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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

CA State Prisoners going on hunger strike

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Paul Sakuma/AP

Demonstrators rallied in front of the State Building in San Francisco two summers ago to support prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. A new strike started Monday to protest the continued isolation of many prisoners.
Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison launched a hunger strike Monday to protest the use of Security Housing Units as a way to break the power of prison gangs.

Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said 30,000 inmates refused their morning meal Monday. The department will only recognize a hunger strike when an inmate has refused nine consecutive meals. Also on Monday, 2,300 inmates declined to work or attend class.

California isolates 4,500 inmates from the general prison population in Security Housing Units at four prisons, but those at Pelican Bay face the most severe form of confinement. The super max's so-called "short corridor" restricts prisoner to their cells 22 1/2 hours a day. Inmates leave their cell only for exercise in a high-walled concrete yard, to shower, or for medical appointments. They are allowed no phone calls and can only visit with family separated by a glass partition.

Pelican Bay SHU prisoners led two mass hungers strikes in the summer of 2011 that spread to 6,600 inmates at 13 prisons. The hunger strikes each lasted less than a month and ended when the corrections department announced it would loosen some restrictions on inmates in the isolation units and review department policies for determining who to send there and for how long.

Prison officials separate inmates confirmed as gang leaders or members in isolation units indefinitely. CDCR has confined more than 500 prisoners in those units for more than five years, and dozens for more than 20 years.

Until last year the only way for SHU prisoners to return to the general population was to "debrief" — a process prison officials describe as renouncing gang membership, but which inmates describe as "snitching."

The CDCR made changes to gang management policies in 2012 that allow inmates to earn their way out of the SHU through good behavior.

But in a statement distributed by advocates for prisoners , the leaders of the hunger strike faulted CDCR's "failure to honor their word" and said the department had "acted in bad faith."

They say CDCR has actually broadened the isolation program, and still validates gang members on flimsy evidence.

"We believe that our pilot program addresses inmates concerns" said spokeswoman Terry Thornton. "It has been revised and reformed, it incorporates additional elements of due process, and we’ve created a step alternative for inmates to demonstrate their willingness to leave the gang."

Thornton said the department has reviewed the cases of 382 SHU prisoners statewide, released 208 of them to the general prison population and placed another 115 in various stages of the step-down program.

"People are leaving the SHU," Thornton said.






by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Replies (41-50):
Arroree
by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 2:00 AM
1 mom liked this


Almost all gang initiations involve doing something violent, usually to an innocent person, hence the term "blood in blood out". I grew up in gang riddled areas and in my experience there is no such thing as a non-violent gang member. They're pretty much conditioned to be thoughtlessly violent from the day they even consider entering the gang.

No the guards aren't a part of the gang problem, they're a whole other problem all on their own, the gang members are the gang problem. That's like saying that out in society the cops are "a part of the gang problem"  Nobody is responsible for the actions of a gang member or any other criminal except for that gang member or criminal. They made the choice to be the person they are and now they need to face the consequences of that choice.


Quoting viv212:

Don't forget that the guards themselves are a part of the gang problem.

Secondly, just because they're in a gang doesn't make them violent.

Last, at some point some if these inmates are coming out. Would you want someone in the streets out in public that was held in solitary confinement for years at a time where they were treated like an animal?


Quoting Arroree:

Psh, let all the gang banging idiots starve themselves, no loss to California, there's an overabundance of them there to begin with.  Personally if it was my choice we'd ship all the gang members to an island to kill eachother off like the idiots they are. It would save a lot of innocent lives.

As for whether the confinements are deserved, seriously who are we supposed to believe, the guards or convicted gang bangers?  CA has a massive gang problem and the gang members in the jails and prisons in the state are constantly trying, and many times succeeding, to kill eachother. I'm all for keeping ALL of them in solitary cells and not allowing them to ever have access to eachother.



Arroree
by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 2:02 AM

Frankly i don't think any gang members should be released back into society.  It's just asking for them to commit more crimes and hurt more people.


Quoting viv212:

Quick question I meant to ask. If you know what solitary confinement does to people, why are you okay with doing it and then releasing the people back to society?

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

Comparing a POW to a Gangbanger or Rapist in Prison is disgusting.



I know what it can do. My degree is in Criminal Justice & Political Science... My original career goal was to be a Juvenile Detention Officer.



If they don't want to be in that situation then they shouldn't have raped, murdered, beaten, etc.

I approve of solitary for any violent offenders.







Quoting viv212:

You're not alone in thinking that way. But have you done any research on what this does to the psyche of a human? And they leave you in solitary confinement for years at a time. POW also sometimes are held in solitary confinement. Being in prison can cause PTSD but being in the SHU is 100% worse to your mental health.





Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

They are in Prison not the Hilton.







Get over it.



snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Yup, I agree.  Just read through responses and compassion isn't the word I'd use for some of them


Quoting viv212:

I'm sure others will disagree though and say that the inmates are in prison, what do they expect?
But the SHU program is borderline inhumane.


Quoting snookyfritz:

I don't believe that sort of isolation serves any purpose.  There are less restrictive ways to keep these people segregated.  We have serious human rights issues in our prisons



rfurlongg
by on Jul. 9, 2013 at 8:36 AM
1 mom liked this
I say if they want to starve themselves, let me.
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Firenygirl180
by Bronze Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 8:38 AM
From what i learned in the prison "snitches" ask to remain in segregation, or to be put there in the first place.

I don't think to many inmates would be willing to snitch to get out.

at the prison i interned at they had placed the victim of an attack in segregation and there was someone asking to go in because of rumors about him. You had to ask or have a certain number of write-ups to be moved to segregation.


Quoting viv212:

What do you think then of how the inmates are only allowed out of the SHU if they snitch? That's signing away your suicide IMO.



Quoting Firenygirl180:

I have a degree in law enforcement.





I did my internship in the local prison.





I was basing my response on just what i read inthe article.






Quoting viv212:

PS the inmates who are in protective custody are the "snitches", rapists, child abusers, etc.







Quoting Firenygirl180:

I don't think anyone belongs in segregation unless they are a serious threat to other inmates or the corrections officers. Just being in a gang doesn't mean you are a danger. Yes, there are things you"have" to do to be accepted, but there are members that are in them solely for protection from other inmates.


teri4lance
by Silver Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 8:40 AM
1 mom liked this
Good let them go hungry. I hope the prisons don't compromise this time. They did the crime they can do the time, and if they want to act like assholes, they can do it in solitary.
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viv212
by Gold Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 9:57 AM
There's no such thing as a non violent gang member? Of course there is! Everyone has a job in gangs, which is why they call it organized crime. Some members are the hit man, others are just strictly into drugs and don't do dirty work (my dad), others are just drifters they come and go. Some guys job is only to sell drugs, or even women. I know in the Mexican Mafia there was a guy who's job was strictly to stand lookout while the main guy took a shower so no one can harm the guy. He did no dirty work either. Someone also needs to keep books on finances but I'm sure in the little cliques they don't have this.

The guards definitely are a part of the problem. They help with smuggling and they help with violence. I knew one guy who was in jail and his house almost got broken into by a child molester. The child molester ended up going to jail, the same jail where the father was whose house got broken into. The guard of the jail made it happen so that the father and the molester got put in a cell together. By the time they were done you couldn't even recognize the molester. Guards do this all the time. Especially in CA you hear it on the news regularly that a cop gets arrested for stealing drugs, or money. I've heard of jail guards dying because they get too involved. And in LA yes, the cops are a part of the gang problem. They are just another gang out in the streets and behind bars.

But anyway, how do you feel about guys who get out in the SHU for say a decade with no human contact, hardly any sun, gets treated like an animal, then released back to society? You don't see a problem with that?


Quoting Arroree:


Almost all gang initiations involve doing something violent, usually to an innocent person, hence the term "blood in blood out". I grew up in gang riddled areas and in my experience there is no such thing as a non-violent gang member. They're pretty much conditioned to be thoughtlessly violent from the day they even consider entering the gang.

No the guards aren't a part of the gang problem, they're a whole other problem all on their own, the gang members are the gang problem. That's like saying that out in society the cops are "a part of the gang problem"  Nobody is responsible for the actions of a gang member or any other criminal except for that gang member or criminal. They made the choice to be the person they are and now they need to face the consequences of that choice.



Quoting viv212:

Don't forget that the guards themselves are a part of the gang problem.



Secondly, just because they're in a gang doesn't make them violent.



Last, at some point some if these inmates are coming out. Would you want someone in the streets out in public that was held in solitary confinement for years at a time where they were treated like an animal?




Quoting Arroree:

Psh, let all the gang banging idiots starve themselves, no loss to California, there's an overabundance of them there to begin with.  Personally if it was my choice we'd ship all the gang members to an island to kill eachother off like the idiots they are. It would save a lot of innocent lives.

As for whether the confinements are deserved, seriously who are we supposed to believe, the guards or convicted gang bangers?  CA has a massive gang problem and the gang members in the jails and prisons in the state are constantly trying, and many times succeeding, to kill eachother. I'm all for keeping ALL of them in solitary cells and not allowing them to ever have access to eachother.




IhartU
by Gold Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I'm all for chaining prisoners in a dungeon and giving them bread and water. I think we coddle them too damn much.

viv212
by Gold Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM
I'd rather have gang members released than child abusers, rapists, serial killers, and men who are locked up for domestic violence. Gang members go after each other; they don't normally target innocent non-gang members.

Quoting Arroree:

Frankly i don't think any gang members should be released back into society.  It's just asking for them to commit more crimes and hurt more people.



Quoting viv212:

Quick question I meant to ask. If you know what solitary confinement does to people, why are you okay with doing it and then releasing the people back to society?



Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

Comparing a POW to a Gangbanger or Rapist in Prison is disgusting.





I know what it can do. My degree is in Criminal Justice & Political Science... My original career goal was to be a Juvenile Detention Officer.





If they don't want to be in that situation then they shouldn't have raped, murdered, beaten, etc.


I approve of solitary for any violent offenders.











Quoting viv212:

You're not alone in thinking that way. But have you done any research on what this does to the psyche of a human? And they leave you in solitary confinement for years at a time. POW also sometimes are held in solitary confinement. Being in prison can cause PTSD but being in the SHU is 100% worse to your mental health.







Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

They are in Prison not the Hilton.









Get over it.




viv212
by Gold Member on Jul. 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM
I'm pretty sure you are talking about protective custody. That area is for the snitches, rapists, child molesters, etc.

But when you're in the hole the only way to get out is to snitch. Once you're labeled as a rat, sure you get to see sunlight and go out in the yard, but now you are a target with a "green light" meaning all other gang members are ordered to shoot you.

They're 2 completely different things.


Quoting Firenygirl180:

From what i learned in the prison "snitches" ask to remain in segregation, or to be put there in the first place.



I don't think to many inmates would be willing to snitch to get out.



at the prison i interned at they had placed the victim of an attack in segregation and there was someone asking to go in because of rumors about him. You had to ask or have a certain number of write-ups to be moved to segregation.




Quoting viv212:

What do you think then of how the inmates are only allowed out of the SHU if they snitch? That's signing away your suicide IMO.





Quoting Firenygirl180:

I have a degree in law enforcement.







I did my internship in the local prison.







I was basing my response on just what i read inthe article.








Quoting viv212:

PS the inmates who are in protective custody are the "snitches", rapists, child abusers, etc.









Quoting Firenygirl180:

I don't think anyone belongs in segregation unless they are a serious threat to other inmates or the corrections officers. Just being in a gang doesn't mean you are a danger. Yes, there are things you"have" to do to be accepted, but there are members that are in them solely for protection from other inmates.


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