California Department of Corrections Threatens Prison Hunger Strikers, Bans Lawyers

In response to a renewed inmate hunger strike to protest conditions in the California prison system, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has taken a hard line, threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. According to the Contra Costa Times: Prison officials are investigating the two lawyers for “alleged misconduct,” said Terry […]

Roundup of Testimony from California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement

Today, some inmates in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) at Pelican Bay and Calipatria State Prisons in California will resume a hunger strike demanding reforms ranging from nutritious meals to reducing the use of long-term solitary confinement. In response to a three-week hunger strike this past summer, the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee held a hearing on […]

The Truth About Solitary Confinement in California

As inmates in California Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Administrative Segregation Units prepare for another hunger strike on September 26 in response to what they see as an inadequate response by the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR), some informative figures have come out this month regarding California’s segregation policies in Pelican Bay State Prison and […]

California Teachers Union Letter of Support for Educational Programming in Solitary Confinement

On August 22nd, the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO,  drafted  a letter in support of expanded educational program to inmates in the Security Housing Units across the California prison system. Jenn Laskin, a grievance officer and teacher in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, formally submitted the letter from the […]

"I Never Will Abandon This Hope": Testimony of a Pelican Bay Hunger Striker on Solitary Confinement

Julie Tackett, an activist from Washington, attended the August 23rd hearing of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on the topic of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). She read testimony on behalf of her friend, Bryan, who has spent more than 16 years in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison and took part in […]

Voices From Solitary: Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Was "the Only Way to Get the Word Out" About Prison Abuses

The following is excerpted from a letter from Alfred Sandoval, a Pelican Bay SHU inmate and one of the original leaders and participants in this summer’s three-week hunger strike. Addressed to “All Media, Prisons Supporters, etc.,” it was written on June 26th, a few days before the strike began. Sandoval describes his own experiences, and outlines a series of abuses […]

"Toxic Conditions": Testimony of Dr. Terry Kupers on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist, professor at the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and expert in forensic mental health, spoke before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee on August 23rd, 2011 addressing the issue of solitary confinement and the need for reform of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The document is also available […]

Voices from Solitary: "Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere"

The following letter was written by an inmate at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, California, who had been placed in solitary confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) after being “validated” as a gang member. Written on July 31st, the letter highlights institutional problems at CCI and makes various recommendations. It also declares support for the […]