[Pnews] Pelican Bay Prisoners' Statement on 3rd Anniversary of Settlement

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 16 10:56:36 EDT 2018


https://ccrjustice.org/home/blog/2018/10/15/pelican-bay-prisoners-statement-3rd-anniversary-settlement 



  Pelican Bay Prisoners' Statement on 3rd Anniversary of Settlement

October 15, 2018
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Sunday marked the third anniversary of the landmark settlement agreement 
<https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/landmark-agreement-ends-indeterminate-long-term-solitary> 
in /Ashker v. California/ 
<https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/our-cases/ashker-v-brown>, the 
class action lawsuit that ended indefinite solitary confinement in 
California prisons. We have accomplished a lot in that time. Over 1600 
prisoners who were looking at spending the rest of their lives in 
isolation have been released from Security Housing Units. Living 
conditions have improved for many prisoners. And prisoners who were 
prevented from seeking parole because they were isolated in SHU have 
some prospect for release.

Most importantly, prisoners have continued to honor the historic 2012 
Agreement to End Hostilities 
<https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/agreement-to-end-hostilities/>, 
working to resolve issues peacefully and prevent individual conflict 
from escalating into group conflict. Through this, we have dramatically 
reduced violence throughout California prisons and been able to harness 
our collective power to unite against our true opponent: a prison system 
that would rather punish and torture than rehabilitate.

However, much work remains. While prisoner culture has changed, CDCR 
culture has not. The California prison system continues to obstruct 
meaningful reforms, to attempt to provoke violence by a variety of 
tactics such as integrating SNY informants into the GP, and to entrap 
individual prisoners. It continues to violate our due process rights and 
resist systemic change.

Many prisoners released from SHU have been transferred into Level 4 
prisons, which are essentially modified SHUs. While called “general 
population,” prisoners in these units often receive as little 
out-of-cell time as they did in the SHU, are denied jobs, and have 
little to no vocational and other programming. To honor the settlement, 
we need to live in /true/ general population housing units that provide 
adequate social interaction, outdoor time, programming, work 
opportunities, and preparation for release.

Additionally, CDCR has done nothing to help us deal with the aftermath 
of years, and even decades, in solitary confinement. As the report by 
the Stanford University Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Lab 
<https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/two-years-after-historic-settlement-ending-indefinite-solitary> 
documents, the torture of solitary confinement does not end when the 
cell doors open. Many of us are still suffering terribly. Some of us 
have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We can never get back the 
relationships with parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, spouses, 
kids, and other loved ones damaged by our years in isolation. We need 
rehabilitation and reparations. To begin to make us whole, CDCR must 
help us heal.

Finally, CDCR continues to throw people back in the hole. It is relying 
on confidential information regardless of whether the informant is 
credible or reliable. It even fabricates information and falsifies 
documents. Prisoners continue to be denied fair hearings, and then are 
thrown back into solitary. This behavior is systemic throughout CDCR, 
from top to bottom. To honor the settlement agreement, we need 
independent oversight of CDCR’s disciplinary system and individual 
accountability for CDCR employees who abuse their power.

In a recent ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken has recognized that the 
settlement requires that reforms be meaningful, including that CDCR 
cannot simply shuffle people to “general population” units that function 
like SHUs. And we are requesting an extension of the period of 
monitoring to ensure that CDCR complies with the spirit and purpose of 
the settlement.

Finally, we must continue to stick together, to honor the Agreement to 
End Hostilities, and to fight our true opponent: CDCR’s abuses. Our 
accomplishments thus far have come about because of our collective 
power. Collective power is how we will achieve the goals ahead of us.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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