Mon. May 27th, 2024

By Linda Sutter

A damn if you do, damn if you don’t situation.

Sleep Deprivation

As I was driving down Lake Earl Drive past the Pelican Bay I noticed approximately a dozen people  standing across the street from the prison protesting with a big sign, “SLEEP DEPRIVATION TORTURE. 53 days and counting.”

Keep in mind the number of protestors were less than 10% of the institutional count. I could not resist to see what all the hoopla was about, so I partook in a conversation with these protesters.

“What is going on?” I asked.

“The prisoners in SHU are not allowed to sleep 24 hours a day.”

I repeated what they said to me back to them, with a question in my voice.

One lady who did not want to give up her name, because her son is in the SHU, placed her hand on my shoulder and sang me the sad song about how her son has heart palpitations every time the guards do their security check.

Well, hmmm, maybe your son should not have missed Sunday school that one particular Sunday which ended him up at Pelican Bay.

I tried to explain to these people who are obviously unemployed, and have nothing productive to do except for protest on matters that they have no

“The reason why the guards have to do GUARD ONE security checks is to assure everyone is alive and breathing because a few years ago there was an inmate who was killed by his celly and the cops did not discover the dead guy for 3 days, and only after the live inmate asked to get the smelly body out of the cell.”

In essence it is for their safety.

The second reason is to assure the guards are doing their counts.

A little scrawny old man stepped forward, “You don’t know what it is like in there, I have been in prison, I know what it’s like.”

To which I answered, “I especially know what goes on in Pelican Bay, I worked there for 17 years.”

The attitude of the protestors was that the guards are intentionally wanting to keep the inmates awake. Believe me the guards do not want to keep the inmates awake, they have other things to do.

With that I could clearly see, everyone has a position.

  1. The staff are not trying to keep the inmate population awake, they all know that is the best way to get gassed or assaulted. The Correctional Officers are only doing what has been instructed of them by the Director of Corrections.

    1. Interesting. I was told this is how i could tell when you are lying.

      Good thing for me, i take everything i hear about people with a grain of salt.

      1. coming from a computer warrior, as afterall you are anonymous, however, your email ip is hmmm..think about that

  2. Pelican Bay is by far, the worst prison in California. There are 33 prisons and i’ve been to two of them. Many years ago, i served 8 months in San Quentin then transferred out to Avenal, not far from where i live now.

    During my time there in San Quentin, we had 3 guard induced riots that resulted in the deaths of several people. After being deprived of food and water for 3 days because i chose to speak up, i contemplated suicide. After finally being transferred to Avenal we suffered massive issues from losing water to the prison as well as lack of medical attention for those suffering from everything from Valley Fever to heat exhaustion. People who took medications were continually dying due to their core body temperatures passing thresholds that were survivable. Some people went into comas.

    During the riots and during water outages, we were blocked from making any phone calls and letters incoming and outgoing just vanished.

    I was so scared of reporting what happened after prison while i was on parole, because i didn’t want to get put back in for a bogus violation. I completed my parole and finally moved on with my life.

    The system is criminally broken.

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