About the Prisoner Human Rights Movement and why it is needed

This essay was within a document called “CDCr are cold-blooded executioners.”

Some people still think:

Prisoners deserve what they get. We have nothing in common with their behavior or criminality. We live in a Democracy. In America, the land of the free, the land of citizen-ship for all who wants to be free from all oppression and repression. A true society of equality and justice.

So it is said, but just for historical accuracy, let’s look under the underpinnings of the State and determine its true function and reality, for the above is simply a façade, a myth perpetrated for devious and immoral purposes by those who are truly the purveyors and architects of world domination and capitalist imperialism. For the contrary is really the reality. Amerikkka is founded on the anti-poor and oppressed nationalities by the racist imaginations of depraved oligarchs, who expropriated their tactics and strategies from the Mussolini’s and Hitler’s of the world. The oligarchs refined and tested their tactics under their Jim Crow Laws and the Willy Lynch focus groups, among other tired and tested methodologies, which has led to a whole class of people who are now confined and isolated in a controlled environment, by orchestrating conditions whereby society would accept their detention (not on the open slave plantations, as they were as privileged) but as confined citizens un-aware of their true reality and peer power. Now, today, the encaptured are ‘law breakers’ and placed in state (government) sanctioned penitentiaries. Same slave mind set by the oligarchs, but now even more restrictive.

Not for purposes of reflection or to atone, or to do penance, but in reality, prisoners became test subjects to be experimented on in order to determine how much or to what effect misogynistic designs could be reasonably transferred to the real target audience, the Amerikkkan public. Yes, Amerikkka, in its satellites, law enforcement and prisons, dual purpose was to keep its prisons full and to employ methods to break the spirits, hopes, dignity, belief system and faith, of its inhabitant, and then to structure specific tactics to disguise such intent, so the public could never make any connections to their own existence. America has developed into a qualitative transitional paradigm, unifying its totalitarian imagining and fascism.

This nation has been actively micro-managing psychological, physical repressive, racist and anti-people oppression tactics of control via prisons with sensory deprivation, psychological and physical terroristic attacks on its helpless charges (Shades of Oscar Grant, Amadu Diallo, Levar Jones, Travon Martin…).

Prisons have focused in particular on a three prong attack of late:

  1. Righteous challenges and exposures by prisoners of the illegalities, barbarousness and murderess actions of the State of California
  2. Media complicity as well as other official organs of the State of California, to legalize its actions as legal and defensive
  3. Intimidation through murder, brutality and a state-wide propaganda, or reflection, campaign, to outright attempts to temporarily appease and create a cosmetic, topical façade, especially if their acts are caught on tape!!

There is no separation or chasm between the general citizenry and its isolated captive class. So how do you rise up against a system that appears to the multitude or the confused and misinformed, to provide you with access to a home-tenement or apartment, car, food, electricity, etc, even as you know that the system also creates a world of death? Who murders millions and when millions hate you or at least your policies made by representatives you’ve elected? How do you muster the courage to step out of line and challenge concepts that you’ve always accepted as gospel, even as you suspect that the system is evil and does not represent the definition of freedom, justice, equality that you really believe in?

What can inspire and activate you to engage the monster called Amerikkkan capitalist imperialism under the guise of a democracy? Stand up and get involved with kindred spirits engaged in challenging the powers that be, in New York, in Los Angeles, in the Bay Area, in Ferguson, in San Francisco, so the prison movement can abolish security housing units. Subscribe to the Peoples news source, The San Francisco Bayview newspaper. These are excellent starting points of a concrete nature that will put you on the battle line to change the culture of oppression. Realize what is on-going in these in these Koncentration Kamps prisoners are the leading to your doorstep.

As Clyde McKay so illustriously states, “If we must die, let it be on our feet and not on our knees. Dying but fighting back.” Let’s reclaim our dignity and humanity in concerted activities and actions with others. Know we fight for a New World.

These people (prison guards, officials) can lock us up here inside many of their control unit cages, but they, our captors, shall never stop our struggle for justice to all Prisoners !!!

SNJ © October 10, 1994

The above teaching, expressed by Brutha Abdul Olugbala Shakur (J. Harvey, C48884, CSP-COR 4B-1L-25, PO Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212) was transferred to said location after the opening of this revolutionary message to the world, Peoples Lives Matter, and Brutha Larry  Woody Woodward (E81171, 4B-7C-104, PO Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581) equally shared how California and the United States operates its State and Federal prison systems, which have an adverse effect upon the people/ citizens of the State of California and this country. (i.e., prisons and poverty!!)

I commend these Bruthas as two warrior leaders on one side and citizens on the other side in a replica of the relations of our oppression. Our revolutionary (i.e., fundamental process of change) has the foresight of constructive dialogue with the people of California under the pretext of educating and organizing them. (i.e., Prisoners and Citizens) ensuring a united front via Prison Human Rights Movement (PHRM) and we shall not allow for CDCr or its secret agency of some thirty (30) years. “We are the final judgment society (WFJS)” This is what Kamala Harris, of the California Attorney General office, should be investigating, this rogue CDCr agency and the billions of wasted tax payers money.  Stay tuned.

We can no longer just express the contradictions of our tormentors, therefore it’s a mandate that all prisoners offer their solutions, for we are not reporters, we are a culture of PHRM activists who have dealt with complicated subjects (Legal, Cultural and Political), for we are the prisoner activists within the (PHRM) across the state.

Let me emphasize that my defense could be divided into a prior stage of reflection and a subsequent stage of action. It is clear that a critical analysis of our STG/SDP reality may however, reveal that a particular form of non-violence peaceful protest (Action) has to enter our struggle for justice at this stage of development, and our critical reflection is also action. For CDCr has to realize that it has 300,000 prisoners in CDCr who have been suffering in the General Populations for years. In fact, the thousands of Ad Seg and SHU –SDP don’t really fear their over-due freedom from CDCr’s wicked solitary confinement. The PHRM dialogue with the people has created and radically authenticated our PHRM.

Our (PHRM) journey of 2010, was chosen and made possible, not just by the four (4) Principal Negotiators (PNs) for the prisoner class, nor by the prisoner class for the (PNs) but by both acting together in our PHRM UNSHAKABLE SOLIDARITY.

SNJ © 2014

We (PHRM) as a whole, state-wide, and as the local council operating throughout CDCr shall be instituted at all SHUs (i.e., SDP) and on each General Population, for levels II, III and IV prisons, for we represent the full interest of all prisoners irrespective of one’s nationality or geographical location. This is what our PHRM represents, and our four (4) principal negotiators (PNs) are Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, Todd Ashker and myself, Brutha Sitawa. We are the voices that speak directly to CDCr administrators (i.e., J. Beard, and all of his various senior administrators) since 2011, and we have changed the course of how CDCr conducts their affairs with solitary confinement prisoners and the entire California prisoner class (including General Population) under our Prisoner Human Rights Movement, PHRM.

Prisoners cannot allow for themselves to be bamboozled and hoodwinked by CDCr’s smoking glass and mirrors. Our fate is within each prisoner and guided by our PHRM and the Four Principle Negotiators, and all of the PHRM local councils at your prison (and not those CDCr elected inmate advisory councils, IAC). And no prisoner should be under CCR Title 15, Section 3230, which states that all IAC are under the CDCr/ IAC constitution. What’s up with that??! The PHRM works on behalf of all prisoners and not for CDCr. CDCR is continuing to beat, maim, murder and torture prisoners, daily!  Cease the inhumane treatment! Cease the mental torture, and CDCr: Cease your crimes against prisoners’ humanity!!

PHRM!   In Struggle !!

Bruthas Sitawa, Abdul and Woody

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa
s/n R.N. Dewberry  C35671,
CCI  4B-7C-209,
PO Box 1906
Tehachapi  CA  93581

Abdul Olugbala Shakur
s/n J. Harvey, C48884
4B-1R-42
PO Box 3481
Corcoran CA 93212

Larry Woody Woodward, E81171
CCI 4B-7C-104
PO Box 1906
Tehachapi CA 93581

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Solidarity had the might to move the mountain of prison torture that kept us isolated and voiceless – we still need you now, even more

Published in the SF Bay View on October 11, 2014

By Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa and Jabari Scott

CDCR deliberately lied about their implementation of the Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP) sanctioned by Gov. Jerry Brown. We prisoners, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM), all our supporters, all state legislators and all citizens of California are being lied to and manipulated by Gov. Jerry Brown, CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard, George Giurbino of the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI), Suzan Hubbard of DAI and the Departmental Review Board (DRB), Tehachapi Warden Kim Holland and Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan as they continue their torture tactics from Pelican Bay to Corcoran to Tehachapi state prisons.

Gov. Brown and CDCr administrators are currently violating our United States constitutional rights, the California Code of Regulations and other rules, laws, policies and standards with the intent of breaking down and destroying men and women prisoners, family bonds and moral ethics here in California.

On July 11, 2014, I was transferred from Pelican Bay State Prison to CCI, better known as Tehachapi State Prison. During my journey, I had a week long layover at DVI, Tracy, from July 11-17, 2014. I continued my journey on July 17 and arrived at Tehachapi on that same day.

My week long journey was pretty much uneventful, but I was able to touch base and educate a few young up and coming, politically conscious prison activists to a better understanding of ceasing hostilities and where we stand in our protracted peaceful protest.

Upon my arrival here at Tehachapi, it immediately became clear to me that my next two years were going to be another form of modern day slavery and that the past four years of protest – all we fought through and accomplished – had fallen on deaf ears here at Tehachapi with Warden Kim Holland. My very first run-in with these backward, mountain dwelling slave drivers was during my journey from DVI.

The mail I received there was put on the transportation bus. Upon my arrival at Tehachapi, the transportation sergeant gave my personal mail to Tehachapi Receiving and Release staff with instructions to give it to me when they found housing for me. I was later walked approximately 125 yards from R&R to 4B-7C housing, where I and two others were placed in 7 Building’s holding cages.

I reminded the correctional officer of the transportation sergeant’s instructions and that the large envelope contained my personal mail and I would like to have it before being placed into my assigned cage. His response was, “You’ll get your stuff!” When he walked away, I knew I wouldn’t see him or my mail again; and to this day, I have yet to receive my personal mail.

This hellish modern day slave camp and all its staff have been brainwashed and indoctrinated into an old, prehistoric, backwards prison mentality of the 1960s and 1970s, minus the physical violence, which has been replaced by a new form of violence, mental assault through every facet of this institution and its officials. All of the rights that have been rightfully ours as prisoners since long before Oct. 12, 2012, are denied.

Warden Kim Holland’s staff knowingly violate daily every rule, policy, law, standard and constitutional provision that has been written to provide prisoners with their basic human rights, and they do it as though they have no conscience at all and it is their normal way of life, that we prisoners should be thankful for and accept with a smile and “thank ya, sir.”

With that, they flex their muscles as though they stand on the absolute power of virtual impunity that allows them to constantly get away with the crimes they commit upon us prisoners daily. Thus, they boldly think we should bow to their whim.

On July 17, 2014, as I was being escorted to my cage, just about every prisoner in 4B-7C (whom I had never met) was yelling out at me to check my laundry roll for sizes. I wasn’t sure at the time why they were yelling this to me, but through my many years of experience, I knew it was a warning.

Therefore, as soon as I was in my cage and was un-cuffed, I immediately began to check my laundry roll. I held up the boxer underwear so that the correctional officer (c/o) could clearly see that the boxer underwear I was holding up couldn’t have been any bigger than a large.

The c/o looked at the boxers and looked at me, then said, “and,” as though I was either supposed to just accept them without any argument or what was he supposed to do about it. This foul show of disrespect got my blood boiling. I responded “What in the hell is this?” holding the boxers closer to the door.

With that, I picked up what looked like a T-shirt. It was so dirty and small that I really wasn’t sure if it was a T-shirt or rag to clean my floor and toilet with. It, as well, couldn’t have been any bigger than a large. Looking at my size and the size of the boxers and T-shirt, it was crystal clear that I couldn’t have fit any of these items in my teen years, and if I could, I wouldn’t put my body in nothing that dirty.

Therefore, I asked the c/o to go find me something I could fit – something around a 4XL for both the boxers and T-shirt. When he left my door, I took a good look at these super small, dirty boxers and T-shirt, and was, well, bowled over how this prison enforcer responded to my dilemma. It was clear to me that this administration utilizes the methods of dehumanization by stripping prisoners of their dignity, one layer at a time.

I soon learned that Receiving and Release SHU Property Officers were also a tool of reaction that this administration uses against us and that this office regularly practices the art of intentionally destroying and or making prisoners’ property disappear, while keeping a straight poker face, acting as though it never existed or it never came though the property room.

We were informed by IGI Counselor V. Ybarra and all of 4B-7C staff that the property policy is: Your property follows you soon after you step off the transportation bus, meaning we no longer have to wait 10 days after our arrival or after we have gone to Classification or after a long 30-day waiting period. Now it’s immediately after your arrival, your property is broken down and sent to your assigned location. Thus if all the above staff are well aware of this property policy, then it is quite clear that the R&R property officer is well aware of it as well, when property is his responsibility.

My cellie, Jabari Scott, arrived here on Sept. 2, 2014, and as of Sept. 23, he still has not yet received his property. Therefore, you have a policy that’s not being adhered to or enforced and a property officer doing what he wants, when he wants, no matter what rule or policy he breaks.

This administration utilizes the methods of dehumanization by stripping prisoners of their dignity, one layer at a time.

 
Note to all prisoners who are scheduled to be transferred to Tehachapi State Prison: Make sure to get an accurate and complete, itemized inventory slip of every item in your property before signing and transferring.

All California state prisons are mandated by statute to provide each and every prisoner in the prison system, whether you are in SHU or in Step 1 through 4 of the SDP or in general population, with the required allotment of clothing and housing supplies to keep themselves and their living quarters clean and to practice good health habits essential to the maintenance of physical and mental well-being.

State mandated clothing allotments are one pair of shoes, six pairs of socks, four boxers, four T-shirts, two pillow cases, four sheets, three towels, two washcloths, two floor towels, two jumpsuits, one denim jacket, one beanie, two blankets, one laundry bag, one pillow, one mattress, one solid plastic coffee mug and one solid plastic spoon.

State mandated weekly laundry exchanges require that all state prisons provide prisoners a one-for-one exchange limited to three T-shirts, two sheets, three pairs of socks, three boxers, one pillow case and two towels.

Upon your arrival at Tehachapi, each prisoner is issued one clothing roll and one bedding roll, which is your one and only issue for the duration of your time here.

The clothing roll consists of one pair of socks, one boxer, one T-shirt, one towel and one floor rag. The bedding roll consists of two sheets and two blankets.

Laundry exchange: Keep in mind that no issued laundry is new, and all of it is very battered and used. Weekly laundry exchange goes by a one full clothing roll for one full clothing roll in return, which means that you can only exchange full rolls – a clothing roll consisting of one T-shirt, one boxer and one pair of socks or a bedding roll of two sheets – or you can choose not to exchange anything at all. You don’t have a choice on what size you receive in return. All laundry rolls are pre-made, and size is not considered; therefore, it’s a take-it-or-leave-it exchange and luck of the draw on sizes.

Housing supplies: All SHU prisoners here at Tehachapi are issued one small paper dixie cup and one small plastic picnic spoon. Supply exchange is every two to three weeks, if we are lucky; thus, you must be real careful in the maintenance of your dixie cup and picnic spoon to ensure they last until the next supply exchange.

Cleaning supplies: Each prisoner is issued one yellow cleaning rag, and once a week an officer will yell out, “disinfectant.” At that time, all prisoners are expected to push their yellow rags out under their door. Then the officer will walk by, pouring disinfectant onto the yellow rags. You have to sop up as much disinfectant as possible, then squeeze it into some sort of milk carton or container to preserve as much of the disinfectant you sopped up as you can. This practice is so disrespectful and degrading that we refuse to participate in it. Those are the only cleaning supplies that Tehachapi provides its prisoners with. State mandate requires that all state prisons provide three ounces of uncut disinfectant, plus one cell cleaning rag and one scrub pad, weekly.

TV stations: We struggle to get all the following basic stations: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MY13, COZI, two Spanish stations and four church stations. The struggle is that some stations are blurry and very hard to see; others go in and out all throughout the day, every day, and others just black out for about 30 to 40 seconds. TV access starts at 6:48 every morning.

Pillows: Tehachapi does not issue pillows and the floor officers will write you a rule violation if a home-made pillow is found in your cell. Therefore, we roll up our jumpsuits, towel and blanket and put them in a T-shirt at night, then unroll them every morning.

Mirrors: There are no mirrors whatsoever in any cell. We have a very small mirror in each shower and it is the only place and time we have access to a mirror.

Containers: They are not allowing us to have or possess any canteen containers and some plastics. They argue that because we have in-cell electric plugs, we could use them to make weapons. Their argument makes it clear that Tehachapi refuses to advance out of the Stone Age and embrace the future. Thus, they are going to fight tooth and nail on adhering to SDP policies.

Water: The water here is so bad that every correctional officer here refuses to drink it and every one of them brings his own water to drink. The water is treated with so much sodium that it leaves a thick white deposit caked on all our sink nozzles that is as thick and hard as cement. And when you run your water in your sink for about 10 to 14 seconds, you’ll start to see the sodium deposit build up, foaming around the edges of the water.

Turn the water off, as it dissipates, it leaves behind a thick white film that hardens on the inside of your sink. This thick, white sodium film sticks to the inside of your cups and bowls, too, as well as to your body, which leaves you with an itchy feeling.

Now if this sodium film deposit is sticking to everything water touches, what is it doing to the inside of our bodies after we consume it, especially when you’re drinking the eight recommended cups of water a day? Tehachapi is well aware of this water issue but it is of no concern to them, because to them, we are only prisoners! And they don’t have to drink it.

Yard: Buildings 4B-7 and 4B-8 share a total of 24 yard cages, 12 cages per building. Each building has 64 cells, and Tehachapi SHU only runs one yard a day for SHU prisoners for three and a half to four hours. Therefore, it could take five to seven days for the yard to make a full rotation. Thus, each cell is not getting its 10 hours a week allotted yard and exercise time, which is mandated by law.

Medication chronos: Me, my cellie, Jabari Scott, and many other prisoners were taking various different medications and had various different active medical chronos that were prescribed by medical doctors in our previous prisons to alleviate pain and bring comfort to disabilities. All have been taken by a rogue doctor employed by Tehachapi – another tool of reaction deployed against us.

H. Tate, M.D., is an old war veteran who has a firm grip on his old war roots. He has a high threshold for pain and believes that everyone else should too. Thus he follows a firm practice of “If it’s not killing you,” he will save CDCr some money in not treating you.

All my pain meds were taken and all my cellie’s pain meds were reduced to regular over-the-counter Tylenol that we can buy from the canteen. We both are in so much pain that we are not sleeping through the night, nor can we perform many of our daily activities and functions. And many other prisoners are experiencing the same discomforts at the hands of Dr. Tate.

Programming: The big con, The Big Lie, the scheme, sham, bogus Step Down Program Steps 3 and 4 at Tehachapi State Prison – the whole conspiracy was sold to us by Secretary Jeffrey Beard, Undersecretary Martin Hoshino, Adult Institutions Director Michael Stainer, Departmental Review Board Director George Giurbino, Adult Institutions Deputy Director Suzan Hubbard, Corrections Counselor II C. Vargas at Pelican Bay and Warden Kim Holland of Tehachapi and sanctioned by Gov. Jerry Brown as if it was a beautiful Hawaiian vacation. It all was a lie – a hoax – and this was never a functional or functioning step anything program.

Thus, as we speak, only one cell at a time is allowed to come out to what they are calling and selling as group dining, and thus far, only four prisoners have been approved for group yard. Steps 3 and 4 are only allowed to walk to the showers with no cuffs once a week. The other two times a week, we are escorted and cuffed.

The STG/SDP was forced upon us Oct. 12, 2012, as a token given by CDCr in hope that it would wash away all the years of torture and foul deeds subjected on us. This supposed token became our only means of escaping our torture. For us here at Tehachapi, that token became our new form of torture, only with a new name, Tehachapi, and what we have come to realize is that the supposed token of good faith has twin evil heads – one that stares you in the face, while the other is biting you on the ass!

The facts are concrete and crystal clear that Beard, Hoshino, Stainer, Giurbino, Hubbard, Holland and Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan all knew from the beginning that Tehachapi State Prison SHU would not be a match made in heaven and was, in fact, incompatible with the concepts of Steps 3 and 4 of the SDP, which is why it fails entirely in its bogus attempt to align itself with those policies and principles. Knowing this is fact, Tehachapi continues to be sold to the public, legislature and prisoners as an up and running, operationally functioning program with all of the privileges, opportunities and amenities intact.

IT IS A SHAM! Warden Kim Holland would never even attempt to embrace the concepts of human dignity and a prisoner’s basic human rights, because she has turned a blind eye throughout her tenure, refusing to address and assure anyone that her prisoners are treated with the smallest air of dignity and that their basic needs – mandated by law – that express a concern for humanity are met.

Pelican Bay SHU, Corcoran SHU and many other SHUs are making big strides in lining themselves up with the Title 15 matrix, standardized SHU and SDP policies. But Warden Kim Holland continues to hold the same immoral ground of the past, keeping Tehachapi in the chattel slavery era. And Gov. Brown, Secretary Beard, Undersecretary Hoshino, Director Stainer, Director Giurbino and Director Hubbard all continue to feed Warden Holland the power to hold such an immoral position that basically shatters the very foundation of the SDP, which they themselves built.

Taking a good look at the facts and seeing them for what they truly are, one would have to say this whole thing reeks of conspiracy, and it’s clear that there is way more to these tactics than we know and see. But we still must press the questions: Why is a rogue warden, Warden Kim Holland, given such power? Why is a rogue institution, Tehachapi SHU, being allowed to operate? Why have all the above clear violations gone unnoticed for all these years?

If SDP is truly a program that CDCr administrators want to succeed, then why haven’t Secretary Beard, Director Stainer or any of the other staff taken a look into these violations and resolved them in a humane manner that would reflect anything close to the SDP re-entry program that they have been selling since Oct. 12, 2012?

Why did Secretary Beard, Undersecretary Hoshino, Director Stainer, Director Giurbino, Director Hubbard and Warden Holland attempt to establish a Step 3 and 4 of the Step Down Program in a prison that is not structurally capable of accommodating such a program? And why force bodies into a Step 3 and 4 program in a prison that they knew would not offer those prisoners the privileges, opportunities and amenities outlined in the SDP policies that would afford them their basic, fundamental rights that promote human dignity?

Bottom line is CDCr has knowingly lied to state Sen. Loni Hancock and the other legislators about the entire SDP and how well it is functioning. Sen. Hancock should come and pay a visit to Tehachapi State Prison so she could see for herself the lies CDCr sold her and the Legislature, catch them in the game they are playing with prisoners’ lives and shut Tehachapi SHU down.

Why did Secretary Beard, Undersecretary Hoshino, Director Stainer, Director Giurbino, Director Hubbard and Warden Holland attempt to establish a Step 3 and 4 of the Step Down Program in a prison that is not structurally capable of accommodating such a program?

Tehachapi has no business attempting to establish any step of the Step Down Program here, nor should it house regular SHU prisoners here until this prison has completed a full overhaul from top to bottom from its structural insufficiencies to all its staff, starting with Warden Kim Holland, Chief Deputy Warden J. Gutierrez, Capt. Mayo, Lt. Parrett, V. Ybarra, Dr. H. Tate, the R&R staff and all those that refuse to divorce themselves from that old style slave-driving mentality.

We call on all of the officials to respond swiftly to this human crisis. If just one of you possesses just a morsel of empathy and believes that no prisoner should be subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment, then put a STOP to the foul practices that continue to violate every rule, law, standard, policy and constitutional provision ever written to protect the fundamental rights of human beings.

Sen. Hancock should come and pay a visit to Tehachapi State Prison so she could see for herself the lies CDCr sold her and the Legislature, catch them in the game they are playing with prisoners’ lives and shut Tehachapi SHU down.

To our countless supporters and those who ceaselessly fight for justice on our behalf, we thank you all for your boundless support – that driving spirit that keeps us pushing forward – and we thank you for your great effort. Your successes have proven mighty enough to move that great mountain of torture that kept us isolated and voiceless for way too many years.

Words cannot fully convey how great it is to have so many amazing people join our fight. Although we have much to stand proud about, we still have a long way to go and we still need you all, even more.

Thus, spread the word, push the word, shake that great bush that attempts to hide Tehachapi and Warden Kim Holland’s horrors until we have shaken them all to the ground and that bright light of the people’s justice reveals all their foul deeds. Call, tweet, text, write all your legislators, all CDCr administrators, Tehachapi State Prison Warden Kim Holland and Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan and express your desire for change, for justice, for humanity! And ask a friend, family member and loved one to join us.

And a special call-out to our New Afrikan community, civil rights leaders, human rights leaders, all religious leaders, our lawyers, actresses, actors, sports figures, musicians, entertainers and all those in the business sector: We need you all to get involved to make a difference in your community’s future, and together we will rebuild justice on the foundation of a new morality that is the heart of the people.

To all those prison rights activists and those who stand for what is right in Corcoran State Prison SHU, Zaharibu, Heshima, Turi, Griff, Amondo, we owe you all a great deal of gratitude for your courageous stance of defiance against CDCr’s implementation of its criminalizing journals that do nothing towards aiding rehabilitation or arming men and women with the necessary tools to succeed on a mainline or in society.

Your act, many acts, of defiance were critical and effective in catapulting us forward into the position we are in right now, to enable us to shine the light of justice on and expose the foul, torturous conditions of this institution, Tehachapi SHU, that reeks of the mentality of Robben Island, South Africa! Deeply appreciated! Keep pushin’! To all U.S. citizens and our world community, support those who struggle to support themselves!

In struggle, revolutionary love and respect,

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R. N. Dewberry, C-35671, CCI 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581

Aaron Jabari Scott, H-30536, NCTT Coordinator CCI, 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581

This was published on Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, Sept. 18, 2014. The letter itself was written on Sept. 1st 2014

Todd Ashker writes from Pelican Bay SHU Short Corridor:

“….I am requesting your attention and responsive dialogue-addressing these issues during the meeting with our outside mediation team- and with Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, James Williamson, and myself in the near future…
The following is from me.

We are presently at the one year point- post “suspension,” of our third peaceful protest hunger strike action against longterm-indefinite-solitary confinement [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg confinement]… and related conditions therein and damage therefrom- to prisoners, our outside loved ones, and society in general….

.…The bottom line is, longterm-indefinite-SHU is not effective and harms all concerned. It’s ending nationwide and this will be the case in Calif. too- better to be sooner than later….”

PDF of transcribed Memo HERE.  Handwritten letter HERE

***

Memorandum

Sept. 1, 2014

To: CDCR-Administration
Secretary Beard, UnderSec. Hoshino
Director Stainer, Assoc. Dir. Diaz,
PBSP Warden Ducart

From: Todd Ashker, C58191-
One of four PBSP-SHU Prisoner Reps
(via outside mediation team)

Subject: Five Core Demands, 40 Supplemental Demands,
and CDCR’s STG-SDP

This memorandum is directed to the above CDCR Administrators for the express purpose of respectfully reminding you about unresolved, and/or continued problematic, issues relevant to our 2011-2014 Five Core and 40 Supplemental demands… and CDCR’s Security Threat Group-Step Down Program [STG-SDP]…

I am requesting your attention and responsive dialogue-addressing these issues during the meeting with our outside mediation team- and with Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, James Williamson, and myself in the near future… The following is from me.

We are presently at the one year point- post “suspension,” of our third peaceful protest hunger strike action against longterm-indefinite-solitary confinement [i.e. SHU/Ad-Seg confinement]… and related conditions therein and damage therefrom- to prisoners, our outside loved ones, and society in general, as supported by the public record from the legislative Joint Public Safety Committee hearings held in Oct. 2013/Feb. 2014…

I believe we have demonstrated out commitment to seeing the reforms sought in our demands implemented in principle and spirit, via our peaceful collective actions and I am reminding you of some relevant facts…

A)      In 2011, CDCR Undersecretary Kernan, and others, admitted that our five core demands were reasonable-and, many should have been implemented/provided [20] years ago-Three years later, many remain unresolved –

B)      It was our (2) peaceful hunger strike actions-involving thousands of prisoners statewide, and related international/national public exposure and condemnation of our decades of subjection to a form of coercive, state sanctioned torture… that brought out Undersecretary Kernan, and others’, public admission that CDCR had been over using the validation process’, and was going to revise such policies… responsive to our demands –

C)      Our Primary Goal has always been, and remains, …Ending Longterm Indefinite- SHU/Ad-Seg confinement!

Contrary to CDCR Secretary Beard, et al, claims the STG-SDP is not responsive to our Primary Demand because it continues a policy of indefinite SHU placement and retention. (And it’s structured in vague over reaching terms, that will ultimately result in many more prisoners being subject to indefinite SHU-in large part due to minor infractions- already being born out by fact of, more prisoners are in SHU-Ad-Seg today- than there were prior to start of STG-SDP pilot program Oct. 2012!)

D)      With our primary goal in mind -”Ending Indefinite SHU” policy- any policy/practice that enables such to continue is not acceptable, thus, while CDCR has been somewhat responsive to some of our demands re: SHU/Ad-Seg program/privilege issues- most of us in SHU for decades already,… remain here indefinitely! The point is, no matter how you dress it up- spending 24/7 in a small cell for months, years, decades- without normal human contact- especially, the contact of physically touching one’s outside loved ones… equals a form of torturous social extermination- period!!

E)      A major aspect of our collective movement to meaningfully reform this prison system in ways beneficial to prisoners, staff, outside loved ones, and society in general, is related to the system’s rank and file treating prisoners and our outside loved ones humanely- as fellow human beings, with dignity and respect.

I’m not sure how many of you current administrators were in the loop during our discussions about SHU policy change(s) in 2011-2012, …but we pointed out that “CDCR leadership knows how to create a reform policy- intended to be successful or, – one intended to fail.” …As summarized below, the current structure and implementation of the STG-SDP appears to be intended to fail- this will not bode well for CDCR!

Remember this, our 2013 peaceful protest action was “suspended” and many prisoners are not happy with much of the STG-SDP policy!! They aren’t being treated humanely-with dignity, or respect, under the present structure and implementation of said policy…

Like it or not, you need prisoners cooperation, support, and participation with any policy affecting thousands, or your policy fails!

For example, if all prisoners refused to participate in you SDP, while you go by the STG provisions- your policy fails you because you end up having tens-of-thousands on Step 1, indefinite SHU status… Add peaceful actions, resulting in additional peaceful protesting prisoners’ deaths, and costs, etc… should you have to force feed a hundred to two hundred etc. prisoners- and related global attention… At some point, jobs would be lost and changes made- ending the failed policy!! Will it come down to this?? The bottom line is, longterm-indefinite-SHU is not effective and harms all concerned. It’s ending nationwide and this will be the case in Calif. too- better to be sooner than later…

With the above in mind, the following are points supporting the referenced facts and unresolved issues you have the power to meaningfully resolve:

1)      Our alternative proposal to the STG-SDP has been on the table since Sept. 2012…. It’s based on principle points of (a) SHU placement being reserved for those guilty of felonious type violations-assessed determinate SHU terms, and (b) A modified type of general population transition program between SHU and G.P.- Our mediation team has details about this proposal, which have been provided to you as well. The SDP-Steps 3 and 4, aren’t even close to this (e.g. zero contact visits)

2)      In addition to provisions enabling continued indefinite SHU placement and retention, the following examples support the position that the STG-SDP as structured and implemented is designed to fail…

(a) The issue(s) re: legitimate- meaningful- incentives for each step have not been satisfactorily resolved (e.g. allowing more- phone calls, photographs, packages/special purchases, contact visits, etc.)

(b) Steps 3 and 4 at CCI-Tehachapi, are seen as a bad-step down re: conditions, programming and privileges- to the extent that many prisoners see no point in participating!

Examples are: visits are limited to (1) hour, on either Sat. or Sun.; cells are dirty and cleaning materials are not being provided; nor is laundry, clothing, linen, etc, being provided/exchanged; the T.V. and radio stations are very limited and out of signal all the time; the food is bad; shower program is poorly run- as is yard program; property is processed very slowly, and typewriters are not being allowed, etc.,etc.,etc; Staff attitudes are poor!!

Plus, many prisoners held in PBSP-SHU for decades have loved ones who reside in the Del Norte Co. area- with jobs, etc., and a transfer to CCI is a hardship to their loved ones…

You have ability to remedy the above, via use of former PSU [at PBSP] cell block(s) for Steps 3 and 4… These steps should also allow contact visits!! A Step 3 and 4 at PBSP should be an option for those with local family ties, etc!!

There’s no legitimate penological basis to deny these prisoners human physical contact with loved ones and friends… Up until mid 1986, all SHU prisoners were allowed contact visits- thus, it’s a reasonable, meaningful incentive for those prisoners participation in Steps 3 and 4…

(c)      The journals remain a problem for many (e.g. Corcoran) and I will point out that George Guirbino, et al, admitted at one of our meetings last year, that the journals were ‘lacking re:substantive rehab, value’ -qualifying this with- “but that’s all that’s available.” Look, we all know the journals have zero relevance to rehabilitation of prisoners transitioning between SHU and G.P. (demonstrated by the fact that prisoners placed on Step 5 by DRB’s case-by-case reviews of longterm SHU prisoners don’t have to do a single journal!!) You should make the journals a voluntary self-help program available to all CDCR prisoners… The way you’re using them as required part of SDP- Steps1-4, makes you all look bad- for many reasons!!

(d)      The case by case reviews at PBSP are too slow-100’s still wait on theirs.

Miscellaneous Issues Remaining To Be Resolved Include But Are Not Limited To:

  1. Mattresses (As you know, PIA mattresses are a big problem!??)
  2. Restriction on privileges should only be based on being guilty of abusing the specific privilege (eg., photographs, art materials)
  3. Allowable art materials expanded, per, principle of individual accountability (eg, woodless colored pencils, and all type of art paper)
  4. Photograph program for SHU/Ad-Seg visiting- as done in Vacaville in the 80’s (visitor and prisoner in photo, taken on visitor’s side of glass)

Your attention and anticipated positive responsive resolution(s) to the above subjects is appreciated.

Todd Ashker, C58191/PBSP-D4-121

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.1

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.1

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.2

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.2

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.3

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.3

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.4

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.4

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.5

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.5

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.6

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.6

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.7

Todd Ashker to Mike Stainer et al. Sept. 14 2014, p.7

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa: Worse than Pelican Bay

Published on the SF Bay View on August 29, 2014

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (R.N. Dewberry)

This place is worse than Pelican Bay State Prison in so many ways. I’ll start sending updates on corruption and racism against prisoners who have been placed in Steps 3 and 4 of these keepers’ Step Down Program (SDP).

The DRB (Departmental Review Board) lies to the public. Prisoners are coming into a non-functional SDP, and they are trying to create a functional program while we are in this corrupt system. We were placed in an allegedly functional program.

George Giurbino and Suzan Hubbard are the two CDCR officials who are doing those DRB-CBC (Community-Based Coalition) reviews. They are playing CDCR prison politics as to who they are allowing to go directly to the general population (GP) and who is placed in Steps 1-4.

All of us being reviewed at Pelican Bay have spent 10, 20 and 30 years in the SHU (Security Housing Unit, California’s form of solitary confinement), so how can they say go to GP? That would be admitting we’re not the worst of the worst, as they call us.

Instead, we’re placed on one of the Steps 1-4, which means that we have to endure one year to three years of continued torture and CDCR prison politics being played against us. By these officials even placing us in a Step 1-5, they show that we should have not been held another day, period!

This is how CDCR prison politics are being used against all prisoners based on Giurbino and Hubbard’s racist views directed at specific prisoners and these officials’ bias and hate against prisoners generally. That is clearly the basis for their decisions as to who is going directly to the GP and who will be given additional years in solitary confinement.

Yes, that is a criminal act being committed against us. To correct a historic wrong, these officials should be immediately releasing us to the GP.

CDCR has knowingly lied to state Sen. Loni Hancock about the entire SDP and how well it is functioning. She should come to Tehachapi Prison and see for herself how CDCR lied and didn’t give a damn about the state legislators in order to get the CDCR plan out there with a positive spin. The new STG (Security Threat Group) and SDP system are nothing but lies and half-truths!

Sitawa is one of the four “main reps” responsible for the historic mass hunger strikes in 2011 and the largest hunger strike in prison history, involving 30,000 prisoners, in 2013. He is highly respected throughout the California prison system. His supporters rejoiced when he was released from decades in the Pelican Bay SHU and devastated to learn he was simply transferred from one SHU to another. Send our brother some love and light: Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671, CCI SHU 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

Shine a light on Tehachapi, where CDCr has violated prisoners’ constitutional rights for far too long!

This letter was published in the SF Bay View on Oct. 31st, 2014
 
by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

This is a summarized version of a letter I sent to Mike Stainer, director of Adult Institutions, July 28, 2014, in order to address the long standing U.S. constitutional violations at CCI-Tehachapi and bring this prison under the current SHU standards forthwith:
Salamu (Greetings), Mr. Stainer and Mr. Diaz:

As I briefly reach out to you and your staff member, Mr. Diaz, I trust you are in good health and state of mind. I see that you are continuing to press the CDCR’s STG-SDP, and from where I’m sitting, your office is facing some serious structural dysfunctions throughout your prisons, regarding your alleged Steps 3 and 4.

These programs have supposedly been operational since Oct. 12, 2012, and Mr. George Giurbino and Ms. Suzan Hubbard have been campaigning and speaking highly of their Steps 3 and 4 program. It does not exist!

This is one of the most refined schemes I have ever witnessed, and Gov. Jerry Brown is actually scapegoating prisoners with the need for the Step 3 and 4 program. The talking points used by Giurbino and Hubbard to the public and to Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano were untrue.

Stay tuned. Enough said for the moment. I just wanted to share my thoughts, being that myself and other prisoners are seeing this type of hell first hand and UP CLOSE!

My purpose is to establish monthly meetings between CCI-Tehachapi officials and the four prisoner negotiators – myself, Danny Troxell (B-76578), John Solis (C-52754) and Javier Martinez (T-62995) – who shall speak on behalf of the Tehachapi SHU prisoner class. Now, over a month or so ago while still at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP), I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Diaz about establishing a similar working body to address some long standing problems here at CCI.

He agreed that some things needed to be worked out. Since my arrival, I see that the problems are of a constitutional nature and we do feel many can be resolved right here locally.

My purpose is to establish monthly meetings between CCI-Tehachapi officials and the four prisoner negotiators – myself, Danny Troxell (B-76578), John Solis (C-52754) and Javier Martinez (T-62995) – who shall speak on behalf of the Tehachapi SHU prisoner class.

I truly understand the cultural changes you are facing, Mr. Stainer, with wardens all the way through to correctional officers, but these cultural changes have been at the expense of prisoners across the prison system. These acts of persuasion and perturbation by prison staff have to cease immediately here at Tehachapi! The cultural level with prisoners has changed and continues to change.

There has to be a serious dialogue with yourself, Stainer and Diaz, along with Tehachapi prison officials, in order to truly standardize all SHUs, and currently Tehachapi is an un-standardized prison. All SHUs, and currently Tehachapi, are un-standardized. They should follow PBSP as the new and current model of areas that need to be altered in accordance with the new standard model that we should be after.

We, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM), need supporters to shine a light on this prison, for they have violated prisoners’ constitutional rights for far too long! We must be afforded our 10 hours of exercising a week. We must be afforded three hours of visiting.

Those are two of our immediate requests and demands. Prisoners have been denied these rights for years!
In struggle!

Send our brother some love and light: Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671, CCI SHU 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

Letter from Pelican Bay Prisoner Representatives to Members of the California State Assembly & Senate

LETTER FROM PELICAN BAY PRISONER REPRESENTATIVES TO MEMBERS OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY & SENATE

 

Todd Ashker – CDCR # C58191

Arturo Castellano – CDCR # C17275

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa R.N. Dewberry – CDCR # C35671

Antonio Guillen – CDCR # P81948

May 1, 2014

Dear Members of the California State Assembly and Senate:

We are writing to offer our position on the two bills pending before the Assembly and the Senate (SB 892 and AB 1652) dealing with the solitary confinement and gang validation policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

We are California inmates who have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time, based on validation as alleged associates and members of prison gangs, rather than based on violent behavior. We undertook hunger strikes in 2011 and in 2013 in opposition of the CDCR’s solitary confinement and gang validation practices as well as the inhumane conditions of CDCR’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). Together with thousands of inmates, we expressed the following five core demands:

1) Individual accountability, rather than group punishment, indefinite SHU status, and restricted privileges;

2) Abolish debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria;

3) Comply with U.S. Commission 2006 Recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement;

4) Provide adequate food; and,

5) Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates.

Having carefully reviewed and considered Assembly Bill 1652, introduced by Assembly member Tom Ammiano on February 11, 2014 as amended on April 3, 2014, and Senate Bill 892, introduced by Senate member Loni Hancock on January 13, 2014, as amended on March 18 and April 2, we wish to offer the following comments:

I. Discussion of Ammiano AB 1652:

AB 1652 addresses the very narrow but critical issue of eliminating CDCR’s policy of placing prisoners in solitary confinement for gang validation, rather than for commission of a serious offense. We support AB 1652. At the same time, we recommend that the bill be amended to include the following three additional provisions:

a. During assessment for SHU placement, the use of testimony (whether or not confidential) of an in-custody informant should be corroborated by an independent source before being relied upon to place someone in a SHU. Corroboration cannot be based upon the testimony of another in-custody informant unless such in-custody informant obtained the information independently from the first in-custody informant and the information is not based on hearsay. This is essentially the same principle now applied in criminal court cases since 2011 (see Cal. Penal Code §1111.5).

b. An attorney-advocate should be made available (at no cost to the State) to inmates facing a sentence of more than 30 days in a SHU.

c. AB 1652 should implement provisions for increased oversight, studies, data collection, and reporting back to the Legislature on the SHU classification process, the mental and physical wellbeing of inmates in SHUs, and the reasons why SHU inmates are denied reentry into the general population. Senate member Hancock’s SB 892 contains these provisions, which we recommend be included in AB 1652. Collecting and considering this data can lay the foundation for a future more comprehensive legislative evaluation of solitary confinement practices in California.

II. Discussion of Hancock SB 892:

Although SB 892 appears to seek to achieve comprehensive CDCR reform on the issue of solitary confinement, there are several provisions of the bill that will adopt inhumane and widely condemned practices into state law. We will only support SB 892 if it is amended to include three critically important items:

A) The bill should incorporate the language of AB 1652 (or similar language) which eliminates the use of gang validation and minor rule violations as a justification for placing inmates in SHUs. As it stands currently, SB 892 does not eliminate SHU assignment for mere gang association and it does not eliminate indeterminate SHU terms. This is a critical issue and one of our core demands. The nationwide trend is clearly not to place prisoners in segregated housing units for alleged gang association without accompanying serious rule violations. Numerous states have moved in this direction for public safety reasons, for humane reasons, and to cut costs. California should not move in the opposite direction.

B) As mentioned above, we recommend that language be added so that during assessment for SHU placement, the use of testimony (whether or not confidential) of an in-custody informant should be corroborated by an independent source before being relied upon to place someone in a SHU. Corroboration cannot be based upon the testimony of another in-custody informant unless such in-custody informant obtained the information independently from the first in-custody informant and the information is not based on hearsay. This is essentially the same principle now applied in criminal court cases since 2011 (see Cal. Penal Code §1111.5).

C) As mentioned above, we recommend that language be added so that an attorney-advocate should be made available (at no cost too the State) to inmates facing a sentence of more than 30 days in a SHU.

We do not believe that the range of provisions in SB 892 related to review by the Office of the Inspector General of cases in which SHU placement is based on the testimony of a confidential informant, the appointment of ombudsmen, the requirement for a daily face-to-face encounter with CDCR employees, the appointment of an “advocate” for an inmate being processed for SHU placement, or the Step Down Program in the bill will make any measurable difference in CDCR solitary confinement practices. The Inspector General is unlikely based upon review of a file to reverse decisions based on confidential informants. Ombudsmen will be of little value as long as inmates can be placed in SHUs for alleged gang association when they have engaged in no wrong-doing. “Face-to-face” encounters already happen almost every day when our food is served or a psych tech walks past our cells. Allowing an “advocate” to assist in the SHU assignment process will mean assignment of a guard who could care less about the result. And the proposed step-down program focuses on forcing prisoners to disavow alleged gang association or activities rather than on a behavior-based model considering whether the prisoner has violated rules while in the SHU. Despite these misguided and costly provisions in SB 892, we would support the bill if it is amended to include the provisions identified above.

However, the narrower and more focused (and less costly) AB 1652, particularly if amended as suggested above, would far better serve the public safety, prison security, and the humane treatment of prisoners. It’s a first but critically important step in the direction of a rational and humane policy. Further legislation could be considered in the next legislative session after CDCR data is collected by the legislature. Thank you for considering our comments and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Todd Ashker

Arturo Castellano

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa R.N. Dewberry

Antonio Guillen

Antonio Guillen: May Day message to the working class people of the world from Pelican Bay SHU

By Antonio Guillen
From: SF Bay View, May 8, 2014

I am one of the hunger strike representatives from Pelican Bay State Prison. I along with my family are also part of the working class people of America.

As a young boy coming from a working class family, I’d watch my parents in their daily struggles try as best they could to feed, house and clothe their children. More often than not, barely making it with little or no money left to spend on themselves.

As a man, while on the streets, I’d grow to experience those same struggles as my parents. Trying to find a good job with decent wages but always seeming to just scrape by from paycheck to paycheck. Even now, while I’m in prison, my wife and children are part of the daily grind that is the work force!

Although I’ve been away for many years I still remember the pain and the struggles that are intimately linked in the toils of the working class. And, for that reason, I’d like to extend my deepest and most sincere acknowledgement and respect to ALL the good people of labor on this reverent International Workers Day!

Power to the people!

Strength and respect,

Antonio Guillen

Send our brother some love and light: Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP SHU D2-106, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.