[Pnews] Thoughts on our Agreement to End Hostilities - from Tahachapi

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 17 15:57:00 EDT 2015

Via Dolores Canales*


*Thoughts on our Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH)*

*By Kijani Tashiri Askari and Akili Castlin*

The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word 
“hostility” as being :

1.)A hostile state, condition , or attitude; enmity; antagonism; 

2.)A hostile act

3.)Opposition or resistance to an idea, plan project, etc.


a)acts of warfare


So our initial question to the people is: “What does hostility mean to 
you?” During the formulation phase of constructing our position on this 
issue, a wise man was asked his thoughts on our “Agreement to end 
Hostilities” (AEH) and he stated:

“The inclusion of the Agreement to end race-based hostilities to our 
struggle against California’s solitary confinement policies, represents 
a qualitative leap of the insight of all prison nationalities, and 
unites us beyond the fight to free ourselves from CDCR’s torture units. 
Its promise may foreshadow the triumph of prisoners’ quests for full 
human recognition.”

It has been said that the average human being should be able to hold 
their breath under water for at least 2 minutes without suffering any 
injury to the brain. But imagine being forcibly held under water for 10 
to 40 plus years straight, without being able to come up for air! It is 
impossible to ignore the potential psychological trauma involved in this 
process. But, nonetheless, we prisoners have continued to struggle to 
come up for air, to only be repeatedly held down, and forced back under 
water by the corrupt and powerful hands of the CDCR!!


History has always proven to be a viable guide, with making qualitative 
assessments in relation to where we have been, and with what lies ahead 
in the course of our struggle. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we 
highlight the essence of our human suffering with examples from our 
history in CDCR’s solitary confinement units.

In the 1960s, we prisoners were suffocating under the inhumane and 
deplorable conditions in Soledad’s O-Wing, [1] where prisoners were 
routinely placed in these strip/quiet cells amidst the foul stench of 
urine and human feces. In most instances, human waste laid bare on the 
floor for all to see. And you could forget about the prison guards 
giving us anything to clean up the human waste, especially when you 
factor in how the prison guards wouldn’t give us toilet paper to wipe 
ourselves or flush our floor-based toilets on a regular basis, which 
could only be done by them. I mean, the prison guards wouldn’t even give 
us drinking water!! These contradictions brought about a rescue boat in 
the form of Jordan v. Fitzharris [2]. But it did not contain any life 
preservers because no sooner than when the Federal Court ruled these 
conditions to be unconstitutional, CDCR made no changes to improve the 
quality of life in O-Wing for the captive prisoner class.


In the 1970s, we prisoners were suffocating under the inhumane 
conditions of being deprived of outdoor exercise and access to natural 
sunlight. Our means of exercise consisted of being let out of our cells 
to occupy a space in front of it that was no bigger than a public 
sidewalk. In Spain v. Procunier [3], the court ruled these conditions to 
be unconstitutional and set forth the mandate of prisoners in solitary 
confinement receiving at least 10 hours of outdoor exercise a week. But 
36 years later, in 2015, Warden Holland of CCI Tehachapi has admitted 
that this prison is ill-equipped to meet the mandate of 10 hours of 
outdoor recreation. In other words “caged monkeys” in a zoo are 
receiving more outdoor exercise and natural sunlight than us!!


In the 1980s, we prisoners were suffocating under the deplorable and 
outright inhumane conditions at Old Folsom and San Quentin State 
Prisons. These conditions consisted of extreme cold weather during 
winter months due to prison guards using their guns to shoot out the 
windows in the housing units. Rat feces circulated throughout the 
plumbing system, meaning that the designated shower areas for prisoners 
were inclusive of this kind of filth!! Once again, a rescue boat 
appeared on the horizon in the form of Toussaint v. McCarthy [4], where 
the federal court attempted to take previous rescue efforts a step 
further by not only ruling these conditions to be unconstitutional, but 
also issuing a “permanent injunction,” that mandated these conditions to 
be immediately changed!! However, instead of any changes coming about, 
CDCR surreptitiously transferred prisoners out of Old Folsom and San 
Quentin en masse to Tehachapi, DUI-Tracy, Soledad State Prison, etc… 
Thus, nullifying the injunction.


In the 1990s we witnessed the expansion and usage of solitary 
confinement units (e.g., “Supermax control units”) take flight, wherein 
CDCR’s objectives became ever more apparent in the form of population 
control. Our suffocation was two-fold!! On the one hand, a culture of 
police beatings (e.g., “excessive force”) was finally exposed to the 
public in Madrid v. Gomez [5], where prisoner Vaughn Dortch was forced 
into a tub of boiling hot water and had his skin ripped off of him in 
the most barbaric fashion possible!! Prisoner Greg Dickerson was shot in 
the chest and stomach area at point blank range in his cell with a 38 
millimeter gas gun via the false assertion of being non-cooperative with 
prison guards.

While on the other hand, prisoners were being forced to become 
informants for the state, in order to be released from solitary 
confinement via “the CDCR Inquisition” program. This practice was 
exposed as being an “underground policy” in Castillo v. Alameida [6], 
because CDCR never promulgated it through the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA) to make it an actual policy. The Castillo case also brought 
about the 6-year inactive gang status reviews, which meant prisoners 
were led to believe we could be released from solitary confinement after 
6 years. These reviews were a complete sham!! as we prisoners had 
absolutely no constitutional protections under this process, wherein 
hardly any prisoners were released from SHU. But more importantly, this 
rescue boat was doomed from the time it left the docks, as it has now 
been revealed that Castillo is a pig collaborator by becoming an 
informant for CDCR in the current class-action lawsuit of Ashker v. 
Brown, et. al. [7], that has been mounted against the current conditions 
of solitary confinement.


It is through this spiral of development, that the AEH became manifest 
in October of 2012. So in reflecting upon our collective struggle, in 
being unable to breathe for over a half-century of pure torture!! It is 
hard to not think of Eric Garner, in the minutes right before his 
demise, when he uttered the words: “I CAN’T BREATHE!!!”

It is this reality that we prisoners remain confronted with when put 
into the perspective of why we ended our hostilities. As it amounts to 
freedom or death!! It is every prisoner’s aspiration to be liberated 
from prison. Our AEH puts us in a viable position for this to happen, 
especially when we consider how CDCR has routinely denied us parole, for 
simply being interned to indefinite solitary confinement status as 
alleged gang members, without a single act of violence to support their 
position. This speaks to the importance and the manner in which every 
prisoner has honored and adhered to our AEH. This is commendable on all 
fronts!! Our exemplary conduct has made CDCR completely powerless over 
us, as we have successfully taken away the fodder that used to fuel 
their political rhetoric in labeling us the “worst of the worst.” Our 
unity now qualitatively threatens the political, social, and economic 
stability of CDCR which is why their Counter Intelligence Unit (IGI) is 
issuing all of these bogus CDC-115 rule violation reports (RVR’s) for 
promoting gang activity.

Our fortitude and resolve of continued unity ensures that our demand in 
wanting to be liberated from prison will no longer fall on deaf ears!! 
As power concedes nothing without a demand!! We now have the power to 
change the course of history with CDCR’s routine parole board denials, 
just as we have done in building a movement around abolishing all 
solitary confinement units. We must begin a similar process in 
mobilizing our families on this very issue. But until then, “WE CAN’T 
BREATHE” must become our mantra going forward, as we prisoners refuse to 
ease up on the powers that be, until every prisoner is able to breathe 
by being liberated from these prisons!!


For more information contact us at:

Kijana Tashiri Askari s/n Marcus Harrison



P.O. Box 1906

Tehachapi, CA 93581

Akili Castlin



P.O. Box 1906

Tehachapi, CA 93581



Reference Notes for: WE CAN’T BREATHE!!!

1. For further reading on the conditions in Soledad’s O-Wing, read the 
/Melancholy History of Soledad Prison/ by Min S. Yee; and also see the 
report of the Assembly Select Committee on Prison Reform and 
Rehabilitation: Administrative Segregation in California’s Prisons from 
the 1960s.

2. The court ruled the conditions in Soledad’s O-Wing unconstitutional 
in Jordan v. Fitzharris – 257 F.Supp. 674, 682-83 (N.D. Cal. 1966)

3. The mandate of 10 hours of outdoor exercise was established in Spain 
v. Procunier – 600 F.2d. 189, 199 (9^th Cir. 1979)

4. The living conditions at Old Folsom and San Quentin State Prisons 
were found to be unconstitutional in Toussaint v. McCarthy – 801 F.2d. 
1080 (9^th Cir. 1986)

5. A culture of police terror was revealed in Madrid v. Gomez – 889 
F.Supp. 1146, 1162, 1167 (N.D. Cal. 1995)

6. Sham inactive gang status reviews were conducted every 6 years per. 
Castillo v. Alameida, et. al. – Case No: C-94-2847

7. Ashker v. Brown, et. al. – Case No: C-09-5796-CW is a class-action 
lawsuit that has been mounted, to challenge the torturous conditions of 
solitary confinement and can be downloaded at www.cand.uscourts.gov 


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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