Prisoners in Solitary Confinement in California Respond to Prison Policy Reforms

Prisoners in California’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have offered their opinions of the recent reforms of the California prison system’s controversial gang validation policies. In correspondences with Solitary Watch, people held in SHU at Pelican Bay and Corcoran prisons have consistently been critical of the reforms, which among other things reform the gang validation point system […]

Families of California Prisoners Respond to Controversial Reforms of Solitary Confinement

The following is a response by  California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC), an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the use of solitary confinement in California prisons, to the recent revision of gang validation policies. Gang validation is the primary means by which the over three thousand inmates in Security Housing Units (SHU) are […]

Family of California Prisoner Who Died on Hunger Strike Speaks Out

The family of Christian Gomez, the 27-year-old prisoner who died while on hunger strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison, is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents in the future are avoided. In a phone call with Solitary Watch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Terry Thornton confirmed that Gomez […]

Conflicting Reports on Hunger Strike at California's Corcoran State Prison

A week after Solitary Watch first reported the death of 27-year-old hunger striker Christian Gomez, information about the recent strike in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) at Corcoran State Prison remains hard to come by. Officially, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has given varying accounts about the hunger strike. CDCR Spokesperson Terry Thornton, in an email to […]

Update: Prisoner Dies During Hunger Strike at California's Corcoran State Prison

Update (February 13): Theresa Cisneros, Public Information Officer at Corcoran, confirmed to Solitary Watch that Christian Gomez, 27, was hunger striking at the time of his death in the Administrative Segregation Unit. Official autopsy results still pending. Nancy Kincaid of California Correctional Health Care Services told Solitary Watch that Gomez had been “medically monitored for hunger strike […]

California Considers New Rules for Solitary Confinement in State Prisons

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition today reports on the content of a meeting held in late December with an undersecretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), regarding the future of the state’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). Prisoners in the SHUs at Pelican Bay, Corcoran, and elsewhere are held in round-the-clock solitary […]

Isolated California Prisoners Continue Their Fight for Reform

Since the widespread hunger strikes across California protesting the conditions of long-term solitary confinement in the California prison system, there have yet to be any indications of substantive change on the horizon. According to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition, three hunger strikers have committed suicide–two in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing and another at Calipatria […]

Statements from Human Rights and Civil Rights Groups Support Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

After three weeks, hundreds of California inmates are still participating in a hunger strike that at one point spanned thirteen prisons and 6,600 prisoners. The most resolute participants appear to be concentrated in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, where the hunger strike began, and in the SHUs at Corcoran and Tehachapi. Many hunger strikers are weakening […]

Voices from Solitary: Gang "Validation" and Permanent Isolation in California Prisons

In prisons throughout the country, perceived gang membership is one of the leading reasons for placement in solitary confinement. In California alone, hundreds of prisoners are in Security Housing Units (SHUs) because they have been “validated” as gang members. The validation procedure used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) employs such criteria as tattoos, reading materials, […]