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  • Anonymous

    I am constantly amazed at the sheer numbers of heartless, soulless carbon units that seem to think that taking away a persons freedom is not enough punishment.  It might as well be 1611, though I suspect prisoners were better treated then. This is heartbreaking, the cruelty,indifference and inhumanity reflect upon our society in ways which frightens and enrages me as it ought to any sentient being.

    •  “It might as well be 1611, though I suspect prisoners were better
      treated then.”

      This is the damn truth

      you know i toured the old Oxford Castle Dungeons — (http://kierenmccarthy.co.uk/2006/06/02/oxford-castle-opens-for-first-time-in-1000-years/) and frankly, No Progress has been made

      thanks as always for being here Robinswing…

    • Anonymous

      amen, Robinswing. 

      Yes, it should frighten and enrage every sentient being.  This in no way is anything remotely resembling “justice.”  It is violence, pure and simple. 

  • UN Torture Investigator Calls on Nations to End
    Solitary Confinement

    by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

    The UN’s torture investigator, Juan Mendez, yesterday
    called on UN members nations to ban nearly all uses of solitary confinement in
    prisons, warning that is causes serious mental and physical harm and often
    amounts to torture. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel,
    Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment, presented
    a written report on solitary confinement to the UN General Assembly’s Human
    Rights Committee, which singled out for criticism the routine use of supermax
    isolation in the United States. He also gave a press conference and participated
    in a forum with American civil rights and human rights groups.
    As Reuters
    reports, Mendez stated that solitary confinement “‘can amount to torture or
    cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment,
    during pretrial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons
    with mental disabilities or juveniles.’” He continued, “‘Segregation, isolation,
    separation, cellular, lockdown, supermax, the hole, secure housing unit…whatever
    the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or
    extortion (of information) technique.’”

    The rest at http://solitarywatch.com/

    • vikki L

      Whoa, really?

      Thanks for posting that! I hadn’t seen it. The European Convention  on Human Rights’ position is that extreme isolation in ADX Florence amounts to torture. It also has the position that life in prison without the possibility of parole also amounts to torture.

  • Thanks so much for posting this.  I had read it at truthout and have been circulating it on twitter and facebook.   We cannot close our eyes to the ONGOING torture taking place in prisons across the U.S.  Including TAMMS Supermax here in Illinois.

    • Amen Mariame

      Thank you for being here and for all you do..

    • Anonymous

      Exactly right, MK.

      We must use such information/analysis/history to deepen and strengthen our commitment to the torture that is foundational to the U.S. prison system.

      It’s normal.  It’s routinized.  It is neither exceptional, nor the product of a “few bad apples.”

      And YES to shutting down TAMMS Supermax.

      And every damn supermax prison.

  • Patriotdaily

    this is just so sick and twisted. few years ago, meteor blades, valtin and i had a series at DK about torture with the wars. our government admitted years ago that the torture (including sensory deprivation) constituted torture and opposed it, yet it continued with these wars under the 24- hour tv show ticking bomb BS. reagan justice dept. prosecuted for torture at jails in texas years ago. i’m not sure what it will take for our country to recognize that we all have human rights. 

    • Yes

      Torture anywhere must be opposed and so often, it is not

      Appreciate you being here — always great to see you Patriotdaily

    • Anonymous

      hey, Patriotdaily, it is so good to see you here. 

      Whether in the context of war or “business as usual” in the U.S. prison system, where mass incarceration is a racist business, torture is wrong, unacceptable, inhumane.

      Proud to stand with you in the fight against it.

  • Thank you, Victoria!  The picture of the cell is chilling!  

    I’m speechless at the recounting of the events.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I am surprised at CDCR’s actions.

    • Anonymous

      CDCR is plain, damn cold, princss6.  They can do anything they want to anyone under their control – out of sight, out of mind, they think. 

      Our job is to make sure that out of sight is NOT out of mind.

      Cold. Violent.  Routine.

      Where’s the left in this fight? 

      • I wish I had known about the vigil in Philly.  I would have attended.

        • Anonymous

          Unfortunately, princss6, there undoubtedly will be more vigils in the future. 

    • that first pic is the so-called “exercise yard” at Pelican Bay

      Buried in Concrete

      • Wow!  That is barbaric.  

        • even worse than Angola

          at least they are in over-sized wore dog kennels there :( 

          Kinda outside

          it is madness

    • vikki L

      Thanks princss6!  We need to keep the pressure on the CDCR and he California elected officials and let them know that, just because the hunger strike is over, the public scrutiny isn’t!

      • Thank you vikki!!

        this is the most devastatingly complete history of Pelican Bay that i have read

        Please let us know your thoughts as what we can do to keep attention on this situation

        • vikki L

          Keep the pressure on Governor Brown!
          (916) 445-2841

          The California legislature is not in session right now, so please call the  legislators at their district offices.

          District phone numbers for the members of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee

          Tom Ammiano: (415) 557-3013
          Steve Knight: (661) 267-7636 or (760) 843-8045
          Gilbert Cedillo: (323) 225-4545
          Curt Hagman: (909) 627-7021
          Jerry Hill: (650) 349-1900
          Holly J Mitchell: (310) 342-1070
          Nancy Skinner: (510) 286-1400

          • Anonymous

            thanks, vikki.  Just added to my “call regularly” list.

          • thank you!

            will do

          • Thank you for the phone numbers.  I will place calls tomorrow.

      • Anonymous

        amen, Vikki. 

  • Wow, thank you so much Victoria for this thorough historical background on Pelican Bay.  The prison administrators are the “gang members” committing atrocities, perpetuating a culture of domination, subjugation, and humiliation.  Outrageous. 

    Shared far and wide.  Thank you.

    • Amen Seeta..

      it is truly horrific

    • we really need at some point to have the larger societal discussion  about the many dilemmas with “gang”  legislation, “gang” hysteria and the unquestioned nature of it at

      Imho this lies at the root of  much current racialized criminalization..

      • vikki L

        Mass incarceration is fueled by hysteria, whether over gangs, immigrants or terrorists. At the end of the day, somehow (and I how), it’s always the black and brown people who end up as the ones behind bars.

        • Yes — amazing coincidence

          Or Not….

        • Anonymous

          Coincidence, innit?

          The racist ghost story this country tells itself to justify any mass inhumanity and violence.

          Time for another story.

    • vikki L

      Seeta–thanks for having me and thanks for hosting the Criminal Injustice blog!

      These  atrocities are, sadly and outrageously, all too common. I was just at a conference about the human rights violations in the federal prison system under the guise of “anti-terrorist” measures. Did you know that after September 11th, Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorism charges were taken out of General Population and placed in ADX Florence (the inspiration for Pelican Bay’s SHU)? They are not eligible for any stepdown program to  get out of the extreme solitary confinement and sensory deprivation they are facing.

      These stories need to be told and tied to the struggles for human rights and dignity being fought for on the outside.

  • Anonymous

    Victoria, deep gratitude.  You’ve given such solid background/context for the prisoner hunger strikes. 

    Retaliation with regard to prisoners; retaliation with regard to attorneys and outside supporters. . .and they call this a “justice” system. 

    Torture continues to be a routine feature of U.S. prisons and jails.  I wish the left would care about this.

    I have kept Gov. Brown on my call and email lists; I have been enlisting other friends and colleagues to communicate with him as well. 

    • i wish the left would care about torture at home as well

      and yes– the pressure must somehow be kept on, especially in light of the widespread retaliation

      • Anonymous


      • Anonymous

        It’s hard for some to get a grasp on what it all means.  Too deeply entrenched in only bad people who do only bad things being the ones locked up.  I’d blame Officer Friendly but it’s way more systemic than his role indicates, of course.

        • yes Officer Friendly re-enforced at every turn, particularly by media

          news entertainment “reality” shows..

          So daunting to deconstruct

        • Anonymous

          Exactly, conlakappa.  Too complicated to imagine that even we might be complicit – even unintentionally – in mass violence.

  • thank you for this Victoria

    I was aware of the long legal battle over Pelican Bay — but did not know that  Hunger Strikes had been proceeding at there for a decade

    The conditions described are nothing short of torturous and I am remain stunned that they continue to be ignored not only by CDCR but also by so many “liberals”.. ..Governor Brown included..

    A Disgrace