SOLIDARITY HAD THE MIGHT TO MOVE THE MOUNTAIN OF PRISON TORTURE THAT KEPT US ISOLATED AND VOICELESS – WE STILL NEED YOU NOW MORE

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa and Jabari Scott

From Prison Focus Issue 44
Fall 2014

CDCR deliberately lied about their implementation of
the Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program
(SDP) sanctioned by Gov. Jerry Brown. We
prisoners, the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM),
all our supporters, all state legislators and all citizens of
California are being lied to and manipulated by Gov. Jerry
Brown, CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard, George Giurbino of
the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI), Suzan Hubbard of
DAI and the Departmental Review Board (DRB), Tehachapi
Warden Kim Holland and Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan
as they continue their torture tactics from Pelican Bay to
Corcoran to Tehachapi state prisons.

Gov. Brown and CDCr administrators are currently violating
our United States constitutional rights, the California
Code of Regulations and other rules, laws, policies and standards
with the intent of breaking down and destroying men
and women prisoners, family bonds and moral ethics here in
California.

On July 11, 2014, I was transferred from Pelican Bay State
Prison to CCI, better known as Tehachapi State Prison. During
my journey, I had a week long layover at DVI, Tracy,
from July 11-17, 2014. I continued my journey on July
17 and arrived at Tehachapi on that same day.

My week long journey was pretty much uneventful, but
I was able to touch base and educate a few young up-andcoming,
politically conscious prison activists to a better
understanding ceasing hostilities and where we stand in our
protracted peaceful protest.

Upon my arrival here at Tehachapi, it immediately became
clear to me that my next two years were going to be another
form of modern day slavery and that the past four years of
protest – all we fought through and accomplished – had fallen
on deaf ears here at Tehachapi with Warden Kim Holland.
My very first run-in with these backward, mountain dwelling
slave drivers was during my journey from DVI.

The mail I received there was put on the transportation
bus. Upon my arrival at Tehachapi, the transportation sergeant
gave my personal mail to Tehachapi Receiving and Release
staff with instructions to give it to me when they found
housing for me. I was later walked approximately 125 yards
from R&R to 4B-7C housing, where I and two others were
placed in 7 Building’s holding cages.

I reminded the correctional officer of the transportation
sergeant’s instructions and that the large envelope contained
my personal mail and I would like to have it before being
placed into my assigned cage. His response was, “You’ll get
your stuff!” When he walked away, I knew I wouldn’t see
him or my mail again; and to this day, I have yet to receive
my personal mail.

This hellish modern day slave camp and all its staff have
been brainwashed and indoctrinated into an old, prehistoric,
backwards prison mentality of the 1960s and 1970s, minus
the physical violence, which has been replaced by a new
form of violence, mental assault through every facet of this
institution and its offi cials. All of the rights that have been
rightfully ours as prisoners since long before Oct. 12, 2012,
are denied.

Warden Kim Holland’s staff knowingly violate daily every
rule, policy, law, standard and constitutional provision that
has been written to provide prisoners with their basic human
rights, and they do it as though they have no conscience at
all and it is their normal way of life, that we prisoners should
be thankful for and accept with a smile and “thank ya, sir.”

With that, they flex their muscles as though they stand on
the absolute power of virtual impunity that allows them to
constantly get away with the crimes they commit upon us
prisoners daily. Thus, they boldly think we should bow to
their whim.

On July 17, 2014, as I was being escorted to my cage, just
about every prisoner in 4B-7C (whom I had never met) was
yelling out at me to check my laundry roll for sizes. I wasn’t
sure at the time why they were yelling this to me, but through
my many years of experience, I knew it was a warning.

Therefore, as soon as I was in my cage and was un-cuffed,
I immediately began to check my laundry roll. I held up
the boxer underwear so that the correctional offi cer (c/o)
could clearly see that the boxer underwear I was holding up
couldn’t have been any bigger than a large.

The c/o looked at the boxers and looked at me, then said,
“and,” as though I was either supposed to just accept them
without any argument or what was he supposed to do about
it. This foul show of disrespect got my blood boiling. I responded
“What in the hell is this?” holding the boxers closer
to the door.

With that, I picked up what looked like a T-shirt. It was
so dirty and small that I really wasn’t sure if it was a T-shirt
or rag to clean my floor and toilet with. It, as well, couldn’t
have been any bigger than a large. Looking at my size and
the size of the boxers and T-shirt, it was crystal clear that I
couldn’t have fit any of these items in my teen years, and if I
could, I wouldn’t put my body in nothing that dirty.

Therefore, I asked the c/o to go find me something I could
fit – something around a 4XL for both the boxers and T-shirt.
When he left my door, I took a good look at these super
small, dirty boxers and T-shirt, and was, well, bowled over
how this prison enforcer responded to my dilemma. It was
clear to me that this administration utilizes the methods of
dehumanization by stripping prisoners of their dignity, one
layer at a time.

I soon learned that Receiving and Release SHU Property
Offi cers were also a tool of reaction that this administration
uses against us and that this offi ce regularly practices the art
of intentionally destroying and or making prisoners’ property
disappear, while keeping a straight poker face, acting as
though it never existed or it never came though the property
room.

We were informed by IGI Counselor V. Ybarra and all of
4B-7C staff that the property policy is: Your property follows
you soon after you step off the transportation bus, meaning
we no longer have to wait 10 days after our arrival or after
we have gone to Classification or after a long 30-day waiting
period. Now it’s immediately after your arrival, your property
is broken down and sent to your assigned location. Thus
if all the above staff are well aware of this property policy,
then it is quite clear that the R&R property offi cer is well
aware of it as well, when property is his responsibility.

My cellie, Jabari Scott, arrived here on Sept. 2, 2014,
and as of Sept. 23, he still has not yet received his property.
Therefore, you have a policy that’s not being adhered to or
enforced and a property offi cer doing what he wants, when
he wants, no matter what rule or policy he breaks.

Note to all prisoners who are scheduled to be transferred
to Tehachapi State Prison: Make sure to get an accurate and
complete, itemized inventory slip of every item in your property
before signing and transferring.

All California state prisons are mandated by statute to provide
each and every prisoner in the prison system, whether
you are in SHU or in Step 1 through 4 of the SDP or in general
population, with the required allotment of clothing and
housing supplies to keep themselves and their living quarters
clean and to practice good health habits essential to the
maintenance of physical and mental well-being.

State mandated clothing allotments are one pair of shoes,
six pairs of socks, four boxers, four T-shirts, two pillow cases,
four sheets, three towels, two washcloths, two fl oor towels,
two jumpsuits, one denim jacket, one beanie, two blankets,
one laundry bag, one pillow, one mattress, one solid
plastic coffee mug and one solid plastic spoon.

State mandated weekly laundry exchanges require that all
state prisons provide prisoners a one-for-one exchange limited
to three T-shirts, two sheets, three pairs of socks, three
boxers, one pillow case and two towels.

Upon your arrival at Tehachapi, each prisoner is issued
one clothing roll and one bedding roll, which is your one and
only issue for the duration of your time here.

The clothing roll consists of one pair of socks, one boxer,
one T-shirt, one towel and one fl oor rag. The bedding roll
consists of two sheets and two blankets.

Laundry exchange: Keep in mind that no issued laundry is
new, and all of it is very battered and used. Weekly laundry
exchange goes by a one full clothing roll for one full clothing
roll in return, which means that you can only exchange
full rolls – a clothing roll consisting of one T-shirt, one boxer
and one pair of socks or a bedding roll of two sheets – or
you can choose not to exchange anything at all. You don’t
have a choice on what size you receive in return. All laundry
rolls are pre-made, and size is not considered; therefore, it’s
a take-it-or-leave-it exchange and luck of the draw on sizes.

Housing supplies: All SHU prisoners here at Tehachapi are
issued one small paper dixie cup and one small plastic picnic
spoon. Supply exchange is every two to three weeks, if we
are lucky; thus, you must be real careful in the maintenance
of your dixie cup and picnic spoon to ensure they last until
the next supply exchange.

Cleaning supplies: Each prisoner is issued one yellow
cleaning rag, and once a week an offi cer will yell out, “disinfectant.”
At that time, all prisoners are expected to push their
yellow rags out under their door. Then the officer will walk
by, pouring disinfectant onto the yellow rags. You have to
sop up as much disinfectant as possible, then squeeze it into
some sort of milk carton or container to preserve as much of
the disinfectant you sopped up as you can. This practice is so
disrespectful and degrading that we refuse to participate in it.
Those are the only cleaning supplies that Tehachapi provides
its prisoners with. State mandate requires that all state prisons
provide three ounces of uncut disinfectant, plus one cell
cleaning rag and one scrub pad, weekly.

TV stations: We struggle to get all the following basic stations:
ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MY13, COZI, two Spanish
stations and four church stations. The struggle is that some
stations are blurry and very hard to see; others go in and out
all throughout the day, every day, and others just black out
for about 30 to 40 seconds. TV access starts at 6:48 every
morning.

Pillows: Tehachapi does not issue pillows and the floor of-
fi cers will write you a rule violation if a home-made pillow is
found in your cell. Therefore, we roll up our jumpsuits, towel
and blanket and put them in a T-shirt at night, then unroll
them every morning.

Mirrors: There are no mirrors whatsoever in any cell. We
have a very small mirror in each shower and it is the only
place and time we have access to a mirror.

Containers: They are not allowing us to have or possess
any canteen containers and some plastics. They argue that
because we have in-cell electric plugs, we could use them to
make weapons. Their argument makes it clear that Tehachapi
refuses to advance out of the Stone Age and embrace the future.
Thus, they are going to fi ght tooth and nail on adhering
to SDP policies.

Water: The water here is so bad that every correctional
officer here refuses to drink it and every one of them brings
his own water to drink. The water is treated with so much sodium
that it leaves a thick white deposit caked on all our sink
nozzles that is as thick and hard as cement. And when you
run your water in your sink for about 10 to 14 seconds, you’ll
start to see the sodium deposit build up, foaming around the
edges of the water.

Turn the water off, as it dissipates, it leaves behind a
thick white film that hardens on the inside of your sink. This
thick, white sodium film sticks to the inside of your cups and
bowls, too, as well as to your body, which leaves you with
an itchy feeling.

Now if this sodium film deposit is sticking to everything
water touches, what is it doing to the inside of our bodies after
we consume it, especially when you’re drinking the eight
recommended cups of water a day? Tehachapi is well aware
of this water issue but it is of no concern to them, because to
them, we are only prisoners! And they don’t have to drink it.

Yard: Buildings 4B-7 and 4B-8 share a total of 24 yard
cages, 12 cages per building. Each building has 64 cells, and
Tehachapi SHU only runs one yard a day for SHU prisoners
for three and a half to four hours. Therefore, it could take
five to seven days for the yard to make a full rotation. Thus,
each cell is not getting its 10 hours a week allotted yard and
exercise time, which is mandated by law.

Medication chronos: Me, my cellie, Jabari Scott, and
many other prisoners were taking various different medications
and had various different active medical chronos that
were prescribed by medical doctors in our previous prisons
to alleviate pain and bring comfort to disabilities. All have
been taken by a rogue doctor employed by Tehachapi – another
tool of reaction deployed against us.

H. Tate, M.D., is an old war veteran who has a fi rm grip
on his old war roots. He has a high threshold for pain and believes
that everyone else should too. Thus he follows a firm
practice of “If it’s not killing you,” he will save CDCr some
money in not treating you.

All my pain meds were taken and all my cellie’s pain meds
were reduced to regular over-the-counter Tylenol that we can
buy from the canteen. We both are in so much pain that we
are not sleeping through the night, nor can we perform many
of our daily activities and functions. And many other prisoners
are experiencing the same discomforts at the hands of
Dr. Tate.

Programming: The big con, The Big Lie, the scheme,
sham, bogus Step Down Program Steps 3 and 4 at Tehachapi
State Prison – the whole conspiracy was sold to us by Secretary
Jeffrey Beard, Undersecretary Martin Hoshino, Adult
Institutions Director Michael Stainer, Departmental Review
Board Director George Giurbino, Adult Institutions Deputy
Director Suzan Hubbard, Corrections Counselor II C. Vargas
at Pelican Bay and Warden Kim Holland of Tehachapi and
sanctioned by Gov. Jerry Brown as if it was a beautiful Hawaiian
vacation. It all was a lie – a hoax – and this was never
a functional or functioning step anything program.

This is the worst SHU in California. Nothing that resembles
a step down program is functioning here, nor can it be
for quite some time, because it was finally admitted and is
a fact that Tehachapi SHU will have to go through a major
overhaul and retro-fitting to be able to secure both prisoners
and guards. It was as well revealed that there are far too
many blind spots that the gun tower cannot see.

Thus, as we speak, only one cell at a time is allowed to
come out to what they are calling and selling as group dining,
and thus far, only four prisoners have been approved for
group yard. Steps 3 and 4 are only allowed to walk to the
showers with no cuffs once a week. The other two times a
week, we are escorted and cuffed.

The STG/SDP was forced upon us Oct. 12, 2012, as a token
given by CDCr in hope that it would wash away all the
years of torture and foul deeds subjected on us. This supposed
token became our only means of escaping our torture.
For us here at Tehachapi, that token became our new form of
torture, only with a new name, Tehachapi, and what we have
come to realize is that the supposed token of good faith has
twin evil heads – one that stares you in the face, while the
other is biting you on the ass!

The facts are concrete and crystal clear that Beard, Hoshino,
Stainer, Giurbino, Hubbard, Holland and Chief Deputy
Warden W. Sullivan all knew from the beginning that Tehachapi
State Prison SHU would not be a match made in
heaven and was, in fact, incompatible with the concepts of
Steps 3 and 4 of the SDP, which is why it fails entirely in its
bogus attempt to align itself with those policies and principles.
Knowing this is fact, Tehachapi continues to be sold
to the public, legislature and prisoners as an up and running,
operationally functioning program with all of the privileges,
opportunities and amenities intact.

IT IS A SHAM! Warden Kim Holland would never even
attempt to embrace the concepts of human dignity and a prisoner’s
basic human rights, because she has turned a blind eye
throughout her tenure, refusing to address and assure anyone
that her prisoners are treated with the smallest air of dignity
and that their basic needs – mandated by law – that express a
concern for humanity are met.

Pelican Bay SHU, Corcoran SHU and many other SHUs
are making big strides in lining themselves up with the Title
15 matrix, standardized SHU and SDP policies. But Warden
Kim Holland continues to hold the same immoral ground of
the past, keeping Tehachapi in the chattel slavery era. And
Gov. Brown, Secretary Beard, Undersecretary Hoshino, Director
Stainer, Director Giurbino and Director Hubbard all
continue to feed Warden Holland the power to hold such an
immoral position that basically shatters the very foundation
of the SDP, which they themselves built.

Taking a good look at the facts and seeing them for what
they truly are, one would have to say this whole thing reeks
of conspiracy, and it’s clear that there is way more to these
tactics than we know and see. But we still must press the
questions: Why is a rogue warden, Warden Kim Holland,
given such power? Why is a rogue institution, Tehachapi
SHU, being allowed to operate? Why have all the above
clear violations gone unnoticed for all these years?

If SDP is truly a program that CDCr administrators want to
succeed, then why haven’t Secretary Beard, Director Stainer
or any of the other staff taken a look into these violations
and resolved them in a humane manner that would refl ect
anything close to the SDP re-entry program that they have
been selling since Oct. 12, 2012?

Why did Secretary Beard, Undersecretary Hoshino, Director
Stainer, Director Giurbino, Director Hubbard and Warden
Holland attempt to establish a Step 3 and 4 of the Step Down
Program in a prison that is not structurally capable of accommodating
such a program? And why force bodies into a Step
3 and 4 program in a prison that they knew would not offer
those prisoners the privileges, opportunities and amenities
outlined in the SDP policies that would afford them their basic,
fundamental rights that promote human dignity?

Bottom line is CDCr has knowingly lied to state Sen. Loni
Hancock and the other legislators about the entire SDP and
how well it is functioning. Sen. Hancock should come and
pay a visit to Tehachapi State Prison so she could see for herself
the lies CDCr sold her and the Legislature, catch them
in the game they are playing with prisoners’ lives and shut
Tehachapi SHU down.

Tehachapi has no business attempting to establish any
step of the Step Down Program here, nor should it house
regular SHU prisoners here until this prison has completed
a full overhaul from top to bottom, from its structural insuf-
ficiencies to all its staff, starting with Warden Kim Holland,
Chief Deputy Warden J. Gutierrez, Capt. Mayo, Lt. Parrett,
V. Ybarra, Dr. H. Tate, the R&R staff and all those that refuse
to divorce themselves from that old style slave-driving
mentality.

We call on all of the officials to respond swiftly to this
human crisis. If just one of you possesses just a morsel of
empathy and believes that no prisoner should be subjected
to torture and cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment, then put
a STOP to the foul practices that continue to violate every
rule, law, standard, policy and constitutional provision ever
written to protect the fundamental rights of human beings.

To our countless supporters and those who ceaselessly
fight for justice on our behalf, we thank you all for your
boundless support – that driving spirit that keeps us pushing
forward – and we thank you for your great effort. Your successes
have proven mighty enough to move that great mountain
of torture that kept us isolated and voiceless for way too
many years.

Words cannot fully convey how great it is to have so many
amazing people join our fight. Although we have much to
stand proud about, we still have a long way to go and we still
need you all even more.

Thus, spread the word, push the word, shake that great
bush that attempts to hide Tehachapi and Warden Kim Holland’s
horrors until we have shaken them all to the ground
and that bright light of the people’s justice reveals all their
foul deeds. Call, tweet, text, write all your legislators, all
CDCr administrators, Tehachapi State Prison Warden Kim
Holland and Chief Deputy Warden W. Sullivan and express
your desire for change, for justice, for humanity! And ask a
friend, family member and loved one to join us.

And a special call-out to our New Afrikan community,
civil rights leaders, human rights leaders, all religious leaders,
our lawyers, actresses, actors, sports fi gures, musicians,
entertainers and all those in the business sector: We need you
all to get involved to make a difference in your community’s
future, and together we will rebuild justice on the foundation
of a new morality that is the heart of the people.

To all those prison rights activists and those who stand
for what is right in Corcoran State Prison SHU, Zaharibu,
Heshima, Turi, Griff, Amondo, we owe you all a great deal
of gratitude for your courageous stance of defi ance against
CDCr’s implementation of its criminalizing journals that
do nothing towards aiding rehabilitation or arming men and
women with the necessary tools to succeed on a mainline or
in society.

Your act, many acts, of defiance were critical and effective
in catapulting us forward into the position we are in right
now, to enable us to shine the light of justice on and expose
the foul, torturous conditions of this institution, Tehachapi
SHU, that reeks of the mentality of Robben Island, South
Africa! Deeply appreciated! Keep pushin’! To all U.S. citizens
and our world community, support those who struggle
to support themselves!