It’s Not Over! Support Still Needed!

We need to keep up the pressure and support, because the CDCR is just trying to get the hungerstrike and the news about the deplorable, torturous conditions out of the media.
We need to make sure the CDCR is doing what it said it shall do.

July 22nd 2011
From: Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Mediators from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity’s Mediation team spoke with the Short Corridor Collective, four representatives of the hunger strike leaders at Pelican Bay and confirmed the leaders have accepted an offer from the CDCR.

When this news was announced at a vigil in Oakland last night, one family member responded: “I’m not going to believe it until my son tells me so.” She will be seeing him at Pelican Bay this weekend.

According to family members and friends of prisoners, as well as the CDCR, hunger strikers continue to refuse food across CA– in at least CCI Tehachapi, Corcoran and Calipatria. It is unclear how long they will continue, if they are aware of the agreement or even believe given the misinformation CDCR has been circulating. As families and friends gear up for another round of weekend visits, we will have more information as to whether hunger strikers will continue protesting CDCR’s policies and conditions in the coming days.

The leaders confirmed CDCR’s announcement that immediate changes in SHU policy are the opportunity for some educational programs, provision of all-weather caps (beanies) and wall calendars. More substantially, the leaders explained the CDCR has agreed to investigate changes to other policies including the gang validation and debriefing processes, and it is now up to supporters outside prison to make sure the CDCR upholds their promise.
Many supporters, as well as the Pelican Bay hunger strike leaders, see this as a victory. The leaders explained to the mediation team they are overwhelmed by the support and solidarity of family members, community members, organizations, and people across the world joining their fight for human rights, and cannot adequately express their appreciation. They also explained this is in no way over. Using a sports reference, the Short Corridor Collective insisted: “this is just the first quarter,” and what a start it has been.

Read the rest here.

Also see this article in the SF Bay View:

Hunger strikes and national protests continue
July 22nd 2011
Protesting torture in America continues in and out of prisons

BACK TO SAC ON MONDAY! The hunger strike continues in Tehachapi, Corcoran and Calipatria state prisons, so we’ll keep the pressure on CDCR and Gov. Jerry Brown!

On Monday, July 25, noon-4 p.m., prisoners’ families and supporters will meet in Sacramento, at Fremont Park, 15th & Q, at 11:30 a.m.; march to CDCR headquarters, 1515 S St., rally noon-2 p.m.; march to State Building to deliver organizational letter to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office 2-4 p.m. RIDE-SHARE West Oakland BART 9:30 a.m. Meanwhile, keep calling CDCR and Gov. Brown demanding more humane treatment of prisoners across California.

by Deborah Dupre, Human Rights Examiner

The historical prisoner hunger strike led by 11 now “shrunken” but alive Pelican Bay Prison inmates advocating human rights, peace and justice continues according to officials, prisoners’ families and prisoner attorney Marilyn McMahon of California Prison Focus, despite announcements Thursday that it ended. Prison officials acknowledge that prisoners for the fourth week are refusing food numbers in the hundreds. Advocates say the number could be in the thousands after California Department of Corrections (CDC) negotiated a token agreement pertaining only to Pelican Bay.

For hours after announcements that the strike ended, communications flying between frustrated reporters recently banned from California prisons, attorneys and family members of prisoners concluded a twofold analysis. The strike ended at Pelican Bay Prison, but until the five core demands are met there, strike leaders’ message to the public is to continue national protests. Secondly, since Thursday’s “token agreement” only pertained to Pelican Bay, the spiraled strike at up to 15 other prisons continues.

A message to the public from the 11 strike leaders was issued by attorney Marilyn McMahon at 7 p.m. PST, Thursday, during a World Can’t Wait teleconference with 15 prisoner advocates and reporters across the nation. Hunger strike leaders had just requested that McMahon relay the public message that the sole reason they got this far is due to “outside actions.” They said they need the “outside movement to continue to make sure the agreement is kept,” especially related to “isolation units.”

According to McMahon, only a “few token gestures have been made by officials” and “people are still being tortured in America.”

California Prison Focus issued a statement late Thursday confirming hunger strike leaders at Pelican Bay entered into an agreement with CDCR officials “to end their hunger strike in exchange for a major policy review of SHU housing conditions, gang validation process and debriefing process.”

Among “over 7,000 prisoners” hunger striking since July 1, 17 Pelican Bay prisoners are in the “worst” shape, having lost 20 to 35 pounds, McMahon said. Strike leaders told her Thursday that they all look “shrunken.”

“They are amazingly mentally clear,” she said. “Many people in the SHU are political prisoners. The only chance they have to ever touch their babies is to debrief.”

Debriefing involves snitching on another inmate, denouncing him as a gang member. This automatically results in exoneration of the snitcher and condemnation of the target. The target is then transferred, with no other evidence, to a Security Housing Unit (SHU) for 23 hours per day of indefinite solitary confinement, putting an end to contact with children and other family members that predictably results in mental injury. Some have been in the SHU for 30 years, according to McMahon.

Among prison protesters’ five core demands is ending the debriefing policy, as reported by LA Times.

Official count of prisoners still refusing food

Hours after announcing the historical hunger strike ended at Pelican Bay, CDC officials acknowledged that over 500 inmates continued to refuse meals at three other state prisons: “More than 400 at the California State Prison in Corcoran … more than 100 at California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi [and] about 29 at Calipatria State Prison,” according to prison spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

LA Times reported that the Pelican Bay inmates “agreed to resume eating in exchange for ‘cold-weather caps, wall calendars and some educational opportunities,’” according to a statement by CDC Secretary Matthew Cate on Thursday morning.

Thornton, who called the strikers a “moving target,” stated that many hunger strikers accepted meals at varying points during the three-week protest, but, as family members have gone on record stating, some prison officials were telling prisoners days ago that the strike ended.

Thornton also stated that about 110 inmates “continuously refused state issued food from July 1 through yesterday,” July 20, the day before the Pelican Bay prison strike officially ended.

Seventeen inmates with “early symptoms of starvation” were moved from Pelican Bay to Corcoran Prison to ensure “sufficient and appropriate medical resources” for treatment if they continued striking, said Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the federal receiver overseeing prison healthcare.

Torture in California prisons can end, Gov. Jerry Brown

CDC used cruel actions to end the strike, according to Carol Strickman, a staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and staff to the mediation team representing the hunger strikers.

For the rest, with links, please go to: SF Bay View.

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More news via Email:

Bay Area rides to Sacramento, California action…

lisa@criticalresistance.org Fri, July 22, 2011 5:55:42 PM Subject: MONDAY: The strike continues! Mobilize to CDCR!

As many of you have heard, the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay have ended their hunger strike and have declared it a success! Their courageous act of refusing to eat for 4 weeks has successfully put the issues of torturous isolation units and California’s abominable debriefing program in the international & national media, it has boosted a growing movement for the rights of prisoners, and is unifying prisoners of different racial groups for a struggle against their real and shared enemies: the unfair policies and practices of CDCR.

Many of you also know that the hunger strike continues in Tehachapi, Corcoran, and Calipatria State Prisons.

We must continue to put pressure on CDCR and Governor Jerry Brown!

On Monday, 7/25 from noon-4pm in Sacramento, family members, community based organizations, and community members from around the state are mobilizing to support the ongoing California Prisoner Hunger Strike!

Meet in Sacramento at Fremont Park (on 15th St., b/w Q & P Streets) @ 11:30am.

March to CDCR headquarters (1515 S. Street) and rally from noon-2pm.

March to State Building to deliver organizational letter to Governor Jerry Brown’s office from 2-4pm.

*Please note that this will be a PEACEFUL, non-arrestable action.

Please take the time to forward this email to all of your contacts, and continue to call CDCR and Governor Brown demanding more humane treatment of prisoners across California.

For more information, please check the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Blog or call (510) 444-0484.

BAY AREA Ride-share: Meet at West Oakland BART at 9:30am, rides will be leaving at 10am. If you have a car & want to offer rides, or if you need a ride, please contact Lisa Roellig:lisaroellig@gmail.com 415-238-1801 (cell).

Thank you for your continued support!

In Struggle,

Lisa Marie Alatorre for Critical Resistance
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On July 23rd a great relly was organized in Ohio at the Ohio State Penitentiary in support of the California Hunger Strikers’ Demands. In that prison in Youngstown, those prisoners known as the “Lucasville 5” went on hungerstrike in January of this year to successfully challenge the conditions there. They are in full support of the California hunger strikers and are eeager to hear about the situation.

Finally:

Some gains so far:

– While the CDCR vigorously dehumanizes prisoners, and refused to negotiate, saying (“we don’t negotiate with prisoners”), they were effectively forced into offering an agreement to make changes;

– this historic strike has demanded everyone who is against torture in any way to recognize prisoners as human beings, to act on their beliefs that no one should ever be tortured;

– this historic hunger strike has widened and intensified international scrutiny into prison conditions and policies in California, and around the United States, as well as solidarity in intervening in CDCR “business as usual.” According to Terry Thorton, spokesperson for CDCR, this strike was “a major disruption to CDCR’s normal operations” (i.e. of control, isolation and torture);

– this historic strike has (re)inspired prisoners to work together in struggling for their humanity to be recognized;

– this historic strike has proven to family members, former prisoners, advocates, lawyers, faith-based and religious groups, medical professionals, and community members and organizations that we can and need to continue to work together better in the struggle to change the conditions we live in, and to transform the devastation and disappearance prisons cause in our communities

– this historic strike has re-invigorated rigorous and collective prisoner-led resistance in the US.

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