FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—JUNE 10, 2013 Sleep Deprivation Intensifies Torture Conditions for Prisoners in Advance of Hunger Strikes and Work Actions

Moorbey'z Blog

Oakland— Less than a month before state-wide hunger strikes are set to resume, The California Department of Corrections has instituted a new policy at Pelican Bay State Prison which has resulted in chronic sleep deprivation for prisoners in solitary confinement.

Both guards and prisoners complained to lawyers conducting legal visits last week about a new policy requiring prison guards to conduct “welfare checks” every thirty minutes on prisoners isolated in the prison’s Security Housing Units (SHU). Normally, prisoners in the SHU are counted every three to four hours by guards who patrol each unit, ensuring prisoners are in their cells. Each prisoner must be observed physically moving or showing skin. The frequency and method of these counts have already been challenged in a Federal lawsuit, Ashker v. Brown.  Experts claim the sleep deprivation caused by the counts violate prisoners’ 8th Amendment rights.

“Sleep deprivation has many significant…

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