Open letter by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough (Corcoran-SHU): The road is long and hard and rough, but anything worth loving, is worth fighting for

Also published in the SF Bay View

“Dear Kendra,

Hello sis. It is my/our hope that you continue to be of sound health upon receiving this and that you will continue to maintain that magnificent fire that you possess. It is the difference between being committed to changing the inhumanities that confront us all and those who are just paying lip service to it. (you could never be confused with the latter group)

I did receive a copy of the legal decision that you mentioned. The Crawford case, in which it is stated that the CDCR cannot confiscate mail and claim that it contains some kind of “coded” message, without proving it. It’s an important case not only because it strips the CDCR of an (illegal) tool that it considered important in burying people in these dungeons.

Equally important is that a judge (finally) had the courage to actually uphold the law. For the sake of upholding the law and there was no trade off. No, I’ll do this in exchange for that (which is pretty routine when it comes to the rights of prisoners and criminal defendant’s). It really is foul and obviously so.

You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture (and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do without violating the law and the humanity of people.

Correcting madness only requires courage. We are a Nation governed by bullies. The judge in the Crawford decision, like Crawford himself, had courage.

You, the Mary Ratcliff’s, your Husband, the Pelican Bay Representatives, the thousands who resist and supporters who have stood up, and continue to stand up and really stand up again the State, have courage.

We also received a copy of the latest proposal (version 7.0) of the STG program and it appears as if this will be the policy. I did not think it could get any worse. You can actually be given an additional SHU term for what is being called an “STG Handshake.” This is the 21st Century and a Nation defines itself as the greatest democracy on Earth and we actually penalize citizens, put them/us in isolation for shaking someone’s hand.

This is the best proof of how irrational the thinking is – people literally create their own reality. Give it a name, and then do with it as they please. There is no such thing as an “STG Handshake.” There is also a provision that makes it possible for a person to given a SHU term for “group exercise.” People are actually paid huge salaries to come up with this sh-t!

The sanity of these people should be called into question. The Pelican Bay Representatives and SHU population are absolutely correct, this must be resisted. To not do so, particularly in the face of such disrespect, would be deplorable. It would be weak! And nothing is as pathetic as weakness.

Our hope is that we might be able to come up with something to contribute something to the efforts being made by Mary, you, and others who have been so supportive and so inspiring, in the struggle.

However it is that we can contribute to any of your endeavors, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

The road is long and hard and rough, but anything worth loving, is worth fighting for.

Take good care, Strugglin’ with you. – Michael Dorrough

Michael Dorrough, CDC# D-83611, COR-SHU, 4B-IL-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

Written on 10/10/2012 and postmarked on 10/12/2012 to Kendra Castaneda, She’s a prisoner human rights advocate whose husband, Robbie Riva CDC# T-49359 is being tortured in segregation at Calipatria State Prison ASU. This open letter was also transcribed by Kendra Castaneda.

Read about Michael’s case for innocence here.

Additional note about the updated version of the “STG” (Security Treat Group) policy to place people in solitary confinement (the SHU) in California and how people inside can go down security levels.
It is the 7th version of the text, and it does not look promising, since the prisoners are still dependent on the subjective will of the officers, with no oversight. This is from Robbie Riva, Kendra Castaneda’s husband, in Calipatria:

“Today I got legal mail containing the updated version of the “STG” policy. It’s straight bullsh-t! If anything the criteria is making it harder for us and easier for CDCR to confine us to their dungeons. They have way too much leverage and basically their discretion is undefined.

At anytime during the “STP” if they come across circumstantial evidence of you being in violation of their new “behavior matrix” they can start you over at Stage 1.” – Robbie Riva, CDC# T-49359, Calipatria State Prison ASU, written on 9/24/2012