Light a Candle to Dispel the Darkness of Solitary Confinement

SHU PROTESTAlmost two years have passed since the summer, 2011 hunger strikes initiated by men in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison. The peaceful hunger strikes (eventually joined by up to 12,000 prisoners in the state) were geared at the realization of five core demands all of which the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s top administrators admitted were reasonable at the time! Two years later, key demands have yet to be met!!

Unless Governor Jerry Brown and the CDCR take decisive action to meet their demands, on July 8, the waiting will be joined with action!! Prisoners in the Pelican Bay, Corcoran, and Tehachapi security housing units (SHUs) — and no doubt other prisons — will once again, put their health and their very lives at risk with a renewed hunger strike.

California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) is holding an action on the evening of July 8th, the first day of the hunger strike (see details below). We will be in front of Norwalk City Hall with candles enough for everyone and a full sized replica of a SHU cell.

On behalf of those who endure daily torture in solitary, we ask the following:

  • Join us at 8:00 PM on the evening of July 8th in front of Norwalk City Hall
  • Lend your name and your organization’s name in support of the action, in support of an end to the terror

Please respond via email to Geri Silva ( our request as soon as possible.

SHU Prisoners Five Core Demands

  • Eliminate group punishments. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh
  • Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being participants in prison gangs based on flimsy, faulty, fabricated evidence, then sent to long term isolation for indefinite periods of time. To be removed from these tortuous conditions, they must “debrief”, that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing yet other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.
  • geri silvaComply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons regarding an end to long-term Solitary Confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to “make solitary a last resort” and “end conditions of isolation”. Yet, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHU’s or Administrative Segregation. Somebeen kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
  • Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations.
  • Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for prisoners with indefinite SHU terms, such as “self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities

Geri Silva
California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement





  1. We will be posting updates, analysis and hopefully interviews as the hunger strike continues: bayareaintifada.wordpress/hunger-strike