[Ppnews] Organizations - sign letter to Governor Brown - support the Hunger Strikers

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 21 16:22:16 EDT 2011

Everyone -- Please ask organizations you work 
with to sign on to this organizational Open 
Letter to Gov. Brown to grant the demands of the 
hungerstrikers. We hope to deliver it to Brown as 
soon as next Monday, July 25. This national 
letter was written and is being circulated by a 
number of our sister organizations.

CDCR has just issued a press release saying the 
prisoners have ended their hungerstrike. There 
has been no independent verification. Even 
if  the men inside have resumed eating, we know 
the demands have not been resolved. We must 
remain committed to changing the torture these 
men live in, with the hungerstrike as an 
inspiration and wakeup call for activists 
outside. Please continue to build long-term 
support for ending torture in California's SHUs.

We are asking you to do two things with this letter:

1) Please circulate widely. We want to get as 
many organizations as possible to sign-on as quickly as possible.

2) Please get authorization from your 
organization(s) and sign-on as soon as possible 
if you have not already. If at all possible, 
please endorse the letter no later than midnight Friday, July 22.

TO SIGN-ON: Please send an email to 
<mailto:molly at criticalresistance.org>molly at criticalresistance.org 
with the name of the organization, and, if you 
are a local or state-based organization, your geographic location.

End Torture! Grant the demands of the hungerstrikers!
I've also pasted the text of the letter, and 
signing organizations into this message, below:

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

We, the undersigned civil rights, community, and 
human rights organizations, urge you to intervene 
with the California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation (CDCR) to respond immediately to 
conditions that have lead to a statewide hunger 
strike in California prisons. As you know, the 
hunger strike was initiated by prisoners in the 
Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison 
on July 1, 2011 to protest conditions that have 
been characterized by the United Nations as 
"inhumane and degrading." The hunger strike now 
has spread to a third of the state’s prisons and 
has involved at least 6,600 prisoners from all 
racial groups. The demands made by these 
prisoners are relatively modest and in keeping 
with human rights standards adopted by many other 
jurisdictions with regard to the treatment of 
prisoners housed in Secure Housing Units.

As organizations from around the country that are 
committed to reducing the destructive impact of 
current criminal justice policies on the lives of 
individuals, families, and communities in the 
United States, we are concerned both about the 
immediate well-being of the hunger strikers and 
the long-term impact of appalling conditions 
inside prisons, particularly the use of long-term 
isolation and practices of racial profiling – 
under the guise of gang affiliation – that often 
are used to justify such abuses of human rights.

We join with more than 7,500 individuals that 
have signed petitions in support of the hunger 
strikers and with community groups and family 
members of hunger strikers who have coordinated 
demonstrations in cities across the U.S. and 
abroad to voice their support.  We join these 
courageous people inside and outside of prison in 
demanding that the CDCR fully implement the 
prisoners’ five core demands, which are:

1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse

2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify 
Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria

3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and 
Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations 
Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement

4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food

5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming 
and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.

Despite the fact that federal courts, mental 
health professionals, and international human 
rights monitors repeatedly have pointed out the 
devastating impact of isolation on human beings, 
the State of California continues to consign 
hundreds of prisoners, sometimes for decades, to 
torturous conditions that federal judge Thelton 
E. Henderson concluded “may well hover on the 
edge of what is humanly tolerable.” Tragically, 
because they feel their efforts to challenge 
these conditions through administrative and legal 
channels have failed, hundreds of prisoners have 
put their bodies and their lives on the line.

Throughout your political career you have 
publicly supported progressive human rights 
issues. We know that you will share our desire to 
avoid the kind of outcome that resulted from the 
H Block Hunger Strike in Northern Ireland in 
1981. We believe that you will be responsive to 
the efforts of these prisoners to seek more just 
and humane conditions of confinement, and we 
encourage you to treat these prisoners with the 
respect and consideration they deserve. We urge 
you in the strongest possible terms to intervene 
in this matter immediately and to find a just and honorable resolution.

Thank you for your consideration.

Signed by:

A Better Way Foundation

A New Way of Life Reentry Project, Los Angeles, CA

All of Us or None

Arkansas Voice for the Children Left Behind

Breakout!, New Orleans, LA

Cante Wanjila Native American Reentry and Support Project, South Dakota

Critical Resistance

Detention Watch Network

Freedom Archives

Justice for Families

Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Kemba Smith Foundation

Labor/Community Strategy Center, Los Angeles, CA

Law Office of Rebecca Young, East Boston, MA

Milk Not Jails, New York

National Policy Partnership for Children of the Incarcerated

Resurrection After Exoneration, New Orleans, LA

Safe Streets/Strong Communities, New Orleans, LA

TalkBLACK, Atlanta, GA

Texas Families of Incarcerated Youth

Visions to Peace Project, Washington, D.C.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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