Sunday, 30 June 2013

CDCR to prisoners: Submit to force-feeding to get demands met

From: SF Bay View, June 29th, 2013

by Paul Redd/Mume, Ruben Williams/Jitu Joka Kambon, Richard Wembe Johnson, Charles Coleman/Ghais

As a representative of the Pelican Bay SHU hunger strikes in 2011 and a signatory on the “Agreement to End Hostilities,” I have not written any articles for publication except a few pieces related to the hunger strikes posted on the internet. The reason being I felt our Brotha and the other three main representatives were articulating our peaceful nonviolent united fight to expose and end our torture, inhumane conditions and decades of indefinite long-term solitary confinement. I did not want to occupy more space saying the same things.

The main four representatives have also expressed our collective love and respect to all the unbroken prisoners who have volunteered to join this long-awaited united front with the peaceful nonviolent hunger strikes, including our humble respect for those prisoners who weren’t able to partake because of serious life-threatening health issues and still refused to accept some food trays in showing their solidarity to end this abuse.

They have also extended a heartfelt “thank you” beyond the walls to all our supporters in California and around the United States.

Although my personal condolence along with our brothas and other hunger strike comrades within my unit to the families has never been printed on the fallen hunger strike comrades’ deaths, our expression of condolence has never been in silence. But we speak with a united voice. Those deaths could have been prevented. But this is a reminder of these diabolical beasts we are dealing with who do not see us as human beings, but as caged-up animals.

These deaths of our fallen comrades has made us more enraged, more determined to let the outside communities and people all over the world to really see the faces behind the racism, racist policies and blatant abuse of power hidden behind CDCR titles.

Enough is enough. We are tired of CDCR officials, CCPOA, IGI, ISU and SSU continuing all this manipulation, deception with word games, lying to politicians to secure funding, lying to the media and the public in order to cover up the truth. The outcome of the two hunger strikes only exposed a little of their lies but enough to shock the world.

It’s an insult that it took two hunger strikes for CDCR officials to give us these small token trinkets that we should’ve had years ago. These things were only given because CDCR could not answer the questions from the outside communities about what provoked this massive hunger strike in California and around the United States.

The people on the outside were shocked and in disbelief when reading our core demands to find human beings were living in Pelican Bay supermax under the deplorable conditions exposed.

Suddenly, with the spotlight on CDCR officials, they claim our demands were reasonable, yet they are not meeting all our demands. During these ordeals CDCR officials have lied to the media, publicly stating hunger strikes are not the correct approach for presenting our grievances.

Enough is enough. We are tired of CDCR officials, CCPOA, IGI, ISU and SSU continuing all this manipulation, deception with word games, lying to politicians to secure funding, lying to the media and the public in order to cover up the truth. The outcome of the two hunger strikes only exposed a little of their lies but enough to shock the world.

 

What they did not tell the media and public, nor politicians, is that we prisoners filed many inmate 602 appeal grievances for years seeking these things and an end to the torture and inhumane conditions, only to have Pelican Bay officials and CDCR officials deny our grievances as meritless.

CDCR officials, in response to the attention and embarrassment they experienced because of the hunger strikes, quickly rushed to politicians for funding to implement another repressive structure called STG (security threat group, i.e., gang) and a step down pilot program to give the illusion they are trying to make changes and improve conditions.

Recently on April 18, 2013, in our class action lawsuit, federal District Judge Claudia Wilken, in a written order denying CDCR officials’ motion to dismiss our lawsuit, stated

1) CDCR cannot establish that the STG/SDP pilot program will irrevocably eradicate the effects of plaintiffs’ alleged violations; and

2) CDCR’s request to stay plaintiffs’ class action until the STG program has been fully implemented would prejudice plaintiffs by delaying the case unduly.

We’ve been called the “worst of the worst” throughout our confinement here and hunger strikes, but Judge Wilken noted that the CDCR SDP pilot program already found a lot of people were in the SHU who should not have been. That’s why CDCR officials et al. started with validated associates (rather than gang “members”) first, in hopes their motion to dismiss would be granted or their request for a stay to clean up their dirt.

Had they started reviewing and processing the validated members first, the public and the media would have seen hundreds of validated members who have spent decades in the SHU immediately released, justifying the peaceful nonviolent hunger strikes that brought us some major relief and total shame and disgrace to CDCR officials.

Judge Wilken further said we prisoners gave CDCR officials explicit notice of our injuries by way of administrative grievances, written complaints and, of course, the hunger strikes.

We’ve been called the “worst of the worst” throughout our confinement here and hunger strikes, but Judge Wilken noted that the CDCR SDP pilot program already found a lot of people were in the SHU who should not have been.

 

I am not going to waste my time exposing each of the lies told, but here’s a few that were most insulting during the two hunger strikes: 1) hunger strike representatives/leaders and gang leaders were forcing prisoners not to eat; 2) hunger strike representatives/leaders and gang leaders were ordering racial assaults on prisoners refusing not to eat; 3) hunger striking prisoners were stashing food and eating during the hunger strike; 4) some hunger strike prisoners were refusing to be weighed because they were eating; 5) another funny lie, hunger strike representatives/leaders and gang leaders were forcing prisoners not to participate in the SDP pilot program and/or sign the SDP contract.

These prisoners are grown men who are free to make their own choices whether to eat or not to eat, whether to participate in the SDP or sign the contract. Not one of those prisoners could ever be viewed in a negative light. It’s an insult upon us when CDCR officials make these false accusations to attempt to save face in the court of public opinion.

We feel it’s time to turn up the heat, so we are taking a scripture from the W.O.N. to rally that level of support.

Another truth that is secretly whispered to many of us prisoners: some CDCR officials, guards and other employees expressing to us prisoners they think we should be released from the SHU and/or our demands are reasonable and agree with them, yet they aren’t bold enough to openly state these words, and as prisoners we understand and know why.

However, the scripture says we are not going to be silent. The united front in these two peaceful, nonviolent protests has proven to be warranted and justified.

I have talked with some prisoners who have expressed they do not want to do another hunger strike, including myself. But it’s obvious CDCR officials wish to force a hunger strike.

What I have also heard, as well as other prisoners, is certain correctional supervisors and employees speaking confidentially, stating if we prisoners really want CDCR headquarters to meet our demands, force-feeding tubes would do it.

I guess correctional employees are really pissed off and upset with their own job cuts, pay cuts and whatever else, thinking force-feeding tubes would benefit them. I guess many of them do believe our demands are reasonable and we should be released from the SHU.

“Nothing can be solved if it can’t be faced.” – James Baldwin

Send our brothers some love and light: 
Paul Redd, B-72683, PBSP, D2-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532; 
Ruben Williams, B-72882, PBSP, D2-121, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532; 
Richard Johnson, K-53293, PBSP, D2-218, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532; 
Charles Coleman, C-60680, PBSP, D2-120, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532. 

This statement was transcribed by Adrian McKinney.
 
Force feeding British suffragette poster
The force feeding of imprisoned militant British suffragettes on hunger strike in 1909 outraged the public. Nine years later, the right to vote was granted to women over 30 and in 1928 to all women. But the victory was hard won. Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst wrote: “Holloway (Prison) became a place of horror and torment. Sickening scenes of violence took place almost every hour of the day, as the doctors went from cell to cell performing their hideous office. I shall never while I live forget the suffering I experienced during the days when those cries were ringing in my ears.”

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Paul Redd: Prisoners, unite! Community, stand with us!



From: SF Bay View,
June 19, 2013

Interview by Sharon Martinas

Legendary jailhouse lawyer Paul Redd speaks out at this critical time from the Pelican Bay SHU.

Q: What is your name?

M: My name is Paul Redd. However, many friends and comrades call me P.R., Mume or Abbas.

Photo: Paul “Mume” Redd is a legendary jailhouse lawyer respected both inside and outside the walls. That proud brotherhood, whose work is essential in protecting the freedoms all of us cherish, is described and supported in this book by Mumia Abu Jamal, “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the USA.”

Q: May I call you Mume?

M: Of course you may.

Q: Mume, you’re one of the 16 representatives of the 2011 Pelican Bay State Prison SHU hunger strikes in July and September?

M: Yes, I am.

Q: You also signed the Aug. 12, 2012, “Agreement to End Hostilities Between Racial Groups?”

M: Yes, I did.

Q: Let me travel back in time with some questions.

M: By all means.

Q: Where did you grow up?

M: I was born and raised in Oakland, California.

Q: Why are you in prison? And how long have you been in prison, including the SHU?

M: I was convicted in 1976 of first degree murder for the death of a local drug dealer in San Francisco. I am serving a seven years to life sentence with possibility of parole. I’ve been in prison now over 36 years. And 33 of these years have been spent in various SHUs. I have spent 25 years, minus a couple of months, in Pelican Bay supermax SHU.

Q: Mume, you said you were sentenced to “seven years to life with the possibility of parole.” What does that mean?

M: It means that I was eligible to be paroled (released) from prison any time after Dec. 21, 1982, which was seven years. Yet, the Parole Board continues to find me “unsuitable for a parole date” because of my commitment offense and my SHU status. Historically, the Parole Board has never found a prisoner in the SHU serving a life sentence with possibility of parole suitable for a parole release date, in spite of the fact that many of us have met the criteria to be paroled.

Q: How about others in the SHU who are not serving a life sentence with a parole release date?

M: Here is a clear illustration of an arbitrary unwritten policy. 
For example: Prisoner A is a non-lifer in the SHU serving an indeterminate SHU term for “validation as a gang member” only. When his parole date arrives, he is paroled from the SHU back into the community.

Prisoner B is a lifer, eligible for a parole date in the SHU serving an indeterminate SHU term for “validation as a gang member” only. He is not given a parole release date. The only difference between the two prisoners: One has a parole release date; the other one does not.

Q: How have you grown as such an intelligent, highly skilled human being that prison officials, the IGI (Institutional Gang Investigators) decided that your voice needs to be silenced behind the pit of hell concrete walls of PBSP supermax for so many decades? Why have you been separated from your community and from other incarcerated people with similar aspirations and visionary plans?

M: You asked a two-part question. My growth is owed to many direct and indirect experiences in my life, prior to prison and while in prison. When I came into the prison system in 1976 to DVI (Deuel Vocational Institution) in Tracy, California, I felt the need to be a part of something to bring about positive changes to benefit the Black prisoner population. I started by using what little outside influence I had with friends to bring live entertainment shows inside the prison.

At the same time, I met other positive brothers educating others about our history and culture, including teaching reading and writing. They shared books with me that really opened my eyes, exposing the blatant institutional racism from the administration, top to bottom.

I also called upon other prisoners to join me in donating a few dollars each to raise funds to purchase a large amount of canteen to send into the SHU/MCU to be shared among all Black prisoners housed there. It was important to those brothers living under those inhumane conditions to know that there were brothers out there in general population that were going to look out for them.

I saw other prisoners contesting these conditions and it was a natural thing for me to join that fight. That was the way I was raised, although my life took a different path. Prison brought me back to those natural things I saw as a kid growing up in West Oakland in the ‘60s.

I began filing prison grievances, reading law books – and finding myself wrongfully being placed in the SHU, based entirely on manufactured accusations by certain prison officials, just to remove me from the general population to stop the positive things I was doing.

While in the SHU, I joined major class action lawsuits, continued to file grievances, and assisted other prisoners with filing documents. Some prisoners would call me a “legal beagle,” a “jailhouse lawyer,” “the people’s lawyer.” I was far from developing my legal skills back then.

They fear us prisoners who have the ability to use our positive conscious minds to unite prisoners in a peaceful, non-violent movement to eradicate repressive conditions and arbitrary, discriminatory policies and regulations.

Anyway, many prison officials over the years and even today, have called me a “troublemaker,” a “thorn in their side,” “an agitator.” I welcome with a smile what CDCR officials call me. But two things they can never call me are (1) a liar, or (2) someone who embellishes the facts.

When prisoners speak out and stand up to challenge acts of injustice that prove to be an embarrassment to CDCR officials, the officials retaliate by placing you in a SHU on bogus accusations or charges in an attempt to discredit us. This is the case today behind the pit of hell concrete walls. But thanks to the united hunger strikes, our voices are being heard, and our undisputed truths revealed, causing greater embarrassment to the CDCR.

CDCR officials, from Sacramento down to the prison grounds, have always known that prisoners hold the solutions to solving prison conditions entirely. They fear us prisoners who have the ability to use our positive conscious minds to unite prisoners in a peaceful, non-violent movement to eradicate repressive conditions and arbitrary, discriminatory policies and regulations.

Q: What are your hopes now, in this time and in the near future?

M: My hopes are many, but my immediate hopes are as follows:

(1) Establish a campaign calling on all Afrikan prisoners in the California prisons’ general populations, SHUs and ASUs to unite together as one voice to help reduce and end the senseless Black on Black killings and violence in our neighborhoods, using our unity to help rebuild our families, foundations and neighborhoods.
We as a proud Afrikan race with a history can solve our own problems without any involvement from law enforcement.

I want to start with bringing all the Afrikan prisoners from the Bay Area to join this unity movement through a creative Bay Area workshop. The success of this workshop will be to set up all over the major urban cities from up North to Southern California, committed to rebuilding our families and neighborhoods.

(2) Unite all the California prisoners in the general population as addressed through our call ‘Agreement to End All Hostilities Between Races,’ reaching mutual common ground in order to focus on the bigger picture to better our conditions for pushing for greater changes: from CDCR regulations to Parole Board composition and decisions. And, more importantly, rebuild our communities through our united efforts.

(3) Unite serious committed jailhouse lawyers behind the walls as a power “think tank” in addressing issues affecting the class of prisoners and working with outside legal aid clinics, law firms and attorneys. This is a vision I have had for a long time. My attempt to create such a think tank was disrupted by prison officials who implemented new policies to prevent me and other jailhouse lawyers in Pelican Bay SHU from communicating with other JHLs within the SHU and outside of the SHU.

We as a proud Afrikan race with a history can solve our own problems without any involvement from law enforcement.

I was recently reading the book you sent me called “Jailhouse Lawyers” by Brother Mumia Abu-Jamal, and he said something very similar, reminding me just how important it is for us to build this JHL movement and connect ourselves to the outside. Let me close by paraphrasing Bro Mumia’s words: Jailhouse lawyers must look beyond the state’s imprisoning bars, bricks and cement to build relationships with others in the so-called “free” world to further and support social movements that spread liberating and progressive space within society.

Paul Redd Jr., 2011
These words are relevant today and equally applicable to our call for broader unity. We behind the concrete walls start this new progressive movement. But we need the outside support of our communities to stand with us. Thank you all! I can be contacted at the address below:

Building Social Change, In Solidarity,

Mume

Send our brother some lover and light: Paul Redd Jr., B -72683, Pelican Bay State Prison D2-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.

Note from Sharon Martinas: Mume and I have been pen pals since the summer of 2012. Mume is one of the representatives housed in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU, in the Short Corridor. I am a member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition (PHSS) and a coordinator of PHSS’s Human Rights Pen Pal program. We agreed that Mume would also write the interview questions, since he knows what he wants to share about his life, his beliefs and his visions for a better world.


Paul's Testimony for the Legislative Hearing on Solitary Confinement, California Feb. 2013

February 8, 2013

To: Assembly Member Tom Ammiano
      Legislative Hearing February 25, 2013

From:  Prisoner Paul Redd B-72683
            PBSP – SHU

Dear Committee Members,

Thank you for this brief opportunity to speak via Letter. I understand we only have a couple of minutes in having our letters read which is impossible on PBSP SHU Inhumane Torture Conditions. So I’ll just go to the Main Issues.

1.      My name is Paul Redd, I am a New Afrikan Prisoner serving a Seven years to Life Sentence W. Possibility of Parole on a 1976 Senseless Murder Conviction of a Drug Local Dealer.

2.      I’ve been held here at PBSP – SHU since September 5 1990 To Present except for a brief 60 Days period when I won my SHU Release on December 29, 2000. Only to be Fraudulently placed back into a SHU on March 12, 2001 without Due Process.

3.      I have been held in California Prisons for the last 36 Years. I have spent 33 of those years in a SHU.

4.      Again, it’s impossible for me to give a Brief Description of what my Experiences of Solitary Confinement have been like here in Two Minutes.

Let me tell like this: The Architectural SHU Design at PBSP was intentionally designed to inflict physical and psychological torture on our bodies and minds. I have seen some Prisoners  lose Their Minds in a Short Period of time, while others it took more years.

I have had some prisoners from all races, whom debriefed, tell me they made up information on some prisoners or / and went along with what Gang Investigators wanted them to say on Specific Individuals. They told me they couldn’t take living in this SHU anymore. I have seen some Prisoners harm themselves to Get Out of this SHU or get on Psyche Medications just to get moved out of this SHU. I have seen prisoners Health Deteriorate, - Died etc.

What effect this Long Term Solitary Confinement has done on me:

Escalating Health Problems such as:

Taking Several Pills to Treat High Blood Pressure, 
Enlarged Thyroid Gland and Partial Removal of the Right Thyroid Gland. 
Two (2) Right Knee Surgery. 
Short Term Memory Loss more frequently. 
Distorted Hearing.
Lack of Sleep Due to the Loud Noises of Cell Doors /Pod Doors Opening / Closing. 
Loud Noise From Toilet Flushing.
Bad Vision, Double Right Eye Vision. 
Last  Year I was Diagnosed with Right Eye Double Vision and Given Special Lenses called Prism, which I blame these perforated Cell Doors (small holes) For Messing Up Our Visions.

5.  This Security Threat Group (STG) and Step Down Program (SDP) do not serve any legitimate purpose. It’s Racist inside and outside and Ridiculous on its Face. It Completely Suppresses what little First Amendment Rights we supposed to have. It does not afford any meaningful due process safeguards before any impartial Fair Review / Hearing Panel.

It Allows for more Arbitrary and Discriminatory  Decisions cloaked under the Erroneous Pretext Confidential Informant Information Or / And Current Gang Activity. Most importantly it allows for more new abuse of power by those administering this racist profiling policy that changes nothing nor improves nothing.

This STG / SDP is manipulative and designed to mislead the Legislative Members to approve more wasted unnecessary fundings. 

This STG / SDP should be rejected and not funded. The SDP is not voluntary. But – to be forced on us Prisoners

WHY? Because CDCR Officials / IGI / OSC know:

NO PRISONERS WOULD VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATE IN THIS SDP.

We Prisoners have real valid reasons backed with undisputed evidence to justify our concerns why it must be shut down.

Let us have some Legislative Hearings under Oath that will review / examine our Evidence given to us for Indeterminate Placement, CDC 1030 Disclosure Forms, that are vague and NOT satisfying Due Process Requirements, IGI Validations Packages. Six Years Inactive Reviews.

Hear live Testimony from both Prisoners and CDR Prison Officials, Captains, LT’s, Sgt’s and IGI Staff Behind these already existing Programs causing years of long-term Solitary Confinement.

Ask the Hard Questions that have been covered up for decades. Most of you think the Hunger Strikes exposed shocking inhumane conditions, discriminatory practices and abuse to follow Court Rulings. CDC Policies.

It was shocking to learn Many of us Prisoners have spent 30 to 40 plus years in the SHU with No Acts of Violence against Prisoners Nor CDCR Staff. I hit a Prisoner one time with my Fist in 1984 on a SHU Yard. I Received a CDC-115, I Pled Guilty and Accepted Responsibility For My Actions. That’s the only Assault I Have On a Prisoner and None On Any Staff. That Was Almost 30 Years Ago.

It’s funny CDCR Officials / Gang Officials tell the Media and Legislatures, we use other Prisoners to commit our violence. Yet they failed to produce any Evidence to connect you to the incidents.  

They also fail to Tell the Media and Legislatures that the Prison’s own investigations into certain incidents has cleared our names of any involvement. So, instead of releasing us from the SHU, they use group punishment with validation membership to warehouse you for decades in the SHU.

6.      Since this New CDCR Regulations Staff have, in the last 3 to 6 Months, issued more ridiculous CDC-128 Chronos, CDC-115 and stating the information should be considered during the prisoner’s Six Years Inactive SHU Review.

A Final Note, CDCR Budget has been cut in some areas. Now they are attempting to implement this STG / SDP to seek funding for it and going to turn it into more funding, because the reality is it will be a failure.

Our proposed MCUProposal is based on already existing Programs within CDCR and reduces spending and Not ask for more funding etc. Yet CDCR Officials rejected our proposal.

Thank You For Your Time.

 Paul Redd Jr B – 72683

PBSP – SHU