Summary of Ashker v. Governor of California

Summary of Ashker v. Governor of California

Settlement Terms

[from: CCR website]

When Ashker v. Governor was first filed as a class action in 2012, thousands of prisoners across the state of California languished in prolonged solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU). At Pelican Bay State Prison alone, more than 500 prisoners had been held in the SHU for over 10 years, and 78 prisoners had been there for more than 20 years. They were warehoused in cramped, windowless concrete cells for almost 24 hours a day with no phone calls, infrequent visits through plexiglass preventing physical contact, meager rehabilitative opportunities, and no opportunity for normal social interaction with other prisoners. Their indefinite and prolonged confinement in this torturous isolation was based not on any actual misconduct but on vague and tenuous allegations of affiliation with a gang. Prisoners were routinely placed in prolonged solitary confinement for simply appearing on a list of gang members found in another prisoner’s cell, or possessing allegedly gangrelated artwork and tattoos.

In 2015, the plaintiffs agreed to a far-reaching settlement that fundamentally alters all aspects of this cruel and unconstitutional regime. The agreement will dramatically reduce the current solitary confinement population and should have a lasting impact on the population going forward; end the practice of isolating prisoners who have not violated prison rules; cap the length of time a prisoner can spend in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay; and provide a restrictive but not isolating alternative for the minority of prisoners who continue to violate prison rules on behalf of a gang.

1. The settlement transforms California’s use of solitary confinement from a status-based system to a behavior-based system.

Under California’s old regime, prisoners identified as gang affiliates were sent to SHU for an indefinite term based merely on their gang affiliation, regardless of whether they had ever violated a prison rule. The settlement transforms California’s use of solitary confinement from a status-based system to a behavior-based system: from now on, California will only send gang-validated prisoners to SHU if they are found guilty, at a hearing, of a serious “SHU-eligible” rule violation. These violations are now limited to the same violations that send non-gang-validated prisoners to the SHU: murder, violence against persons, threats to kill or assault, weapons possession, distribution of controlled substances, escape, disturbance, riot or strike, harassment, gang activity that leads to a serious rule violation, serious theft or destruction of property, extortion or bribery, certain sexual misconduct, and related attempts or conspiracy.

2. Validated gang affiliates who are found guilty of a SHU-eligible offense will enter a quicker two-year SHU step-down program for return to general population after serving their determinate SHU term.

Prisoners validated as gang affiliates in California used to face indefinite SHU confinement, with a review for possible release to general population only once every six years. Even when such reviews occurred, a single piece of evidence of alleged continued gang affiliation led to another six years of solitary confinement. That evidence was often as problematic as the original evidence used to send them to SHU – for example, a book, a poem, or a tattoo that was deemed to be gang-related. As a result, California held more people in solitary confinement, for longer periods of time, than any other state in the country.

Under the settlement, California will no longer impose indeterminate SHU sentences. Instead, after serving a determinate sentence for a SHU-eligible offense, validated gang affiliates whose offense was proven to be related to gang activities will be transferred to a two-year, four-step program. Prisoners will definitely be released to a general population prison setting after two years unless they commit another SHU-eligible offense while in the step-down program. While conditions at the steps remain harsh, prisoners will be allowed some telephone calls and rehabilitative programming at each step.

This new step-down program improves upon interim reforms unilaterally promulgated by the state after the Ashker complaint was filed. It cuts in half the time in the program from four to two years; provides increased phone calls, other privileges, and out-of-cell programming in the steps; and eliminates prisoners being kept in the SHU for either minor infractions or failure to engage in required behavioral programming.

Under this settlement, those prisoners who have refused to participate in step-down programming, or who have been found guilty of numerous acts of misconduct that don’t rise to the level of a SHU-eligible offense, will be transferred to a new unit established as an alternative to solitary: a Restricted Custody General Population Unit (RCGP). In this unit, described below, they will have the opportunity to complete the step-down program in a high-security but non-solitary unit, and earn release into general population.

3. California will review all current gang-validated SHU prisoners within one year to determine whether they should be released from solitary under the settlement terms. It is estimated by CDCR that the vast majority of such prisoners will be released to general population. In addition, virtually all of those prisoners who have spent more than 10 years in solitary will be immediately released to a general-population setting, even if they have committed recent serious misconduct.

The settlement requires speedy review of all prisoners currently held in a California SHU based on gang affiliation. With very limited exceptions, described below, those who have not been found guilty of a SHUeligible offense within the last two years will be immediately released to a general-population unit. Those with a recent SHU-eligible offense will be placed at the appropriate step of the step-down program, based on the date of the rule violation. It is currently estimated that only a small minority of those currently held in a SHU based on gang affiliation have a recent SHU-eligible offense, so that the overwhelming majority of prisoners should be released into general population under this settlement.

In addition, California has implicitly recognized the harm to prisoners from very prolonged solitary confinement by agreeing that those prisoners who have already spent 10 or more continuous years in the SHU will generally be immediately released from the SHU and placed in the RCGP to complete the step-down program – even if they have been found guilty of, or are still serving a sentence for, a recent gang-related SHU offense. Nor will anyone be involuntarily held in the Pelican Bay SHU for longer than five years for any reason. Even those prisoners who have been incarcerated in the SHU for more than 10 years and are currently serving a determinate SHU sentence for serious misconduct will be released to the RCGP to complete their SHU sentence and the step-down program unless California can show by a preponderance of the evidence that to do so would pose an unreasonable security risk.

4. California will create a new Restricted Custody General Population Unit (RCGP) as a secure alternative to solitary confinement.

The RCGP is a general-population unit designed to facilitate positive and meaningful social interactions for prisoners about whom California has serious security concerns, such that they would otherwise be placed in solitary confinement. As such, it may serve as a model for jurisdictions seeking to do away with solitary confinement altogether, while still ensuring prison security.

As part of a general-population unit, RCGP prisoners will be allowed to move around the unit without restraints, will be afforded as much out-of-cell time as other general-population prisoners, and will be able to receive contact visits. As a very high-security, restrictive-custody unit, its group activities will generally be in small groups, instead of large yards. For example, RCGP prisoners will have access to educational courses, a small-group recreation yard, small-group leisure activities and programming, some job opportunities and phone calls. Programming will be designed to provide increased opportunities for positive social interaction with both other prisoners and staff.

Three categories of prisoners will be sent to the RCGP: first, those who repeatedly violate prison rules while in the step-down program or refuse to take part in step-down programming; second, those who have spent over 10 continuous years in some form of solitary confinement and have recently committed a SHU-eligible offense; and third, prisoners against whom there is a substantial threat to their personal safety that limits their ability to be released into other general-population units.

5. Very prolonged solitary confinement will be severely limited and those confined provided significantly more out-of-cell time.

Because this settlement ends the prior practice of indeterminate SHU sentences for validated prisoners, generally prisoners will not be kept in the SHU for more than 10 continuous years, with a limited exception, called Administrative SHU. The settlement limits and ameliorates such prolonged solitary confinement by (a) setting up strict criteria for its use, (b) requiring increased out-of-cell time, and (c) providing for strong judicial review of its use. For example, where the Departmental Review Board has overwhelming evidence that a prisoner who has already served a SHU term presents an immediate threat such that he cannot be placed in general population, he can be kept in the SHU. Even in such instances, CDCR shall provide enhanced out-of-cell recreation and programming of a combined total of 20 hours per week, double the out-of-cell time of other SHU prisoners. During the agreement, CDCR’s decision is subject to review by Magistrate Judge Vadas, who is monitoring implementation of the settlement with plaintiffs’ counsel. The agreement states that CDCR’s expectation is that only a small number of prisoners will be retained in Administrative SHU. The Administrative SHU prisoners will have 180-day reviews in which staff will be required to identify efforts to move the prisoner to a less restrictive environment with the assumption being that these prisoners would be candidates to be moved to the RCGP. In addition, no prisoner may be held involuntarily at Pelican Bay SHU for more than 5 years.

6. Prisoner representatives will work with plaintiffs’ counsel and the magistrate judge to monitor implementation of the settlement.

The struggle to reform California’s use of solitary confinement has always been a prisoner-led movement. Indeed, the settlement was negotiated with the active participation of the prisoner representatives, who met as a group several times with counsel via conference phone calls, and who ultimately decided as a group to ratify the agreement. Under this settlement, prisoner representatives will retain their hard-won seat at the table to regularly meet with California prison officials to review the progress of the settlement, discuss programming and step-down program improvements, and monitor prison conditions. Plaintiffs’ counsel will receive regular documentation of all administrative-SHU and step-down placements, progress, and SHU-eligible rule violations. Along with Magistrate Judge Vadas, plaintiffs’ counsel will monitor all aspects of the settlement implementation. Magistrate Judge Vadas will be empowered to review and remedy any individual or systemic violations of the agreement. In addition, the settlement continues the ability of the prisoner representatives from around the state to confer as a group in a conference call with counsel to discuss the implementation and monitoring of the agreement.

The settlement also requires re-training of California correctional staff, and prohibits any retaliation for prisoners’ past and future involvement in the litigation or settlement monitoring.

The monitoring process under the settlement will be in effect for 24 months, with the opportunity to seek additional 12-month extensions upon a showing of continuing constitutional violations.

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

Gov. Jerry Brown, AG Kamala Harris and CDCr officials, you have the power to stop torture in California prisons

March 29, 2015, in: SF Bay View

by Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council

Open letter to senior officials at CDCr headquarters:

We are sharing our express concerns as the CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Danny Troxell, Antonio Villagrana and George Ruiz – concerning the non-functional operation of Steps 1 through 4 and how we as SHU SDP (Step Down Program) prisoners are being denied our federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive and procedural due process. This is the gist of the message presented to all CDCr and CCI top officials at CDCr headquarters on Feb. 9, 2015, by the CCI facilitator.

Listen up, America: California does torture and cause great harm to California prisoners – i.e., citizens.

This is a summary of the thought-provoking message to Gov. Jerry Brown and his personally appointed CDCr Secretary Jeffrey Beard and their subordinates, including senior CDCr officials 1) G. Giurbino, 2) S. Hubbard, 3) M. Hoshino, 4) M. Stainer, 5) R. Diaz, 6) M. Ruff, 7) K. Harrington, 8) L. Payton, 9) K. Allison, 10) T. Rothschild and 11) D. Herndon, who are the decision makers over 100,000 prisoners throughout CDCr and those of us held at CCI (Tehachapi). Many of CDCr’s employees are equally applying their bias, discrimination, racist behavior and torturous tactics against prisoners labeled as members or affiliates of a Security Threat Group (STG) or gang and SDP prisoners daily.

There is systematic corruption which has been instituted by the new regulations on STGs and the SDP Steps 1 through 5, and the public – i.e. all California citizens – should be discontented with our elected officials who have allocated to the state $9 billion to torture us, to discriminate against us and to violate prisoners’ constitutional rights with taxpayers’ money.

California taxpaying citizens: You are obligated to fight against the legalized human torture you are paying for.

These local CDCr subordinates, such as those at CCI (Tehachapi) prison, have been using their staff’s racist, biased and discriminatory cultural practices to deny all prisoners their fundamental rights under the CCR Title 15, the California Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the International Human Rights Law. We prisoners are being violated by these specific custody employees and medical employees: 1) Kim Holland (warden), 2) Dr. H. Tate, 3) W. Sullivan (CDW), 4) B. Snider (STG/SDP-CCII), 5) R. Mayo (captain), 6) J. Gutierrez (AW), 7) J. Edward (visiting room staff), 8) V. Ybarra (CC-I), 9) Matzen (captain), 10) Hernandez (SDP-CC-II), 11) K. Campball (sergeant), 12) R. Cole (sergeant), 13) Cable (property officer), 14) Landau (imam), 15) Davis (chaplain), 16) J. Tyree (IGI lieutenant), 17) E. Atencio (mailroom personnel), 18) Whitson (sergeant)(A), 19) J. Leon (correctional officer) and 20) Nathaniel (correctional officer) have all committed acts of punishment and harassment toward CCI prisoners.

Every citizen in the state of California should independently investigate all CDCr and CCI named employees and share information about the corrupt employees with California taxpayers – now! now! now!

We seek corrective measures to take place immediately in Steps 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

The sham Step Down Program has been doomed from the start, governed by underground policies. On Oct. 12, 2012, CDCr enacted a pilot program in which it wrote open-ended policies that govern the program function and at the same time allow the policies to be manipulated at all levels of their administration as they see fit for their own benefit with its DRB (Departmental Review Board) process. Step placement is so arbitrary that the time period of advancement from one step to the next step can easily amount to regression back to a lower step.

In the regulations issued Oct. 17, 2015, of the Step Down Program Notice of Expectations, Step 1 and Step 2 prisoners can complete each step in one year but may be accelerated by ICC at the 180 day review; and Step 3, Step 4 and Step 5 prisoners can complete each step in one year – with no acceleration through these steps. Although the policy is written with specific and clear language, it demonstrates that CDCr has enacted policies of substantive due process. These underground policies allow Step 1 and Step 2 prisoners the benefit of an accelerated advancement from one step to the next in 90 days with three completed journals – Step 1 to Step 2 and Step 2 to Step 3.

These substantive due process policies have been implemented and extended to hundreds of Step 1 and Step 2 prisoners throughout CDCr since Oct. 12, 2012, utilizing CDCr standardization of all SHUs and Administrative Segregation units (AdSegs), which gives the appearance that their Step Down Program is up and functioning and prisoners are being advanced from one step to the next, while in truth only Step 1 and 2 prisoners are being accelerated and advanced to the next step in 90 days of their required 12 months.

This same advancement incentive is not being extended to Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners, thereby denying them their substantive due process and equal protection rights. At this time, all Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners are being forced to complete all 12 months of each step along with four completed journals, and they are receiving no incentive of accelerated advancement to the next step in 90 days for their participation. CDCr Step 3 prisoners are being punished and mistreated. Psychological warfare is being directed at them.

It is clear that CDCr is not applying its policies equally nor extending equal substantive due process to all three SDP prisoners. Furthermore, Step 1 and Step 2 prisoners are being rewarded for participation in the lowest steps of the program while Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners are being punished for their participation in the higher, more advanced steps of the program. Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners are not being extended any incentives for their ongoing good behavior and participation in these three steps.

In essence, CDCr has instituted a policy allowing Step 1 and 2 prisoners across the state to actually do a quarter of the required SDP one year. Yes, Secretary Beard of CDCr has approved 90 days and three journals per Step 1 and 2.

The SDP needs to be afford quarter-time credits to all prisoners in Steps 1 through 5 and especially Steps 3, 4 and 5 prisoners. Being that CDCr has been running the Step Down Program since Oct. 12, 2012 – for over two years – it is a clear violation of Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners’ equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Secretary of CDCr J. Beard has sanctioned these procedures, and they must be corrected to provide to all Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners the same treatment as Steps 1 and 2 now receive, in order to give them substantive due process forthwith.

Corrective measures for SDP Step 3, 4 and 5 prisoners

  1. All SDP Step 3 prisoners shall be accelerated and advanced forthwith to Step 4 after completing a 90-day period.
  2. All SDP Step 4 prisoners shall be accelerated and advanced to a 180-designed (high security) prison after completing a 90-day period, which is one quarter of the required 12-month time period, forthwith.
  3. All SDP Step 5 prisoners shall be accelerated and advanced to a 270 designed (lower security) prison after completing a 90-day period, which is one quarter of the 12-month observation time period, forthwith.

These SDP Steps 3, 4 and 5 privilege groups have been denied their equal protection and substantive due process rights under the California Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. CDCr must accelerate and advance prisoners in all above-mentioned steps.

Visiting

In the spirit of standardizing all CDCr SHUs and AdSegs, we must consider visiting, an unresolved issue of concern for years here at CCI. The entire visiting scheduling and process is conducted unprofessionally and causes all types of unnecessary problems for our visitors who are citizens.

CCI visiting operators have been forcing our visitors to be placed on hold for two to four hours just to schedule a weekend visit. CCI visiting officers are unprofessional and intentionally vindictive. It should not take more than five minutes to schedule a visiting date.

All allowable visiting time for SHUs and AdSeg prisoners fall under a statewide standardized visiting time period of two and a half hours per scheduled visit for Saturday and Sunday – not just for the one day and one hour visit per weekend as CCI has been doing for over a decade. All prisoners should be afforded two visiting days per weekend, as is done at all other SHU and AdSeg prisons in the state, except for CCI.

TV stations

All prisons and institutions within CDCr are responsible for providing all prisoners an adequate and functional TV system. Now CCI Warden Kim Holland is fully aware that the CCI TV system is inadequate and it has been so stated to him by the local court, by the granting of 602 appeals. CCI is not at present a part of any cable system or satellite dish system, which is the sole reason why prisoners have been receiving inadequate TV reception. Holland and staff have been for years denying prisoners Charter Cable or Direct TV and are currently mishandling and misappropriating the allocated funds for the CCI TV service and education departments.

From the Prisoner Human Rights Movement! In struggle!

The CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council can be reached via Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, 4B-7C-209, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi CA 93581.

Alternatively, you can send an email with your questions and/or support via email to:

Prisonerhumanrightsmovement [at] gmail.com

This will be forwarded to Sitawa via snail mail since he has not computer, cellphone or internet connection.

© Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

New Afrikan Prisoners of War (NAPOW)-case

Sitawa

Here is an Affidavit of Sitawa in the case Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. (CVUJ-06-1359, started in Sept. 2006). Sitawa wrote the following about this:

“This document was put together back in 2007 and [it is about] the struggles that Afrikan prisoners [endure.]

The case on Mr Vaughn Dortch, i was there when they, PBSP, tortured him and i was also a named plaintiff in the Madrid v. Gomez Class Action case. I am a named plaintiff of the enclosed case as well, and of the four (4) major Class Action Cases over the past 30 years.

Affidavit of Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (s/n R. N. Dewberry) in support of the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. Affidavit of Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (s/n R. N. Dewberry) in support of the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al.

Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2000): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 2 of 6 Legal Case Announcement; Freedom, Justice & Human Rights (Sept. 8, 2006): the Civil Rights Complaint/Action CVUJ-06-1359 Paul Jones v. G. Stewart et al. page 2 of…

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Prisoner Human Rights Movement: Agreement to End Hostilities has changed the face of race relations without any help from CDCr

by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

In: SF Bay View, Jan. 28. 2015

It is incumbent upon all men prisoners across the state of California and globally to embrace the struggle of women prisoners as a whole. We, the four principle negotiators of our Prisoner Human Rights Movement – George Franco, Arturo Castellanos, Todd Ashker and Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry) – recognize the women prisoner struggles and the PHRM supports them. These other prisoner activists do as well: D. Troxell, L. Powell, A. Guillen, G. Huerta, P. Redd, R. Yandell, J.M. Perez, J. Baridi Williamson, A. Sandoval, P. Fortman, Y. Iyapo-I (Alexander), A. Yrigollen, F. Bermudez, F. Clement and R. Chavo Perez.

“The Agreement to End Hostilities” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

“The Agreement to End Hostilities” – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, PBSP SHU D7-217, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

These representatives, whom CDCr leading officials recognize as prisoner activists, are changing the face of race relationships within CDCr first, without any assistance from CDCr. Isn’t that amazing! The above named prisoner activists, along with the thousands of other prisoner activists throughout the California prison system, have changed the way prisoners should be treated as human beings.

I encourage all men and women prisoners to continue to press onward with our Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) through all corridors of state and county facilities.

Prisoners’ era of retrospective study and constructive struggle

We are beacons of collective building while clearly understanding that we the beacons must take a protracted internal and external retrospective of our present day prisons’ concrete conditions to forge our PHRM onward into the next stage of development, thereby exposing CDCr’s racial discrimination and racist animus tactics against our prisoner class. This is why our lives must be embedded in determined human rights laws, based on our constructive development of our scientific methods and laws. Therefore, through our concrete conditions in each prison, our struggle shall be constructed through our Prisoner Human Rights Movement representatives and negotiators.

The PHRM has realized that CDCr has been setting up prisoners and creating racial tension among all racial groups, from various geographical locations up and down the state of California. It has become abundantly clear to the PHRM that Gov. Jerry Brown is an outspoken racist and overseer who has clearly shown that his discriminatory practices are directed at minorities and people of color: New Afrikan (Afrikan Amerikan), Mexicans (Latinos) and White working poor, who have all been suffering blatant discrimination in county jails and state prisons.

Gov. Brown went out and hired the most blatant racist prison superintendent in the U.S. as his secretary of corrections. Yes, CDCr Secretary Jeffrey Beard is continuing to torture, isolate, maim, racially assault, and racially, religiously and culturally discriminate against prisoners.

Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard are continuing their practices of long term solitary confinement. Now, it is a known fact that Gov. Brown and his personally appointed CDCr Secretary J. Beard do not want to STOP racial tension within the CDCr or the state of California as a whole, because if they did, the historical document, the Agreement to End Hostilities, would have been distributed by the CDCr to all women and men state prisoners, county jail prisoners, youth authority prisoners, juveniles, probationers and parolees throughout this state.

The Youth Justice League brought the Agreement to End Hostilities to the hood on the day it took effect, Oct. 10, 2012, at a rally in front of the LA County Jail. – Photo: Virginia Gutierrez

The Youth Justice League brought the Agreement to End Hostilities to the hood on the day it took effect, Oct. 10, 2012, at a rally in front of the LA County Jail. – Photo: Virginia Gutierrez

Since Oct. 10, 2012, when the Agreement to End Hostilities took effect, to the present day, California women and men prisoners’ racial and cultural hostilities have decreased, without any assistance from Gov. Brown or his subordinate, Secretary of CDCr Jeffrey Beard. It is important that all citizens here in California and throughout the United States realize that Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard do not care about reducing the violence among prisoners, nor do they care about the safety and security of Californians who are not incarcerated.

Our civil rights are violated daily. We citizens realize that the safety and security of California prisoners and our neighborhoods throughout California will only come from the people, not from corrupt law enforcement agencies! Because we know that the majority of California law enforcement policies have been brutal to our inner city citizens – killing and maiming our family members – and that the brutality has been sanctioned by Gov. Brown and carried out by CDCr Secretary Beard et al behind California prison walls against all prisoners and especially Level 3 and 4 prisoners.

CEASE the human torture! CEASE the racial profiling, Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard!

I want everyone to know that I agree with my co-principle negotiators’ articles in the October 2014 SF Bay View newspaper: 1) “California prisoner representatives: All people have the right to humane treatment with dignity” on page 5 and 2) “Unresolved hunger strike issues” on page 16. I want to encourage everyone to subscribe to this newspaper. It is the voice of all people!

To all U.S. citizens and the world community, support our Prisoner Human Rights Movement!

We are fighting for human justice. We are upholding the U.S. Constitution and California Constitution and the liberties therein, while establishing the freedoms that our ancestors struggled for over the past hundred years in California.

Determined to preserve our human lives and those of all prisoners within the state of California, we, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement, call on all citizens to get involved with social change now. In the course of our work, PHRM realizes that it is natural that we should meet opposition from CDCr, because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge manifested whenever CDCr ruthlessly deceives and deprives prisoners of our human rights and civil rights daily.

With the dawn of this new prison era, the Prisoners’ Era of Retrospect and Construct, know what its essentials are; know its principles and strive to attain our goals and objectives in the truest sense of our Agreement to End Hostilities. We know what forced solitude causes: psychological and physical warfare, for prisoners and their outside family members as well.

Politically speaking, the world has changed and so have prisoners. Human progress means change, and today we need to prepare for a higher life, for tomorrow’s liberty – educationally, socially and politically.

Determined to preserve our human lives and those of all prisoners within the state of California, we, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement, call on all citizens to get involved with social change now.

No one wants to be tortured, dehumanized, racially profiled, religiously profiled and viciously targeted by acts of sensory deprivation by Gov. Jerry Brown’s state government and his California prison officials to implement the New Jim Crow, i.e., the Security Threat Group/Step Down Program (STG/SDP), which is actually criminal acts of torture by way of low intensity warfare. This is an act against all California citizens and humanity itself.

Our PHRM was threatened by CDCr officials and employees as we championed the cause of the Agreement to End Hostilities, and we thank God that our prisoner class did not fall prey to CDCr’s threats to destroy our AEH across this state. Prisoners hold their destiny in the palm of their hands and we shall not allow any prison correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, associate wardens, chief deputy wardens, wardens, the director of adult institutions, the undersecretary or the secretary or even Gov. Brown to destroy our faith in humanity. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement shall stand as ONE clenched fist in solidarity against CDCr oppression.

I want to make it clear that Gov. Brown and Secretary Beard operate with the mentality of Donald Tokowitz Sterling, the former Los Angeles Clipper’s owner. Just review their policies, rules, laws and practices directed at all prisoners and their family members, relatives, friends and all citizens within this state.

We shall not allow even Gov. Brown to destroy our faith in humanity. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement shall stand as ONE clenched fist in solidarity against CDCr oppression.

Stand up against injustice. Stand up against racism. Stand up against sensory deprivation.

People, get involved in struggle!

Revolutionary love and respect!

Brutha Sitawa

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

CDCr Are Cold-blooded Executioners

CDCr Are Cold-blooded Executioners

By Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, January 1, 2015

As imprisoned activists, we’ve often asked society: What have your eyes seen, to wish to see no more? And what have your ears heard to wish to hear no more? Your self-imposed mute has only fueled the government’s thirst for fascist repression, and this repression has manifested on every level of society, causing humanity to hemorrhage, while debris from this hemorrhaging scorches the dissipating remnants of a deteriorating society. People, I don’t intend to be poetic, but it is imperative that this indictment tap into the depths of your rhythmic soul, with the hope that we are able to re-awaken your true sense of humanity, and restore your hearing and sight, so you can hear our voices, and see a society that is trapped within its own sins.

Some may even find the above paragraph contextually out of place at first glance, but it is a prerequisite necessitated by a society that for the most part has lost its moral vision, as well as its capability of humane discernment, compelling us to ponder over the possibility that our words will fall upon deaf ears. What was once morally reprehensible, is now immorally acceptable and justified under particular situations and/or circumstances, thus leaving humanity and justice at the dictate of a subjective scrutiny.

We can no longer assume that we are speaking to a society that is firmly rooted in the tenets of an ethical constitution, especially when the evidence of an impaired moral fortitude appears to permeate every social stratification. So, our question to ourselves as imprisoned activists and embedded reporters for the People is “How do we articulate a moral indictment on the subject of torture that is capable of penetrating the exterior periphery of a post 9/11 culture, where torture for the most part is no longer considered a crime or an act against humanity, but rather, as a tool to extract information, or as a weapon designed to censor, persecute, punish and ideologically subdue the imprisoned activists, or a governmental strategy designed to suppress the poor communities, the New Afrikan community in particular?”

Articulating the diabolical anatomy of torture for a post 9/11 society is no doubt a task that must be diligently executed, for it is too important an issue to allow subjective sentiments to cause us to neglect our responsibility as imprisoned activists. We are still obligated to serve, even a morally decaying society is deserving of being saved, and Yes, even if those who are doing the saving are imprisoned activists.

An Anatomy of Torture

When we speak about the anatomy of torture, this inherently encompasses its socio-political, socio-cultural and spiritual ramifications. The government deliberately omits this aspect to torture, which is the most pertinent and significant element, but the government also understands it is this very element that has the potential to ignite societal and spiritual expostulation, impeding their ability to torture as a political tool, both domestically and globally.

Most people, including the so-called experts tend to perpetuate a fundamental and erroneous interpretation of torture. People often perceive physical and psychological torture as two separate entities. Their hypothesis implies physical torture is exclusively physical, and that psychological torture is exclusively psychological. Contrary to this popular myth, their practical application and execution explicitly implies that both physical and psychological torture are one and the same, though two distinguishable components. But in practice, they are constantly interchanging, or morphing into one another, where the physical becomes the psychological, or vice-versa.

Psychological torture has a physical characteristic. Those under psychological torture also experience physical pain. Psychological torture, no question, produces an intense stress that eventually wreaks havoc on the body, burning the body on itself. Physical torture also possesses a psychological characteristic, but before we discuss the subject to torture further, let first be clear what it is.

Many people within the poor and oppressed communities look at torture in one dimension, not even realizing that they are constantly under the subjugation of government-sponsored torture, for example: when the pigs murder un-armed Black males, or murder a 12 year old Black Manchild, this is a form of torture, using government-sponsored violence as a tool of both psychological and physical torture. These acts of open terrorism are designed to instill fear into our community every time we step outside our homes. The threat of government-sponsored violence is always present, producing stress, which affects our physical health.

Post-9/11 made torture an acceptable evil, not only in the U.S. government’s so-called war on terrorism, but the government’s domestic deployment of torture socially acceptable among certain segments of society, not that this is a new phenomenon, and this radical change unfortunately became the catalyst for the prison industrial complex (PISC) to rapidly increase their torture program with impunity.

It is not even a question that both physical and psychological torture is a permanent reality throughout the Prison Industrial Slave Complex. The issue that presently confronts us, is the wide-spread acceptance of our torture, and not even considering the moral and social ramifications of a society that has lost its humanity? And then you wonder, how could a police officer murder a 12 year old Manchild, or a 70 year old Sista? Or a 6 year old Womanchild?

The social acceptance of torture domestically or globally should serve as an indictment of the absence of our collective sense of humanity! A society that is slowly dying and don’t even know it! Do you think that God would accept or tolerate our daily torture in his name? Do you not know that you as a member of this society will one day have to answer for turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the cry of human suffering at the hands of government-sponsored torture? I ask you to pray on this, if you are a true believer, for your humanity is under indictment! Put your hands up, your humanity has no rights to remain silent — speak out against torture!

Prisoners Human Rights Movement

We are beacons of collective building while clearly understanding that we the beacons must take a protracted internal and external retrospective of our present day prisons’ concrete conditions to forge our PHRM onward into the next stages of development, thereby exposing California Department of Corruption and Repression (CDCR)/ United States Prison System of Racial Discrimination, Cultural Discrimination and Racist Animus Tactics against our prisoner class.

This is why our lives must be embedded in our determined human rights laws, based on our constructive development of our continuous Liberation Struggle via our scientific methods and laws.

Therefore, through our Prisoner Class, concrete conditions in each prison/ U.S. prisons shall be constructed through our Prisoner Human Rights Movement.

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, December 1, 2014 © SNJ

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
  1. Media complicity as well as other official organs of the State of California, to legalize its actions as legal and defensive.
  1. 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
P.O. Box 1906
Tehachapi  CA  93581

Abdul Olugbala Shakur
s/n J. Harvey, C48884
CSP-Cor 4B-1L-25
P.O. Box 3481
Corcoran CA 93212

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

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

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

How torture is inflicted on prisoners in solitary confinement

Published on SF Bay View on Feb. 24th, 2014

by Mutope Duguma and Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

This is a glimpse into torture by prison staff, using any means available, of which solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in California is only a reflection of the inhumane treatment and clear U.S. constitutional violations of our First, Fifth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights that prisoners in solitary everywhere are subjected to.

Torture by deprivation

The objective of the deprivation method is not complicated. It is to attack the sensory organs and perception with methods to impair them. The weapon of deprivation cannot be effective without having in place a conditioning process to produce degeneration over a long period of time. The psychological, social and cultural trauma is observable in such a sterile and punitive environment.

Deprivation is cannibalistic for the spirit that is willing to stay the course. The flesh becomes weakened as men feed on themselves and others, eating away at human excellence. The feasting of deprivation will become more than flesh, blood or nature can endure. Indeterminate SHU confinement has left individuals with having to choose between discontinuity and becoming inflicted with a cannibalistic nature.

There are two aspects of deprivation, the psychological and the physical, where the mind acts upon the body. This two-edged torture can be effective either way. But in order for deprivation to eat away at the targeted prisoner’s consciousness, a conversion reaction must occur that breaks down the psychological defense mechanism.

Declaration on Protection from Torture

The “Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as Resolution 3452 (XXX) on Dec. 9, 1975. The declaration contains 12 articles, the first of which defines the term “torture” as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted by or at the instigation of a public official on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating him or other persons.”

Types of torture

Medical: Honorable Judge Thelton Henderson ordered a receivership to oversee CDCr’s PBSP SHU due to intentional medical neglect which led to prisoners dying, as frequently as one a week, in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation system. Many of these deaths were, and continue to be, in solitary confinement. This is torture.

Solitary confinement: Prisoners are held in isolation for 10 to 40 years despite having only non-disciplinary infractions during that time. This is torture.

Mail: Prisoner mail is being used to create physical and psychological torment. Mail can be arbitrarily withheld for weeks on a regular basis, and has been known to be withheld for years, even when there are court orders to release the mail to a prisoner being unjustly deprived. This is torture.

Food: Food is intentionally prepared poorly, contaminated and disproportionate. Nutritional food is deliberately denied. This is torture.

No human contact: Prisoners have no real, meaningful social interaction with other human beings, especially family and close friends. Our five senses – touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste – become dulled from deprivation. This is torture.

Visiting: Constantly, under the CDCr gestapo style agency of correctional safety, the Investigative Service Unit (ISU) and Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI) and other such units deliberately intimidate visitors and prisoners. This is torture.

Cell searches: These are used to intimidate, harass and trash prisoners’ cells, leaving them in disarray while taking political writings, pictures, manuscripts, books, pamphlets, magazines etc., causing psychological torment. This is torture.

No sanitation: Prisoners are deliberately kept in unsanitary units. For example, showers are allowed four times a week, but the showers are cleaned only twice a week. There is an abundance of mold, mice, bugs, gnats, fungus etc. This is torture.

Climate: Prisoners are kept in freezing cold or burning hot cells, depending on the time of year, a complaint that has been made for over 21 years. This is torture.

Contraband watch, or potty watch: It is humiliating, dehumanizing and outright cruel and unusual punishment when prisoners are held in shackles and placed in the middle of a hall while being placed on a portable “potty,” while cops (female too) and prisoners with escorts are walking by. There are reports of prisoners being placed in cages, without a toilet or running water. Men are placed in a diaper with a prison jumpsuit over it, while the victim’s hands are bound into a fist-wrap. PVC pipe forced onto arms and black boxes over the hands have also been used. The prisoner is required to defecate three separate times during a three-day period. The torment and suffering are truly visible on the prisoner’s face. This is done to cause severe humiliation, along with mental, physical and psychological torment. This is torture.

Family: Each validated prisoner’s family is deliberately harassed, intimidated and intentionally hoaxed into false prosecution for a thoughtless crime by gestapo-type units (OCS, ISU, SSU and IGI) with the intent of discouraging any support or communication with the prisoner. This is torture.
Grievances: The 602 appeal process, at each of its three levels is deliberately set up to not afford a prisoner relief, regardless of whether prison officials are dead wrong in their accusations. This clearly establishes that there is no accountability for what officials do to prisoners. This is torture.
In addition, the structural features of the various solitary confinement units throughout the U.S. prison industrial complex (PIC) make it possible to target specific prisoners by utilizing sensory deprivation to undermine the social, cultural and ethical values that the targeted prisoners hold. Prisoners are rare who can escape the ravages of the torture that results from long term isolation and the negative assaults by guards in any of California’s supermax control units and similar units all over the U.S.

This is torture.

The science behind the use of deprivations has been perfected by the handlers to operate with devastating force. We know there is no separation between physical torture and mental torture. Torture is a double-edged sword that can slice effectively either way to exact punishment or revenge. It has the purpose of taking away a targeted prisoner’s human dimension and essence.

This is torture.

Send our brothers some love and light:

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry, C-35671, D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532
Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532