Human Rights Pen Pal

We believe that the power of pen and paper can transcend prison walls

California Prisoners Win Historic Gains with Settlement Against Solitary Confinement
…and the settlement does not fix everything about SHU.  Far from it.

HRPP ends our 60-day campaign with an incredible 53 new community pen pal applications!
…toward increasing our community building and educational met-ups for greater advocacy for our pen pals!

This last week brought us an historic legal settlement over a class action lawsuit brought by men on the inside, as well as the end of our 60-day campaign to celebrate the courageous actions of these same men to nonviolently resist their conditions through hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013.  Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition played a key role in this struggle, whose victory must be monitored.  For a roundup of the legal settlement in the news check out this compilation.

PHSS and its member organizations including HRPP are clear that monitoring will be needed to insure fair application of the settlement.  The narrative for explaining this victory must not be left to CDCr, but rather we must actively communicate to our neighbors how this victory was won.  And CDCr and others with an interest to maintain the status quo will use their power to keep it; already we have seen physical payback through so-called riots in prisons across the state.  We must question and counter these narratives through direct communication with our pen pals.  And we will continue to build bridges with family members and those most impacted by solitary confinement in our monthly Statewide Actions to End Solitary Confinement.

The leadership on the inside and familiy members on the outside continues to inspire HRPP.  “From the historic prisoner-led hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013, to the work of families, loved ones, and advocate, this settlement is a direct result of our grassroots organizing, both inside and outside prison walls,” said Dolores Canales of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), and mother of a prisoner in Pelican Bay. “This legal victory is huge, but is not the end of our fight – it will only make the struggle against solitary and imprisonment everywhere stronger.”  The settlement can be read on Center for Constitutional Rights’ website, along with a summary.

As one long-time member of the struggle put it, “Anything [on our part] less than love is unworthy of what the men have shown us is possible. They teach what it is to be truly human – a humbling lesson that will empower us moving forward. Every voice has mattered, and always will.”

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