Saturday, August 30, 2014

Agreement to End Hostilities, notes from a former SHU prisoner at Soledad

"Ending hostilities means no more violence on the yards – period!"
by Pablo Pina, published 2014-08-30 by "San Francisco Bayview" newspaper []:
Send our brother some love and light: Pablo Pina, D-28079, SVSP Ad-Seg D2-9-196, P.O. Box 1050, Soledad, CA 93960.
Photo: A large, loud, youth-led rally celebrating the launch of the Agreement to End Hostilities was held outside the LA County Jail on the day the agreement took effect, Oct. 10, 2012. – Photo: Virginia Gutierrez

I believe that a lot of racial tension in California prisons comes from this: The end of hostilities is being misinterpreted. It’s not that all these young prisoners are just going into the prison system and running wild. No, I doubt that is the real problem, especially in regards to the Mexican prisoners. Since leaving the SHU, I have spoken to many prisoners and they understand what the call to end hostilities entails.
What is misunderstood by many is that somewhere someone said that it is OK to settle personal conflicts. This, I think, is what is igniting the constant violence, because if one prisoner attacks another prisoner of another group or race, the other group will want to retaliate and it continues and continues.
Thus the result is a riot where all are involved in a conflict that originally started as a personal conflict between one person and another. A move against one person of a racial group or other will result in a retaliatory move by the other. They can’t let it go. So that’s where the problem lies. If there is going to be an end to hostilities, it must be enforced by all groups to the fullest.
When the mandate was sent out to all groups, it stressed that “if, of course, you are attacked you should defend yourself.” That is to say, simply put, that you should not go out and stir up shit, but you should stand your ground.
When I left the SHU, I was asked to explain the end to hostilities even further, and that was for everyone to understand that the end of hostilities means no more bullshit violence on the yards – PERIOD!
The administration will attempt to use the continued violence to their benefit to keep many of those still in SHU up there. They will use the violence as an excuse to continue to deny mainline prisoners many programs and privileges.
For example, I learned that Salinas Valley State Prison has a lot of vocational programs. They have the building, equipment etc. But due to so much violence on all yards, they shut them down. This has gone on for years now.
They will not hire instructors and pay them for doing nothing. They can’t teach during lockdowns, and it makes sense. I imagine all the yards are like this throughout California, and it will continue as long as we continue to act like fools.
I spoke to a lot of folks of all races and all agree that something can and should be done to begin to set the course for better conditions within the prison system. Talking about it is one thing. Putting it into effect is another, but it’s possible so long as we commit ourselves to that goal.
But first, we all need to be on the same damn page! I can tell you right now that we definitely aren’t.
And this is because too many people are interpreting end of hostilities as they see fit for them, and what this does is undermine others’ work, which defeats the whole damn purpose of end hostilities. It’s not just for racial reasons. A lot of folks think that’s what it means. It goes much deeper than that.
The reason many prisoners have been held captive in the SHU had nothing to do with racial tensions. If we were to see why 90 percent of prisoners are in SHU, it has nothing to do with race and has more to do with gang violence.
The lockdowns are what’s keeping a lot of prisoners sitting in their cells because they don’t have any jobs, educational programs etc. etc. A lot of these youngsters come to prison and learn nothing except to continue banging.
The mandate to end hostilities needs to be explained further for some prisoners and there needs to be just one interpretation. Taking care of personal business is not the right way to go because it opens the door for more, continued violence.
I’m out here. I’ve seen the many possibilities that those of you in SHU cannot see. I’ve seen that folks can discuss issues, work together to an extent, but everyone’s hands are tied. Why? Because everyone believes end hostilities means you stay on your side of the yard and I stay on mine – and we just stare at each other.
Everyone believes end hostilities means you stay on your side of the yard and I stay on mine – and we just stare at each other.
There need to be changes, because for those coming out of SHU who cannot associate with fellow prisoners due to the STG and Step Down Program, the way the yards are set up right now is nothing more than a self-imposed trap. For example, a Southern Mexican can only hang out in his area on the yard and the same for a Northern or White, Black etc.
So how the hell could you avoid associating with other gang members? You can’t unless you stay in your cell or walk the track for hours. The Step 5 prisoners will have a difficult time maneuvering their way around the yards. But the yards can’t be opened up so that folks can mingle more freely.
No one plays handball, basketball with any other race. Everyone stays close to their own hood, which deprives prisoners the ability to associate with other races and work towards expanding healthy relationships.
The violence can’t be blamed on all the youngsters. I met some really good young folks from all groups and races. They are not all idiots and wild. But I do believe that more needs to be explained in regards to the end of hostilities. In the meantime, everyone must have patience until more SHU inmates are let out.

Note: Too many young homies are catching cases for scratching others and think they did a good move. Those in reality are embarrassing and were considered PC moves before. Everyone needs to wise up.

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