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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Release the hostages!

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

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

Reblogged from: SF Bay View

by Randall Sondai Ellis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retaliation at Tehachapi SHU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunger strikers, be strong and of good courage

by Marvellous Amir Warrior (Greene)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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