Sunday, December 1, 2013

CDCr calls hunger strike supplemental demands reasonable, then reneges; prisoners respond

December 1, 2013
In: SF Bay View  

by Mutope Duguma

In all policies, the truth is in the details of their implementation. On the surface, a policy can appear reasonable, but once you get into the actual working out of the details, you can see that it’s not what it seems like. For example, the war on crime, the war on gangs, the war on drugs and the California three strikes law are policies which we have come to learn in practice were nothing but phrases – and very costly phrases. 

The cost of those policies must be measured in the billions, because the actual carrying out of these policies ends up indicting and outright assaulting the poorest communities in Amerika, the same communities that populate the prison industrial slave complex today. So in responding to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitaion’sresponse to our 40 supplemental demands , I would like to get into the actual details of what the CDCr is and is not saying in response to prisoners.

There have not been any policy changes by CDCr or by Pelican Bay State Prison that verify the statement in the third introductory paragraph: “Despite policy changes that had already addressed the concerns raised during the two previous hunger strikes, gang leaders initiated a third strike and made 40 additional demands.” The term “gang leader” is offensive and baseless. It also has nothing to do with anything but character assassination to criminalize, devalue, degrade and dehumanize all prisoners who are demanding to be treated humanely.

No policy was addressed before the July 1, 2011, hunger strike. The program changes thus far have been based on operational procedural (OP) changes, which any warden can take or give anytime they desire to. The 40 supplemental demands are crucial for anyone who has to spend one day in these modern day torture chambers, where we exist in physical and psychological bondage.

Solitary confinement units are graveyards. You’re buried alive in a tombstone, confined to your own personal cube. Each cell is a concrete slab box to which you are restricted for the rest of your life. Then you’re tormented by your keepers to see how much you can take before you break. This is the format for all solitary confinement units throughout the United States, and almost 80 percent of the people who enter these tombstones are broken.

A friend of mine, Vikki Law of Truthout, once asked me, “Mutope, what about those who say, why would you want to make solitary confinement comfortable?” I told her it’s humanly impossible to make solitary confinement comfortable. What you attempt to do is keep people connected to their humanity; that’s it. Mere placement in solitary confinement is torture; looking in or out, it’s torture.

Supplemental demands 1-40

The Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement wrote 40 supplemental demands to detail what prisoners are entitled to and need to have re-instated.

Supplemental Demand No. 1 calls on CDCr to rescind all Form 115 RVRs (Rules Violation Reports) issued to hunger strikers during the peaceful protest. The CDCr has refused so far. Following is the prisoner representatives’ response:

CDCr’s own policy says that we have a right to go on a hunger strike without suffering any reprisal from the state. What CDCr officials in Sacramento did was retaliatory because they didn’t like the fact that there were a mass of prisoners on hunger strike protesting the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement, so they penalized all hunger strikers by saying it was a mass disturbance and that hunger strikers were manipulating the words from the CCR Title 15 to justify it.

The four representatives and I had read everything to make sure anything we did wasn’t against state rules or policies, and going on a hunger strike was not. So when we went on the July 1, 2011, hunger strike, the undersecretary of the CDC at the time, Scott Kernan, had the PBSP warden give us all CDC 128B chronos [informative documentation placed in a prisoner’s file] saying if we were to do the hunger strike again, we would face serious disciplinary action. This threat was arbitrary and an abuse of his administrative authority.

So when the second hunger strike came, Scott Kernan had Lt. Barneburg of IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations) at the time give each and every one of us a CDC Rule Violation Report (RVR) 115 for inciting a riot or mass disturbance. We couldn’t believe it, but it was true. They had misused the specific act in order to embellish an RVR from nothing to a real serious RVR offense.

Lt. Barneburg is now a captain of ISU (Investigations Services Unit). I can only suspect his promotion was for the many evil deeds he has carried out against prisoners throughout his stay as a so-called gang officer, where they manipulate confidential information, along with documenting words, all toward persecuting prisoners. This is why the CDCr RVR 115s should be dismissed, because they were illegal.

The RVRs we received for this July 8, 2013, hunger strike caused us a loss of credit for time served of 90 days for participating in the hunger strike. This time they left out “inciting a riot.”

Supplemental Demand No. 2 asks that no RVR be issued during July 8, 2013, hunger strike. CDCr refused to observe this request. The regulations do not apply here in relation to the hunger strike because refusing to eat does not equate to a disturbance and anything can be considered a disruption of orderly operations in the institution. But a hunger strike is definitely not an interruption. CDCr’s arbitrarily issuing RVR 115s was illegal, an outright abuse of their authority.

Supplemental Demand No. 3 asks that no retaliation happen when the July 8, 2013, hunger strike occurs. CDCr ignored this request. Notice that CDCr said policies and operational procedures are again a process in which the warden institutes the OP (operating procedure) concerning the safety and security of the institution. This OP does not supercede CDCr’s standing policies, state penal codes, or constitutional law.

These, again, are arbitrary attacks on all hunger strike participants by the warden at PBSP. Although the hunger strike OP 228 stipulates that all men who are identified as hunger strike representatives will be removed from the rest of the hunger strikers and placed in Ad Seg, CDCr and PBSP deviated from this practice and placed every last one of us on hunger strike in Ad Seg.

We found out that this OP was revised by gang officers at PBSP to retaliate against all hunger strikers in September 2012. It’s a clear case of abuse of authority by prison officials who use their power to punish prisoners.

There was never any policy before the July 1, 2011, hunger strike that punished prisoners for going on a hunger strike. Undersecretary Kernan arbitrarily drafted up a memorandum to this effect and the PBSP warden inserted that memorandum into the OP with the gang officers’ twist to punish prisoners.

Supplemental Demand No. 4 concerns the re-opening of a visiting room in Facility D, which PBSP is slowly working on. They have reopened Facility D, which should have never been closed in the first place, but the mismanagement of the prisoners’ program and the deliberate attack on solitary confinement prisoners and our families were part of that suppression of all relationships with our families. This was done by way of arbitrary order from the warden at PBSP. No policy or OP, just outright wickedness.

Supplemental Demand No. 5 calls for weekly phone calls to families and friends for all prisoners in SHU. CDCr is actually drilling holes in concrete walls for wires now. What about prisoners who will be literally waiting months, if not years, to get into a step?

This is where people in the public and prisoners have to be very cautious and conscious of the continual games by CDCr, because there are prisoners who have not talked to a family member in countless years. It’s been so long for some, it’ll be like calling strangers.

Again, it’s a policy and actual procedure that has been extremely wicked in its application and suppression of family and prisoner relationships. Phone calls should be instituted instantly, because families, friends and prisoners have already suffered enough.

Supplemental Demand No. 6 concerns access to hobby and art supplies and one photo per year, no matter what the prisoner’s record is. Well, there is a problem with putting photos down as a privilege, because photos are connected to the rehabilitation of the prisoners, like phone calls, visits etc., which build on family ties and friendship ties. People become re-humanized by being able to communicate who and what they are to the outside world through photos. To allow arbitrary, overzealous, racist, prejudiced and biased prison officials use an RVR 115 to deprive a prisoner of such important social, cultural and family-oriented treasures like photographs is in itself cruel.

Supplemental Demand No. 7 calls for prisoners to be allowed to sell or give away art work, no matter what their record is. Now here’s where safety and security are an excuse used to suppress people’s natural talents and creativity. The very system that claims to be about “free enterprise” is now using fascist-like suppression tactics to deny prisoners the human right to express themselves based on their God given talents.

This is criminal. There is no security concern here. This is where “group punishment” is applied, a policy where every prisoner is punished based on the act of one individual. We all are made to suffer for an individual’s action.

Every man and woman should be paid for his and her labor. Here there should be no exception. Any violation of a program should be punished to the fullest extent of the restrictions assigned to that violation, but to arbitrarily take away that program from everyone is exactly why our Core Demand No. 1 is so important. Nothing is non-negotiable where it suppresses the talent of a prisoner’s creativity. This goes to the heart of their rehabilitation.

Supplemental Demand No. 8 is to allow the Inmate Welfare Fund to be used to re-stock books for prisoners in the prison library. CDCr gave an excuse for not doing it. If this is true, why haven’t we seen one “new” book issued to prisoners? Yet, when we order a book from the library, it’s missing pages and is old. The CDCr’s state prison budget covers these expenses with taxpayer money. CDCr has to be honest about their responses. We have been held in these solitary confinement units, and we know the real truths. Independent investigation would prove these monies are being re-routed elsewhere.

Supplemental Demand No. 9 regards CDCr allowing funds for education programming. Compliance is yet to be seen. Plus, I would like to add that we are living in the 21st century and prisoners’ educations are like relics when it comes to the education of the average Amerikan. We are so far behind that we will know nothing when we parole.

The prisons have to move toward technological education systems. This is real rehabilitation for prisoners. For society to not move prisoners in this direction, to keep up with overall society, is a disservice to them and the communities they are returning to. I can only hope that CDCr is sincere about the educational programs, because if you truly want to civilize prisoners, then education is the key. And no prisoner should wait to be educated by CDCr, especially since they have a track record of over 40 years of not educating their prison population.

Supplemental Demand No. 10 concerns legal books not being counted in the 10 book allowance for each prisoner; inmate-owned legal materials need to be in separate category. The June 5, 2013, memorandum does not go far enough, and clarity is crucial in respect to how staff are directed to deal with legal mail when they have possession of the prisoner’s mail.

Supplemental Demand No. 11 is about allowing prisoners to donate old appliances to other prisoners. Again, here’s where safety and security is again abused by the CDCr. The real reason CDCr has applied their safety and security concerns to this supplement demand is because it is an underground profit incentive for CDCr. Where is the safety and security concern? The process is real simple. Make sure the TV is functional – no parts missing etc. Then sign it over to the next prisoner who is without an appliance or one who needs one due to their TV going out. When prisoners have to “donate” their TVs to staff, it becomes a lucrative business for the prison staffers.

Supplemental Demand No. 12 increases money allowed for canteen because of higher prices in canteen. Price gouging is the problem here in PBSP canteen, because prices fluxuate through a manipulation of product changes. For example, in the CSP-SAC canteen list there is a 1 pound bag of hot cocoa for $3.85. In PBSP the exact same bag costs $4.85, a dollar difference. PBSP canteen managers have been scheming on money from prisoners for years. So, it should be granted that all prisoners be able to spend $65 per month, regardless of whether they are in a step-down program or not.

Supplemental Demand No. 13 regards prisoners being able to donate to outside charities. Now this exposes the true wicked intentions of CDCr’s claim that they rehabilitate prisoners, when they bar us from supporting community projects like charities. We know that no matter where people are at or what color they are, if they are poor, they are struggling. Prisoners have good in them and should be able to benefit the communities. Allowing us this project is the least CDCR can do. Times are bad. Allow food drives to occur as much as possible in order to serve the community around us.

Supplemental Demand No. 14 regards typewriters being allowed. CDCr in Sacramento approved that prisoners in solitary can have a typewriter, but now some overzealous property officers at PBSP have interfered with the process, repeating their famous line that it affects the safety and security of the prison.

Supplemental Demand No. 15 allows prisoners to have multiple appliances. CDCr has approved the purchase of radios through their designated vendor, so allow us to have them. The games continue.

Supplemental Demand No. 16 calls for electrical outlets in cells and fire sprinklers in cells. CDCr mandated through a 602 appeal process that was granted that all Ad Segs can have electrical outlets, and yet PBSP is being disingenuous when they deny us the right to have them.

Supplemental Demand No. 17 reinstates family visits for General Population lifers. The CDCr campaigned against allowing conjugal family visits for prisoners, saying it was not economically feasible for them. But this puts them in contradiction with their own rehabilitation policy that family visits are the most beneficial to families and prisoners, as well as an incentive for controlling prison violence, hopelessness, depression etc. because prisoners value the union with their families and so do the families. It was a wicked attack against the family program.

Family visits were initially banned for sex offenders, yet when it was all said and done, CDCR ended up banning conjugal visits for all prisoners. Hell, all non-sex offender prisoners hate child molesters, rapists and domestic abusers. Any abuses against women or children are seriously looked down upon by a high percentage of prisoners.

So when CDCr proposed the order to the Legislature and got it through, they did it by attaching the sex molester stigma to it. The Legislature will now have to change it back in order to allow family conjugal visits again for non-molesters. But let’s be clear: The CDCr is the one that destroyed this important family-based program, which was effective and a more humane deterrent for prisoner misbehavior than some savage debriefing program. Reinstate the Bill of Rights for Prisoners, and a lot of these issues will be resolved.

Supplemental Demand No. 18 calls for Prison Industries of America, California, to supply standard quality products and food. PIA is fleecing taxpayers all across Amerika. Monopolies shut out citizens and small businesses from getting contracts with the state, by demanding that all prisons purchase only their items, and then they can produce low quality products, from food to mattresses. Their lumpy mattresses are like sleeping on a bunch of softballs, causing one’s blood circulation to be cut off if sleeping on one’s side and also causing crooks in the neck and hip pain. PIA’s poor quality food is infamous.

Supplemental Demand No. 19 regards PIA producing substandard clothing. Again, PIA is incompetent in manufacturing its products.

Supplemental Demand No. 20 concerns the contents allowed in annual and semi-annual packages for prisoners. On June 5, 2013, CDCr officials granted T-shirts, along with sweats, thermals, etc. Now it should be obvious that all these non-food items can and should be able to be purchased once a year. We shouldn’t have to compromise one of the two annual food packages that prisoners are allowed to have, by including clothing as part of one of the two food packages.

The supplemental demand requests one non-food package per year, solely for clothing, which can be heavy when a pair of shoes is enclosed. Here the supplemental demand is requesting a non-food package in order to get these items. CDCr’s answer was deliberately evading the question. Plus, special purchases can easily be implemented through the warden’s OP procedures, which is allowed once a month already. So CDCr’s designation of the contents in the boxes, i.e., clothing, ribbons, cups, bowls, headphones, paper, colored pencils, etc. is reasonable. Making it necessary for us to include clothing in one of our food packages is outright unreasonable.

Supplemental Demand No. 21 regards the list of items allowed to be purchased. Well, I’m glad CDCr said “partially,” because there’s no food or spices that we should be denied. But having it written on the matrix specifically shows the psychological torment – power play – that we are subjected to by prison property officers who get a sadistic kick out of confiscating food items, which are our property, on only a technicality.

Supplemental Demand No. 22 calls for getting rid of PIA as a food supplier. CDC did not respond to the request from prisoners to “refrain from utilizing CAL-PIA for food products due to poor quality,” and we are left with food not worth taxpayer dollars for the poor quality provided. This monopoly is double taxing taxpayers, because the poor quality food does not provide nutritional value, and that leads to medical problems, creating another expensive contradiction where taxpayers foot the bill.

The only way to demonstrate the truth about the food is to allow an independent dietician to investigate the actual food being served to prisoners. Currently, the prison dieticians can call the food we get a “heart healthy diet,” because the CDCr dieticians never examine the food, just the menu. The prison food managers are the real conspirators (criminals) when it comes to the feeding practices, because they do not provide, nor prepare, adequate nutritional calories in food items. Using terms like “one each,” they serve you a muffin for breakfast the size of a biscuit and tell you it’s adequate because the menu says “one each.” These are price shaving tactics and schemes most prison food managers use at the expense of prisoners’ health.

Supplemental Demand No. 23 concerns portions of food now served to SHU prisoners. I know for a fact that PBSP does not provide an adequate amount of nutrition and calories, and SHU prisoners do not receive the same amount of food as do GP prisoners. Whoever in Sacramento responded to this question is lying outright. I have studied extensively the food at PBSP and the deliberate games employed to inadequately feed prisoners in order to profit. Plus, I have the evidence to prove it, if CDCr’s Michael Stainer and Kelly Harrington are interested in the truth. Oh, there is no need to tear my cell up; it’s in the hands of the lawyers.

Supplemental Demand No. 24 regards the severely limited movies available to prisoners. Again, the CDCr has implemented policy around discrimination by cutting out R-rated movies and programming documentaries, plays, etc. CDCr has been able to take away 85 percent of the New Afrikan and Latino-Mexican movies and programs, because most of our programming is R-rated. This is the situation now with the implementation of this race-based policy.

Furthermore, the state has abused the obscenity penal code policy by deliberately misinterpreting its purpose and meaning as defined by the court in the Martinez case. The PBSP warden has been censoring PG-13, PG and G movies by cutting away whatever some officer feels is too offensive or too suggestive for the viewer, and his personal standard is cutting 40 percent of the movies.

But what’s really disturbing about PBSP practice is that they are paying $100 per video, which some if not all the time they edit to only an hour and 10 minutes per movie. OIG (Office of the Inspector General) Renee Hanson told me she was reviewing the expenditures of the IWF, Inmate Welfare Fund, and I informed her that PBSP officials have been embezzling, stealing as well as misappropriating IWF monies, when they claim to be paying $100 per video, which adds up to $2,400 to $2,600 per month. I find this to be outright criminal. I have the evidence to back up these facts, if Undersecretaries M. Stainer and Kelly Harrington wish to look into these allegations.

No need to search my property; the lawyers already have these facts in their possession. CDCr has to, in the interest of fairness, remove this silly state regulation that is designed to racially discriminate against prisoners.

Supplemental Demand No. 25 concerns the limited number of TV channels provided. CDCr claims PBSP prisoners have access to 23 channels. Now this is a lie that has already been proven to be a lie. Under no circumstances does PBSP provide 23 cable channels. I am shocked that they even claim it in the public media. The public should demand the name of all 23 channels they say they provide.

This is what I mean by the arrogance and abuse of power. The CDCr and PBSP officials feel they can lie, steal and cheat the people and then just provide some lame nonsense of a story and that justifies it. There needs to be an open, independent investigation of these outright lies, because this is why we went on two hunger strikes and are again on a peaceful protest hunger strike, due to lies.

Scott Kernan, former undersecretary of CDCr, admitted he was duped on the 23 channels. Now I see Michael Stainer of the Inspector General’s Office and his cronies are using this same lie as a means to deny a reasonable supplemental demand.

These actions speak to the wickedness of CDCr to deny adequate, meaningful programming for prisoners held in solitary. They are bent on punishment and this has been their core drive – punishing prisoners until they break us. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are taking taxpayers’ money out of the state budget for those 23 channels. PBSP only provides one cable channel. There should be an independent investigation of these allegations, enough so there is public outcry.

Supplemental Demand No. 26 regards access to cable channels for prisoners. Well, taxpayers already cover these fees and the PBSP officials are able to reroute these fees by writing down that they have purchased educational programs, when in all actuality they have paid for nothing. And when we do get to see education programs, they are repeats of the same programming we’ve been seeing for over 20 years, which allows them to pocket the funds that were meant for new programs.

This is where the real crime is committed. Ask what they spend for the 23 channels, and it’s probably a ridiculously low price. But again, we get nothing for it. It’s the same as with the $100 they say they spend for each video. There needs to be an independent investigation as to these allegations.

Supplemental Demand No. 27 calls on CDCr to purchase dip and pull-up bars with IWF funds. Some people stay in ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) for months and years, and these isolation units can be worse than the SHU in most cases, with no personal property and nothing to do on these so-called ASU recreation yards. The excuse being made is weak and disingenuous because CDCr knows they should not hold people in ASU for years. So be truthful, CDCr.

Supplemental Demand No. 28 asks for weight-lifting equipment on yards. Again, CDCr has gone on a smear campaign about how letting prisoners lift weights is a threat to citizens. They put a bunch of money behind the bill and into politicians’ campaigns, urging that we have to get rid of these weights because prisoners are getting out stronger and can then victimize Amerikans. This is how our privileges for weights were lost.

The California Legislature needs to immediately reverse this bill, because all it did was create a medical crisis, where there were many prisoners whose health deteriorated due to lack of exercise. Taxing who, again? Yes, taxpayers.

The CDCr claims its policies are about the safety and security of the public and the prisons. You can easily see the truth when you look at the details. For instance, the weights that we used to have access to on the yards kept the prisoners occupied, exercised and tired after weightlifting.

This was one of those situations where CDCr took away the weights out of pure spite, nothing else. It’s kind of a sad state how prisoners are being caged on prison yards, locked in concrete slabs with nothing to do, sectioned off by race, just looking at each other all day, as if they are in Roman caged gladiator fights. And here we are in the 21st century.

Supplemental Demand No. 29 calls for a stop to “contraband (potty) watch” practices immediately. Let’s call it what it is, “potty watch,” for the sole purpose of humiliating the prisoner. It is a savage practice where you are taken to some cage and held in “slave shackles” until you defecate. This is a reflection of the nature of the beast that we are dealing with: CDCr uses the procedure to entrap the bowel movement in your jumpsuit.

These savages tape the jumpsuit to your ankles. They make you defecate three times before they relieve you of this torture. There is no real reason for a high percentage of these potty watches. It’s speculative for the most part and, as requested, they need to be banned immediately. The whole procedure is nothing but a trauma, and points to the military personnel working inside the prison. It’s a brutal practice; some prisoners have been known to spend three nights and days on potty watch.

Supplemental Demand No. 30 calls for Medical Doctor Sayre to be fired and never hold a position of authority over prisoners again. CDCr stands behind their crooked Dr. Sayre, who is head of medical care at PBSP. They don’t seem to be able to get rid of Dr. Sayre. He has done too much and he knows too much. He can destroy the whole system’s secrecy, which is why he will never be fired.

The mere fact that he attacked one of his own co-workers over a parking space that he claimed was his speaks to the instability of Dr. Sayre. He has been demoted, but the irony is that he still runs everything. They simply put his girlfriend in his spot, so he still runs medical at PBSP.

Just so you can see his arrogance, he took away many men’s medications before the hunger strike and during this hunger strike. This guy is a threat and a danger to all Pelican Bay prisoners. When who ask to see outside doctors for serious health issues, no matter how sincere the request nor how well it is documented, he denies it.

This is why CDCr keeps him, because he saves CDCr money in medications and treatments. Dr. Sayre, in my opinion, is a heartless murderer by proxy. Many PBSP prisoners have suffered under him and continue to suffer. This is no doctor.

Supplemental Demand No. 31 regards maintenance of cells, painting them. We have been locked down for cell painting each week lately, so it shouldn’t be a problem to meet this request.

Supplemental Demand No. 32 concerns maintenance of the ventilation system. Now the problem here is that Pelican Bay is breaking down and they are trying to do maintenance when the buildings are structurally incapable of functioning for another 20 years. The whole system is collapsing from the inside out, and the bandaid fixes will only be temporary fixes.

The ventilation is extremely poor, and we prisoners are made to suffer due to this poor structure. We might as well be outside when we’re inside a building as far as temperatures are concerned, because there is no insulation anywhere in the prison. So if it’s freezing cold outside, we are freezing cold in the building. If it’s burning up outside, we’re burning up inside. The PBSP plant operation cannot protect us from this reality, because the problem is in the structure. Independent investigation will bring out these facts.

Supplemental Demand No. 33 regards Lexan plastic plates on cells. CDCr is still using them, making excuses that are disingenuous, because there are many avenues to gas or attack an officer, if that’s the prisoner’s objective. To have Lexan or Plexiglas on cells is a health hazard.

What does the Occupational Safety and Health Board say about the plastic being a health hazard to prisoners due to collecting bacteria in the cells? They didn’t put me behind them because I made them spray the door regularly in order to get at that bacteria. Plus people with real bad asthma and allergies are at risk.

There’s hardly any violence in PBSP solitary units despite all the hype by CDCr about how dangerous we are. If you cut away the plastic at the bottom of the cell walls, there’s no real threat to staff, no matter who is in the cage.

Supplemental Demand No. 34 regards the percentage CDCr can take for restitution. Now here is a policy that is exploitative in all its practices. Here is the state abusing its authority by taking 55 percent of each dollar that a prisoner who owes restitution gets from his friends or family. And to say it is benefitting “crime victims,” well, the statistics say that most convicted felons commit offenses against their own race – New Afrikan on New Afrikan, Mexican on Mexican, or white on white. One thing we do know, poor lower class on poor lower class applies.

None of these victims are receiving any of this restitution money. So where is the money going and where is it at? If the dollars were going to them, the state would have never raised it to 55 percent, because they don’t want them to have it either. The injustice is that there is a conspiracy where the judicial proceedings tack on all these outrageous restitution fees and the CDCr then collects them for the court, and then CDCr charges the prisoners a 5 percent fee for removing them off your books (trust account).

This is criminal and the real victims never see a penny of this money. The 33 percent is a reasonable request, but I would go further and say that it should not be taken from anyone who owes restitution unless it’s going to the victim of the crime they committed or any prisoner who does not have a pay number.

The money that family and friends send in from the streets should not be touched at all. The prisoners should have access to a pay number to pay off their restitution. Independent investigation is needed to locate where this money is going!

Supplemental Demand No. 35 allows mail to be delivered and legal and family visits to be normal again. The SSU (Special Services Unit), IGI, ISU and OCS (Office of Correctional Safety) are the biggest SHAM I’ve ever been able to witness and the public should be outraged at all the time consuming hours and taxpayers’ dollars wasted into this sham of a system. Although there is a lot of hype on gangs, these guys have not even been able to manufacture any criminal gang behavior convictions.

The extent of their service is gang validations, which they have given 80 percent of the prison population. They have a track record for terrorizing poor, weak citizens of this nation, they sweat everything too frivolous to mention, and they do nothing but harass prisoners and their families and communities. They have been sued countless times and their arrogance allows them to commit the same constitutional violations of a prisoner’s rights, over and over again.

But this is because they do not foot the bill; therefore, they have no discipline in their actions. They have not made communities safer, nor prisons. So what is it all for? There has to be a benefit from such an expensive gang investigative unit, but in 30 years the CDCr gang investigators have only allowed gangs to expand – in and out of prisons. So where is the safety and security? Independent investigation is necessary here.

Supplemental Demand No. 36 concerns timely hearings when RVRs are issued, or dismiss them. Well, CDCr is the one that changed the state law and it should be changed back, because it goes against the fairness of our procedural due process, in which we are punished for time constraints violations. Yet staff violates time constraints all the time; it is considered harmless and they are still able to impose on us the worst punishment by violating prisoners’ time constraints. But if we dare to violate the time constraints, we have our complaint dismissed. Unfair practice!

Supplemental Demand No. 37 calls for timely hearings for serious RVRs. The answer to this response from CDCr is above, in No. 36.

Supplemental Demand No. 38 asks for an independent audit of IWF. CDCr did not comply. The key word here is “independent,” because it will show the misappropriation of the IWF monies. OIG’s Renee Hanson is doing a review of IWF and we want those findings released to the public. Independent investigation is key here.

Supplemental Demand No. 39 would reinstate the monthly meetings between the associate warden and prisoners to address problems. If this ever becomes fact again, few if any of our complaints would be necessary. The [now former] warden at PBSP, G.D. Lewis, was as incompetent as they come. He did not have the backbone to put an end to the gang officers basically terrorizing other staff and then dictating to every functionary in the solitary confinement units, so that they now feel free to attack prisoners in those areas through mail restrictions, bad food, property abuses, corrupt canteen practices, poor movies, and lack of medical care, education, supplies, law library access etc.

They make it a living hell for prisoners and not one supervisor or manager has ever made rounds to talk to prisoners, even after receiving complaints, and nothing has changed at all. So supervisors and managers have not been doing their jobs in over 23½ years at PBSP; I’ve never seen them walk in my 15 years here.

I have been here, and the avoiding by the guards of answering our questions is deliberate. The question asked was that the associate warden ensure that prison issues will be resolved and we prisoners should not have to wait until we can’t take the suffering any more and act on our own. When prison officials get paid good money – some better than college or university graduates – to maintain prisoners’ lives along with the safety and security of all prisoners, then we expect that to happen.

Supplemental Demand No. 40 asks for hunger strike and work stoppage negotiations to be conducted with the prisoners’ mediation team and the press in attendance. CDCr has never been supportive or about transparency. They know they are not going to be trusted in a closed room with our representatives, without witnesses or third parties, but they continue with the lies they have told about our reps.

Hell, Michael Stainer told our mediation team that he sees all of the 40 supplemental demands as being reasonable and that it is just a matter of working out the details. Then he two-faced everyone, so no way can we now trust what comes out of CDCr’s mouth.

Plus, the governor vetoed the Media Access Bill, because CDCr is not about transparency. And the question was clear during hunger strike negotiations, and no one said anything about any of the points made in any of the hearings on these matters! CDCr is evading the real issues again.

These counter-responses were written by Mutope Duguma toward the end of the 60-day hunger strike and work stoppage in 2013 – i.e., when he had eaten nothing for nearly two months. Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107 up, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532. In the past, statements like this have come from a collective, and the Bay View has published the names of all those involved. Now, however, Mutope Duguma must be shown as sole author to avoid an accusation by officials that multiple authorship is evidence of gang activity. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Herman Wallace, who gave his life to end solitary confinement, got no mercy

November 26, 2013
In: SF Bay View

by Mutope Duguma

The system, whether it is in the state of California or Louisiana, has demonstrated that those of us held in solitary confinement will receive no mercy. The recent actions surrounding our dear New Afrikan Brother Herman Wallace is a sharp reminder on how each and every one of us will be treated.

Here you have a New Afrikan man who gave up his life in order to challenge the systemic attacks by the powers that be that deliberately target the poor and oppressed people of this nation. For taking this position, Herman Wallace would find himself trapped inside the belly of the beast, Angola Prison slave complex, where he would continue to challenge the system from within, where the treatment of prisoners is blatantly horrendous.

Herman Wallace was no criminal. He was a just and righteous human being, one who hated injustice so much that he sacrificed himself in order to bring about change for the lot of us. Many need to realize that the commitments and the suffering for such commitments are very serious and selfless acts on the part of many like Herman Wallace, when they challenge the injustices against our very humanity, even at the cost of their/our very own lives.

The system has no mercy for no one. It’s totally committed to annihilating any and all resistance, whether violent or non-violent. Solitary confinement is but one of the many tools used to carry out that very annihilation of anyone who attempts to challenge its power, and the system uses all means that they deem necessary.

For 41 years, Herman Wallace was shown no mercy by a system that has never shown any mercy to anyone it considers its historical or present enemy. Herman Wallace was made to suffer at the hands of local, state and federal governments. No matter how bad his situation got, there was not one human being within this system, or government, who sought to provide Herman Wallace any mercy.

He would be made to suffer in isolation, solitary confinement. Today’s solitary confinement uses a more diabolical approach, yet this does not under any circumstances negate the isolation, sensory deprivation and physical and psychological torture of being placed in such an environment for an inhumanely long period of time, during which the torture is magnified.

Forty-one years is a crime against humanity, and since Herman Wallace was a prisoner of war and political prisoner (POW PP), this treatment of him was a war crime, because the system sought to torture Herman Wallace and all similarly situated prisoners throughout this nation toward their and our extermination.

To use the most powerful state and federal governments in the world to kill and neutralize prisoners of war and political prisoners is a direct violation of national and international laws. Herman Wallace would be murdered by way of a civil death by the United States government, yet not one of those laws would be adhered to in respect to Herman Wallace, nor to countless POWs and PPs throughout Amerika.

Why? Was not his life and the lives of similarly situated prisoners of any value to the state and federal governments, who have a responsibility to all their citizens of judging who falls within the human race? If prisoners are human, why not show mercy for all fellow human beings?

To have a man or woman linger inside solitary confinement for 41 years and no local, state or federal government official – politician – had the human capacity to show this human being any mercy: That is a government that is a threat to all mankind.

Our fight to end long term solitary confinement is one of major urgency, because allowing human beings to continue to exist under such a merciless system with such brutality is a direct reflection of the very nature of our humanity! The very practice of solitary confinement is barbaric.

Bless the revolutionary spirit of our New Afrikan Brother Herman Wallace to whom no mercy was shown.

Being normal is not OK

November 26, 2013
In: SF Bay View 

We prisoners are being told that as long as we are mentally healthy or not succumbing to CDCr’s debriefing policy, we will not be eligible for release from solitary confinement. Despite all the hype promising change, CDCr is still claiming that our placement inside solitary confinement is justified, despite the clear injustice of holding us here indefinitely, to no end, for nothing.

Because many of us have maintained our mental stability under such a barbaric system, we do not meet the criteria for release, but as soon as we begin to exemplify any signs of mental illness, we immediately qualify for release. Does this not suggest that our placement inside solitary confinement is for the sole purpose of driving us to become mentally ill patients?

CDCr simply waits for us to begin to suffer from the effects of mental illness like so many before us. They’re looking for us to put fecal matter all over our bodies, talk to ourselves, beat on the cell door, holler at the top of our lungs until we fall asleep from exhaustion, throw urine and fecal matter on staff and prisoners, commit suicide or attempt suicide, become anti-social etc., only to be taken out of our cell by force and placed in four corner restraints and heavily sedated and neutralized into a zombie state.

This has been the pattern for all of those we have seen driven into mental illness, due directly to their placement in solitary confinement. Why does CDCr even wait for any of us to succumb to mental illness when we are, for the most part, normal – unless being normal is not OK.

Many of us have kept our mental stability or capacity to some degree throughout all the years we’ve been in solitary confinement. Wouldn’t it be only right for the state – for CDCr – to prevent prisoners from eventually succumbing to such a fate, because we all know the longer you’re here, the greater your mental and physical deterioration.

Hasn’t CDCr created enough mentally ill prisoners through the use of solitary confinement? Hasn’t CDCr caused enough suicides through the use of solitary confinement? Hasn’t CDCr emasculated enough prisoners through its de-briefing policy? Why can’t we – normal, functioning human beings – remain as such?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

What a vacation: 400 miles by bus on hunger strike’s 47th day

From: SF Bay View, October 26, 2013

by Mutope Duguma

It was on Aug. 23, 2013, that I was removed out of my Ad-Seg cell around 5 in the morning and placed on a CDCr transportation bus. I had been housed in Ad-Seg since Aug. 5 due to my participation in a mass hunger strike.

I was stripped of all my belongings except my shoes, socks, T-shirt and boxer shorts and given a dark blue jumpsuit, in which I could not fit, so I was allowed to wrap the arms around my waist.

If you have to spend a vacation in prison, this looks a lot more inviting than Pelican Bay.
Our mass hunger strike started on July 8, 2013, and we were 47 days without eating at the time we were placed on the bus. I heard several prisoners ask, “Where are we going?” The response from the transportation officer was “New Folsom, CSP-Sac” (California State Prison Sacramento).

We pulled out of PBSP Ad Seg around 8 a.m., and it was a grueling ride due to our conditions. I was in a dual situation, where I was able to enjoy sights that I hadn’t seen in years, yet I was very conscious of the pain and suffering that we all were enduring.

It was one of the most physical challenges that I had ever experienced in my life. I considered myself to be very strong, yet here I was dealing with my obvious physical weakness and my mental strength, which was creating a contradiction in which my physical weakness had begun to attack my mental strength. It was obvious to me that I would lose this battle eventually, because time would dictate my fate and I was running out of time.

Once off the bus, it seemed surreal, because there were people everywhere, something unusual for me, especially since I had been held in a solitary confinement cell for the last 13 years, isolated from people and normal outside environments. My reality of the last 13 years is concrete and steel and that’s it; no normal human relations for me. This created a contradiction in which I would be overwhelmed.

CSP-Sac was wide open. People were everywhere, 24/7, doing everything. I saw New Afrikans, which is something I hadn’t seen in years. I saw countless Mexicans, Asians and Afrikans off the continent. I saw regular behaving white people. I saw every nationality under the sun in one day’s time.

I was dying of starvation but I was alive. I enjoyed every single bit of my human interaction. I felt just like my grandmother’s dog Roscoe. Every time I went to her house as a young boy she would tell me, “Darren, go out back and take Roscoe for a walk.”

Roscoe was a golden retriever three times my size and very strong. He was a real happy, energized dog, but when I got back there with him, his excitement was unmeasurable. I couldn’t get the chain loose to free him because he kept knocking me down in pure joy that I was back there with him.

Roscoe knew that I wasn’t there to feed him or to briefly play with him and leave. He knew every time I came back there, he would be free. This is what drove his excitement, freedom.

On hunger strike after 49 days by then, I was extremely excited. I felt just like Roscoe. It was literally overwhelming. I took full advantage of every human being I came in contact with, except those green suits! They were psychs, RNs, assistants to RNs, countless LVNs. It was crazy different people every day, in their regular clothes – no uniforms – every single day.

I talked to the Imam, a Muslim chaplain, who was allowed in the solitary unit at his will. I talked to Christian chaplains, who were allowed to visit the solitary units at their will, too. I talked to maintenance – free persons who worked inside the prison.

I talked more in a period of 12 days than I had in my whole 13 years of solitary confinement. I was taken to legal visits across the yard. I saw countless prisoners moving about freely.

The sun was beaming down on me, with no blockers – just me and the atmosphere – although I had waist chains on in which I was made to walk to the attorney visit, which was a half a mile away from B Facility to A Facility. Under any other circumstances this would be exactly what it was, torture, but I was so overwhelmed, my mind was absorbing it all rapidly.

I saw so much in such a short period of time, after being isolated and confined in solitary for 13 years in PBSP. This was my freedom. It started to have an adverse effect on me personally, because if the 20 representatives had not suspended our mass hunger strike … I, for sure, would have been dead, because this was one vacation that I, under no circumstances, would ever have ended.

I reminisce over Roscoe today, and I now realize that he was imprisoned most of his life, because we humans unconsciously didn’t recognize his imprisonment. And I look back on all my loneliness, quiet time and wonder, “Did Roscoe suffer in silence as I do today?”

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107U, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Hunger strikers: Our resolve remains strong

SF Bay View, October 26, 201

Our resolve remains as strong as ever, and we continue to press forward despite our torture being taken up a notch. We send a clenched fist salute to everyone who has been supportive of our on-going struggle to be liberated from these man-made gulags called Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Administrative Segregation Units (ASU).

The 30,000 prisoners who spoke out against the dismal reality in which prisoners are being held should be a clear message to CDCr [California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation – prisoners often write the “R” in lower case because rehabilitation is denied them] officials that the dire, desperate conditions that we continue to endure are unacceptable!

No one should receive a sentence from a court and then have those responsible for carrying out that sentence exact revenge and arbitrary punishments at their whim. This is the reality that 30,000 men and women lent their collective voice to opposing.

No one should receive a sentence from a court and then have those responsible for carrying out that sentence exact revenge and arbitrary punishments at their whim. This is the reality that 30,000 men and women lent their collective voice to opposing.

The “crying gang” game is all cried out. It’s time to treat human beings like humans. A third of the prison population has clearly said that the inhumane conditions of long term solitary confinement and prison oppression must end.

The exploitation of prisoners must end. The exploitation of California taxpayers must end. There is no justifiable reason why a man or woman imprisoned in the 1960s or 1970s or even 1980s should still be languishing in prison.

We stand in solidarity, continuing to press forward with our protracted struggle to end these inhumane conditions.

Against all odds

Within Pelican Bay SHU, within our struggle to shed light on the inhumanities of prison conditions and state sanctioned acts of aggression and torture, we would like to extend our prayers and thanks to the 16 hunger strike representatives who were kidnapped from Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) Short Corridor on July 11, 2013, and unjustly placed on “hell row” in the Ad Seg torture chambers. New Afrikan Abdul Olugbala Shakur was unceremoniously kidnapped from the Short Corridor as well, on July 24, 2013, and subjected to the same atrocities. We stand with you.

With the addition of Abdul Shakur, one should take notice that he is not a rep, but instead is a critical New Afrikan thinker, who is a strong adherent to New Afrikan politics and an accomplished jailhouse lawyer. He has five pending lawsuits against the state tools of repression, CDCr and PBSP, for the injustices and inhumane conditions and treatment in blatant disregard of prisoners’ First Amendment rights that are continuously inflicted upon kaptives.

It’s a clear fact that Abdul was targeted by prison officials for removal and containment with the 16 reps in order to subject him to the pain and suffering handed down to all our reps, for his and their unwavering stances against prison injustice.

As a result of this system’s propensity for corrupt practices and the constitutional violations of prisoners’ rights, we contend the following prison officials conspired against Abdul Shakur and all 16 hunger strike reps to place them in Ad-Seg torture chambers [the first three with the CDCr’s Division of Adult Institutions and the second three at Pelican Bay State Prison]: 

Chief Deputy Administrator for Special Projects Susan Hubbard, 
Chief Administrator for Special Projects George Guirbino, 
Director of Adult Institutions Michael Stainer, 
Pelican Bay Warden G.D. Lewis, 
Investigative Service Unit (ISU) Capt. G. Barnenburg, 
and Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) Lt. J. Frisk.

It’s a clear fact that Abdul was targeted by prison officials for removal and containment with the 16 reps in order to subject him to the pain and suffering handed down to all our reps, for his and their unwavering stances against prison injustice.

These acts against Abdul and the reps were purely retaliatory by CDCr officials, who utilized a peaceful protest as a pretext to justify subjecting each and every one of us to a more intense and discriminatory torture.

We will not be broken by vicious systematic attacks carried out by the CDCr hierarchy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Having the foresight to end all hostilities

In: SF Bay View, October 24, 2013

In my 29 years of incarceration, I had never seen what I would witness on Sept. 24, 2013, on our way back to Pelican Bay State Prison’s solitary confinement torture chambers after our temporary transfer during the hunger strike.

We must commend our 20 prisoner representatives for having the foresight to see that the CDCr officials would be utilizing their authority – their power – to create situations and circumstances that would attempt to encourage and manipulate warfare between races inside the prison environment.

On the way to CSP-Sac (New Folsom prison), on Aug. 23, 2013, for our emergency medical transfer from PBSP Ad-Seg, we prisoners were placed on the bus and separated by race. New Afrikans were placed in the up front cages. The whites were placed across from the New Afrikans in the wider cage, but still up front.

The larger group of Mexicans from the Los Angeles County area was placed in the back of the bus, and they too were cut off from each other by a dividing cage door. The bus had cameras in the back and the front of the bus, so the transportation officer who’s not driving could keep us under surveillance. This was their legitimate security protocol for transferring so-called highly secured prisoners.

So why were security protocols neglected on the way back? There was one white, one Mexican from the northern district and two New Afrikan prisoners among a total of 25 prisoners on the bus. The remainder were Mexican prisoners from the Los Angeles County area. Yet there was no attempt to secure the bus.

We prisoners were hopping from seat to seat. It was all good. The front row cages were not locked, which afforded us the freedom to move about freely. There was a “colorful” transportation officer named Wagner, who came on the bus to give a speech, talking about nothing. I’d never seen him before in my life prior to this bus ride, but he get on the bus talking all this nonsense and he kept alluding to me by name, saying, “Ain’t that right, Crawford?” I would say nothing in response.

I didn’t read too much into this initially, but after we got five hours from Pelican Bay State Prison, it was nightfall outside, and here is where, in all my 29 years of incarceration, I have never seen anything so blatantly clear. Earlier we had picked up a young 23-year-old New Afrikan from Old Folsom named Tay, who was 15 months to the house and had never been to prison in his life. Young and innocent, he would make the third New Afrikan in the bus.

We would be unable to see each other for the next five and a half hours, due to transporting officers refusing to turn on the lights, and not one prisoner requested that they do so. It was so dark you could not see the person next to you. Never before has this ever happened for such a long period of time on a CDCr transportation bus, especially with the caliber of prisoners that these so-called officials call “the worst of the worst.”

Now we prisoners have to realize that these types of situations will be prevalent throughout our futures because CDCr will do whatever is within its power to place us as prisoners back on a path of senseless, reckless violence in order to serve their interests. They wanted the majority to attack the non-majority when there existed a clear opportunity to do so provided by the CDCr transportation.

But our 20 representatives had the ability to understand our historical contradictions and how CDCr utilizes these same realities in order to allow one group to attack another based on how they place them inside the prison theater. CDCr officials allow each race, depending on who they are out of favor with, to have total dominance over the other races, which can unfortunately lead to opportunities for attacks by the majority race.

The End to All Hostilities declared last year by our representatives has basically weakened CDCr’s ability to create race, gang and internal warfare inside the prison theater to the extent that they once did. We prisoners have to be very conscious of the many traps that will be set by prison officials toward encouraging prisoners into warfare. We have to remain very vigilant inside these prison environments to protect our End to All Hostilities.

After we finally got to PBSP, one of the elders, Huerta, turned to me and said, “Mutope, you see what they just tried to do?” I ‘sponded, “I sure did!” He said, “You need to put that out there.” “You know I am,” I smiled.

The youngster, Tay, from Richmond, Calif., was a fish out of water. I pulled him to the back of the bus with me and an elderly New Afrikan prisoner, Dadisi, and after he was done talking with the two of us, on occasion he would lean back and go to sleep, unaware of any threat whatsoever for an innocent Level 2 prisoner who had no clue.

Hopefully, when he learns more about the prison environment, he will come to appreciate the 20 representatives for their foresight to institute an End to All Hostilities. He was the only prisoner to sleep on the bus.

Note: Level 4 prisoners are maximum security prisoners and Level 2 are minimum security prisoners – a world of difference between the two.

Mutope Duguma

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hunger striker considers where we go from here, wonders, ‘Will the Legislature dupe us too’?

September 21, 2013

In: SF Bay View

by Mutope Duguma

Written Sept. 8, 2013 – First and foremost we want to give a lot of respect and love to all the human beings who made their voices heard and the countless dedicated supporters and organizations who beat the drum as well as the pavement demanding an end to solitary confinement, LONG TERM solitary confinement.

To the 30,000 hunger strikers who courageously stood up, we commend each and every one of you, no matter if you did one day or the whole 60 days. We have had three hunger strikes in which none of us could imagine such courage would stem from such a peaceful protest. But as I have written in an article called, “Because I’ve seen men,”* my own personal strength and resolve has been improved on. I could not have ever expected to be amongst such courageous individuals. I salute each and every one of you.

We want to always give much respect and love to the six prisoners who sacrificed their lives despite what CDCr propagated against you. We know each and every one of you died for a cause that’s more honorable than anything, especially in a world where men and women die every day for nothing. We also know none of you were suicidal. We will forever hold you all in our memory, high before the world.

Now, where do we go from here? We’ve been promised change, which we will humbly allow to take its course. One thing we have learned throughout our protracted struggle is that there is a solid 100 hunger strikers who we know now will be willing to lay their lives down for our cause, and I am amongst that 100. These individuals are remarkable, so our protracted struggle continues.

We all signed up collectively to move in unison; therefore, we will allow the voice of our 20 representatives to be the voice that makes the decisions in the interests of us all, based on their collective judgment. This has always been an inclusive protracted struggle. Our New Afrikan collective, Latino-Mexican collective, white collective and Asian collective – these brothers and sisters joined forces in order to end torture in Amerika’s solitary confinement units. We now allow the system to work, while being very vigilant as to what kind of change we will receive.

Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.

We continue to hit the pavement, make the calls, write the Legislature and governor. We do not know at this time what the time period would be on that change, but I am sure there will be one, and each and every one of us will be informed of that time period, especially prisoners who are suffering in solitary confinement each second, minute and hour of the day inside these torture chambers. The world has heard your screams.

We continue to educate the public about our individual horror stories inside solitary confinement units, whether they’re called SHUs, Ad Seg or Administration Segregation Units. We can never go back to accepting solitary confinement as an indefinite placement for any Amerikans, foreigners, refugees or immigrants.

The world has heard your screams.

Our protracted struggle continues. Those of us who did the whole 60 days, like myself and our main four representatives, need to take the time to get your health back in order. It will take anywhere from 90 days to six months depending on the severity of damage.

Demand blood work be done and your organs screened before you go back to exercising. We all may be called on to make that ultimate sacrifice and I personally know that we will see that courageous 100 front and center.

We can never go back to accepting solitary confinement as an indefinite placement for any Amerikans, foreigners, refugees or immigrants.

Our protracted struggle continues in memory of the following courageous prisoners:

Christian Gomez

Alex Machado

Alonzo Hozel Blanchard

A. ‘Baby Paya’ Morales (Watts native)

Billy “Guero” Sell

Johnny Owen Vick

Will the Legislature dupe us too?

The 20 representatives have to do what they believe is in the best interest of our collective and that means negotiating with CDCr, politicians or any officials who are part of that process.

We are demanding that our five core demands be met, and to those who don’t know, the 40 supplemental demands are part of Core Demand No. 5. The 20 representatives have a responsibility outside of making decisions: They each have to make sure that they don’t subject you or me to unnecessary suffering when they do not have to.

If the Legislature turns around and dupes us, then we will be forced to continue our peaceful protest in the interests of every solitary confined prisoner.

So the reality right now is that Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano have basically said that there has to be change. Now the people have to get behind these two politicians and make sure that they are empowered to make that change possible: Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.

There have already been countless dialogues, interviews, books written and legislative hearings on solitary confinement and they have all been fruitless to date. So it is our hope that these current hearings will render that change that we so desperately seek, in the interests of all prisoners held throughout California in these isolation units and hopefully throughout the United States of America. We do not know to what degree CDCr will involve themselves in making these meaningful changes possible, but we hold hope.

We will be following these future events very closely and ask everyone to do the same, because if the Legislature turns around and dupes us, then we will be forced to continue our peaceful protest in the interests of every solitary confined prisoner.

In Solidarity,

One Love, One Struggle

Mutope Duguma

Send our brother some love and light: Though he was still at New Folsom Prison when he wrote this, his transfer back to Pelican Bay is believed to be imminent, so write to Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

*Supporters have not yet received that article, but we’ll publish it as soon as it arrives.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hunger strikers, weak and sick, transported 8 hours by bus: ‘Our strength is a reflection of your strength’

September 2, 2013

by Mutope Duguma

Written Aug. 25, 2013 – How long must we continue to suffer? On Aug. 23, 2013, early in the morning, Pelican Bay State Prison Ad Seg (Administrative Segregation) was emptied out and placed on two buses. Every individual on the buses had been on the hunger strike since July 8, 2013, and there was not one medical staffperson on those buses.

The trip was an eight hour trip that subjected Lorenzo Benton to extremely low blood sugar. We had to demand that the bus be stopped immediately, which led to a 40 minute delay. They had three cars from SSU (Special Services Unit) escorting the whole trip, but not one medical staffperson, knowing that we had been on a hunger strike 45 days when they placed us on those buses.

Lorenzo Benton’s eyes were blurry; he couldn’t see nothing. I tried to take his pulse but couldn’t get one because his heartbeat had dropped so low. We switched position on the bus with Danny Troxell and Frank Clement so that Lorenzo would have more space. This did nothing for him.

We asked for water and the sergeant of transportation said he was instructed to not give us nothing but Gatorade. I said, “We can’t have water?” He said no. I said, “Where is the Gatorade?” Initially Abdul, HB and Mutawally demanded that they go back, but I asked how far are we from a medical facility going forward. Sergeant said six miles. We were already on the road 50 miles.

I told Lorenzo to gulp down cups of Gatorade because when my sugar is low and eyes are blurry, I just need the Gatorade to clear it up. After gulping down three canteen cups – 12 ounces – each he started to see a little better and he felt better. The sergeant asked him was he all right and if he was going to make it. The sergeant was pissed off that there wasn’t no medical staff on this trip, considering who was being transferred. At least he let us see these sentiments. If he was sincere or not I don’t know.

How long must we continue to suffer?

Once we got to New Folsom Prison (California State Prison Sacramento) we got nothing, and that is our status right now as I write this. They say on Aug. 26 it will get better. The officials knew we were coming a week in advance, so it is no excuse for subjecting us to such cruelty.

We also are receiving low quality vitamins, down from the high quality vitamins that the receivership ordered. [California prison medical services were placed under receivership by the federal court because at least one prisoner a week was dying due to medical abuse or neglect. – ed.] The Gatorade is a better quality, but we are suffering because of what we are being denied, although the hunger strike alone should be enough suffering.

But denying us linen – while holding us in ice cold cells – equals torture. It’s obvious that these actions are intended to break us, but the 60 of us have a collective strength and are committed all the way to the force feeding, for better or worse.

We can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity.

We do not care about how much worse our conditions get because the pain and suffering from not eating trumps it all. Also, the only prisoners in PBSP Ad Seg who were left there were Sitawa Jamaa (Ron Dewberry), Todd Ashker, Antonio Guillen and Arturo Castellanos, our four reps. We can only hope that they are safe under those circumstances. Everyone on the bus is medically on high risk status (see CDC Form 114-D), and everyone is doing very bad as well.

And it’s old age, middle age and young age prisoners inside that 60, and we can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity. We don’t believe that CDCr CSP-Sac can force feed each and every one of us at the same time, because obviously we will deteriorate at the same time.

[In a note dated Aug. 26, he adds: We’ve been on vitamins and Gatorade since July 25, 2013, to now, which is to sustain our organs, but they will eventually start going when our body weight is gone. I am down 63 pounds now today, according to their scale.]

One Love, One Struggle.

Send our brother some love and light – and writing paper, envelopes and stamps to share: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, CSP-Sac ASU B8-232L, P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.