Greetings. My name is Todd Ashker, and I am from the Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement. I am a principal representative of all similarly situated prisoners subject to long-term solitary confinement.
Our core demands are centered on: A, an end to indefinite solitary confinement based on innocuous associational behavior and/or confidential information intelligence from prisoners tortured to the point of serious mental illness and agreement to become state collaborator informants.
Additionally, CDCR’s STG pilot program is not responsive to our demands. It continues to base indefinite SHU solitary confinement upon confidential information intelligence without any requirement for any formal charge being filed and adjudicated for due process due to the California Prison System’s preponderance of the evidence standard.
Therefore, beginning in 2009, a group of us in the same pod together began considering our litigation strategies and how the challenges to long-term solitary confinement had not been successful. And over the next two years we all came to the conclusion that we needed to evolve our process of resistance and forcing change to the system. And during that process of dialogue with these individuals and the material that I was reading, including material about the IRA struggle and Bobby Sands, the Irish hunger striker who united the nation, Che Guevara, Howard Zinn, Naomi Wolf and other—Thomas Paine and other activists and revolutionaries, I became more class-conscious of the prisoner class as a microcosm of the working-class poor in this country, and that it was in our best interest to evolve our strategies and come together and utilize peaceful civil disobedience-type actions, in tandem with litigation, to try to force the changes that were long overdue. And that is how we came to the point of creating our formal complaint and then moving from there to the peaceful hunger-strike protest as a collective body.
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