On Wednesday July 31st, people around the world will fast and take other peaceful, non-violent action in solidarity with the California Prisoner Hunger Strikers. Join family members of hunger strikers along with James Cromwell, Angela Davis, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Chris Hedges, Michael Moore, Alice Walker, and Cornel West. We fast knowing the criminalization that killed Trayvon Martin, and the criminalization that justifies the torture of prisoners in solitary confinement are one and the same.
We fast in solidarity with the demands of the hunger strikers. And we fast to get justice for Trayvon and for people of every gender, race, and religion who have been killed by state and vigilante violence. Support efforts everywhere for Justice for Trayvon Martin.
– Hunger Strikers in the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay State Prison SHU
Join us to help win the 5 demands of the California Prisoner Hunger Strikers
On July 30th the families and loved ones of prisoners on hunger strike are visiting Sacramento to demand that Governor Brown pressure the CDCR to enter into negotiations with the hunger strikers. Call California Governor Jerry Brown and let him know you’re fasting in solidarity with the strikers, ask him to meet the strikers demands: (916) 445-2841, (510) 289-0336, (510) 628-0202.
Endorse, support, and/or join the “Hunger for Justice”.
For More Information Contact: email@example.com
We are all prisoners of injustice.
Cities and countries participating thus far: England, Germany, the US (Jackson Mississippi, Los Angeles, Oakland CA, Santa Cruz, Philadelphia PA).
“Hunger for Justice” convened by members of: Alexandria House; Alliance for Global Justice; Anti-Racist Action-LA; Brandywine Peace Community; California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; California Prisoner Solidarity Coalition; Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB); Critical Resistance; DCFS/DHS-Give Us Back Our Children; Ecosocialist Horizons, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network; FACTS Education Fund; Fair Chance Project; Flying Over Walls; Freedom Archives; Global Women’s Strike; Hank Jones – San Francisco 8; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; LA Laborfest; Lives Worth Saving Gang Intervention; Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles; National Hood Alliance; Palestinian Youth Movement; Payday men’s network; Peter Laarman – Progressive Christians Uniting and Justice not Jails; Project South; Queer Strike; Rev. Louis Logan; Ruckus Society, Scientific Soul Sessions; Theresa Shoatz – Maroon Philly Committee; Transgender, Gender-Variant, Intersex Justice; US PROStitutes Collective; White Noise Collective; Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike; Youth Justice Coalition; Ordinary People’s Society, Alabama; Prodigal Child Project, Alabama; Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement, National; Sin Barras.
This was sent to us as a call for solidarity and support for the California prisoners who are going on a hunger strike as of July 8th, by Greg Curry in Ohio, who has been held in the supermax since his false indictment and conviction following the Lucasville prison disturbance of 1993. Greg and others have had to resort to hunger strikes many times to fight for basic rights.
7-1-13 For Distribution:
Why should a prisoner in Ohio or Minnesota, or New Mexico, support California prisoners as they move into a crucial stage of struggle for their just do?
My humble opinion is: how could any prisoner think that these apartheid-style policies being used in California won’t come knocking in Florida, WV, Illinois, or any prison system, at any given time? Remember California is said to be a liberal (in terms of political policy) state. How many conservative governors are envious of such harsh prison policies right now?!
I urge all of you in every prison and your able-bodied supporters (each of you can ask one of your friends, supporters outside who are in good health) to support this July 8th hunger strike in some form, but don’t wait till this kind of policy pays you a visit…
Remember Lucasville Justiceforlucasvilleprisoners.wordpress.com
Greg Curry (Ohio State Penitentiary)
Greg Curry #213-159
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road,
Youngstown, OH 44505
Please spread this flyer, thank you! Also follow NCTTCOrSHU.org, Californiaprisonwatch.org (one of our network blogs), Stopmassincarceration.org, SFBayview.com, Prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com, and other sites with updates.
Also actions of solidarity are planned in other states (Louisiana for one, Ohio may follow). CDCR should at least hear and talk with the prisoners and their representatives!
Latest on CDCR’s proposed new ” STG” program is that NONE of the prisoners in the units in at least Corcoran-SHU 4B 1L have signed a “contract” that CDCR has installed to push prisoners to comply with their new solitary confinement punishment rules.
The Prison Watch Network endorses the following call for Solidarity:
April 16, 2013
On Monday, April the 15th it was brought to the attention of the Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers Coalition that a hunger strike has been initiated at Wallens Ridge State Prison located in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Based off inside information there are at least 16 individuals participating in this hunger strike. The status of the strikers is unknown at this time.
Last May a hunger strike was initiated at Red Onion State Prison, which is located 30 minutes north of Wallens Ridge State Prison and could be considered its sister site. Between the prior hunger strike and the current one, the VADOC has conducted a new effort to transport many of the prisoners formerly held at Red Onion to Wallens Ridge.
Although Wallens Ridge is a lower-level security prison it is commonly said by prisoners and ex-prisoners that Wallens Ridge is a more brutal and corrupt prison than Red Onion. Even though the technical status of Wallens Ridge is security-level 4 there has now been a new security-level designation within Wallens Ridge, in correspondence with Red Onion transfers, known as security-level S.
According to the VADOC January newsletter the reasoning behind this campaign is to “give…offenders more programmatic opportunities and more pathways to lower security prisons” and that it has resulted in “..a reduction in the number of Administrative Segregation offenders, a reduction in incidents, and a reduction in offender grievances.”
The fact that these young men are compelled to risk their lives in order to gain a little more fairness, a little more decency, refutes whatever the official line of the VADOC may be in its efforts to keep the population under its thumb.
The VADOC and its agents are culpable for all torture and brutality that is inflicted upon generations of young black men who are living at the mercy of a justice system that specifically targets them based on their race and class. We support these hunger strikers and their demands against the oppression they face daily at the hands of correctional officers and the negligence of the VADOC itself.
From: Andy Worthington
Three weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled, “A Huge Hunger Strike at Guantánamo,” in which I reported the stories emerging from Guantánamo of a prison-wide hunger strike, the most severe since George W. Bush was President, and the gulf between what was being reported by the prisoners, via their attorneys, and what the US authorities were saying.
At the time, the authorities stated that just six of the 166 men still held were classified as hunger strikers, and that five were being force-fed, through tubes inserted up their nose and into their stomachs — these men all being long-term hunger strikers, at least one of whom has, alarmingly, been on a hunger strike since 2005.
It was, to be frank, inconceivable that the hunger strike had been invented by the prisoners, when attorneys reported visiting their clients, and seeing that they had lost 20 to 30 pounds in weight. However, it took until March 15, as Carol Rosenberg reported for the Miami Herald, for “the first admission of a protest” to be made by the authorities. Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a spokesman for the prison authorities, denied “a widespread phenomenon, as alleged,” but conceded, “for the first time after weeks of denial,” as Rosenberg put it, “that the number had surged to 14 from the five or six detainees who had for years been considered hunger strikers among the 166 captives at Guantánamo.”
Since the blanket denials were dropped, and the media began to take an interest in the story, focusing the world’s attention on the problems at Guantánamo to a greater degree than has happened for many years, the authorities have steadily acknowledged that more and more prisoners are on a hunger strike. Last week, the numbers went up to 21, and ended the week at 26, and this week the latest tally is 31 [Note: Since writing this article, the figure has been revised up to 37]. That, however, is still a far cry from the claims made by the prisoners and their attorneys, who state that the majority of the prisoners in Camp 6 — 130 men in total — are involved in the hunger strike.
Whatever the exact figures, transparency and honesty are not attributes that the US government can claim when it comes to Guantánamo, and it is difficult to see why the authorities should be trusted. As well as disputing the figures, the government also claims that the main reason given for the hunger strike is a lie. 51 attorneys wrote to defense secretary Chuck Hagel on March 14, explaining that the hunger strike “was precipitated by widespread searches of detainees’ Qur’ans — perceived as religious desecration — as well as searches and confiscation of other personal items, including family letters and photographs, and legal mail, seemingly without provocation or cause. We also understand that these searches occurred against a background of increasingly regressive practices at the prison taking place in recent months, which our clients have described as a return to an older regime at Guantánamo that was widely identified with the mistreatment of detainees.”
Chuck Hagel has not responded, but the authorities deny the prisoners’ claims.
However, there is another reason for the hunger strike that is rather harder to deny; namely, that the prisoners despair of ever being released, over four years after President Obama promised to close Guantánamo, and despite 86 of the remaining prisoners being cleared for release by an interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force that the President established in 2009.
The President himself is to blame for imposing a blanket ban on the release of two-thirds of these men — all Yemenis — after a Nigerian man,Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried and failed to blow up a plane bound for the US on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab was recruited in Yemen, but the President’s ban imposes an unjustifiable life sentence on the Yemenis on the basis of their nationality alone.
Also to blame is Congress, where lawmakers introduced legislation designed to block the release of prisoners, including an obligation on the defense secretary to certify that any released prisoner would not subsequently be able to engage in anti-American activities — a certification that seems to me to be impossible to make. As a result, only four prisoners have been released in the last two years, and during that same time period three prisoners have died. The prisoners also understand these statistics: at present there is a 43 percent probability that if they manage to leave Guantánamo, which is unlikely, it will be in a coffin.
The authorities have not spoken officially about the prisoners’ despair, although in Congressional testimony last week, Gen. John F. Kelly, the naval commander at Guantánamo, acknowledged the reality of it when he said, “They [the prisoners] had great optimism that Guantánamo would be closed. They were devastated, apparently … when the president backed off — at least their perception — of closing the facility. He said nothing about it in his inauguration speech. He said nothing about it in his State of the Union speech. He has said nothing about it. He’s not — he’s not restaffing the office that … looks at closing the facility.”
What happens next is unclear. People will die unless action is taken to bring the hunger strike to an end, and President Obama needs to stir himself from his torpor and act to bring to an end the disgraceful situation whereby prisoners cleared for release by the government may be imprisoned for the rest of their lives because it has proven to be politically inconvenient to release them. One of these men, Adnan Latif, a Yemeni, died at Guantánamo last September, and there are now understandable fears that others will die.
Instead of responding, however, President Obama is doing nothing — or rather, just watching as officials establish that nearly $200 million is required to renovate the facilities at Guantánamo, including, as Gen. Kelly let slip, $50 million to replace Camp 7, the secretive camp where the 16 “high-value detainees,” including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are held. The President, I’m sorry to note, escaped the scrutiny he deserved when these figures emerged, because the cost, of course, includes the figures for the cleared prisoners. It was established in November 2011 that it costs $72 million a year to hold the cleared prisoners; and to that can be added half of the $150 million that is not being spent on the “high-value detainees.” With the annual cost, that is $150 million that will be spent this year on holding men that the US government decided three to four years ago it no longer wished to hold.
When asked about the reasons for the hunger strike, Capt. Durand stated that
ATTENTION: Governor Jerry Brown; CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard; and all other parties of interest.
In response to CDCR’s failure to meet our 2011 Five (5) Core Demands, the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Representatives respectfully present this notice of, and basis for, our indi- vidualized, collectively agreed upon, decision to resume our nonviolent peaceful protest action on July 08, 2013.
The upcoming peaceful protest will be a combined Hunger Strike [HS] – Work Stoppage [WS] action. Once initiated, this protest will continue indefinitely—until all Five (5) Core Demands are fully met. Here’s why.
1. The Basis for Our Decision to Resume Our Peaceful Protest
The basis for our decision to resume our nonviolent peaceful protest has been made individually, while presented collectively, on behalf of ourselves, and all similarly situated prisoners, as well as non-prisoners, who are adversely affected by the inhumane policies/ practices at issue.
Governor Brown’s, and CDCR Secretary Cate’s, failure to make the changes agreed upon during the July/October 2011 negotiation process, has forced us to resume our nonviolent hunger strike/work stoppage protest.
During these negotiations, CDCR’s Undersecretary Kernan, et al, acknowledged the rea- sonableness of our Five (5) Core Demands and asked us to suspend our hunger strike in order to give the CDCR time to implement timely and meaningful changes of real sub- stance, in response to our demands. We agreed—while CDCR has failed to do their part.
Before we began our July 01, 2011 peaceful efforts to bring about the long overdue re- forms to the CDCR system, we presented Governor Brown, CDCR Secretary Cate, and many others, with our “Formal Complaint” spelling out the reasons why we are willing to put our lives on the line in order to bring about the necessary changes. Along with our “Five (5) Core Demands,” wherein we made it clear that we can no longer, complacently, accept the policies and practices that have subjected us, as well as thousands of other pris- oners, and loved ones outside these prison walls, to decades of torture within these solitary confinement SHU/Ad-Seg Units, based on innocent associations and unsubstantiated alle- gations of involvement in illegal activities.
The undisputable fact is that many of us have been held in solitary confinement for the past 10 to 40 years, based on fabricated information provided by prisoners who have been tor- tured to the point where they provide false information to IGI, in order to get out of the SHU/Ad-Seg. Few of us, if any, have ever been formally charged with, or found guilty of a single illegal, gang-related act. (To review our Formal Complaint, go to: prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/formal-complaint. For the 5 Core Demands, see: http://www.prisons.org/documents/FinalNoticewith5CoreDemands.doc).
We have demonstrated our commitment to our cause through our hunger strike actions – from July 01 to July 20, and from Sept. 26 to Oct. 13, 2011. We remain 100% collectively committed today!
We have kept our word, while patiently waiting for the CDCR to keep theirs. However, at this point, it is clear to us that the CDCR has no intention of implementing the substantive policy changes that were agreed to fifteen or sixteen months ago – based on their highly touted “Security Threat Group” proposals [March and June 2012], and the much hyped “STG Pilot Program” [October 11, 2012], the CDCR has clearly demonstrated their bad faith; because their alleged changes to the policies/practices at issue are a sham.
In reality, the proposed changes will greatly expand upon the number of prisoners who will be subjected to long-term isolation in torture cells; all the above is detailed in our written Rejection/Oppositions to the March and June proposals. As well as the October 11, 2012 Pilot Program. (See them at: http://www.prisonart.org/images/!Newsletter/Rock2_1 and at: http://www.prisonart.org/images/!Newsletter/Rock1_2. The entire Pilot Program is at: http://www.sfbayview.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/CDCR’s-Oct.-11-2012-Security-Threat- Group-Pilot-Program.pdf.)
Another recent example of the CDCR’s refusal to honor the agreement is PBSP’s Warden Lewis’ refusal to allow a test run – visiting pilot program for additional visiting time on the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18; such additional time was agreed to during negotiations with Undersecretary Kernan [see his August 2011 memo]. Thereby, Warden Lewis has directly violated the agreement on this point too!
There are a number of additional examples that have been, and can be, pointed out to dem- onstrate the CDCR’s non-responsiveness/unwillingness to make meaningful changes to the current policies. Therefore, based on the CDCR’s failure to meaningfully address our Five (5) Core Demands, we presently have no available alternative avenues to obtain the long overdue changes, in a timely manner, other than giving the CDCR until July 08, 2013 – as a deadline – to meet our stated demands.
Failure to come to a legally enforceable agreement will be deemed as just cause for us to resume our indefinite, nonviolent, peaceful protest action(s) until the changes are made, as exemplified below.
2. Our Five (5) Core Demands (with Supplements)
At this point, the CDCR’s willingness to implement meaningful changes to the current policies/practices at issue lacks credibility. Thus, the CDCR’s empty promise to effect such changes is not acceptable.
Therefore, the CDCR will be required to sign off on a Consent Decree in US Dist.Ct., N.D. Cal., case # C 09-05796 CW, spelling out the specific terms of the policies to be immediately enacted – pursuant to our five (5) Core Demands [see:http://www.prisons.org/documents/ FinalNoticewith5CoreDemands.doc].
The consent decree will be subject to enforcement by the federal court; it is the only way we have of ensuring the CDCR’s compliance, now and in the future. This is, therefore, mandatory and non-negotiable! The specific terms in the consent decree will be provided by our attorneys, for the above referenced case, in the not-too-distant future.
A few examples of what this consent decree will include are:
(a) SHU confinement shall be solely for determinate terms, per guidelines of CCR Title 15, Sections 3312-3321, and 3341.5(c)(1)(B), “Determinate SHU Segregation” [no more indeterminate SHU terms!];
(b) Ad-Seg confinement shall be solely per guidelines of CDCR, Title 15, Section 3335 regarding placement for legitimate investigative purposes—not to exceed eleven (11) months, absent formal charges being filed;
(c) Step Down Program shall be for a maximum duration of eighteen (18) months, and available for the purpose of enabling prisoners an opportunity to shorten the duration of their determinate SHU term.
3. In Addition to Our 2011 Five (5) Core Demands, We Present the Following Forty (40) Supplemental Demands That Are Part of and/or Related to Our Five (5) Core Demands.
(1) Order that all past Rule Violation Reports [RVR] issued to CDCR prisoners for their participation in the last two 2011 peaceful Hunger Strikes [HS] be rescinded and expunged from all prisoners’ files.
(2) Order that no RVR be issued to any CDCR prisoner in violation of any rules and/or in retaliation for participating and/or leading the July 08, 2013, or any future peaceful HS/WS.
(3) Order that CDCR prisoners who do participate in the July 08, 2013, or any future peaceful HS/WS, not be retaliated against by placing any of them in Ad-Seg, nor have any of their personal property removed, appliances disconnected – including those already in Ad-Seg – or be moved to other cells, etc.
(4) Order that the PBSP-SHU D-Facility visiting room also be reopened, like it was during the early 1990’s when this prison first opened—it was specifically built for D-Facil- ity visiting—and that funds be provided in order to accomplish this. This way, all C- Facility and D-Facility SHU prisoners and their families/friends can again have that addi- tional space and time available for visiting, where they will again receive 4-6 hours per visit on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. And not the present 90 minutes or less, especially for those families and friends who have to travel over 200 miles.
(5) Order and issue a memo to all SHU prisons that all SHU prisoners are to be permit- ted to make one (1) weekly phone call as part of their SHU program. And that the memo be posted in all SHU unit sections.
(6) Order that the CDCR’s Department of Operations Manual (DOM), the California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, DOM Supplementals and/or Operational Procedures (OP) be revised where it states that, all SHU/Ad-Seg prisoners shall be allowed to order and possess art/hobby supplies from the prison canteen store and approved vendors; and shall be allowed to take one (1) picture per year as part of their program, without having to first be disciplinary free. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this.
(7) Order that CCR Title 15, Sections 3192; 3100 through 3108; the CDCR DOM and DOM Supplementals be revised, stating that, all CDCR prisoners – especially those in SHU/Ad-Seg – shall be permitted to sell, convey, or give away as gifts any artwork or artistic expressions to any prisoner or the public in general – without being penalized/ restricted and/or disciplined. The CDCR now allows SHU and Ad-Seg prisoners to order and possess art/hobby supplies. In addition, while in SHU/Ad-Seg, artwork sometimes becomes a prisoner’s only form of income, not to mention keeping their minds occupied on something positive. So, they should be allowed to sell or give it away to anyone, including prisoners. PBSP’s IGI is presently confiscating and/or issuing RVR’s just for giving drawings to other prisoners as gifts for their families and friends. That is just real petty and fundamentally wrongheaded! Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections permitting this.
(8) Order that all SHU/Ad-Seg and G.P. recreational book libraries be funded from either the CDCR’s budget or from our Inmate Welfare Funds [IWF], and restocked at least once a year. For example, PBSP’s has not been restocked since 2008 and the books are falling apart from so much use. Yet the prison claims there’s no funds for it. What is our IWF being spent on then?! Issue a memo to all prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this.
(9) Order that more funds be provided for education, either from the CDCR budget or from our IWF, to provide real rehabilitation programs such as college, GED, vocational training, etc., so that all CDCR prisoners, especially indigent ones, can have real opportunities to educate themselves. Moreover, these programs can and will help those who are released from prison to be productive citizens, where they are no longer stuck on the same gear that caused them to go to prison in the first place.
(10) Order that the CCR Title 15, Section 3161, “Inmate-Owned Legal Materials,” be revised to comply with the Prison Legal News (PLN) Settlement Agreement (as DOM Article 43, Sec. 54030.10.2 does]. At present, the language is so vague and confusing that most CDCR staff purposely use that Title 15 section to mislead prisoners to believe all law books, law periodicals, etc., are to also be counted towards the ten (10) book limit – where instead they should be considered “legal materials” and should only be counted towards the combined six cubic feet of state-issued and personal items, excluding bedding and appli- ances. [Id. Sec. 3190(c)], plus one cubic foot of related legal materials of an active case [Id.Sec.3161]. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections reflecting the PLN Settlement Agreement at page 4, section (g) [formerly cited as PLN v. Schwarzenegger, now cited as PLN v. Brown].
(11) Order that the CDCR DOM, DOM Supplementals and/or OP be revised to state that, whenever a CDCR prisoner purchases a new appliance, he or she shall be permitted to donate their old personally owned TV or radio appliance to another CDCR prisoner who is indigent – where that used appliance is officially placed on the indigent prisoner’s CDCR Form 160-H, “Inmate Property Control Card.” This way, prison staff cannot arbitrarily confiscate it on a whim. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections permitting this.
(12) Order that the CDCR DOM and CCR Title 15 be revised to increase all D-status prisoners’ maximum canteen draw from $55.00 to $65.00 per month. Ever since it was raised to $55.00, the canteen prices have dramatically inflated. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this.
(13) Order that the CDCR DOM, DOM Supplementals and/or OP be revised where it states that, all SHU and D-status prisoners shall also be permitted to participate in donating funds to good outside local charity causes via “Charity Food Drives,” just like the ones held for General Population [GP] prisoners. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections permitting this.
(14) Order that the CCR Title 15, Section 3190 (j)(3), CDCR DOM Article 43, DOM Supplementals and OP be revised where it states that, all SHU D-status prisoners shall be allowed to order and possess one clear-cased typewriter [hardwired or manual] under the same security measures that are currently being followed by prison staff for allowing TV, TV-radio combos and radio appliances [Id. Sec 3190(k)-(m)]. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR-prisons [and all approved vendors] to be posted in all unit sections approving this.
(15) Order that the CCR Title 15, Section 3190 (j)(3), CDCR DOM Article 43, DOM Supplementals and OP be revised where it states that, all SHU, D-status prisoners shall be allowed to order and possess a total of two (2) approved appliances; for example, one TV and one radio, one TV-radio combo and one typewriter, one TV and one typewriter, or one radio and one typewriter. (All SHU cells are equipped with four (4) electrical outlets.) Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons [and all approved vendors] to be posted in all unit sections allowing this.
(16) Order that the CDCR DOM, DOM Supplemental and/or OP be revised where it states that all CDCR prisoners in Ad-Seg shall be permitted to possess their personally owned TV and/or radio appliance in their cells with or without fire sprinklers. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this. And ordering Prison Maintenance/Plant Operations departments to make sure fire sprinklers are immediately installed in all Ad-Seg cells, including all SHU cells.
(17) Order that the CDCR DOM, Title 15, Section 3117(b)(2), DOM Supplemental and/or OP be revised to where it states that, all GP life-term prisoners shall again be permitted “family overnight visits” with their immediate family members. Right now, in all of the CDCR, only life-term prisoners who have become CDCR’s debriefer/snitches are allowed family visits. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections permitting this under the prior amended CCR Title 15 regulations.
(18) Order the California Prison Industry Authority [Cal-PIA] to produce decent qual- ity mattresses. The current 100% cotton air-filled ones, which are not densely packed cot- ton core mattresses, do not have a way to keep the cotton evenly distributed like the old ones did. And where, after a week of two of sleeping on it, on all-concrete bunks, a new mattress literally turns into a flat lumpy torture mattress, due to cotton shifting and the cotton not being densely packed. Where instead, PIA makes these cotton mattresses just appear as ones that are thickly/densely packed. But, in truth, the cotton itself is just puffed up with air – another PIA rip off of taxpayers’ monies! In addition, a prisoner has to liter- ally lift these flat lumpy mattresses from one end in order to pack it down to the other end, in order to make it a little thicker. But, by doing this, the mattress ends up 1-2 feet shorter, leaving our feet on bare concrete because the mattresses have are then too short! Also, with the old ones, a prisoner held onto them for 3-4 years with no problem. But, with these new ones, a prisoner exchanges them every six (6) months – a lot sooner if we were allowed to do so [6-month wait is mandatory]. Which, in turn, means a lot more inferior mattresses have to be produced to keep up with the demand. Where only PIA is literally reaping the benefits at $60.00 per mattress, while prisoners in solitary confinement are being further tortured with these flat, lumpy, short torture mattresses! Therefore, demand that PIA stop ripping off the taxpayers’ monies, and that they either produce better quality ones, or start producing better quality 4-6 inch densely packed 100% all-foam mattresses to immediately replace the present air-filled cotton torture mattresses. That a memo be issued and posted in all CDCR prison unit sections that this was ordered and will be remedied ASAP!
(19) Order the Cal-PIA to also produce boxer shorts with longer inseams to at least 9- inch inseams. The present ones have a very short inseam mode for women prisoners, where male prisoners have no choice but to order them 3-4 sizes bigger and hem them at the waistline just so they can fit correctly. This has been a continual problem for many years now and also needs to be corrected. That memo be issued and posted in all CDCR unit sections that this has been ordered and will be remedied ASAP!
(20) Order that the CDCR DOM, CCR Title 15, Section 3044 (g)(4)(E) and 3190(i), DOM Supplementals and OP be revised where it states that all SHU and Ad-Seg, D-status prisoners shall also be allowed to order, in addition to one annual 30-lb. food package, a second annual non-food special-purchase package [i.e., such items like art/hobby supplies, sweatpants/shorts, shoes, thermals, earphones, etc.], just like we used to be allowed to do. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this.
(21) Order that the CDCR DOM Article 43 “Property Matrix” and DOM Supplemen- tals all be revised, if they haven’t been already – which states that, all CDCR SHU/Ad-Seg D-status prisoners shall also be allowed to order and possess all the additional following items; (a) no limit on chocolate candy bars; (b) no limit on sugar-free hard candy; (c) all Asian soups; (d) all trail-mix products; (e) all cheeses; (f) all dry jerky meats [i.e., sausage, chorizos; all nuggets and slices of beef, turkey, pork, pepperoni, salami, chicken]; (g) all seasonings; (h) all powdered sugar-free beverage drinks in any kind of containers; (i) all tea and teabags; (j) one 12-foot earphone extension cord; (k) all art/hobby supplies [i.e., color pen fillers, 12-24 packs of pastels/woodless color pencils/watercolors/charcoal sticks, 3 drawing art pads of any thickness, and art erasers]; (l) one sweatpants and one sweat- shorts (2 total), and sweatpants/shorts with “cords” [we are presently allowed to possess shoestrings and our new laundry bags have 9-inch, thick cords already attached, proving that the cords are not a security threat]; (m) all Dickies thermals, tops and bottoms; (n) hair grease; (o) lotion; (p) laundry soap; (q) 6 bars of soap; (r) 1 soap dish; (s) 1 tumbler (16 oz.); (t) 1 food container bowl; (u) zip-lock bags; (v) paper mirrors; 4 pairs of boxer shorts and 4 pairs of T-shirts (gray or white; long sleeve or short sleeve), which will ease cost on CDCR to purchase these for prisoners; (x) earplugs; (y) 1 watch cap (gray or white); (z) 1 pair of wool gloves; (aa) three (3) typewriter ribbons; (bb) six (6) typewriter correction ribbons, and (cc) typewriter paper. All these items need to be added in the CDCR DOM Article 43 Property Matrix and/or a memo sent to all approved vendors or they will not send them when we order our packages. Ad-Seg (and all other D-status pris- oners) should also be included for these items because most wait years in Ad-Seg before they are sent to SHU, where Ad-Seg literally becomes a SHU overflow. It should also be noted that ever since the first HS in 2011, CDCR headquarters representatives have come to PBSP and repeatedly stated to us that Article 43 was being revised to add most of these items but, to date, it has just become another broken agreement, because it has not been done. Thus, until it is revised to add all the above, issue a memo to all “approved vendors,” and to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections approving all these items for all SHU/Ad-Seg and all other D-status prisoners.
(22) Order that the Cal-PIA no longer be allowed to produce or provide any food prod- ucts to any CDCR prisons. Ever since they began doing so, the overall quality of prison food has dramatically decreased and the costs have dramatically increased. As well as causing prison and local community bakeries and butcher shops across the state – who were a lot cheaper – to close behind PIA forcing the CDCR to buy from them. Prisoners also working for $1-4 a day used to produce good fresh quality baked goods. Now it’s pre- baked and shipped from PIA where the goods have either been stale or spoiled. For exam- ple, the bread is packed in plastic with industry-manufactured pinholes, causing the bread to spoil. And the lunch meats are now shipped from PIA in sealed pockets filled with nasty-smelling preservatives. We also know for a fact that PIA attempted to force CDCR to buy all dairy products from them in order to supply PBSP – which would have also been more costly – which nearly drove the local dairy supplier Humboldt Creamery in Fortuna, CA out of business. And the only reason PIA failed was because the dairy products would spoil during transport, etc.. The whole sordid story is public record and reported in the local paper, “The Triplicate” [www.triplicate.com]. PIA already produces all other CDCR products from shoes to the very poor quality mattresses. We don’t need or want them to also now control what we eat, period!
(23) Order that all CDCR food-ounce servings be raised two (2) ounces (for example, 3 oz. of eggs raised to 5 oz. of eggs). As well as raising our present two portions of fruit per day to four portions. And, start reissuing us the old real syrup and jelly packets and stop giving us the new unhealthy PIA artificial ones that nobody likes or eats. Thus, raising our overall daily calorie intake with solid non-PIA foods, and not with extra Kool-Aid packets, etc. We are grown men and women, so stop feeding us children’s portions that some fat- cats, so-called “nutritionist” sitting in Sacramento decides we should have. Maybe they should be forced to first eat this PIA junk and small food portions for a year, in order to make a correct informed decision. That a memo be issued to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this immediately.
(24) Order that the CDCR DOM, CCR Title 15, Section 3220.4 and DOM Supple- mentals be revised where it states that, all uncut, R-rated movie/videos shall be permitted to be shown to all CDCR prison populations. At present, we are only allowed up to PG-13 movie/videos. We are not 13-year-old children, nor in juvenile detention centers. Again, we are grown men and women in adult state prisons. Therefore, we should be allowed to watch uncut R-rated movie/videos. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections approving this.
(25) Order that the CDCR DOM and CCR Title 15 be revised to state that all CDCR prisons shall provide – if they have not done so already – their prison populations with the minimum of twenty quality “entertainment channels.” Especially for prisons like PBSP that are so isolated that they can’t even receive one TV channel over the air, not even with a digital antenna. Presently, this prison only receives eight low-quality Charter Cable channels consisting of 3 cable and 5 network channels. Less than all other SHU prisons across the state. And, where there’s constant signal interruptions. Until then, issue a memo to all CDCR prison wardens – especially to PBSP’s Warden Lewis – ordering this, and to be posted in all CDCR unit sections.
(26) Order that all CDCR prisons use the funds are specifically designated for enter- tainment and recreation purposes from the CDCR budget, and/or from the IWF, to immedi- ately purchase all the necessary equipment, storage sheds and any needed digital antenna towers, etc. These funds should also be used to pay the monthly fees and costs to cable companies to add the above-mentioned minimum twenty channels to all CDCR prisons.
(27) Order that all CDCR prisons use the funds that are specifically designated for exercise equipment purposes from the CDCR budget, and/or from the IWF, to immediately be used to purchase and install all the promised dip and pull-up bars on all SHU/Ad-Seg and Death Row yards.
(28) Order that CDCR prisons use the funds that are specifically designated for exer- cise equipment purposes from the CDCR budget, and/or from the IWF, to also be used to purchase weight-lifting equipment for all GP yards again, as they once had, so prisoners can have something to look forward to on those GP yards other than dip/pull-up bars, handballs and looking at each other.
(29) Order that all arbitrary contraband (“potty”) watches be stopped immediately. Especially order that the PVC tube torture restraints that are currently being used here at PBSP – and maybe at other prisons – as some kind of twisted torture experiment on pris- oners that some C/O conceived and made in his garage, be immediately stopped and abol- ished forever! [See Rock newsletter vol. 1, no. 12, Dec. 2012, at p.4, “Freedom, Justice and Human Rights.”] And that all prisoners that prison staff reasonably suspect – not on some whim – have hidden contraband in cavities, first be given the option to be X-rayed to prove they have nothing hidden. Because, for the past couple of years, prison staff have “intentionally” not given that option in order to arbitrarily and systematically use these PVC torture tube restraints to punish and torture prisoners! This is a barbaric and humili- ating practice! Also, immediately order that when a prisoner does provide a bowel move- ment, that it be done in a closed-room environment, not in the damn hallways and side corridors leading to and from Visiting or law library, like they do here at PBSP-SHU, where everyone from the outside prison tours, to prisoners being escorted, can see him giving a bowel movement like some farm animal! As they walk by just feet away from him. Not to mention all our food carts that are pushed by them, too! That a memo be issued to all CDCR prisons – especially to PBSP Warden Lewis – to be posted in all unit sections ordering all these human rights violations to be immediately stopped!
(30) Order that Dr. Sayre be immediately removed as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at PBSP, or at any CDCR prison – if it hasn’t been done yet – and that he never hold any position of authority over any prisoner’s health and medical treatment. He is behind countless medical negligence and civil rights complaints going back more than a decade. He is also behind not allowing prisoners the option of getting an X-ray, forcing them to go through the “potty watch” torture-tube-restraints “therapy,” referred to at (29) – claiming it was too costly to give the X-ray option. This is the worst of the worst doctors in all of the CDCR and he must be removed!
(31) Order that all CDCR prison cells that have not been painted (i.e., Corcoran, Folsom, etc., and all Ad-Seg cells, etc.) be painted so the cells are not the present drab, depressing, bare gray concrete cell walls. PBSP-SHU cells have been painted since before it was opened. So all other cells should also be painted with a coat of paint! Order Mainte- nance and Plant Operations departments to do this ASAP. Issue a memo to be posted in all unit sections reflecting this order.
(32) Order Maintenance and/or Plant Operations departments at PBSP to finally fix the original flawed-design ventilation system that we have been complaining about in 602 appeals since the day this prison first opened, where they have repeatedly come around and basically did a whole lot of nothing to it. For example, in SHU, these cells only have out- take vents – no intake vents. The only intake vents are the giant ones above the control booths that sound like a jet engine when turned on, where prison staff and prisoners can’t hear anyone talking to them. Thus, it’s never turned on unless there is smoke or a prisoner got pepper-sprayed multiple times in the cell or section. And, the intake vents that are turned on 24/7, that are supposed to suck in any accumulated heat on the second tier, are those right above the top step on the second tiers. However, during the winter months, when this place first opened, and the heaters were turned on, those intake vents proved to be extremely inadequate, where the heat only rose and accumulated on the second tiers – where those prisoners, and even the cops feeding up there – complained of the heat. So, as stated, a whole lot of nothing was done. Where , to date, the heaters are never turned on! And, year round, air barely comes out of the ventilation systems, where we have to ask the Control Tower guard to open the yard door in the mornings prior to yard and when the yard is not being used, just so we can get some fresh air in here – even if it’s ice cold air! Therefore, order PBSP’s Maintenance and/or Plant Operations to at least replace the intake ventilation motors with those with a lot higher R.P.M.s, so, when the heaters are ever turned on again, those intake vents can maintain the heat at the proper levels on the second tiers. And, order them to keep the air levels turned up 24/7 where it properly circulates in the units. Especially in those cells that have their fronts covered with Lexan/Plexiglas that become suffocating during the summer months. Issue a memo to PBSP to be posted in all unit sections that reflects the above order.
(33) Order Maintenance and/or Plant Operations at PBSP, and other prisons that have it, to cut one (1) foot off the bottom of the Lexan/Plexiglas coverings on all cells that have them so air can properly be allowed to circulate in those cells [see (32) above]. And, that ‘if’ a prisoner is housed in one of those cells who is not on “Lexan status,” to give those prisoners the option of having it removed. [Note: Some prisoners prefer it because it’s a lot more quiet and warmer in the winter months.] Thus, issue a memo to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections reflecting this order.
(34) Order that the CCR Title 15, Section 3097, “Inmate Restitution Fine and Direct Order Collections,” be revised where the restitution rate is reduced from 55% back to a reasonable level of 33% that a prisoner has to pay on all incoming monies. At present, prisoners are paying 55% of monies their loved ones send them – especially with the lack of prison paying jobs – so, in reality, their loved ones are the ones paying the full amount, not the prisoners, so a lot of prisoners no longer ask their loved ones to send them any funds. Thus a lot less additional funds get paid into the Restitution Fund. Until these revi- sions are done, issue a memo to all prison Trust Account Offices, and to be posted in all unit sections, ordering the restitution rate of all incoming monies be reduced to a total of 33% that a prisoner has to pay on all incoming monies.
(35) Order IGI staff at PBSP, and other prisons, to stop being so extremely petty on everything from screening mail, visiting, and legal visits. Because, it seems like ever since the first 2011 HS – where IGI for the first time felt they lost total control – they have made it their mission in life to use extreme petty tactics to attack all those in SHU, including all their extended families and friends. Where they have now made an art of twisting any mail/ visiting/contraband, etc. rules and regulations until they “find” something to suspend visits, confiscate mail, etc. and/or issue RVRs for things they have never been known to do prior to the 2011 HS. Therefore, issue a memo to all IGI/ISU staff ordering them to stop being so vindictive and petty under the guise of security!
(36) Order that the following revisions be made to the Cal. Code of Regulations [CCR], which would state that, if an Administrative Rule Violation Report [ARVR] per CCR Title 15, Sec. 3314 hearing is not held within 30 days of issuing it [Id. Sec. 3320(b)], then no restrictions under Sec. 3314(e)(1)-(10) shall be imposed. And that if a hearing is not held within 60 days of issuing an ARVR, then the ARVR shall be ordered dismissed in its entirety and expunged from the prisoner’s C-file. Because, as it stands right now, even if an ARVR hearing is held six (6) months from issuing it, the hearing officer can still impose the same restrictions as if the hearing was held within 30 days of issuing it. This is not right! And there has to be some kind of accountability on CDCR staff for the countless unjustified delays in hearing ARVRs. Therefore, until it is revised, that a memo be issued to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this change.
(37) Order that the following revisions be made to the CCR Title 15, which would state that, if a Serious Rule Violation Report [SRVR] per CCR Title 15, Sec. 3315 hearing is not held within 60 days of issuing it, then the restrictions under Sec. 3315(f)(5)(A)-(P) shall not be imposed. And that, if the hearing is not held within 90 days of issuing it, then the SRVR shall be ordered dismissed in its entirety and expunged from the prisoner’s C-file. Because, as it stands right now, even if the hearing for a SRVR is not held within 30 days of issuing it, no good behavior credits can be taken. However, as in the ARVR, if a SRVR hearing is held six (6) months from issuing it, the hearing officer can still impose the same restrictions as if the hearing was held with 30 days of issuing it. This is not right either! And there should also be some kind of accountability for the countless unjustified delays in hearing SRVRs. Therefore, until it is revised, that a memo be issued to all CDCR prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this change.
(38) Order that an independent audit/investigation be conducted into the expenditures of the Inmate Welfare Funds [IWF] for the past five (5) years. And, that a copy of that investigation, and an up-to-date itemized list of IWF monthly expenditures be posted in all prison unit sections so we, as prisoners, can have something tangible to see where our monies are actually being spent, and to ensure none of those monies are being diverted to other areas not in the prisoner’s interest or benefit. CDCR prisoners have the right to have this information posted in their sections. The IWF solely belongs to all CDCR prisoners. It was created to reimburse services to prisoners, including their training and education and to underwrite the prison canteens. Prisoners who are taxed for that purpose by the CDCR on purchases and the like, have paid every penny themselves that goes into the IWF. Those monies are not court-ordered restitution funds, nor do they belong to CDCR – even though they act like it does. Thus, issue a memo to all prisons to be posted in all unit sections reflecting this order.
(39) Order that all CDCR prisons’ associate wardens conduct monthly meetings with GP, SHU/Ad-Seg and Death Row prisoner representatives [not subject to CCR Title 15, Sections 3230-3232] in order to have open dialogue between prisoners and the prisons’ administrations. And, more importantly, order that every associate warden who conducts these monthly meetings is given the prison warden’s full authority at these meetings, to address and grant/deny any grievances/requests from the prisoner reps right there and then, that can be dealt with at the institutional level — where she or he is not later overruled by the warden – including, discussions on how our IWF should be spent. Thus, issue a memo to all prisons to be posted in all unit sections ordering this.
(40) Order that during any HS/WS negotiations—if CDCR does not meet the July 08, 2013 deadline—a member of our outside Mediation/Litigation Team and a member of the Press either be physically present and/or present by phone conference.
We are hopeful that Governor Brown, the CDCR, et al, will make the changes required in order to meet our reasonable demands – prior to July 08, 2013 – because we remain 100% fully committed to resuming our indefinite protest action(s) – to the point of our starvation resulting in serious permanent injury and/or death. To date, three prisoners have sacrificed their lives, and many more have suffered permanent damage, in solidarity with our cause!
We hope more deaths/injuries will not be required – but we are fully committed to our cause, and will accept nothing less than the changes to CDCR policies and practices ref- erenced above.
In addition, be advised that since the 2011 Hunger Strikes, we have read many prison pub- lications [i.e., the Rock and http://www.sfbayview.com, etc., etc.] where we quickly came to realize that we here in PBSP-SHU were not the only ones who have been tortured with solitary confinement and countless deprivations from the past 10 to 40 years. That, all our fellow men and women prisoners all across California, from all security levels 1 through 4 (where many of theirs have been included within the above demands), and all those across all of these United States, in both federal and state prisons, have suffered similarly to us here, in one form or another. But most have never had a voice or forum to lay their demands out for change. Therefore, we have placed the next two paragraphs here in full solidarity with all our fellow women and male prisoners across the country so they can finally be heard!
Therefore, expect your offices to also soon be receiving separate demands from all other CDCR male and female prisoner representatives from all security levels [1 through 4] on GPs, Ad-Segs, Death Row and from all other CA SHU prisons who will also join us on the July 08, 2013 HS/WS, if their demands are not met by that deadline. Which will be tailored to their own particular institutional needs that are not listed above–which we fully support.
As stated above, we are also offering this forum to all male and female prisoners across the U.S. prison systems (state/federal) as a favor to them in full solidarity, who otherwise will not have a voice, nor probably ever have this unique opportunity again, where, if they also wish to volunteer to join us on a “National Hunger Strike/Work Stoppage,” to peacefully protest solitary confinement and other deprivations and conditions in their own individual state and federal prisons for the past 10 to 40 years, or less, and if they also wish to be heard, we encourage all their prisoner representatives to also formulate their own separate demands tailored for their individual state and federal institutional needs, where they also serve a copy on their state governors, etc. And where they also set the same deadline for those officials to meet their demands, or they will also be starting their HS/WS on July 08, 2013, which we will fully support.
Finally, from today to the July 08, 2013 deadline, and/or during the HS/WS, we are willing to keep ongoing communications open with your Sacramento CDCR Administration, and/ or your office, Governor Brown, in order to negotiate all of our demands listed here that can be negotiated. With hopes that we can avoid having to resume our peaceful action(s) – or end it sooner – where we can all come to a reasonable Consent Decree.
– 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
Samer Al Issawi: Day 198 of his Hunger Strike against “administrative detention” in Israel’s prisons:
This article is from Counterpunch, feb. 6th 2013:
by AHMAD BARQAWI
The human chain stretched into the distance each way; representing the path of Samer Al Issawi’s daily struggle and physical agony, a path of dignity and courage; and a path of our own helplessness and shame; every demonstrator held a placard for each day that passed since Al Issawi started his heroic hunger strike on August 1st, 2012, mine was 101; a three digit number jotted down in bold black markers on a white carton paper; was that the day his internal organs began to fail him? Was that the day his stomach started gnawing at its own entrails, muscle tissues and nerves in search of energy? Was it the day his bone structure began to weaken so much that his legs wouldn’t hold up his diminished weight anymore?
It wasn’t just a number; it was the day Al Issawi passed the one-hundred-day-mark of his ongoing hunger strike for freedom, now death is Samer’s bedfellow, overshadowing every little, shivering movement that his frail muscles could muster, skin stretched paper-thin over skeleton; he’s well on his way into crossing the two hundred day mark with his stomach tying itself into aching knots of hunger and the world is tying its lips in deafening knots of silence.
The turnout exceeded everyone’s expectations considering our now infamous pathological tendency for utter callousness and inaction when it comes to the suffering of Palestinians; the human chain was complete with 193 participants from all ages and walks of life, yet the crowd kept getting bigger; those without a sequential number in the chain settled with holding a sign or a poster of the Palestinian hero, others chanted his name; busting their lungs for a man now certainly much frailer than what he looked like in those pictures we held of him.
Of course the human chain wouldn’t have been complete without the presence of the human terrain of security forces which only added more verve to the largely peaceful proceedings, the wind was so strong that each of us held unto his sign lest it flies away, passers-by quickened their pace as they walked past us and the traffic on one of the notoriously busiest streets in Amman (University Street) slowed down as drivers tried to catch a glimpse of our modest attempt at disturbing the contours of our collective anesthetized conscience for a cause that seems to be lost in the tall grass of our reshuffled priorities and the Arab World’s bonfire of revolutions and counter-revolutions.
How can we not think of Samer Al Issawi while we’re picking up exorbitant tabs at five star hotels and fancy restaurants for a microscopic tiny portion of “exotic” food? How can we not curse our chronic passiveness and the fact that our moral abyss widens and grows ever darker with each passing day on Samer’s imprisonment? How can we casually keep his cause on the periphery of our consciousness when Samer’s life clock is hurriedly ticking away? How can I not think of Samer Al Issawi each time my stomach starts wailing that it hasn’t been fed in a couple of hours; that I am somehow committing some kind of “massive injustice” against my own wellbeing by not marching up to the kitchen and cramming whatever it is that I find in there into my mouth? I guess having an empty belly is a hundred times better than having a heart devoid of courage and dignity.
With an empty stomach and shackled to a wheel chair; Samer Al Issawi is now leading the rather “forgotten” battle of the “Empty Intestines” of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails against the Occupation’s draconian policies of arbitrary arrest and “administrative detention”; a rather vindictive colonial procedure that has maneuvered over 200 Palestinian prisoners into a life long struggle in which they had no choice but to literally selfstarve their own way out, while Palestinian politicians -well beyond their expiry date- and bickering factions have clumsily steered an entire occupied people’s fate into the gutter while wearing silk ties, walking on red carpets, and traveling in private jets, is there no depth of cynicism and moral depravity that we can’t reach when we jubilantly cheer that finally two junior officials of Fatah and Hamas managed to meet in Cairo at a time when a true Palestinian freedom fighter is silently weathering away right before our eyes?
Samer Al Issawi’s life is in danger; the fact that we’re not hammered with his story everyday by the mainstream media doesn’t make his struggle any less real, urgent and frightening.
Another human chain is planned for next week; seven more people will be added to the chain; unless the iron will of Samer prevails or his heroic hunger strike ends with an obituary before we manage to pull a repeat of this week’s demonstration.
Ahmad Barqawi, a Jordanian freelance columnist & writer based in Amman, he has done several studies, statistical analysis and researches on economic and social development in Jordan.
Follow Samer Al Assawi’s supporters on Twitter: Twitter.com/samerissawi1
From the Southern Illinoisan:
THE SOUTHERN SPRINGFIELD BUREAU
SPRINGFIELD — A small group of inmates at Pontiac Correctional Center launched a hunger strike Monday, saying conditions are worse than when they resided at the now-closed super-maximum-security facility in Tamms.
The Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said an estimated 10 prisoners are participating in the strike, which comes about a month after the inmates were transferred out of Tamms and into the older facility in Livingston County.
Key among their grievances is a lack of heat because of some of the retrofitting that was done in order to prepare Pontiac for the prisoners from Tamms. The prisoners are complaining that plexiglass panels installed on their cell doors block heat from entering their living areas, said Brian Nelson prison rights coordinator for the law center.
Gov. Pat Quinn closed Tamms in early January as part of a budget-cutting move. The prison had been built to house the state’s most dangerous prisoners in near-solitary confinement.
Nelson said the prisoners are upset that they don’t have televisions, radios, cleaning supplies, legal-sized envelopes and razors. In addition, he said they also are being forced to share nail clippers even though some men have illnesses.