SHU Isolation Unit Installation On State Capitol South Steps
SHU Isolation Unit Installation On the State Capitol South Steps, August 14
Who: Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (co-hosts)
What: Life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) Cell
Where: California State Capitol South Steps
When: Wednesday August 14 – 8 am to 8 pm & 12 noon press conference, with Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Stop Mass Incarceration Network, people formerly Incarcerated in California Dept. of Corrections (CDCR) SHUs, SHU inmates’ families, and other voices of support and conscience (TBA).
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, in support of the California Prison Hunger Strikers and their 5 Demands 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.
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 have endured for years and decades, and why this is cruel and unusual punishment deemed torture by the UN and human rights groups.
The installation includes images of SHU cells and prisoners and moving testimony from prisoners and others.
On July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners began a hunger strike to end the torture of solitary confinement and for their basic rights and humanity. 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.” Now, 100's of prisoners have gone over one month without food and many more in many prisons have supported the strike and gone on and off the hunger strike since its beginning. Millions throughout society support the prisoners, including prominent voices such as Jay Leno, Danny Glover, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Bonnie Raitt and Gloria Steinem; yet Governor Jerry Brown and the California Dept. of Corrections refuse to meet their just demands, have retaliated against the hunger strikers, and have publicly vilified the prisoners and the hunger strike. In a July 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
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network states "This is an EMERGENCY! One hunger striker, Billy ‘Guero’ Sell, has already died. Many more people need to stand NOW with the prisoner hunger strikers!"
The families, Assemblyperson Ammiano, and SMIN invite Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard to visit the "SHU" and to state why this is not torture.
“A hunger strike is not taken lightly by us, we are not suicidal, rather we hope to save lives. We may not be able to save our lives. 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!” (Excerpt from a letter to Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition by a prisoner dated July 8, 2013)
Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide