Saturday, September 24, 2011

Letter from a prisoner in Pelican Bay SHU

[Note: Letter typed in full. All ellipses were in the
original. Only changes made were correction of clear misspellings.]

Letter from a prisoner in Pelican Bay SHU
(postmarked June 13, 2011)

Hello, my name is [withheld]. I live in Pelican Bay SHU and was
recently denied for my inactive review for a single source which was
my name and number in someone else's address book...

This entire review process is a complete sham, the only way for me to
be able to see the mainline is to become an informant.

The active/inactive process is truly a house of cards and I honestly
believe the courts fully understand this, which is why they honestly
fear intervening because the validation program would crumble...

So these words are written with a clear and focused mind on the task
ahead. There's been months of soul searching, real personal tug of
wars but ultimately it's brought about my decision to hunger strike.

With a tear in my eye I can/do look back over my life and fully
realizing the tremendous amount of pain and damage I've caused my
family and friends as a youth.

My story was a violence fueled path of sheer destruction and for all
of those I hurt, I do take full ownership of...

If turning back the hands of Ole Father Time was a reality I'd be in
line to heal those who were hurt...

Though standing before you today is no boy but rather a 37 year old
man who believes with his maturity came truth of/in himself which
ultimately led to his integrity and honor as a man.

Whereas I've been in Ad/Seg and SHU for merely 8 years, all around I
can clearly see my future in cells aside and below me, 10 years, 16
years, 22 years...

In the quietness of my mind I am struck by the immense task of
adjusting my mind and body to these extreme isolation realities
decade after decade without going insane...

It's not too promising when year after year all I see is the effect
of these extreme conditions of deprivation crushing once prideful and
courageous men into shells of their former selves...

I do pray to the gods above that they allow my spirit and soul to
burn bright and to endure.

So the past, present, and future. Our litigations they have
failed. The state and federal courts are unwilling to call this
prolonged isolation and legalized psychological torture, just that, torture!

Because when a man walks into that debriefing room he's been totally
broken, broken to the point of saying anything for one sole purpose
to stop the pain and if that's not a confession under extreme
pressure and torture then I don't know what is...

Every avenue has been taken to get out of here with my pride,
dignity, and honor in hand. I've tried the institution appeals, a
total joke and as I stated earlier the courts refuse to make any
substantive changes and without that CDC will continue to justify
keeping me and the rest in these extreme conditions of isolation for
the mere fact that we are labelled as gang members and simply refuse
to become informants and debrief...

So in with the realization of the fact that the courts will allow
me/us to die here there's been long thought as to how to peacefully
resist this prolonged psychological torture. The collective
conclusion is that the only means left available to us is to go on a
serious hunger strike.

I volunteered to give all that I have for myself, my family and those
who know and respect me.

I in no way, shape or form am I suicidal nor do I wish to harm myself
in anyway. But the facts are that CDC has drawn a hard line in the
sand and the only way from underneath these conditions are to debrief
or die. I wish to do neither.
I can't articulate exactly how badly I want to hug my mother or speak
to my father over the phone or send them a yearly photo of their
son. But it's huge!

Instead I am limited to maintaining my relationships with family
through the mail and IGI has always viewed I/M [inmate] mail as a key
component in the debriefing policy in where they are able to put
pressure on relationships in the hopes of breaking them up and
further isolating us with the hope we choose to debrief.

I choose to stand defiant, I stand tall and always silent and I
exercise my option to fully protest via hunger strike.
I will not become just another broken faceless soul forced to become
a confidential informant for CDC to relieve this burden only to
burden someone else...

I hunger strike with the hope of gaining some form of relief so the
next load of men, young and old, won't have to be broken down, drove
insane or killed to find relief...

I must end with a word for my beautiful family. I love them all and
have learned many valuable lessons of respect, understanding, duty,
and integrity by their stellar examples. They truly are my rock in
dark times and I love them all.

Respectfully written,
[name withheld]

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