-rays are no longer an option and potty watch is not supposed to be torture. We explained that even those who are not found to be carrying anything and are innocent, because x-rays are no longer an option, are forced to go through this humiliating and torturous experience for two to three days or longer, until after they have three bowel movements. Before, they could just prove they’re innocent by an x-ray.

They have agreed to investigate our allegations, but your information on actually going through it is more important, so Ms. Norman and her office can actually file something on it to stop it!

That’s it for now. Expect more future updates from me and the other reps as time goes by. Always in solidarity.

D Facility Visiting Room

Oct. 16, 2013 – This is to notify Warden Barnes and the budget associate warden for SHU of another issue that will be brought up and discussed at the next monthly meeting between the SHU reps and PBSP administration.

CDCR Sacramento officials provided the funds to reopen D Facility SHU visiting room to provide “extended visits” (see Supplemental Demand No. 4). However, PBSP officials just opened half and are only using that half for “overflow visiting” and the other half continues to be used for law library access during weekdays. This is not acceptable.

That visiting room half has to be used for extended visits and overflow, and the only way – as we reps have repeatedly advised this administration and Sacramento – that our family members will all receive extended visits is if this administration changes the schedule from three time slots to two time slots, with D Facility in the first slot and C Facility in the second slot, where all visits are a solid three hours long during the weekends and holidays. This could even work using C Facility and just half of D Facility visiting rooms.

The second option is that all of D Facility visiting room be opened, not just half, where all C Facility prisoners go to the C Facility visiting room and all D Facility prisoners go to the D Facility visiting room – i.e., the short corridor during the first slot and the long corridor during the second slot – thus giving everyone a solid three hour long visit and providing plenty of room for any overflow problems.

Exaggerated administration responses

First and more importantly, the D Facility visiting room was built to solely be used for D Facility visiting – regular and legal visiting – not to be converted into a law library or recreational book library. Now, so far, this administration has reopened just one half of our D Facility visiting room.

But in doing so, they also punished us by claiming they had to remove all the recreational reading books and take them to the B Facility general population library. So now we have NO recreational library at this time where SHU prisoners can order reading books (see also our Supplemental Demand No. 8).

When the administration reopened half of our D Facility visiting room, they also punished us by claiming they had to remove all the recreational reading books.


Second, the administration has not put any effort into resolving this, other than give excuses why they don’t wish to change anything – like, if they reopen all of D Facility visiting room they won’t have anywhere to put the law library. These excuses are old ones. In fact, in the past, we gave the administration a suggestion to solve this problem:

Since the law library mainly consists of multiple computers containing all the legal books on discs, they have enough computers to place one in each of the 22 SHU units’ dry cells in front of each unit control officer and run law library all day in each unit using just that unit’s officers to escort prisoners to and from those dry cells and back to their unit section.

A new suggestion, since the administration has not responded to the suggestion above, is that there is plenty of room in the SHU to move both the law library and the recreational library. For example, both C and D Facilities presently have a lot of space available between the back of each main corridor control booth and the visiting rooms. Right now it’s even being used as a partial storage area.

There is plenty of room in the SHU to move both the law library and the recreational library out of the D Facility visiting room, which was built to solely be used for D Facility visiting.


These available spaces can easily be utilized as both law library and recreational library where six-10 modified cages with the computers can be constructed and installed in those spaces to be used for law library access. Shelves can also be constructed or moved from the present library and placed in those spaces for law books, legal forms, copy machines and even for recreational books.

In fact, these spaces are so big that even with all those mentioned cages, shelves etc., there will still be plenty of room for staff desks and a walkway in between to provide access to the visiting area from SHU. So all the present excuses for not re-opening all of D Facility visiting rooms are unfounded and it appears that on this issue, the old CDCR game of delay and excuse is being played here.

In closing, the above problem of our family members barely receiving a 90-minute visit, if they’re lucky, has greatly affected those relations over the two decades plus since this prison was opened, especially those who must travel very great distances.

The problem of our family members barely receiving a 90-minute visit, if they’re lucky, has greatly affected family relations over the two decades plus since this prison was opened, especially those who must travel very great distances.

So, our advice to this administration is to find somewhere to permanently move the law library and recreational library and re-open all of D Facility visiting room and change the present three visiting slots to two visiting slots as soon as possible, because on this issue, there is no in-between and we as SHU reps promise you that this will continue to be one of our main issues until it’s permanently fixed.

Arturo Castellanos is one of the four main SHU reps writing on behalf of all 20 reps and all SHU prisoners and their family members.

Send our brother some love and light: Arturo Castellanos, C-12275, PBSP SHU D1-121, Crescent City, CA 95532.

Day 52, Prisoners Isolated, Disturbing News from Corcoran, Strike Participation Grows, Prisoners Remain Committed: “CDCR is not going to break us.”

Day 52, Prisoners Isolated, Disturbing News from Corcoran, Strike Participation Grows, Prisoners Remain Committed: “CDCR is not going to break us.”
Posted on August 28, 2013 by phss

California prisoner hungers strike advocates and supporters continue their efforts to compel state decision makers to negotiate with hunger strikers as they endure their 52nd day without food.  Meanwhile legal observers at Corcoran State Prison say that the 70 people are still on strike at that facility are facing harsh relation by prison officials including the denial of medical care—even for those coming off strike—and the confiscation of personal property.  At Pelican Bay, the four main representatives of the Short Corridor Collective—the interracial group in that facility’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) that initially encouraged their fellow prisoners to take up the peaceful protest—have been totally isolated in a single cell block in the prison’s stand-alone Administrative Segregation Unit.  Late last week 51 prisoners being held in the same area were summarily and forcibly removed to other prisons.   Meanwhile the CDCR’s own numbers show a steady uptick in strike participation over the past several days.

“They presently have us four main reps on ‘G row’ by ourselves for now. No telling how long we’ll be staying here,” Said Pelican Bay striker and Short Corridor representative Aurturo Castellanos in a statement yesterday.  The outspoken Castellanos has borne the brunt of a viscious California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) smear campaign that has desperately attempted to vilify his participation in the massive protest as a “gang power play.”  Of the Department’s attacks on the peaceful protest, Castellanos said, “They fail to see the writing on the wall…CDCR is going to change whether they like it or not.  This only motivates us more.”

Castellanos and his fellow Short Corridor Representatives have just issued the following statement:

Greetings.  We begin this update on where things stand with our struggle to force an end to long-term solitary confinement and additional major reforms to the prison system with a shout-out of solidarity, love, and respect to all of our supporters and people of conscience worldwide.

As many are aware today marks the 51st day of our peaceful hunger strike. We continue to protest decades of solitary confinement; torture for the purposes of coercion.  This is the third hunger strike in two years and yet nothing of real substance has changed for the majority of us.

We are now at a critical stage, where each minute that passes is extremely taxing mentally and physically.  Many of us participating since day one are suffering what may be irreversible damage, and are facing a very real possibility of death.  It is a fact that a major cause of death during long fasts is heart attack.  This may come at any moment for us… When it does, we’re done for.

That said, you may all rest assured that our commitment to this worthy cause remains undaunted.  The world is now a witness, as Gov. Brown and his appointee [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary] Beard demonstrate callous and deliberate indifference to the extreme forms of inexcusable suffering our loved ones and ourselves are subjected to in our fight for humane treatment of the prisoner class of human beings…

Gov. Brown’s response to our peaceful action has not been silence, as so many presume—rather, it has been loud and clear via the propaganda and rhetoric being spewed by his mouth piece Dr. Beard [AKA Dr. Mengele].  The fascist police state prisoncrats have attempted to misdirect the attention and the growing condemnation of their human rights abuses.  They have tried to disrupt public support by dredging up 20-40 year old histories that are for the most part portrayed in a false light.  They have desperately tried to justify and further their diabolical agenda, and indeed expand the numbers of prisoners (and loved ones outside) being tortured—to the point of death, insanity, and false confessions.   They have the audacity to claim our push for reform is a “gang power play,” and that many prisoners have been “coerced into participation.”  This is another tactic aimed at misleading the public so as to maintain the status quo with impunity.  They have tried to ignore the fact that our collective peaceful efforts, and our call to “end group hostilities,” are contrary to their propaganda.  CDCR’s decades of human rights violations is the catalyst for thousands coming together and taking up this protest…

Another clear demonstration of where Brown, Beard, et al stand is their response to this peaceful action.  They have directed their subordinates to subject participants, and non-participants alike, to systematic retaliation including, but not limited to:  additional isolation and sensory deprivation via placement in the Administrative Segregation stand-alone building; withholding mail and visits; blasting cold air into SHU and Ad-Seg cells; confiscating property; fabricating rule violations and alleging gang activity; cell-extractions; threats and intimidation; and mass relocation.  They have rescinded so-called privileges granted in 2011-2013.  And they have cut the number of allowable books from 10 (which has been a right for 23 years), down to 5.  The above are only a few examples.

We are calling on all people of conscience to make their opposition heard.  We urge the people to demand that the powers that be end this abuse now.  Today.  Before it it is too late for some of us.  On Friday August 16, CDCR transferred 51 people on hunger strike from this Ad-Seg Unit down south to a medical facility in preparation for force feeding.  This is where we’ll all be soon.  Some of us are considering a challenge to such feeding.  What’s going on in this nation that it has come to such a point?  The people have the power to change things now.  Know this: Our spirit and resolve remain strong and we know we can count on you all! Together we are making it happen, not only for ourselves, but, more importantly, for the generations to come.

With the Utmost Solidarity, Love, and Respect—Onward in Struggle,

Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor Collective

Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU
Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU
Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP-SHU

We dare to stand united with all racial groups to say enough is enough, while CDCR and FBI collaborate to break our hunger strike

Reblogged from: SF Bay View
August 16th 2013
by Arturo Castellanos

Aug. 14, 2013 – My name is Arturo Castellanos, and I am one of the four principal volunteer representatives here at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) in the Security Housing Units (SHU). I have been here on indefinite SHU since I arrived in 1990.

[picture: Arturo Castellanos 050509 by CDCR, cropped]

I am presently being housed in the PBSP’s Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), along with the remainder of the brave men who came together and volunteered to peacefully protest the Department of Corruption and No-Rehabilitation (CDCR) policies of locking individuals up forever, with little or no evidence of gang activities, in indefinite SHU.

To this day of Aug. 14, 2013, we remain on a no solid food, no dairy products hunger strike. And yes, as predicted, CDCR has placed us in ASU in retaliation for challenging their policy of indeterminate SHU and the 20-30 years of deprivation that they have imposed on all men and women prisoners across California for all these years.

CDCR did not place us in these “unfinished” ASU cells out of the kindness of their hearts. No, they placed us here to punish us for daring to stand up united with all racial groups to say enough is enough! No longer are we going to allow CDCR to lock us up in these torturous prison cells and throw away the key without us challenging them.

This is not the first time PBSP and CDCR officials from Sacramento have ordered us into these ASU cells with freezing air blowing out of the vents 24/7, no fire sprinklers, no power or cable hook ups for our personally owned appliances. This was done to us in our 2011 peaceful hunger strike also.

They claim that they are still renovating these new ASU cells they built and opened in 2007. They have still not finished “renovating” these ASU cells that are far worse than the SHU cells. Ever since the legislature has refused to fund the building of more prisons across the state, CDCR has been building these unfinished torture chambers at all men’s and women’s prisons. And they are intentionally left unfinished to look and feel depressing. But, like in 2011, CDCR has again made a big mistake by placing us here.

CDCR’s big mistake in placing us here is that we are now taking up the fight on behalf of ASU prisoners across the state demanding that the CDCR immediately “finish” renovating these ASU cells – painting them, making them appliance ready, installing fire sprinklers and heat and lowering the ice cold air.

We have begun by asking our attorneys in our present lawsuit against the CDCR’s indeterminate SHU placement to contact the attorneys in the Coleman class action suit to file a motion with the court to order CDCR to immediately finish the so-called “renovations.” The Coleman case had already addressed the issue that the overwhelming majority of prisoners, men and women, across the state who have committed suicide were at the time housed in these types of unfinished ASU cells.

Being in these cells for just 30 days, I can fully understand why they committed suicide. They are truly oppressive and constitute very depressing conditions. Suicide? Hell yes! Especially for those men and women who receive SHU terms of indefinite SHU and have to wait in these depressing cells for six months to two years until a cell opens up in SHU for them. Our attorneys are requesting that the Coleman attorneys, who are also our attorneys, file a motion in the court to order CDCR to immediately close and stop housing men and women prisoners in these “unfinished” ASU cells until they fully renovate them.

This is our 38th day on our no solid food, no dairy product hunger strike that we started on July 8, 2013. Of the 66 SHU prisoners who were moved here from both C and D facilities [SHU units], 25 have been transferred to the Sacramento Medical Center at New Folsom Prison. Some of those are in the hospital. They were volunteers who, even though they had serious chronic illnesses, still went on hunger strike and are now on high medical risk status.

They still remain on hunger strike, even though some of them are already being force fed through an IV. The rest of us remain here until we also become high medical risks and are transferred or until the CDCR comes half way in the negotiations with our attorneys and comes to a fair settlement agreement.

At the start of the hunger strike, resuming the hunger strike from 2011, we declared to medical and the CDCR officials that we were only on a no solid food, no dairy products hunger strike. And yet, as in 2011, the CDCR and medical staff have conspired to “dictate” what kind of hunger strike we were to go on. So they ordered that all of our liquids and juices and vitamins be confiscated from every hunger striking prisoner and placed us on an “all water” hunger strike for 18 days.

Our attorneys served a letter on CDCR Medical Receiver Kelso signed by highly respected medical professionals saying that he and the medical staff he oversees are in violation of their own medical oath by going along with the CDCR’s decision to place us on an all water hunger strike after we declared a no solid food, no dairy product hunger strike only.

After that, Mr. Kelso scrambled to have the medical staff in CDCR issue us vitamins and Gatorade to replace the electrolytes we had already lost on an all water hunger strike. By that point, it was too late to give us fruit juice because the high sugar content could fry our brains. So instead we now receive low sodium, low calorie Gatorade until our systems can tolerate higher sugar content juices. Meanwhile, the Gatorade is giving some prisoners diarrhea.

We truly appreciate all the outside support to stop the torture and to end indeterminate SHU status. We also really appreciate all the personal letters of support from people from all walks of life and from around the world! The CDCR and the federal government have been conspiring together to put propaganda pieces out to the media in an ill-conceived plot to attempt to greatly diminish the international support to end indefinite solitary confinement in this country.

Lockdown: Pelican Bay State Prison

Arturo reports that the FBI collaborates with the Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, shown here. – Photo: National Geographic

The world is unaware that FBI agents have been permanently stationed here in PBSP to assist IGI and ISU agents. They have been here for several years now. They are now playing the old propaganda agenda by conspiring together to destroy our outside support by now personally attacking the 20 named volunteer prisoner representatives from the PBSP SHU Short Corridor, especially the four groups – White, Black and Latino from the Northern and Southern parts of California – united in this common cause to radically change CDCR for prisoners, prisoners families and the overall true safety of our outside communities with our “Call to End all Hostilities” paper, our Five Core Demands and 40 supplemental demands.

The CDCR is hand feeding information to the media. They are hand feeding the press old information about us on and about old incidents, some going back 20-30 years, to re-criminalize us and take away from the legitimacy of our demands.

In my case, I was named in a 2006-2007 federal indictment as an “unindicted co-conspirator” with my old childhood street gang, alleging, among other things, that I was running the gang from the highest security prison in California. I get no personal phone calls and no contact visits. The visits I do get are all videotaped and audio recorded and all behind thick glass. All our mail is screened first by IGI (Institutional Gang Investigation Unit) before it’s even mailed out or delivered.

Behind that 2006 indictment, this prison in August of 2008 severely restricted all my incoming and outgoing correspondence. I could only correspond with immediate family members or other people screened and approved by IGI. And when I did correspond, all my mail first went to IGI Sgt. Frisk, who personally screened all of my mail.

I was going to these “special committees” every 180 days. My last one was in April of 2013, where I again requested that all my correspondence restrictions be lifted because I had not received any Rules Violation Reports for correspondence violations involving any gang activities since the restrictions were put in place in 2008. IGI Sgt. Frisk argued against removing the restrictions, and the committee denied my request to lift them.

Then on May 13, 2013, out of the blue, I received a formal memo from the same IGI Sgt. Frisk informing me that they, IGI, would recommend to the committee that all my correspondence restrictions be lifted. I, as a convict for 32 years, of course smelled a set-up, especially since Sgt. Frisk was so adamant in the April committee not to lift them.

So on May 23, 2013, I was taken back to “special committee” and they officially lifted the mail restrictions and stated I can now correspond with anyone. I asked them why the change of heart all of a sudden? They refused to tell me. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my family, that they were lifted until I found out how I was being set up.

Just one week after my restrictions were officially lifted, I began to receive letters from total strangers who claimed they were from my childhood area and they were clearly asking me for permission to conduct illegal activities. One of these letters I showed to my attorneys at visit.

I knew that all my mail was still heavily screened by IGI, so I know these letters were intentionally delivered to me in order to get me to respond to them. I never did respond because I felt they were either debriefers from my old area being used to write me or they were IGI staff posing as individuals from my old area. I didn’t fall for it and that’s why IGI could not issue any Rules Violation Reports against me or again restrict my correspondence.

Little did I know that the FBI now conspired with the CDCR to go to a grand jury to file another federal indictment in my community using the very same old evidence from 2007 and again named me as the leader and as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” The media reported it, to discredit me as one of the four principal reps involved in this hunger strike and to attack our united front and diminish our public support with old evidence on this “conspiracy” from 2004-2007.

They also falsely reported that I used the phone to send messages – we are not allowed phone calls; that I was passing “kites” through visiting – we are not allowed contact visits; and that I sent coded messages through the mail, when up until May of this year all my mail was heavily restricted and screened by IGI. This FBI investigation took place over the past three years – my restrictions lasted four years. So you see this indictment was pre-planned by the feds to be released during this hunger strike to discredit this peaceful hunger strike.

I explain this to demonstrate how the CDCR and FBI are working together to try and break this movement apart. We reps expect further attacks like these using old – sometimes very old – indictments to attempt to justify keeping us in solitary confinement forever.

But they still fail to realize that the only reason I joined this all-volunteer movement was to change things for all those youngsters still on the streets right now who might end up in prisons. I know the CDCR is never going to allow me out in general prison population. That’s a given.

I joined to change the course the CDCR has been taking for the past 20-30 years, where there are now 33 prisons across California. The CDCR wasn’t going to change, so we prisoners of all races have united to force these changes for future generations of prisoners. The release of our “Call to End all Hostilities” paper is just a part of this same change.

I remain always in solidarity,

Arturo Castellanos

Arturo is one of four main hunger strike volunteer prisoner representatives. Send our brother some love and light: Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP SHU D1-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Updates from Pelican Bay State Prison SHU and Corcoran SHU hunger strikers

California Prison Focus News Digest – July 25, 2013
From Pelican Bay SHU prisoner in Ad Seg and HS rep 7/21/13
Arturo Castellanos
I hope this short note finds you and all our supporters in high spirits.  Myself and the rest of the Reps are doing ok in ASU although they do have cold air blasting through the vents.  We covered them but as time goes by on this HS the lack of warm air circulating in these cells will cause adverse effects.
Also you must remember that some or most of the Reps are over 50 and are considered high risk for medical complications because of their chronic illnesses like high blood pressure.  And what adds to the risk is that Doc. Sayers *again* discontinued all medications, even the baby 81 mg aspirins… Even though he is no longer head medical official, it is obvious he still contains some power here among medical staff who distain him.
However, our spirits are high and our determination is solid and we will see this through until CDCR officials settle our Demands in our favor.  And our strength and positive attitude is even greater with all the news on how our outside supporters, including those in other countries, are putting pressure on Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard to bring a settlement offer that we can accept for real changes to long term confinement, which destroys one’s mind and health and relations.  So all our love and respect goes out to all our supporters.
And, even though the numbers go down—last count was 1200—we are not discouraged, we have broken the record and put another wake-up call where general population also see the STG-SDP as a threat to them once it gets placed in the CCR Title 15.
————————————————————-
[from prisoner at PBSP SHU, 7/20/13]

He was moved from Corcoran SHU to PBSP and does not know why.  Not put in PB SHU, but rather in ASU—with hunger strikers.  If someone takes a tray, he’s moved out of ASU.
_____________________________________
[from prisoner in CCI SHU, 7/17/13]
Staff in 4B of CCI SHU are still using sandbags about 5’ long and 6” wide to seal people in their cells. Also, cells are ransacked every time a prisoner leaves, e.g. for showers, medical, or visits.
Some prisoners are doing rolling HS: a week on, a few days off, back on.
Prisoners have received no incoming mail in the last week, and visitors have said they have received nothing from inside. (He thinks legal mail is unaffected but is not certain.)
Some guards are “threatening to pepper-spray any cells  caught passing food through open tray slots.”
_____________________________________
[from prisoner in PBSP SHU, short corridor]
An officer threatened today that whoever doesn’t eat will be moved to AdSeg or to C12—where debriefers and informants are housed. 
The ombudsman Jean Weiss visited, but he got no information of value from his 20-minute talk with her. 
He said that “the Mediation Team reported” on ch. 9 “that [prison staff] were reading all our legal mail.”
_____________________________________
[from prisoner in PBSP SHU, 7/18/13]
A C/O said as of 7/18 there were 200 inmates on HS in the SHU.  The letter writer gave these numbers:  In D1: 13 or 14.   In D5: 25.   In D6: 7.  In D9: 20.
“Sergeant came around this evening telling staff plans were underway to move inmates still participating to C-12 (Debriefing Block – three or four pods are supposedly regular SHU inmates).  Inmates believe this is a tactic to get inmates to stop their fast.  No one wants to be associated with a block of debriefers.  It may also be an attempt to incite violence as many inmates would resist such a move.  Please ensure that this is addressed.  I figure it is a bluff.  There are many inmates hanging on.  Don’t  know about general population or Ad Seg.  I know CDCR is having daily conferences between Sacramento and 4 prsions with SHUs.”
—————– 
Here are some updates from hunger strike prisoners in California SHU’s:

[from Corcoran SHU prisoner 7/21/13]

“Here’s an update on the hunger strike here in Corcoran.  Since our last letter the following has occurred:

*The RN has been making daily rounds and checking all inmates’ vitals.  Also weigh-ins started on the 15th.

*Showers started for all on July 17th

*Still not yard or law library.  Solely paging service is being run for PLU inmates

*Medical runs to 4B clinic is operative, however, one inmate at a time into clinic, so no communication among inmates.  So this does slow the use of the clinic down.

*This week they (CDCR) have been shipping inmates to new Folsom SHU from 4B yard here.  Reason unknown!  We assume to break up the spirit of the protest.  C.O.’s have actually come to our cells and asked us if we want to go voluntarily, if not they will pick and you must go.  Many of us have declined to move.

*Also we are being issued write-ups (115s) for the hunger strike.”
[from prisoner in Corcoran SHU via lawyer visit 7/25/13]

A phone call from a lawyer who met with his client on Thursday morning (July 25) reports that his client had counted at least 10 times when they heard calls for “man down” which required men to be taken out for hospitalization.  Showers were denied at Corcoran for ten days straight, but were recently reinstated, though without hot water.  Most of the water pressure comes from the hot water, however, so it’s only a small amount of cold water that is available.  At other times not during a hunger strike, hot water is available.

The air venting system is problematic.  It is blowing air, but not cold air.  The current temperature in the prison is hotter now than it was during the extreme heat wave in June.  It is also hotter than it normally is.  Prisoners are still being denied law library, and only started to get yard against last Saturday after being denied.

Prisoners on hunger strike had all food out of their cells confiscated [as per the regulations].  As of July 24, no one in 3R is being weighed.

Prisoners are being informed that they have a 115 [Serious Rules Violation] without going through the stipulated process of asking for a investigative officers and being able to respond to the charge.  Apparently the officer is simply stopping at the door, informing the prisoner that they are receiving a 115 and finding them guilty immediately.
—- 
[from Corcoran SHU prisoner 7/21/13]

“Since the resistance of the hunger strike has begun, various tactics to break, disarm, dismantle the spirit of the struggle has been a consistent theme conjured up by the officials as a combative movement against a peaceful protest.
“Allow me to fill you in.  To disrupt the peaceful protest the officials have resorted with false propaganda saying so-and-so in such-and-such building are eating so you all should as well.  They (officials) have become confrontational and verbally combative to all those participating as if those participating in the peaceful protest have offended them (officials) personally behind it all.  The officials continue to utilize the (non-program) of not receiving yard, lack of a shower program and even passing out of canteen to those who are not participating in the peaceful protest allowing (five to seven) days to pass before even passing it out.
“If you complain they always project the bad program out to the hunger strikers rather than them just taking the responsibility for not doing their job.
“Those who began the hunger strike but couldn’t fulfill the longevity due to medical reasons were still written up for a 115 (serious) rules violation, stripped of yard and canteen privileges without the due process of the 115 even being process.  The officials stress that per captain’s orders even if you participated in the peaceful resistance for one day you will be issued a 115, not allowed showers, no yard, no canteen until the peaceful resistance is over…”
— 
[from Corcoran SHU prisoner 7/16/13]

A prisoner reports that they are not being evaluated except that they weighed them once after the 8th day.  He reports they have not received showers
—- 
[from Corcoran SHU 7/19/13]

At first hunger strikers were told they could request to see the doctor, but then they were told that was changed and that they would only be seeing prisoners every seven days.  They were told “We might do Monday, 7/22.”

He also reported receiving a 115 through their slot and being told that they would not be assigned an investigative officer or have a chance to respond.  He notes the 115 have language on them that he suspects will be used for further validation as it says that “..ordered by STG1 [Security Threat Group 1] members housed in PBSP and Corcoran,” “Gang related activity,” etc.  The administration also wants to confiscate televisions as retaliation for the hunger strike and single cell protests.  The staff are constantly repeating the rumor that the “Director” and “Sacramento” are not going to “negotiate.”  “Every time we go to medical the Commanding officers are putting this in our ears.”
——– 
[from Corcoran SHU prisoner 7/15/13]

“Hello, very tired and very weak on the 7th day.  Today a bus full of inmates were taken from their cells and sent to Sacramento (Folsom).  I can only assume the bus was full of inmates Corcoran believes instigated and are probably switching them with inmates in Sacramento.  What CDCR does not understand is that this is not a gang issue.  This is a human rights issue and we are a collective of all races who will not rest, will not stop, until we have put an end to long term isolation and false validation procedures.”
They transferred the prisoners without their property, which usually is shipped to the new institution within 14 or 15 days, but often some property gets broken or goes missing in the process.  The first time he was offered to be weighed was July 15.

Update – July 16.  They took another bus of inmates today and offered to weigh us again.
“We appreciate all the help and concern.  I’m very tired and extremely dizzy.  I’m not sure how long my body can go, but I will not eat.  I know some have stopped.  We will go until they find us unresponsive.  Just so future inmates don’t have to suffer a never ending isolated torture…. (that is against the law to being with.”

To date:  staff/C.O.’s have:

1)      thrown away personal property

2)      denied showers, yard

3)      shipped inmates to other prisoner without their personal property

4)      taken pain medications:  so that inmates with chronic pain have no reprieve.  This is equivalent to beating inmates—deliberately putting inmates in pain.

5)      Shut down property: I have been waiting for a book for almost three months.

6)      Write ups threatening the hunger strike as gang activity.
##

July 9 Message from Short Corridor Hungerstrike Reps

Reblogged from: Kersplebedeb:
See also: SF Bay View for a broader summery!

July 9, 2013

Greetings to our supporters and all people of conscience.

We are grateful for your support of our peaceful protest against the state-sanctioned torture that happens not only here at Pelican Bay but in prisons everywhere. We have taken up this hunger strike and work stoppage, which has included 30,000 prisoners in California so far, not only to improve our own conditions but also an act of solidarity with all prisoners and oppressed people around the world.

We encourage everyone to take action to support the strike wherever they live. Sign the petition demanding California Governor stop the torture; plan rolling solidarity fasts if you are able; use every means to spread the word; and participate in non-violent direct action to put pressure on decision-makers.

If it was not for your support, we would have died in 2011. Thank you everyone. We are confident we will prevail.

In Solidarity,

– Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU, D4-121
– Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU, D1-121
– Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP-SHU,D1-117
– Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU, D2-106

The PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Representatives