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Rally Against the Torture of Prisoners

Monday, February 01, 2016
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Location Details:
outside California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 1515 S St, Sacramento, California 95811

Tell the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation that their "security/welfare checks" are torturing the men in Pelican Bay SHU and need to stop NOW!!

Learn more here about the 'checks' and how you can further support by sharing information and making phone calls:

Since August 2, 2015, men in Pelican Bay SHU have been awakened every 20-30 minutes, 48 times a day, due to so-called "security/welfare checks" by guards. The architecture of the Pelican Bay SHU (PB SHU) amplifies the loud noise of the 'checks' -metal pod doors opening and slamming closed, chains and locks rattling, guards' boots stomping, metal pipes banging against the cell doors, and the beeping of the electronic monitoring system at each cell door. Sometimes guards also shine their flashlights into people's eyes. The people suffering these so-called "security/welfare checks" are locked in concrete solitary cells, so the noise and intrusion every 30 minutes is (additional) unavoidable torment .
As of February 1st, it will be 181 days that these men have been tortured by sleep deprivation!! Six months.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) claims the 30-minute checks are to prevent suicide. But we know that interrupted sleep is causing serious mental and physical health problems. John R. Martinez, in solitary for 15 years and in Pelican Bay SHU for over a decade, wrote in late August: “…there is a reasonable probability that life-threatening injuries and/or even death is inevitable, as medical symptoms are only worsening but not being treated.”

People locked up in PB SHU report health problems including:
severe stress
weight loss
eye problems
stomach and bowel problems
fast heart rates

John’s mother, Dolores Canales, co-founder of California Families Against Solitary Confinement and the Family Unity Network, said: “I visited my son in the Pelican Bay SHU on 12 September and he is going crazy from not being able to sleep. I’ve never seen him like this. He couldn’t think, and he fell asleep while I was talking with him from across the glass partition.” John was in that state in September after 5 and a half weeks of sleep deprivation. It has now been 5 months since the checks started on August 2, 2015.

Prisoners cannot concentrate, exercise, read, do legal work - the things that help them survive - and they can’t sleep! This is extremely cruel and dangerous.

If you can't attend the Rally in person, please make phone calls (and call more than once!) to:
CDCR Secretary's Office: 916-323-6001
CDCR Director of Adult Divisions, Kelly Harrington (he): 916-445-7688
Senator Loni Hancock, Chair of Senate Public Safety Committee: 916-651-4009
Assembly Member Bill Quirk, Chair of Assembly Public Safety Committee: 916-319-2020
Governor Jerry Brown: 916-445-2481
Suggested script for calls: Begin with your name and the city and state where you live. Please tell all of them: “Stop the so-called 'welfare' checks in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison. Sleep deprivation is torture.”

You can also email CA elected officials- to STOP the 'checks'- with this link from Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) :

Please spread the word! More people need to know about this sleep deprivation! And we want a strong showing outside CDCr. Share the articles, the American Public Health Association (APHA) letter opposing the checks, and our video. [Links below]

Any questions, don't hesitate to send us, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, a Facebook message or email us at phssreachingout [at] Our website is

SF Bay View article

American Public Health Association (APHA) letter opposing the checks

You Tube Video “Sleep Deprivation”

The Guardian, Sept, 25, 2015

Scientific American, Oct. 2015 "Sleep On It: Your nightly rest turns out to affect your mind and health more than anyone suspected"

Sleep (Deprivation) Survey Report from Pelican Bay SHU Oct 13 & 14, 2015 

Why Interrupted Sleep Is Worse Than Short Sleep
Added to the calendar on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 3:28PM
by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
§the Sleep Deprivation in Pelican Bay SHU must stop
by Verbena
It's going to take a lot of pressure, organizing, solidarity with prisoners to stop this, waking people very half hour, destroying their health in the name of "suicide checks"
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


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