Hunger Strike California: San Quentin


Death Row prisoners in the Adjustment Center (A/C) Unit at San Quentin State Prison are organized and united in planning and executing a Hunger Strike this summer of 2013 to protest inhumane conditions of isolation and long-term confinement of prisoners in the A/C:

·         the lack of law library access
·          the lack of exercise and yard equipment
·         the unfair administration and classification committee practices
·         the controversial and unfair practice of using inmate informants, anonymous informants and confidential information
·         to retain prisoners in the A/C for years
·         the unlawful and under the table use of labeling a prisoner as an alleged prison gang member, associate or affiliate
·         using prisoners alleged gang status, validation, confirmation and documents (such as 130s, 128 A/B, staff information) to hold them in the A/C as grade B prisoners, yet treating them as S.H.U. / ad-seg –grade D prisoners for an indeterminate amount of time
·         the unlawful practice of group punishment tactics and lockdowns
·         the unlawful practice policy of “interviewing” / forced interrogation
·         the illegal use and excessive practice of property restriction or “property control”
·         the degrading practice and policy of “shower shoes only”, stripping prisoners at yard in front of everyone, and not allowing prisoners to be fully dressed in state blues when going to Law Library
·         the denial of religious, hobby craft, library books and educational programs or materials
·         the unlawful practice of withholding, censoring, denying and returning prisoners´mail without notification or legitimate reasons to do so
·         the denial of contact visits, phone calls, participation in food charity drives, nutritional items, honoring medical chromos and legal books or materials
·         the excessive abuse of power and authority by Warden, his administration and staff to do as they wish with condemned, S.H.U./ ad-seg prisoners in the A/C

In spite of the ongoing negotiations between the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement and top CDCR administrators, the San Quentin administration is resisting any attempt to improve the plight of death row prisoners housed in the A/C. Unlike the Title 15- California´s Code of Regulation for all California State prisoners- San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the O.P.608., which mandates that death row prisoners are under the control of the Warden of San Quentin. It is this illegal and repressive code of regulations that A/C death row prisoners are vigorously challenging as well. 

            Some may know about the A/C, but for those that don´t, it´s a prison within a prison and S.H.U. unit, housing 102 prisoners with over 90% of it being condemned prisoners. Many of us have been housed here since our arrival into the prison system as condemned men. The majority hasn´t have a disciplinary infraction and for those that have, have exceeded the time limitations triple the max set to be served for them. It´s a punishment unit and a psychologically torturous dungeon. We hardly ever leave the unit unless it is to see medical specialists. We´re fed and shit in our cells. We´re kept confined to our cells 22-24 hours a day, only to come out for five purposes:

1.      yard, which is held three times a week for 2-3 hours
2.      showers, which are done three times a week
3.      medical sick calls
4.      visiting (that is behind a dirty plexiglass window, through a 25 year old 2way intercom that interferes with and shares everyone´s conversations, leading everyone to shout over one another for an hour. You hardly ever get extended visits, even when it´s possible, or a courteous staff.)
5.      Law library, which takes up to three months to physically access it

Prisoners here are constantly deprived, harassed, ridiculed, psychologically tortured and have our only form of communication (mail) withheld for weeks and months –both incoming and outgoing. Often times we will learn of the death / passing of a family member or friend three months after the fact. Not allowing us to send our condolences, or what we would like to have shared in our absence at their burials, causing our family and friends to worry about us and not allowing us to pay our last respects to the dearly departed. All with the purpose of intimidating and breaking a prisoner´s spirit. In order to have them submit and fabricate information on fellow prisoners to be released from this torturous dungeon and gain better privileges for themselves and their loved ones. 

            Our Hunger Strike begins July 2013 in solidarity with the National Strike. Our demands are fair, reasonable, create no serious threat to the safety and security of the A/C, and are all within the power of authority of the San Quentin Warden to order the following immediate changes without delay. It´ll create a more positive and productive environment because it will ensure that prisoners be treated with human dignity and fairly. 

            We ask you for your support as we place our health, bodies and lives on the line in order to bring about a positive change –peacefully. None of us want to die, but due to our deteriorating circumstances, having been sentenced to death and now the administration has unjustly sentenced us all to an unlawful and indeterminate S.H.U./ grade B program. A “civil” and psychologically torturous death in the A/C as well as their abuse of power and authority and abuse of discretion has left us with no other alternative but to place what we value most at stake – our lives, for positive change and human dignity. We would truly appreciate and welcome your support. Your help will give us strength and will nourish our starving bodies. 

Here´s what you can do to support:
Call/ write letters/e-mails to the addresses listed in this post consistently until we have finally announced we are off. Which will be addressed by our lawyers. Your support will put pressure on the prison to comply with our reasonable requests. You can also inform the media and share this post to ensure that as many people as possible get involved. Thank you.

Sample script:

Hi, I´m______________________and I´m calling/writing/e-mailing about the state wide prisoners hunger strike, more specifically the Death Row Adjustment Center strikers. I support the prisoners and their reasonable 10 core demands. I am alarmed by your (or CDCRs) refusal to comply, intervene and implement these demands. By your refusal to intervene as the prisoners´medical conditions are rapidly deteriorating. I urge you to make sure the demands are implemented for all condemned S.H.U./ad-seg, CDCR prisoners in California immediately. Please also contact the Office of the Inspector General (OIA) and request them to investigate the practices as well as the policies and procedures conducted on Death Row Adjustment Center inmates or grade B Death Row prisoners. The prisoners may be on death row, they may have done wrongs for which they pay with their physical freedom, yet they are human beings nevertheless. Deserving of human rights and dignity. To be free from long-term isolation and program deprivation. 

Prison Law Office                                                                               
General Delivery                                                                                
San Quentin, CA 94964                                                                      
Office of the Inspector General
P.o. Box 348780
Sacramento, CA 95834

Governor Jerry Brown                       
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173                                                             
Sacramento, CA 95814                                                                      
(916) 445-2841                                                                                  

Judge Thelton Henderson
San Francisco Courthouse,
Courtroom 12 - 19th Floor
450 Golden Gate Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94102

101 Second Street
Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: 415.495.0500 Fax: 415.495.5616

10111 Old Placerville Rd, Ste 200
San Quentin, CA 94974
(415) 454-1460           

Internal Affairs CDCR
San Quentin State Prison
Sacramento, CA 95827
CDCR, Office of the Ombudsman
1515 S. Street, Room 540 North
Sacramento, CA 95811          

The California State Senate Research Team
Attn: Senator Darrell Steinberg
Room 205
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 94248

Los Angeles State Senator
Attn: Curren D. Price
700 State Drive, Suite 105
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Phone: (213)745-6656
Fax: (213) 745-6722

Marin Assemblyman
Attn: Marc Levine
State Capitol, Room 2137
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94203


Marin State Senator
Attn: Noreen Evans
State Capitol, Room 4085
Sacramento, CA 95814

Regulation and Policy Management Branch
Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283