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California corrections officials located and designed Pelican Bay State Prison, opened in 1989, as a place where torture could be conducted with impunity. On May 1, 2014, we, California inmates who have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time based on “validation” as alleged associates or members of gangs, rather than based on any violent behavior, serious rule violations, or crimes while in prison, co-signed a letter addressed to the California Senate and Assembly expressing our grave concerns with Sen. We undertook hunger strikes in 2011 and again in 2013 as the only peaceful way we could bring attention to the grossly inhumane conditions of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR’s) Security Housing Units (SHUs) with thousands of prisoners serving indeterminate terms in solitary confinement without having ever engaged in any serious wrongdoing or even threats of wrongdoing. Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates. Although SB 892 seeks to achieve comprehensive reform on the issue of solitary confinement, there are several provisions of the bill that will incorporate inhumane and widely condemned practices into state law. Pelican Bay prisoners express with their art the pain they are made to suffer daily and their conviction that it is profit-driven.
The bill should eliminate the use of gang validation and minor rule violations as a justification for placing inmates in SHUs.
During assessment for SHU placement, the use of testimony of an in-custody informant should be corroborated by an independent source not based on hearsay before being relied upon to place someone in a SHU.
Prisoners facing the drastic consequences of being placed in a SHU should be entitled to the assistance of counsel, even if at no cost to the state. The “matrix” CDCR uses to place prisoners in the SHU as alleged gang members is entirely unrelated to serious misconduct, alleged leadership of a dangerous gang, recruiting gang members to engage in gang violence etc.
The “matrix” allows CDCR officers to place prisoners in solitary confinement because of books, photographs and holiday postcards they possess, because they “associated” with a gang member (which could mean a conversation or simply exercising together), for having a tattoo which could be 10 years old, because a co-defendant at a trial years ago was a gang member etc. Under the “matrix,” if CDCR had the space available, it could probably place about 75,000 prisoners who may be validated as gang members in SHUs.
We do not believe that the range of provisions in SB 892 related to review by the Office of the Inspector General of cases in which SHU placement is based on the testimony of a confidential informant, the appointment of ombudsmen, the requirement for a weekly “face-to-face” encounters with CDCR employees, the appointment of an “advocate” for an inmate being processed for SHU placement, or the Step Down Program in SB 892 will make any measurable difference in CDCR solitary confinement practices. The Inspector General is unlikely upon review of a file to reverse CDCR decisions based on confidential informants. Allowing an “advocate” to assist in the SHU assignment process will most likely mean assignment of a guard who could care less about the result. We are aware of no hard data CDCR has ever produced for review by the public, by prisoners or by experts showing that the decades-old gang validation program works, or that it has reduced gang affiliations, facilitated gang truces or reduced prison violence.
If SB 892 is not enacted, further legislation could be considered in the next legislative session after CDCR data is collected by the legislature and through a now-pending Public Records Act lawsuit several of us have joined as plaintiffs. This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). A pangolin waits for its freedom, after a wildlife bust, 27th April 2015, Medan, Indonesia.
We are then escorted past two shipping containers towards the back of the warehouse into a separate room.
After absorbing that scene, I’m quickly called over to view the inside of a refrigerated shipping container, as the door opened I was hit with a cloud of condensation, it started to clear, frozen pangolins were randomly placed in plastic bags and boxes alongside sacks of pangolin scales and meat.
My mind raced off to Southern China and Vietnam where these animals are consumed by the thousands for the exotic meat trade, and the scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine with the unfounded claim that they treat a variety of ailments. This huge seizure was a joint operation between the Indonesian National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division (BARESKRIM MABES POLRI), the Government of Indonesia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU) in Medan, Sumatra.
A total of 96 live animals were found, along side 5 tons of frozen pangolins, 100 kilograms of scales with an estimated black market value of 1.8 million US dollars. Deputy Director Special Crime, CID of the Indonesian National Police, Police Senior Commissioner Didid Widjanardi displays frozen pangolins, 27th April 2015, Medan Indonesia.
A plain cloths police officer inspects frozen pangolin during a press conference at the crime scene, 27th April 2015, Medan, Indonesia. The bust took place on April 23, 2015, at a warehouse near Belawan port in Medan, the largest city on the island of Sumatra. In recent years, the price of pangolin has increased sharply in the international market, driven by demand from China. Based upon evidence gathered during the arrest, the shipment was headed to China via Belawan port where the container was to be transferred to a vessel destined for China via Haiphong Seaport in Vietnam. Deputy Director Special Crime, CID of the Indonesian National Police, Police Senior Commissioner Didid Widjanardi said, “Pangolins are protected under Indonesia Law.
A couple of hours later the WCS team start loading the live pangolins onto the back of a truck, making preparations to get them to the release site before days end. Local press and wildlife officials joined the convoy, and after two hours we reach the protected forest on the outskirts of Medan. On arrival all the crates were offloaded and then carried to different locations in the forest.

Pangolin release, after 96 live pangolins were confiscated, 27th April 2015, Medan Indonesia. Critically endangered mother and baby pangolin, were part of a release effort on the outskirts of Medan, 27th April 2015, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Help us is spreading the word about the plight of the pangolin by sharing this article, and letting more people know, before the pangolin is gone.
Other organizations that are working to raise awareness of the pangolin include Save Pangolins and  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group.
I truly, truly have begin despise the Chinese culture for its antiquated, cruel and greedy customs and lame excuses of folk medicine and superstition to slaughter what is really the worlds heritage.
The only way to stop all this is through the rigorous application of two concepts and it is unfortunately, God who is not believed by many. Per se, Education and the lack of it is what causes this murder, and the ones who spout murder are the Mullah’s and the elders who are said to be educated but are in fact most illiterate and uneducated. Dan Natusch, Red Listing of an animal’s conservation status is dependant on many factors. Allowing a regulated legal trade would give us an opportunity to learn about the ecology of this species from the same people that are now hunting them so successfully. 1) The fact that pangolins were found in such numbers in this bust is not an indication of them being numerous, but rather an indication of an out of control crisis. 2) to your point of legalizing hunting and trade of the pangolin, multiple studies have been done about ivory and rhino horn trade that proves that rather than normalizing the trade, such measures would simply amplify it.
3) You comment seems to imply that writing articles is as far as activism goes, that we do not think outside the box.
I am so sick and tired of man believing he can do what he wants to whom he wants anytime he wants ! China is to blame and it is a disgrace to their country to allow this destruction of the world’s wildlife.
The torture the following year of Vaughn Dortch, a Black man who survived an attempt to boil him alive until his skin fell down around his ankles, horrified judges and the public.
CCPOA, the guards’ union, acknowledged as the most powerful lobby in California, recognizes segregated – or solitary – confinement as a relatively safe and extremely lucrative assignment, with generous overtime.
As it stands currently, SB 892 does not eliminate SHU assignment for mere gang association and it does not eliminate indeterminate SHU terms.
This is the same principle now applied in criminal court cases since state law was amended in 2011.
Pro bono counsel could in many cases be identified to assist prisoners charged with something that may result in being given a long or indefinite term in a SHU. The “matrix” that SB 892 would adopt into state law has nothing to do with the co-called “worst-of-the-worst” alleged gang members. The criteria in the “matrix” have nothing to do with a prisoner engaging in serious wrongdoing or even planned wrongdoing.
This message from Palestinian hunger strikers is painted on Israel’s apartheid wall in the little town of Bethlehem. Ombudsmen will be of little value as long as inmates can be placed in SHUs for alleged gang association when they have engaged in no wrongdoing. And the proposed Step Down Program focuses on forcing prisoners to disavow alleged gang association rather than on a behavior-based model considering whether the prisoner has violated rules while in the SHU. Nor has CDCR ever provided data showing that California is somehow unique and, unlike other states, needs a sledgehammer gang validation policy.
Brown • Greg Thomas • group punishment • guards’ union • Hunger strikes • indefinite SHU status • indeterminate terms in solitary confinement • Individual accountability • inhumane conditions • Israel’s apartheid wall • Matrix • Members of the California Senate and Assembly • minor rule violations • National Geographic • Office of the Inspector General • Palestinian hunger strikers • Pelican Bay prisoners • Pelican Bay State Prison • prison violence • Pro bono counsel • programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates • Public Records Act lawsuit • public safety • R.N. Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. A huge seizure of pangolin was conducted by the Indonesian National Police along side WCS’s, Wildlife Crimes Unit. My taxi pulls up into an industrial part of town, where we are greeted by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s, Wildlife Crimes Unit.
Sixty multi-coloured poultry crates line the floor, prison cells with stressed, scared and dehydrated pangolins pacing back and forth.
During a pangolin bust conducted by the Indonesian National Police along side WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit. Sadly the pangolin has become the most highly traded mammal on the black market, and consequently one of the most threatened.
Belawan port has a reputation for being a smuggling hub for illegal wildlife trade in Sumatra.

The trader also admitted to shipping live pangolins to Penang, Malaysia through the remote seaport in the past. Four of the species are of Asian origin including the Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanicus), which is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Indonesian National Police and WCS’s WCU have done a great job in tackling pangolin smuggling since 2008. Sometimes very lucrative businesses based on overexploitation of natural resources or practices harmful to the environment, find their biggest allies in people who cannot afford to think about the consequences to their actions. After living in China for 20 years and following the wildlife trade for so many of those years from bear bile farming to shark fin and manta ray gill trade. The trade in animals of all kinds is horrible, but this article makes it seem as if China is somehow responsible for a moral crime, when if we looked at the conditions that produce much foie gras, for example, we see that the West is also capable of creating animal misery for human consumption.
With this you can have a fairly numerous species today, but predict that if pressure continues at current rates, it will soon run into problems. Numbers in the wild are just one element, range is another, reproductive strategy is another (time to sexual maturity, numbers of young etc.) which effect recovery time. We wish to follow up on our previous letter, as SB 892 has now been approved by the Senate and is being considered in the Assembly. Weekly “face-to-face” encounters already happen almost every day when our food is served or a psych tech walks past our cells. Despite these misguided and costly provisions in SB 892, we would support the bill if it were amended to include the three recommendations identified above. Until CDCR releases the type of data sought in both SB 892 and the pending Public Records Act lawsuit and it is made available for review by all stakeholders, neither Gov.
Dewberry • restricted privileges • SB 892 • SB 892: Letter from four main reps at Pelican Bay to California legislators • Security Housing Units • Sen.
Names of hunters are listed on the left with dates, times and the amounts they dropped off. Smugglers also ship pangolin innards, including fetuses, for traditional medicinal purposes. The pangolin’s large scales are made of keratin, the same material as fingernails and rhino horns, and account for 20% of its weight. We will continue our collaboration in the future through preventive actions, which is important to saving pangolins. A few dollars are peanuts for such businesses but can probably buy several meals for poor families. Judging from the numbers mentioned in this article, my guess would be this might be a factor in the assessment of pangolins. These factors combine to mean that an animal may be comparatively common in a specific location, but still critically endangered. The nationwide trend is clearly not to place prisoners in segregated housing units for alleged gang association without accompanying serious rule violations. Hancock’s SB 892 • serious rule violations • SHU • Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa • Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (R.N.
One hunter going by the name of Joni delivered 10 live pangolins in one day with a total weight of 38.3kg. Is it not a time to reflect on the mistakes we have made and move to a more sustainable and frugal way of life – for the future of all living creatures, including ourselves? Please don’t assume that scientists just make stuff about the endangered status of wildlife.
Numerous states have moved in this direction for public safety reasons, for humane reasons and to cut costs.
Dewberry) • solitary confinement • Step Down Program • testimony of a confidential informant • Todd Ashker • torture • U.S. Under the Indonesian law, trafficking of pangolins and their parts or by-products is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of USD $10,000. For example, take now Totoaba before that it was Bahaba, at the same time it’s wiping out the vaquita.
It is too global a task, but we can therefore kill the trade since education reaches only a few.
Add to them the several others, it equates to mass murder of a living creature to prolong the life of a human..

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