As of May 25th, inmates at California’s notorious Folsom State Prison have launched a hunger strike in protest against unbearable living conditions. They’re asking for people to contact the following officials in support of their action:
- Chief Deputy Inspector General – Roy Wesley – (916) 255-1102
- Ombudsman Sara L. Smith (the person who is supposed to check on welfare, investigate complaints, etc.) – (916) 324-5458 // email@example.com
- Secretary Scott Kernan – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Undersecretary Ralph M. Diaz – email@example.com
- Governor Jerry Brown – (916) 445-2481
- Chief Office of the Ombudsman – Sara Malone – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Public Information Office of Folsom – Jack Huey – (916) 985-2561 // email@example.com
- Folsom Warden – Ron Rackley – firstname.lastname@example.org (this email didn’t work when I tried it, will update if I can find a working one)
A quick template email you can send is:
Hello, I am contacting you in support of the hunger strike that is beginning today at Folsom State Prison. I am deeply concerned about the inhumane conditions of confinement that have brought this on, and strongly urge you to ensure that the hunger strikers are not targeted for retaliation, and to act upon the prisoners’ demands, which are reasonable and amount to basic human rights. I hope to see this situation brought to a swift and safe resolution.
In the words of the hunger-striking prisoners themselves:
On May 25th, 2017 prisoners in Folsom State Prison B4 ASU (Administrative Segregated Unit) in Represa, CA have started a hunger strike to peacefully protest the conditions of their confinement in the administrative segregated unit. Prisoners have exhausted all reasonable remedies, with no avail. Further, prisoners have attempted to open lines of communication with administrative officials and met with only resistance and silence. Folsom ASU is like stepping back in time to the era when prison officials blanketed the injustice impose on its solitary confined prisoners and bluntly turn a blind eye to mistreatment and the stripping away of basic human dignity and elements.
As CDCR made drastic changes throughout its prisons to put prisoners on roads of rehabilitation and more humane living conditions, Folsom officials reject the ideals and continue the injustice of the past. To those reading who may find it hard to believe, just a few years ago many will recall this same fight took place within the SHU (Security Housing Unit). The direction, message, and programs CDCR implemented for long term isolation to rehabilitate is ignored, shut out, and rejected here in Folsom ASU. Some might assume the impact of the struggle men endure within the SHU to gain fair, dignified living conditions would have a long-lasting effect, yet, men stand again, just as unified. Ready to sacrifice their bodies, health, and life to achieve what has already been hard fought for and accomplished. Why must California prisoners continue to sacrifice health and life, involve lawyers and courts, in order to be treated like human beings? We will continue to remind CDCR officials they will be held accountable for this type of treatment.
Prisoners in B4 ASU are forced to sit or stand idle in their cells or yard cages without meaningful exercise, education, or rehabilitative programs. We are already forced to endure atypical and significant hardships due to being in segregated housing and solitary confined. When taken together, these conditions constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the US Constitution.
We are being deprived of basic human needs, including normal human contact, environmental and sensory stimulation, mental and physical health, entertainment, physical exercise, sleep, access to courts, and meaningful activity. Prolonged exposure to these deprivations has caused and will cause serious physical and psychological harm.
FSP (Folsom State Prison) is deliberately indifferent to prisoners suffering. They are aware that prolonged social isolation, and lack of environmental stimuli causes “serious psychological pain and suffering and permanent psychological pain and suffering, and permanent psychological and physical injury.”
CDCR is aware (Madrid-Ashker-Coleman) that the conditions of extreme isolation will likely inflict some degree of psychological trauma, these injuries include: chronic insomnia, severe concentration and memory problems, anxiety and other ailments. This is why all SHUs and most ASUs within CDCR have provided prisoners with the opportunity to have TVs, pull up bars, education, social and rehabilitative programs. However, FSP continues to put lack of money as an excuse to not fall in line with CDCR’s stated goals, and are content to ignore the suffering of men in its care. We continue to be confined alone in our cells with only misery for company.
Unfortunately our voice in here can be drowned out by administration but those out there can help by making their voice heard in concern with our treatment. We urge you to call and email all officials and ask questions on the conditions here, and make sure procedures are met for those hunger striking.