Capitol Public Radio

Katie Orr, Capital Public RadioKatie Orr, Capital Public Radio

As an inmate hunger strike in California stretches on, prison reform advocates want the rest of us to know what it’s like inside a SHU. (Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa spends 22.5 hours a day in Security Housing Unit, or SHU. It’s a room the size of a parking spot. Jamma has been living that reality for the past 29 years. He’s an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison and is participating in a hunger strike to protest the use of long term solitary confinement.

At a rally in front of the Capitol, his sister, Marie Levin, stood in front of a simulated SHU and implored lawmakers to experience how her brother lives.

“I invite every legislator who is inside of this building here to walk inside this SHU, ” she said. “Walk inside the SHU! Sit down for a minute!”

Levin said confining inmates in the SHU for long periods of time amounts to torture. Reverend Theon Johnson agrees.

“Over 100 people have been in the SHU for over 20 years. Most of whom have no new disciplinary write ups or incidents, ” he said. “My friends that is torture! That is torture!”

The Corrections Department’s Jeffrey Callison acknowledged the SHU is not a place most people would choose to spend time. But he dismisses the claims of torture, pointing out inmates have access to cable TV, radios, legal and family visits and a law library.

And Callison said policies on who gets sent to the SHU and how the unit operates have been revised. As a result, hundreds of inmates have been sent back to the general population.

“There have been other changes and improvements, ” he said. “And there are no end of ways in which prisoners can express their concerns about conditions in prison.”

Four of the state’s 34 prisons have SHUs. The units house a total of about 3, 500 inmates.

More than 100 inmates have participated in the hunger strike continuously since it started July 8th.


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2001-11-20 14:10:45 by sac3

- upcoming events

If you become a member of npr (capitol public radio) you get an arts a la carte card -- that's how i found out about this web site:
i also check for local theater companies and other arts groups and check their individual page for activities. and of course there's always sn&r and sacbee calendars. 'it's a wonderful life' is playing at the crest! could go on - let me know if you want to know something specific

2010-03-08 11:10:40 by ClickHere4

More republican hypocrisy

The conservative lawmaker came out Monday on KERN radio in Bakersfield, saying he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his arrest last week for driving under the influence.
The 55-year-old father of four says he broke the law, putting people at risk, so he owes the public an explanation.
Ashburn has consistently voted against gay rights measures since he was elected to the state Assembly in 1996.

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