Nov 01, 2011
Revolutionary greetings. I write this article to correct and clarify the misinformation someone has given the Prison Focus about my “act of struggle,” but also to clarify and correct such lies that have undermined the act of revolution. Specifically, someone told CPF that I lit myself on fire just to get out the ASU to get to the SHU, and that a week later I went to the SHU. All of this is false.
First, I lit a fire in my cell (not myself) to protest, and sec- ond, I was tortured for almost a week, and went back to my ASU cell where I lit the fire at. I was also prosecuted for supposedly possessing a weapon as a result of false charges they made as a result of contraband/torture watch. Luckily, I represented myself, took it to trial and got a “not guilty” verdict, so I’m clear of that.
Now before all those who are active in changing our conditions and Machiavellian practices imposed upon us, you must first understand my state of mind which led up to such a radical act of protest. In hopes of all revolutionaries expanding their mind in progressiveness actions, here’s my story.
After spending over two years in CSP-Sacramento ASU waiting to come to the SHU, based on a bogus violation imposed on me through retaliatory acts of prison officials, because of my legal access to courts of Pro Per, phone calls, library, and assisting others to beat their validations, I was transferred to PBSP only to be placed in ASU…Quickly I realized my surroundings. I didn’t like what I saw, heard, and experienced.
I saw cocky, disrespectful, ill-mannered, racist, bigot, sexist, and tyrants, working the ASU. Though they were racist, they treated all inmates like they were worthless, regardless of their race. I heard them make sexist and racist comments about a Mexicana C.O. working. They referred to her as a lazy fat Mexican lady that doesn’t like to work, when they were just lazy fat cops, wanting the Mexicana to do the work. I heard them try to mislead my fellow inmate because they saw his English wasn’t good, so they tried to mislead him on matters he seeked help on. So I got involved to help him, and let them know not to pull that.
I experienced my cell being searched almost every day. My property being thrashed and trashed. A false 115. Mail C.O. stopping at my door acting like he was going to give me a letter, only to walk away... Playing games. Taking all my clothes out of my cell because of fishing line… I was tired of it. I’m patient, but I’m sure no pacifist.
I also realized this was a problem not just for me but for all inmates there. We all wanted to be transferred to the SHU. The Title 15 mandates we be transferred within 30 days. We wanted what we got coming. So with all of these factors, I knew I had to do something that required strategy and the element of surprise. Something different from the usual cell extractions and hunger strikes that hurt us more than them.
Quickly I realized the cells were not equipped with fire sprinklers. They say we can’t have TV because there’s no sprinkler. First off, TVs have got kill switches, so no fire. But it was their admission that having no fire sprinkler is a safety hazard. So, we started a group 602 asking to be immediately moved to the SHU because they have us in a building with cells that don’t have sprinklers. That’s a deprivation of a right to fire safety, guaranteed by not only state law, but federal constitution. This way it would get all of us moved… But they ignored our 602s. We wrote the Inspector General, P.L.O., Ombudsman. And they all pretty much shoved it to the side. Then one day a guard tried to argue with me about no fire could ever happen, so there’s no need for sprinklers. They also denied our group 602s. Well, surprise, surprise… Revolution is the only solution…
So with a few matches I had left, I used them all up and lit a bonfire by my door to smoke out the building, to prove that fires can happen. Well, it got too big, and smoked out the cell, so I had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Afterwards, I was took to CTC Medical. After that I was put on contraband watch where they taped, chained, and tubed me up like an animal. Then they try to say I had a weapon? I didn’t have no weapon. And like always, I fought for my freedom, and In Pro Per.
I told the jury of 12 men and women how they treat us. How they torture us, and paint us as brutes and animals, but told them we all were human and had a story to tell and I told them our story. How we are ran into a courtroom on bogus charges, forced to take a deal, or else… and most equipped with a public defender, who only wants a check. They take a deal, then the system uses all those deals to scare the public, with how many criminals were convicted, when little do they know it was a fear-induced plea bargain…But not me. Not today… They returned a not guilty verdict, not only because they saw through the CDCR propaganda, but also because there was no real evidence to convict.
Thus the struggle continues… So the fire was for all of those who want better conditions, not just me… An inmate once told me (regarding my litigation activities), “You’re in prison, trying to fight a losing battle. You should just accept it. Do your time.” I replied, “I will never accept being in prison. I will never accept this system’s systematic ethnic culturecide of my Raza, nor the ethnicide of any other race, by validating us over signs, symbols, or books related to our culture. I will never accept their boots and batons upon our rights and beliefs. On the contrary, I will fight tooth and nail for our rights, because if I’m going to be prepared to kill for respect, then I sure must be prepared to fight for our existence and our rights. So—no, I will never accept it. I may deal with it as I always have, but I will never accept it.”
And that’s the message. We all must deal with it. We go to sleep surrounded by four walls, and wake up surrounded by four walls. So we deal with it. But the moment you accept it, you’ve already surrendered half your soul to a letter and five numbers.
You must expand your mind in the struggle. Approach things in a new way. The old ways are not working. Analyze your surrounding and situations. Who cares about drama, focus on what’s real. Existence. Our spirits can only continue to exist through struggle. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about opposing what your spirit doesn’t accept. If you win a battle, great. If you lose, good. The war continues through more battles.
I will point out some new ideas for those of you in the SHUs across California. Starting with Pelican Bay. (1) Pelican Bay is built inside of a big hole. It’s built in an area known to the city as “danger zones.” Specifically, the coast is always vulnerable to tsunamis. If a tsunami hits, the hole fills. We all drown. No buses to evacuate us, and the locks they put on our doors literally seal our fates to a mass negligent homicide. They knew the threat, yet they built this prison in such a hole and area. Get that in a court, and it might shut this place down, because there’s no way they could evacuate us, even if they tried, thus the only remedy is to shut this place down, to insure life preservation. (2) Tehachapi SHU: Tehachapi SHU is built on San Andreas Fault. If the earthquake (Big One) hits, it goes in the ground, mass negligent homicide. Must shut down. (3) Corcoran SHU: The cells are bedrock, putting inmates at risk for broken bones, and due to the smallness of cells, violates American Correctional Association size standards. Further, inadequate ventilation puts inmates at risk to inhale fecal fumes and airborne viruses, thus must shut SHU down and send SHU inmates to different structure.
These are examples.
Validation? They never give us warnings of who they validate. Instead of arguing that there’s no proof or evidence that you associated with so-and-so, argue to the courts that even if there’s “some evidence” you’ve associated with so-and-so, CDCR never gave you a warning they were validated. After all, if validation is an administrative decision, they how are we to know what decision they make, and who they validated, unless they first give us a Due Process warning of who they validated? It’s a Due Process violation. We are entitled to a warning. Likewise, regarding signs and symbols.
I currently have a motion for summary judgment pending in the U.S.D.C. Eastern District of California (see Daniel Treglia v. Director CDCR et al., case no: 2:09-cv-0357 KJN-P), raising those very issues. The defendant’s private counsel didn’t even attempt to argue that CDCR/IGI gives us warnings of who’s validated or what signs and symbols they consider prison gang related. Instead he only argued that we are entitled to notice that we are being validated and an opportunity to rebut our validation. In other words, he argued a procedural Due Process, while my Due Process summary judgment is based on a right to a warning/notice Due Process. This means they didn’t present any disputable facts.
I’m hopeful The Honorable Judge Kendall Newman will deliver justice. If he grants my motion, CDCR will be required to give us warnings of who’s who and what’s what before they give us a point for such. It won’t stop them, but it will surely slow them down.
This is what struggle is about. Fighting for a greater good that abolishes the greater bad. Liberty, freedom, free thoughts and beliefs. A fight today because of yesterday, for a better tomorrow.
Daniel L. (Loonie) Treglia, PBSP