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Gov. Jerry Brown Gets SHU Torture Cell Installed on State Capitol Steps

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California’s Governor Jerry Brown is to get a solitary confinement torture cell installed on the state capitol steps this week, according to human rights defenders on Sunday.

The cell will be installed so that Gov. Brown can publicly tell people again that prisoners locked into such a cell day after day, week after week, year after year, is not torture and so that the public can gain better appreciation for what it feels like to be tortured in a “Security Housing Unit” ( SHU), the rights advocates said in a written statement.

Only way out of death camp torture chamber: Snitch, parole or die

“The cell will be on display – and you can walk right in to see how it feels – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14,” organizers say. ”Walk into this cell and imagine the heavy steel door slamming behind you, locking you into that tiny space that prisoners call a concrete coffin indefinitely – for weeks, months, years and decades – the only way out to snitch, parole or die.

After dismissing thousands of California hunger-striking prisoners’ Five Core Demands for over two years, and dismissing the same plea of hundreds of thousands of petitions by rights advocates across the state, the state’s governor and his torturous treatment of prisoners will be spotlighted this week in a grander scale.

In support of the California prison hunger strikers and their five demands, a human rights group has begun on Sunday to invite the public to visit an installation of a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell on the California State Capitol South Steps in Sacramento.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network along with Assemblymember Tom Ammiano are spearheading the multi-media initiiative.

A press conference, featuring Assemblymember and Public Safety Committee Chair Tom Ammiano, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, people formerly incarcerated in California Department of Corrections (CDCR) SHUs, SHU prisoners’ families, and other voices of support and conscience will be held at noon.

(Watch YouTube video below to learn about Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s work to expose and halt the United States police state, that includes torture chambers and death camps.)

Afront to Human Rights: Over 4000 California prisoners endure solitary confinement for years, many for decades

“This stark multimedia installation will allow visitors to acquire a tactile and visceral understanding of the reality of solitary confinement that over 4,000 California prisoners (today) have endured for years and decades, and why this is cruel and unusual punishment deemed torture by the U.N. and human rights groups,” D’Andre Teeter, a spokesperson for the group organizers, said Sunday in a written statement.

“The installation includes images of SHU cells and prisoners and moving testimony from prisoners and others,” Teeter emphasized, “The families, Assemblyperson Ammiano, and SMIN invite Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard to visit the SHU and to state why this is not torture.”

In 2011, locked up in barbarous confinement, over 6,000 prisoners across California, most never having committed violent crime, risked their lives to join America’s historic hunger strike in solidarity with Pelican Bay Prison hunger strikers and their five demands, each based on basic human rights.

Their central demand is “comply with the recommendation of the U.S. Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement.”

Governor Brown dismissed the hunger strikers and the Five Core Demands. Media also remained silent.

A deafening silence among mainstream media persisted, a media that could have been reporting the 2011 historical event of over 6,000 prisoners choosing death over life in hell on earth.

For two years, prisoners have gone on hunger strikes, been retaliated against by guards, and been dismissed by the governor.

On July 8, 2013, another mass strike began. Prisoners hoped that by more of them participating, Brown would respond favorably.

30,000 California prisoners began this latest hunger strike to end torture of solitary confinement and for their basic rights and humanity.

Hundreds of prisoners have gone over one month without food and many more in many prisons have risked retaliation by supporting the strike, by going on and off the hunger strike since its beginning. 

Millions of people throughout society support the prisoners. These include prominent voices such as Jay Leno, Noam Chomsky, Danny Glover, Cornel West, Bonnie Raitt and Gloria Steinem.

“Yet Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Department of Corrections refuse to meet their just demands, have retaliated against the hunger strikers, and have publicly vilified the prisoners and the hunger strike,” Tweeter said.

In an Aug. 6 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard claimed that the notorious SHU “is not ‘solitary confinement.’”

On July 5, Amnesty International stated that “rather than improving,” conditions in California prisons “have actually significantly deteriorated.”

On July 22, 2013, Amnesty International called California Prisons and the CDCR’s response to the hunger strike an “affront to human rights.”

Emergency

This is an emergency,” exclaims the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “One hunger striker, Billy ‘Guero’ Sell, has already died. Many more people need to stand NOW with the prisoner hunger strikers!”

Instead of alleviating human rights abuses in his state’s prison industry, Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Department of Correctionshave: refused to meet their just demands, retaliated against the hunger strikers, and publicly vilified the prisoners and the hunger strike.

Families, Assemblyperson Ammiano, and SMIN invite Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard to visit the SHU and to publicly state why this is not torture.

“A hunger strike is not taken lightly by us,” a prisoner wrote on the first day of the strike, July 8, to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “We are not suicidal; rather we hope to save lives.”

“We may not be able to save our lives,” the inmate wrote. “But we have come to identify our existence in SHU as a conveyor belt leading into an oven of inferno. And we may indeed be strapped onto this conveyor belt with no way out, as we have continued for years to watch our comrades fall into the abyss of the oven in psychosis, suicide or other chronic illness.

“And we may not be able to stop our ride from dropping us into the abyss but we will stop this conveyor belt for future generations to come. Today this ride stops.”



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    • Deborah Dupre

      And the US has nerve to criticize other nations for their human rights abuses. No other imprisons, tortures or executes as many people as the US does.

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