The following letter is from inmates at Calipatria State Prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit, who are taking part in the hunger strike that began September 26. It is believed that 200 inmates in the prisons segregation units have participated in the strike so far. According to the hunger strikers, the majority of prisoners in administrative segregation have been given indefinite terms in Security Housing Units, and are currently awaiting transfer to other institutions, most commonly Pelican Bay State Prison. Inmates awaiting transfer have been in segregation for an average of 3-4 years.

This letter particularly addresses the gang validation and debriefing processes, which place and keep many inmates in isolation units for an average of 6.8 years at Pelican Bay.

We are currently housed in Calipatria State Prison, in Southern California, where hundreds of men are going on day 8 of a “solid food hunger strike” in protest of the cruel and unusual punishment and the abuse of authority this prison has been doing.

For over 20 years CDCR (California Department of Corrections and — “so called” – Rehabilitation) has been targeting all races amongst its prison population and handing out “indeterminate sentences” in segregation like it’s the thing to do. This means that we’re being placed in solitary confinement against our will secluded from the world; isolation. We are labeled as validated gang members who are alleged to have ties with prison gangs.

CDCR has their institutional gang investigators (I.G.I.) determine whether a person’s a “validated gang member” or not. They have been known to be conspiring with one another and fabricating evidence to falsely prove a validation. Their main sources are debriefers (snitches) who will sale out their own mother if they had to once validated, one can only find their way out of this “torturous and inhumane” act of punishment by breaking people down by giving us three options – “Parole, Debrief, or DIE”.

It costs tax payers $56,000 to house an individual in segregation annually and there’s over 3,000 “clients” confined in isolation., do the math. What we have here is CDCR’s vague and misconstrued justification of their interpretation to their policies. Their objective to validating us as “prison gang members” isn’t to protect the General Population, rather to insure and guarantee that Hotel California’s Segregation Units have no vacancies so CDCR can keep those fat checks rolling in.

Like we mentioned in the beginning, we write this with inspiration from reading about the men and women standing up in unity to peacefully protest for what they believe in. As the world revolves so does the generation of human rights. It doesn’t always take war to get your point across, which is why we stand strong in solidarity on this hunger strike.

We have three options… and if our voices aren’t heard the third option will be the likely one.

Respectfully,
Fellow hunger strikers at Calipatria State Prison ASU unit, 10/2/11

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