[Pnews] Solitary Prisoners’ Lawyers Slam CDCR for Sleep Deprivation

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 29 18:35:32 EDT 2015

*Inline image 1*

*For Immediate Release – Thursday, October 29, 2015*

Solitary Prisoners’ Lawyers Slam CDCR for Sleep Deprivation

/<mailto:mohamed at criticalresistance.org>Prisoner Hunger Strike 
Solidarity Coalition/

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, lawyers for prisoners in the class action 
case /Ashker v. Brown/ submitted a letter condemning Pelican Bay prison 
guards’ “wellness checks,” which have widely been viewed as sleep 
deprivation. The letter was submitted to United States Magistrate Judge 
Nandor Vadas, and calls on the California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation (CDCR) to put an end to the checks.

Last month, prisoners achieved a historic victory in the settlement of 
/Ashker v. Brown/ where the indefinite long term solitary confinement 
was effectively ended in California, with Magistrate Judge Vadas 
currently monitoring implementation of the settlement terms.

The guards at Pelican bay Security Housing Units have been conducting 
disruptive cell checks every 30 minutes around the clock for three 
months, causing prisoners widespread sleep disruption. The process is 
loud and according to prisoners, “the method and noise from the checks 
is torture.”

Attorneys representing Pelican Bay SHU prisoners have just completed 
extensive interviews with prisoners who demand that “the every 30-minute 
checks have to be stopped or people are going to get sick or worse.” In 
addition, they report that regular prison programs have been negatively 

“To sleep is a fundamental human right,” said Anne Weills, a member of 
the prisoners’ legal team and one of the attorneys who conducted the 
interviews with prisoners in Pelican Bay. “To take away such a basic 
human right amounts to severe torture, adding to the already torturous 
conditions of being in solitary confinement.”

Most prisoners report low energy, exhaustion and fatigue. Most state 
that they have trouble concentrating. They try to read, but they nod off 
and/or can’t remember what they have read. Their writing is much slower 
(“I can’t think to write”), and describe the constant welfare checks as 
having a negative impact on their mental state.

While this recent attorney survey was specifically focusing on sleep 
deprivation and its effects, prisoners volunteered information about the 
negative impact of these frequent checks: yard policy and practice has 
reduced access to recreation, access to showers has been reduced, 
programs and meals are being delayed, and property for those newly 
transferred to Pelican Bay is still being delayed and withheld.

Sleep deprivation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Prisoners 
and their attorneys are demanding that these checks be halted.

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

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