California Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike to Protest Prolonged Solitary Confinement
Today, prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison and other prisons throughout California began a hunger strike
and work stoppage to protest conditions and confinement in Security Housing Units (SHUs). In the Pelican Bay SHU and other
California SHUs, prisoners are isolated in small, windowless cells for between 22 ½ and 24 hours a day, denied
telephone calls, contact visits, and vocational, recreational, and educational programs. The strike was launched after the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) failed to fulfill its promise to meet the prisoners’
core demands, including an end to indefinite, prolonged solitary confinement.
Join us to demand that the CDCR
meet the demands of the Pelican Bay prisoners! Take action here.
For our supporters in California, consider joining a state-wide mobilization to Corcoran State Prison
on July 13. Click here to learn more and join the mobilization. Please save the date for August 22nd for oral argument on class certification in Ashker v. Brown, our federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in the Pelican Bay SHU.
CCR and several advocacy and legal organizations
in California filed the case last year, following two previous hunger strikes, on behalf of prisoners who have spent between
10 and 28 years in solitary confinement. In May, we moved for class certification which, if granted, will allow all SHU prisoners
to benefit from the outcome of the lawsuit.
Finally, this case could not have been brought without the support of thousands
of individual donors who give to CCR. Join the fight – say NO to years of arbitrary and brutal solitary confinement!
Sign the petition, forward this email to friends, and make a donation today.
New York City Council Passes Landmark Community Safety Act
In late June, the New
York City Council voted to pass the Community Safety Act (CSA), a landmark piece of legislation that will increase the accountability
of the New York Police Department (NYPD), and strengthen protections from profiling by NYPD officers. Since these bills
were introduced over a year ago, CCR and our allies have worked hard to build up support for them and to convince the New
York City Council to enact the CSA.
The two bills that passed expand the categories of communities protected from discriminatory
policing tactics; establish an enforceable ban on profiling and discrimination by the NYPD; and establish an inspector general
to review and report on the policies and practices of the NYPD—a common-sense and urgently needed oversight mechanism
that currently exists in all major New York City agencies, as well as other large law enforcement agencies around the country,
including the LAPD, the FBI, and the CIA.
Just before the vote, CCR’s Nahal Zamani wrote in the Huffington Post about the significance of this moment. Then, with other CCR staff and allies in the Communities United for Police Reform campaign, Nahal watched in City Hall as a veto-proof majority of Council members stood up, passionately advocated for the
bills, and voted to pass them.
But we’re not done yet. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
will likely veto the CSA and, along with NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the police union, continue to pressure City
Council members to waver. CCR will continue our work to ensure majority support for the bills and to secure enough votes to
override the Mayor’s veto. New Yorkers are ready for real community safety.
Given the breadth and gravity of discriminatory
policing in New York, CCR maintains our call for multiple layers of oversight. We will continue to advocate for an independent
court-appointed monitor in our class action stop-and-frisk lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York, to oversee court-ordered reforms. We see this as a necessary and complimentary role to that of the inspector general.