Support the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers!
Here is a new poster made to disseminate information about the hunger strike going on in California prisons. It's 11x17" format, 2-sided with the prisoners' full demands on the back. Available in color and black&white.
here's the text:
Solidarity with the Prisoners on Hunger Strike in California!
Solidarity with Prison Rebels Everywhere!
In the midst of the economic crisis, prison is the only “state service” that isn't in any danger of significant funding cuts. To alleviate the overcrowding, some misdemeanors might be decriminalized, but for the majority of prisoners (who constitute 1% of the entire US population), conditions grow more severe and desperate all the time. There are fewer resources for education and addiction programs, but always more for isolation units, guards, and brutality. Privatized prisons enlarge their profits by cutting corners on the food while the prison population on the whole is put more and more at the barely paid service of private production, undercutting workers on the outside.
Inmates at 11 of the 33 prisons in California are now on hunger strike as part of a movement to resist these conditions. They are organizing in solidarity with the prisoners of Pelican Bay, who initiated the strike and who face one of the most tortuous isolation regimes in the world. Pelican Bay is a super max facility dedicated to holding prisoners in long-term solitary confinement and extreme sensory deprivation. In order to keep prisoners even further divided, guards pursue an infamous policy of race-baiting to encourage self-segregation in gangs. Despite these challenges, the inmates there have overcome their differences to struggle for dignity and improved conditions. 400 Pelican Bay inmates are now on hunger strike indefinitely.
The situations these inmates face are not unique to California prisons. The repressive conditions under which these prisoners are forced to live their lives are endemic to prisons across the country: the isolation, torture and brutality happen in our own backyards every single day. We extend our solidarity to the rebellious prisoners in California because we recognize in them the same struggle waged for decades by prison rebels across the US. We recognize in them also our own struggle against a prison-society that everyday grows more totalitarian in its “democratic” application of social control and surveillance. We will fight alongside these rebels, until all prisoners are free, until prison-society is demolished!
Demands of the Prisoners in Struggle at Pelican Bay State Prison.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) are going on an indefinite hunger strike as of July 1, 2011 to protest the cruel, inhumane and tortuous conditions of their imprisonment. The hunger strike has been organized by prisoners in an inspiring show of unity across prison-manufactured racial and geographical lines. The hunger strikers have developed these five core demands:
1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse – This is in response to PBSP’s application of “group punishment” as a means to address individual inmates rule violations. This includes the administration’s abusive, pretextual use of “safety and concern” to justify what are unnecessary punitive acts. This policy has been applied in the context of justifying indefinite SHU status, and progressively restricting our programming and privileges.
2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria -
Perceived gang membership is one of the leading reasons for placement in solitary confinement.
The practice of “debriefing,” or offering up information about fellow prisoners particularly regarding gang status, is often demanded in return for better food or release from the SHU. Debriefing puts the safety of prisoners and their families at risk, because they are then viewed as “snitches.”
The validation procedure used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) employs such criteria as tattoos, readings materials, and associations with other prisoners (which can amount to as little as greeting) to identify gang members.
Many prisoners report that they are validated as gang members with evidence that is clearly false or using procedures that do not follow the Castillo v. Alameida settlement which restricted the use of photographs to prove association.
3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement – CDCR shall implement the findings and recommendations of the US commission on safety and abuse in America’s prisons final 2006 report regarding CDCR SHU facilities as follows:
End Conditions of Isolation (p. 14) Ensure that prisoners in SHU and Ad-Seg (Administrative Segregation) have regular meaningful contact and freedom from extreme physical deprivations that are known to cause lasting harm. (pp. 52-57)
Make Segregation a Last Resort (p. 14). Create a more productive form of confinement in the areas of allowing inmates in SHU and Ad-Seg [Administrative Segregation] the opportunity to engage in meaningful self-help treatment, work, education, religious, and other productive activities relating to having a sense of being a part of the community.
End Long-Term Solitary Confinement. Release inmates to general prison population who have been warehoused indefinitely in SHU for the last 10 to 40 years (and counting).
Provide SHU Inmates Immediate Meaningful Access to: i) adequate natural sunlight ii) quality health care and treatment, including the mandate of transferring all PBSP- SHU inmates with chronic health care problems to the New Folsom Medical SHU facility.
4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food – cease the practice of denying adequate food, and provide a wholesome nutritional meals including special diet meals, and allow inmates to purchase additional vitamin supplements.
PBSP staff must cease their use of food as a tool to punish SHU inmates.
Provide a sergeant/lieutenant to independently observe the serving of each meal, and ensure each tray has the complete issue of food on it.
Feed the inmates whose job it is to serve SHU meals with meals that are separate from the pans of food sent from kitchen for SHU meals.
5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.
Expand visiting regarding amount of time and adding one day per week.
Allow one photo per year.
Allow a weekly phone call.
Allow Two (2) annual packages per year. A 30 lb. package based on “item” weight and not packaging and box weight.
Expand canteen and package items allowed. Allow us to have the items in their original packaging [the cost for cosmetics, stationary, envelopes, should not count towards the max draw limit]
More TV channels.
Allow TV/Radio combinations, or TV and small battery operated radio
Allow Hobby Craft Items – art paper, colored pens, small pieces of colored pencils, watercolors, chalk, etc.
Allow sweat suits and watch caps.
Allow wall calendars.
Install pull-up/dip bars on SHU yards.
Allow correspondence courses that require proctored exams.