BEYOND BARS: The Cruelty of Solitary Confinement

By Mwalimu S. Shakur
Corcoran, CA

Since the release of inmates from the Security Housing Units (SHU) in California prisons, the state (CDC.r) has allowed its guards, some of which used to be institutional gang investigations (IGI) to harass and provoke inmates into conflict on the GP yards, especially here at Corcoran prison, where a lot of us have been released. A one-on-one fight can still be considered gang combat which will result in sending those involved back into the Administrative Segregation Unit (AdSeg) for a rules violation, and issued a 115.

Inmates being held in AdSeg are considered still a practicing gang association, but according to the Asker case settlement, CDCr is supposed to put forth new changes in the SHU assessment chart. There are about nine 602 grievances being litigated on right now for the increase of returned inmates, and law library access is being denied because of it. We were appointed a new sergeant to help assist this matter, but it is a slow process. A lot of the inmates are receiving increased SHU terms, and it should be noted that new section 3341.9(f) in the title 15 proposes to increase from 25% to 50% the maximum amount of clean conduct credit a prisoner serving a determinate SHU term can earn to reduce that SHU term. This is not the case.

Also! Some inmates are being considered as an Imminent Threat, because they were validated under the old criteria and new subsection 3268(a)(5) is adopted to read! An imminent threat is any situation or circumstance that jeopardizes the safety of persons or compromises the security of the institution and requires immediate action to stop the threat. A fist fight, one-on-one, or even two-on-one, without great bodily injury, does not consist of an imminent threat situation.

In conclusion, litigation through the bias 602 grievance process is still the right way to go for the courts to take a look at your case. You have to exhaust all remedies in order to have a class action filed against the state for its illegal and constant inhuman practices. Remember the struggle to end long term isolation is still ongoing, but there’s always hope as long as you resist. ■