California prisoners endangered by forced integration of snitch yards

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by Urszula Wislanka

Sacramento, Calif. – On Dec. 14, 2018, families of prisoners and supporters traveled to Sacramento to rally in front of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s (CDCr) headquarters against the CDCr-induced violence that many of their loved ones are experiencing.

Problem is of CDCr’s own making

The violent gang environment in prison was created in large part by CDCr’s own policies, which set prisoners against each other along racial lines. In a procedure completely discredited by the prisoners’ own mass movement based on an “Agreement to End Hostilities,” CDCr exacerbated the gang problem by incentivizing snitching.

To get out of solitary, the infamous Institutional Gang Investigators demanded information to use against other prisoners without regard to its validity. CDCr “protected” their growing snitch population by placing them in Special Needs Yards (SNY).

In a procedure completely discredited by the prisoners’ own mass movement based on an “Agreement to End Hostilities,” CDCr exacerbated the gang problem by incentivizing snitching.

The SNY population grew. Recently, CDCr started reintegrating those prisoners. Their pilot program, almost entirely voluntary, was reasonably successful. Prisoners can work out their differences given a chance.

What we were protesting was the deplorable escalation of violence when the reintegration program became no longer voluntary.

Ruthie, a member of Inmate Family Council (IFC) at Avenal Prison, recounted an IFC meeting where the plan was presented to families. Almost immediately prisoners reported incidents. The only way large-scale violence was prevented there was that the SNY prisoners refused to go. They are locked up in ad-seg for refusal, but they are not budging.

Deliberate indifference

The families call it “deliberate indifference. They are intentionally putting inmates’ lives at risk.” What can we do? Ruthie asked that prisoners forward to her copies of their write-ups (called 115s). Some of those include pictures of the injuries, which are very graphic.

At another facility, Norco, the forced reintegration resulted in riots, stabbings and fires being set. You could hear prisoners screaming for help from across the street. Family members’ persistence in demanding answers from the prison halted reintegration there for a time. But when Norco reintegrated again, a family member reported their loved one had his nose, eye-socket and ribs broken. He now has a spinal injury and is in a wheelchair.

The families call it “deliberate indifference. They are intentionally putting inmates’ lives at risk.”

The whole SNY setup is unsustainable. General population prisoners from Wasco were told they were being transferred upstate. Instead they were bused to North Kern prison’s SNY. There the warden met them and assured them that the SNY population did not want any problems, they were safe. But as they were going to the yard, the SNY prisoners lined up along the fence and started calling them out.

Protocol in such cases is to close down the yard. Instead the call went out over the loud- speakers that all prisoners had to report to the yard. The more than 30 prisoners were attacked by the entire SNY population. They were beaten with locks, had their heads split open, and were stabbed. They also received 115s for “participating in a riot” and were put in ad-seg.

As the Agreement to End Hostilities proves, prisoners are reaching for new human relations among themselves, asserting themselves independently of their guard-overlords. Solidarity among and with prisoners is the only way out of the mass incarceration nightmare.

How you can help:

  • Join the next rally on Friday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m., in front of CDCr Headquarters, 1515 S St., Sacramento.

  • Sign this petition and get other people to sign it: ly/cdcraction.

Advocate Urszula Wislanka can be reached via prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity@gmail.com. This story first appeared on Prisoner Hunter Strike Solidarity.

Friends, relations: Help!

by Bato Talamantez

Once again the CDCr and guards are putting captive lives – our family and community members – in daily danger with more mad department schemes at manipulating prisoners into mass yard set-ups and violent mass confrontations for the purpose of keeping prisons boiling over and exploding with violence so that “they” can continue demanding more $$ and rich perks under the publicity scheme of “security threat.”

It is now widely believed that the guards and their own gang pose the greatest threat to prison stability, prisoner unity and prisoner progress. Even the courts are having difficulty reining in the state’s major gang with little success. “They” rule absolutely and want to continue to rule without checks – legally or illegally.

The guards as a whole and their CCPOA [California Correctional Peace Officers Association, known in California as the state’s most powerful lobbying group – ed.] are especially agitated and fuming at the loss of half of their legislative base, in Orange County and San Joaquin Valley, with the ouster of pro-prison politicians who they had once bought and elected into state office. Now they face eight more years of progressive Sacto legislation for the People.

It is now widely believed that the guards and their own gang pose the greatest threat to prison stability, prisoner unity and prisoner progress.

And we are the People, even when confined, which now they can do nothing about, since we are now more organized and the internet has made it much possible for us to fight back and gain support on behalf of the imprisoned class. No more bagging governors into their expensive pockets – three at least in recent history – to do their bidding and cater to their repressive demands for more security.

Today they, the guards, are “the real bad guys” and continue to be exposed for their inhumanity and reckless abuse of their vested authority. But we must recognize that they will “take it out” on the prisoners – especially on those who do not bend to their will and who fight back, refusing to sink to their level of mass corruption. Things are as real and as ugly as they can get behind enemy lines.

Today they, the guards, are “the real bad guys” and continue to be exposed for their inhumanity and reckless abuse of their vested authority.

Please help us show up in numbers at CDCr Sacto HQ Feb. 15. See you there. Please pass the word. Families and supporters are standing strong for each other and for our relations inside confinement, who are at great risk of injury and death at the hands of the crazed and vindictive department manipulators of prison state policy. Orale!

Bato

Bato Talamantez, a member of the San Quentin Six and pillar of every prison movement, can be reached at batowato@gmail.com.

The neo-gladiator fights 2019

by Jose H. Villarreal

What is occurring today in California prisons is akin to what occurred in the much publicized Corcoran SHU gladiator fights. It is the state pitting prisoners against each other to serve the state’s agenda.

Integrating yards not just continues this gladiator blood sport but it also codifies the opportunity to target – or assassinate – leaders, revolutionaries and others who resist. These neo-gladiator fights are the latest in a long lineage of national oppression within the U.S. prison system.

The Agreement to End Hostilities has opened up the necessity for the state to find ways to refill the control units. What else can they do since prisoners are co-existing? Well, reintegrate those who were separated for safety issues.

What is occurring today in California prisons is akin to what occurred in the much publicized Corcoran SHU gladiator fights. It is the state pitting prisoners against each other to serve the state’s agenda.

This ensures guards who have relocated from one part of the state to another, bought homes, put their kids in schools etc. to be able to stay at these locations. It’s a matter of putting their financial interests before people, a product of capitalism for sure.

In my opinion as a torture survivor and ex-prisoner who has long studied prison repression and the social reality of prisoners, the only way to resolve this attack would be for prisoners themselves to re-group and initiate a resolution as was done to battle solitary.

A protracted struggle calls for a continuous struggle in many forms. Some comrades out here have discussed how another hunger strike would end this quickly. The general consensus is that since prison leaders are spread out now and educating the prison masses, there will be more participation from more facilities.

Whatever the prisoners decide, outside orgs are here waiting to assist and push from outside those concentration kkkamps, as you sisters and brothers pull this together from inside the tombs.

In Struggle,

Jose H. Villarreal

Jose Villarreal, whose artwork and words sent from his cell in the Pelican Bay SHU kept spirits up during the long, torturous hunger strikes, is now FREE and can be reached at josehvillarreal1@gmail.com.

Pelican Bay guard: ‘Stop the truce … our jobs are being taken’

by Justin Canon

First and foremost, myself and many other inmates have read your paper for many years and really appreciate the upfront news about all the BS that goes on in our corrupt government institutions across the nation. It helps to know we are not alone in our struggle for justice.

A dumb-ass corrections officer today tried to joke and said: “You all should make a New Year’s resolution and stop the truce between all races. Our jobs are being taken and you guys are getting too much freedom.” It seems we must be doing something right to get a dumb-ass comment from a lazy c/o.

“You all should make a New Year’s resolution and stop the truce between all races. Our jobs are being taken and you guys are getting too much freedom.”

Send our brother some love and light: Justin Canon, K-81954, PBSP A4-123, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.