Ok 2011 June : EddyZheng.com

Why not me?

An African American young man robbed me at gunpoint at approximately 11:40 pm.

I parked my car across the street from my house, got my bag from the back trunk and started walking. Out of nowhere, the man in black cap, black hoodie, black jean and black shoes pointed a black gun in my face and pinned me against my car. He started to pocket check me and took my Iphone. Somehow I felt extemely calm under the circumstance. I told him to take the cash I had in my pants’ right back pocket and leave. He said he wanted everything. I shared with him that I was in prison for 21 years and that it’s not worth it, that he shouldn’t be doing this. He didn’t listen and continued to reach for my other pocket for my wallet. I was able to held on to it and kept talking to him. Then he just walked away. I walked after him to asked to give me back my phone. He refused. As I got closer to him, he turned around and pointed the gun at me as if he’s going to shoot me. I backed off. He walked calmly down the street and disappeared into darkness.

I called the police and made a report. At the end of my statement I wrote, “I would like to see some form of restorative justice in dealing with the prepetrator.”

Facebook note:

I just got robbed by an young African American brother at gun point a couple of hours ago across the street from my house. He got my IPhone and some cash. When I reasoned with him, he didn’t want to hear it and made the gesture to shoot me. I backed off. Fortunately, unlike my mother and brother, I didn’t get hurt. I hope no African American brothers will rob and hurt any of my family member in the future again.

I do hope that there will be some form of restorative justice in dealing with this. Please do not call me on my personal phone until futher notice.

Peace, love and community.

6-30-2002

I got up and anticipated to go to the yard for some fresh air, but it was cancelled. There was no explanation. They can do that.

The rest of the day I fell into a sleep mode. I went in and out of a sleeping state until the evening.

I didn’t do much except for reading Hikmet’s poems. It inspired me to want to write a couple of my own. I have a couple of good ideas. All I need to do is write it.

“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” Colton

6-29-2002

I had a good workout before shower. I ate well after I’m cleaned up and relaxed. I was able to talk to Rico for a bit. He was awaked for a change. I was about to go take a nap when an Officer ask if I wanted to go to Walk Alone yard. I was surprised since I’m assigned to 2 yard. I decided to go since I’ve been cooped up for two weeks without fresh air.

It was beautiful outside. I was in the cage by myself. I talked to PT for the whole time I was out there. We had a good conversation. I was wonderful to breathe in some fresh air. I was lucky to be in the right cage to get some sunshine on my body. It felt good. The cage was just part of my reality at the time. I don’t think about it and let it restrict my moment of living. It’s all part of the survival skill.

I kicked back and read the newspapers. I read a little bit of Romeo and Juliet. I like to recite the part where Romeo talks to Juliet under her window.

The night is almost over. I’m ready for tomorrow. I shaved today, but it’s not clean. The razor didn’t do the work. Oh well.

 

6-28-2002

The long anticipated ICC hearing is here. I waited in the cage with my prepared written statement. Associate Warden W was the head of ICC. I stated that I have not received the 72 hours notice. Counselor E sworn that he handed me the notice personally. I insisted that I did not receive any paperwork. He then said he gave it to an Officer to give the notice to me. I did not get it. A.W. W looked in my C-file and found the notice. It made Mr. E looked like a fool. Instead of postponing the hearing, I decided to sign the waiver since I was prepared. I had a chance to read my statement and turned it over to CCII H. A.W. W said ICC did not violate my right of due process because the warden saw me, but it was postponed. They did violate my right since they didn’t review me. When I said ICC violated my right to be outside of my cell to exercise, A.W. W said, “I know.” I hope my 602 will wind at the end. These people are violating my right. I was told I will be retained in Ad Seg pending the completion of the investigation. I’ll be in Ad Seg for awhile. I want to feel regret, but I just have to go with the flow. There is a purpose for everything.

I help “Little” with his statement for board.

I read the newspaper for the night, A sent me a postcard before she left for business and vacation. She knows what happened and wants to know more. She hinted that G might come visit me. I don’t have much to say when I see her. I appreciate her concern.

I’m set to stay here for awhile.

 

6-27-2002

I got up early to exercise. Maybe I was working out on an empty stomach, I felt a little dizzy after awhile. I listened to my body and stopped. I had an all right workout.

My neighbor has a lot of endurance. He was doing all kinds of exercises for a long period of time.

I studied my Spanish for awhile. I need to put more time into it. I haven’t start writing creatively.

G dropped by to say hi. He told me Mike is in new Folsom SHU (Security Housing Unit.) I’m not sure how true that is. He said there was an article in the Marin Independent Journal on SQ’s racist segregation policy. That probably helped speed up his transfer. !Que lastima! I hope all is well with him. He should because he has a strong will. G said Rico’s going to committee tomorrow and that he should get release back to mainline. I hope so.

I received a note from C saying that B will probably come visit me this Saturday or sometime this week. I hope she knows that she has to make an appointment to come up. I wrote him back and sent him the AG’s request for another extension. I can’t believe those people.  They can’t get any witnesses to defend themselves, but they’ll keep trying and dragging the whole process. I hope C will file an opposition to the Ex Parte for extension.

I received my copy of the motion for relief. I hope the judge will rule on my motions soon and help me out. There was no law library for Carson section today. So I couldn’t make any copies. I wrote a letter to AR and kept her updated. What else can I say? I didn’t write to Yuri cause I didn’t know what to say. Maybe I’ll do it next week.

I’ve been eating a lot. Maybe I’ll gain some muscle. I haven’t been to the yard at all since I got here. I don’t miss it. I can hang staying in the cell, but that’s not healthy. I need some fresh air. I have to be ready mentally for ICC tomorrow. Hopefully things will turn around for me.

 

6-26-2002

As I was taking a nap after breakfast, I heard the PA called Mike’s name to “packing it up, you’re out of here.” I was wondering if he’s leaving the unit or being transferred. After some deductive reasoning, I came up with two possibilities. One, he’s moving to East Block; two, he’s being transfer. After waiting for about fifteen minutes, Mike told me he’s transferring. He told me to stay focus and send his best to Rico. All I said was okay. I didn’t have any special feelings after knowing that he’s leaving. I wished I could have said more, but it wasn’t there. Normally I would probably feel a sense of loss because I’m here by myself. I might never see him again or speak to him again. I don’t know why I didn’t feel anything. My mind stayed peaceful. Could this be the start of a new beginning in my life? Only time will tell. I sat down and mediated. I asked the benevolent Guan Yin to protect Mike and his family. I prayed for all my friends and their families. I prayed for myself and my family. Then I breathe. I was sitting comfortably for awhile. It helped.

I received my canteen order. Now I have plenty of everything. Life goes on.

I received a letter from another supportive stranger for my parole situation. SB wrote a very honest and heartfelt letter. She introduced herself to me and encouraged me to have faith. She’s a born again Christian. She has had a difficult life as a drug addict and prostitute. She said Jesus saved her. She read my story and felt the need to write to me in support. I wrote her back and thanked her kind gesture. I offered her to write to me if she wants. I don’t mind getting to know her better. So far I have received two letters from strangers and one from an old acquaintance.

I wrote a letter to J about fishing. I haven’t heard from her in two weeks. I’m sure she’s fine, but I would like to hear from her. Our relationship is slowing down because of the long distance.  I have no control of that. I’m grateful for what we have. No pressure. No expectation.

I got a letter from the AG (Attorney General) asking for another extension on the Return. What is taking so long to get the necessary papers if they have them? They have nothing to justify their illegal actions. I hope the judge doesn’t grant the extension. I’ll send a copy to C tomorrow.

I haven’t heard from Mom yet. Hopefully the letter’s on the way. I’m not worry worried. It would be better to know that the family’s all right.

Mike’s departure is not as dramatic as I thought it would be. I’ll miss him. Can’t believe he’s laying on a bed in new Folsom already.

I haven’t heard from Rico. I hope he’s all right. It must be tough for him in some ways. I feel for his family. This is the price we pay to fight for justice and what is right.

No exceptions.

 

6-25-2002

The day went by quickly in a sense that it seems like I’m in a different time zone. In many ways life in Ad Seg (Administrative Segregation) is operating in an abnormal way. A person’s mind will get break in and adopt to the working of the new environment after the first initial shock. I was mentally prepared and desensitized so I was able to embrace the situation. I haven’t been dwelling into the present and what might be in stored in the future. It could sound like I’m in denial. Maybe in a small way, but I’m not. I didn’t want to think about the unknown and speculate too much. I choose to go with the flow.

I had a productive workout in the afternoon. I need to keep it up. It helps my mind to stay focus.

I received a postcard from C. He requested my authorization to file a group 602. I appreciate his help. I wrote him back and gave him a quick update. Hopefully the court will appoint him to represent me soon.

B sent me a Weekly along with some wisdom. She spoke about making compromises as a socially aware person. She’s concerned about my well being. She wants to see me get out of prison and make a more effective impact in society. I was thinking the same topic before I received her letter. I wrote her and expressed my appreciation. I need to have a dialogue with her and others about the “compromise” topic. Deep inside I know what I feel and need to do. I just need to crystallize it and start moving forward. I hope I will be able to overcome this present struggle and come out victorious. Then I can utilize my discipline and work toward my parole and get out of prison.

I received a copy of the latest motion from the court. It was a duplicate one I sent, but without my signature. I hope the court will rule on my motions soon and help me end this forced retreat.

I did some reading and went to sleep.

 

6-24-2002

It’s difficult to determine what time of the day it is. There is no watch or clock around unless one is going out of the unit. The way of not knowing exactly what time it is could help the passing of time.

Breakfast is served early, around six thirty in the morning. I got up early and did my exercises. Then I was ready for shower thinking it’s mid morning.

I was call to medical. When I got to the cage, it was only eight o’clock. Time went by slow if I know exactly what time it is. I gave some blood and urine sample for testing. W wasn’t at work. His co-worker told me that he was called in by the captain in the morning. He thinks he’s getting roll up and under investigation. I was sorry to hear that. However, I don’t know for sure if W is here or not. I told Mike about it on the way back.

N got me a blanket. He wanted to be helpful. J gave me a book to read. I gave my statement to my counselor on the classification issue. I hope he got it. I received a letter from P. It was for A. The letter was re-routed to me. It took two weeks to get to me. My mail is being held and read closely. I don’t like that because it’s illegal for them to withhold my mail without giving me a notice. I haven’t receive any mail after my placement in Ad Seg. I’ll wait to raise the issue in ICC.

I wrote to P and informed her on my situation. I’m getting tired of writing the reason for my lock-up. I wrote K a letter asking him about my writ. He needs to let me know what’s going on. I don’t’ like his lack of communication.

I finished reading about Zheng He and China’s treasured fleets. It’s a shame that the emperor was weak and didn’t keep the naval force. China could have been the most powerful country. I got more good books tonight, the Prince, Romeo & Juliet, and a Japanese novel. I got the U.S.A. paper also. I have plenty to read. I also received 2 Missalettes from the chapel.

 

6-23-2002

My hand is cramping from writing all night. I wrote 7 letters and a 602. I wrote to Sis, AC, A, L, S, O an J. I had to repeat the same story on why I’m in segregation. I took time to write the 602 as a citizen’s complaint. I had to write it three times to make sure I got things down. It was tedious, but it has to be done. I wrote a short free write on eating a nectarine mindfully to J. It came out nice.

I told AC to check if my site is up or not. If not, I might have to take up her husband’s offer. I asked all of them to write a support letter for me. I have to start solicit them now and get them ready by the end of September.

I slept most of the morning away. Mike had a visit. It must’ve been his Mom. The days are going by fast. I haven’t touch any Spanish yet. I have been eating a lot lately, but can’t gain an ounce. I have plenty more letters to write.

 

6-22-2002

I stayed up and read the Levathes book. It was getting good. I enjoyed reading it.

I got up early and exercised. I had a decent workout. The gunman commented, “Are you on Steroid or something?” as I was going to the shower. I was looking buff, I guess.

The day just flew by. I just read, eat and sleep. Sometimes I don’t remember what happened.

 

6-21-2002

What supposed to be an ICC ( Institutional Classification Committee) turned into a reschedule hearing. I was prepared with m y statement in my pocket to read in the committee. I waited more than an hour in the holding cage for the warden to show up. I’m used to waiting for a long period of time. That became part of my reality.

Mike went in first for his transfer hearing. ICC elected to transfer him to New Folsom State Prison. After I sat down in front of a bunch of familiar faces, the ICC started. Counselor E asked if I had received a notice for the ICC. I said no, nor did I get a copy of the CDC 114D. He asked if I wanted to waive my 72 hours right of notice. I did not waive my right. Then he stated that he will send me a notice and call me back for ICC next week. Warden asked would I be overdue on the ICC. Mr. E said no. By the time I go back to ICC it would be more than the 10 days I was supposed to be review by ICC. They violated my right under Title 15 section 3335(c). I documented the situation. I don’t know what would happen when I go to ICC next time. The odds are that I will be transfer to another prison. There’s a slim chance that I might be able to stay if the court ruled the Ex Parte in my favor. We’ll see.

For now, I’m stuck in the cell for another week. My mind is still in a peaceful state. Something is giving me the strength and guidance. I just have to follow the light.

In the afternoon, Officer T delivered a bag of my property. It was the property seized by ISU (Investigation Service Unit) on May 15, 2002. I signed for it. However, there was no itemization of my property. It only had done on the inventory list, 1 book, 25 loose photos, legal material, and writings. After I checked through the property, I noticed some postcards, letters from B and other writings were missing. The ISU or Lt. N must have kept them. I will want those back. They gave me back the property because of the 602. I haven’t received any response yet. I assume I’ll get it next week.

Right now, I have plenty to read since I have a lot of articles. I also have my Spanish lesions, homework and quizzes. I’ll be able to study Spanish. I sorted through all the materials and letters. It’s good to get all of J’s letters back. Now I can write to her and catch up on her questions. I have more than I thought I would have in the hole. I can’t complain that I don’t have anything to keep me busy or that I lack food. I know I’ll be here for a couple of months. I can handle it. If I can get back on the mainline, cool. If not, that means it’s time for a new start. I go where destine takes me. I felt excited for a few minutes knowing I have all the good readings.

I didn’t receive any mail. That’s a bummer. I should get some next week. I hope Mom wrote and is all right. I’ll write Sis a letter.

 

Write 2 Read, Guest Speaker

Juvenile Hall Literacy

I will be speaking to approximately 25 youth and young adults who are locked up in the Juvenile Justice Center.

current favorite book:
How It All Began
One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
by Conor Grennan

2011 Alex Awards Committee
2500 Fairmont Drive
San Leandro, CA 94578
510.667.4347 (office)

Write 2 Read – Juvenile Justice Center is an Alameda County Library program in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Probation Department

Run, Ed, Run!

I am honored to Co-Chair the campaign to support San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.  Please join us at the grand opening of our campaign office on Saturday, June 25, 2011!

 

SF Mayor Ed Lee for Re-Election

A Message from Our Co-Chairs

We are excited by the outpouring of support that our Run, Ed, Run campaign has received in its first week!  And we have much more planned to get the word out and to spread the message:  We want Mayor Ed Lee to run in November!
This weekend, we will hold a grand opening of our campaign office.  And we would like you to attend:

Run, Ed, Run Campaign Office Opening

Saturday, June 25th
10:30am
1565 Mission Street (at S. Van Ness)

We hope to see you there!
Co-Chairs Supporting Ed Lee


Ed Head PrideGear Up for PRIDE

Next Sunday, join your fellow Ed Heads at Gay Pride! We’ll be mobilizing teams of volunteers to pass out Run, Ed, Run stickers and materials during the Pride parade and festival.

Come get your PRIDE on, and show that ‘Ed Head‘ spirit!!!

Meet us at the Run, Ed, Run office at 9:30am (corner of Mission and South Van Ness)!
We’ll have some food and drinks (coffee!) in the morning before we head out.


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6-20-2002

I had a productive day. I got up early and exercised, ate breakfast and showered. It’s good to be able to stay discipline to exercise. That’s one way to stay positive and healthy.

I finished reading a romantic book. It helped pass time. I have plenty to read so I try to balance the subject matter so I don’t get burn out. I went to the law library and did some research and familiarized with the Title 15 sections pertaining to me. I made some copies and didn’t get the full set. I didn’t realize it until I got back to the cell. I had to handwrite the copies that I missed. I sent the Ex Parte to the court and a self addressed stamped envelope. Hopefully I’ll hear from the judge soon.

I received a letter from the Inspector General. It will look into the concerns I raised on San Quentin policies. That’s good. I got my first 602/citizen’s complain back. The appeal coordinator said it was a duplicate to something I had filed. It wasn’t. I will wait and see if she returns the second citizen’s complaint I filed.

I got a reroute mail from AC. It’s a big surprise. The last time I heard from her was about four years ago. She read my story in the SF Weekly and decided to write. She sent me some photos of her rabbits and her husband. She offered to help me to set up a website since her husband is a “computer geek.” I wish I’ve heard from her sooner. I appreciate her gesture. Hopefully she’ll be able to help me in the long run.

I wrote a letter to BY and asked her to generate some community support for us. It’ll definitely help. I drop a letter to Fr. O to say thank you and told him what’s going on. He’s a good dude. I stayed up and wrote out a statement for tomorrow’s committee hearing. I hope it’ll help. I’m ready to go to sleep.

Mike had a nice ride to Marin County jail. He said it was beautiful outside.

 

6-19-2002

I didn’t receive any mail today. I know the Community Resource Manager is holding my mail. He’ll stoop to sub human level to mess with me. “God” will punish his evil deeds.

The night was quiet so I got a good sleep for the first time. I even dreamed about things. I start reading the Harper’s. I like the article “Notebook” on Thomas Paine by Lewis H. Lapham. I learned something new. I’m reading between books. It helped pass time.

Mike had an attorney visit and so did I. C came up to see me. I met him for the first time. He wore a dark suit with tie, bespectacled, shaved head, about 5’8, 150 lbs and very talkative. He seemed passionate on helping me. He asked questions just to check on some facts and see if our stories matched. He said he work from 9 to 10. He plays electric guitar. He was drinking coffee and eating Famous Amos cookies. He seemed to have lots of energy. He mentioned that I’m very popular in the city because of the article in the SF Weekly. I asked him to call B to keep her updated. C made it clear that he’s an advocate to me. He’ll do what he can to help until he gets appointed by the court. I appreciate his effort and honesty. I brought up the issue of transfer. He’ll do what he can to stop it, but it’ll be difficult since that is not a right. He’ll write a letter concerning the retaliation to the warden and cc N.

It’s obvious that N wants us out of her regardless the outcome of the investigation. That’s he’s dirty way of punishing us. What a low life! Everything is out of my hands. The higher power is in control. I have to have fate that things will work out. I will get out of prison in the next couple of years if not sooner.

I wrote a letter to C and thank him for his help. I wrote to Mo about sending me reading materials. He’ll come through for me. I wrote a request to the librarian for some magazines. Let’s see if he comes through or not. Someone gave me a couple of books. One is Republic of China by Schurmann and Schell, another history book on China. The other book is Kind and Usual Punishment by Jessica Mitford. I have plenty to read now. I exercised and took a birth bath. It felt good. Rico moved to cell 2C48.

 

6-18-2002

I wrote to J and Mom. I have all the time to write to J now. Too bad I don’t have any of her old letters. I wrote to Mom to assure her that I’m doing all right. I think she’s all right too. I just won’t be seeing her and the family for a few months. As long as they are well, I’m cool. That’s always the case.

G came by to say hi. He asked N’s permission first so he doesn’t get in trouble. That’s understandable. He and his congregation are praying for us. We need all the prayers. I received a postcard from Fr. O. He mentioned some doctor wrote a good letter to the SF Weekly about my case. He’ll try to find it and sent it to me.

I received my Harper’s subscription for July. I’ve never been so happy to receive a magazine. This time I’ll have a chance to read it from cover to cover. J came through for me. I read and relaxed today.

 

6-16-2002

There’s no way I can great a good night sleep when people are yelling early in the morning. I feel sorry for some of them because the’re on meds and they can’t help themselves. This one guy things he’s a pimp and acted like he was talking to the prostitutes. I dislike the derogatory terms he used to curse the women he was supposedly talking to. In someways he’s better off than most of us. He’s living in his own world.

I got up extremely early to do my exercise this morning. It’s our side to shower. I didn’t push myself too hard because I still have this lingering cough. I had a little sweat. I ate breakfast then went to shower. There’re shower cages in the back stairs on the first tier. Things changed some since I was here two years ago. There’re three showers. The cop puts us in, uncuff us, then turn on the water. The razor for shoving is small with a single blade. I scraped some whiskers off. When I finished, the cop turns the water off.

I slept a little and read the Levathes book. I’m learning some new history on China that I didn’t know before. I received two leagl mail. One is a return from the U.S. Attorney’s office. I got the wrong office. The other is copies of Board of Control forms. I mailed the Ex Parte out again .I wrote a letter to M to finish answering her questions. M called my a couple of times, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. He went out for something.

Another day under the belt.

6-16-2002

What is a “Bird Bath?” When prisoners cannot take a shower and they want to clean up, they take a Bird Bath. Birth Bath is washing up using water from the sink inside the cell. Some people just use a wet towel, soak themselves and wipe their bodies dry. Others put some towels by the door to seal the water from leaking out to the tier, use a cup to hold water and really clean their bodies. That’s more work because they have to empty the floor where they put their property and clean up all the water after the Bird Bath. It’s another way to clean the cell.

6-16-2002
“I got busy and wrote 6 letters. It took up a few hours since I’m printing. Plus, I have to think about what I write. I’ll write more tomorrow. The day went by very fast. I couldn’t sleep after breakfast cause of all the yelling. I did some exercise and yoga, then took a bird bath. It felt good. I need more room to move around. Mike hollered a couple times passing by. I hope Rico’s doing well. My back is hurting me from sitting on the books to write. I sent the 602 out. Hopefully it will help. I need to start writing creatively. I need that writer’s book.”

6-15-2002

I didn’t sleep well caused of the loud talking, plus it was cold as usual. I need another blanket if I have to stay here longer.

It’s Saturday so I get to have my first shower. That’ll be the only activity for the day. The water was hot, but I couldn’t adjust the temperature. I enjoyed the private shower. I didn’t find being in the hole shocking as I did a couple of years ago for the first time. The shock value is not there. Of course, my thinking has changed tremendously. I didn’t want to think about anything dealing with the investigation. I’ll have to run things over my head soon to be ready.

J gave me a book and 3 stamped envelopes and a yellow writing tablet. I appreciate that. After breakfast, I went back to sleep. I had a good nap and the bed was warmed. I read and ate lunch and the morning’s gone. I wrote to J for a bit telling her about the routines in here. I got a couple of more books: Kafka’s “Parables and Paradoxes” and Lousie Levathes’ “When China Ruled the Sea.” I’m grateful to have something to read. I’ll definitely learn more about China and Kafka. I wrote the appeal as a citizen’s complaint. Hopefully it will help me get out of here sooner. I have plenty of writing materials. It’s time to write.

I did a few sets of yoga at night. I’ll workout tomorrow. I also need to start meditating. Time is going by faster than I thought. The night is quiet for a change.”

 

A Second Chance – Part 1

From my lawyer:

“Exciting news! On May 6, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in a published precedent decision that Xiao Fei (“Eddy”) Zheng deserves a second chance to stay legally in the United States. The Court was reviewing the prior decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) which had found he should be deported to China because of his conviction for kidnapping at age 16 for which he received a life sentence with possibility of parole. The Ninth Circuit determined that the BIA decision against Eddy was incorrect and incomplete, because it failed to consider one of the most important factors in Eddy’s case – his value to the community, which has been outstanding.

The Ninth Circuit decision favoring Eddy quoted many community leaders, including Jake McGoldrick, then a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and Jane Kim, then a Youth Program Director, who had spoken or written on Eddy’s behalf in support of his request for a waiver of deportation (called the § 212(c) waiver).

With the overturning of the BIA decision, Eddy’s case will now return to the BIA for a new decision. Given the passage of time, including Eddy’ release from immigration custody, it is likely that within a few months, the BIA will order a new hearing before the Immigration Court, so that the Court can have an updated evidentiary record on which to make the new decision. Eddy’s increased value to the community now that he has been a part of that community for several years will again play a prominent role in his presentation of the evidence and, hopefully, in the new decision from the Courts about whether he is allowed to continue to live and work in the United States.

The Court rejected Eddy’s appeal regarding his application for protection under the Convention Against Torture. The Ninth Circuit decision was published as a precedent which means it can also be applied to others in the Ninth Circuit as well.

6-14-2002

As I looked at today’s journal entry, I think hard on why it was so short. Where did that 24 hours go? Being in the hole, I wanted to know what’s going to happen next so I can prepare myself mentally. As a survival technique, it’s important to have something to look forward to.

“The day went by fast. I saw Captain H and answered some routine questions on the lock up order. I will have to stay in the cell for a whole week. I’ll manage somehow. I wrote to J for awhile. I did some light weight exercise and yoga. It’s all right. I’m not fully recover from the little flu. I did received legal mail. It was the copy of my motion against the administration’s retaliation. I did some reading and went to sleep late. It was a good day.”

Reflections from Solitary Confinement

How time flies!? Nine years ago today I was locked up in San Quentin State Prison’s solitary confinement, also known as The Hole. Yes, June 13, 2002 started my life in the hole for exactly eleven months. It all started when my friends Rico, Mike, Stephen and I signed a proposal requesting classes on Asian American history and literature, ethnic studies, a student body, a faculty body and that our rights be honored in the San Quentin college program. It’s a long story.

Few people understand what is like for a prisoner to be locked up in solitary confinement, which it’s a prison within a prison. The psychological effects that  long term isolation has on prisoners are often detrimental. However, I was able to get out of the hole and remain sane. I kept a journal of my time in the hole. I will share it with the world in hope to shed some light on the conditions of solitary confinement and how I had survived that ordeal. I will use the initials of people I identified for confidentiality purposes. Let’s see how folks feel about my time travel back to the past.

6/13/2002

“Evening. I don’t know what time it is right now, but it really does not matter. I’m in the hole. There is no difference if I know what time it is. I have nowhere to go. I’ll be in this cell for a while. I’m by myself.

My companions are noises from people yelling, talking and the echoes of my voice when I hum a few bars. I’m feeling extremely peaceful. There is no feelings of anxiety, regrets and hopelessness. I’m bathing in peace. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way, but I’m grateful. I’m in the hole. My reaction and feeling about being in here is totally different from my first time in the hole.

It was on October 26, 2000 that I was in the same situation. I had everything going for me then. This time I don’t seem to have much. The extreme of having so much to having nothing was too much of a shock for me last time. This time I’m mentally prepared. That made a huge difference. Also, I have faith that I will win when this is all over.

I was at work this morning when Officer R came picked me up. He informed me that I’m going to get locked up. I said goodbye to all the library workers. S cried as he hugged me. He’s a very emotional person. He has a lot of good qualities. I was allowed to pack my things up. When I got to the cell, it was searched by a squad Officer D. He took some books, photographs, writings, letters and misc paperwork. It took me some time to pack up my stuff, mostly books. I much have a hundred books. I ended up with 8 boxes 1 bag and the TV. L helped me carry them to the storage room. He told me that he loves me and that we will win. I believe him. It’s sad to leave him by himself. He’ll have to stay strong and fight for us. I didn’t take a lot of food, only some can goods and rice. I felt calm and peaceful when I was packing.

After I signed my lockup order, C/O R to infirmary and to C section “the hole.” I yelled to Rico while in the cage to let him know I’m here. I stood in the cage for almost three hours. Boy, do I have patient!? I was able to talk to Mike for a bit. he was going to the law library. After I was escorted to my cell, I took time to clean the cell with a piece of rag. Someone left a bible, half of a Stuff magazine and a book in the locker. At least I have something to read if I want to.

My neighbor “Little” gave me three envelops and 3 pieces of paper. I appreciate his help. I wrote a letter to Mom and N. It’s a short letter just to ask them not to worry. I also wrote to K and sent him the copy of 114, (the code for lock up order.) I also sent a 602 as a citizen’s complaint again Lt. N. I hope to hear from the court soon. Dinner was hot doges and beans. I was hungry so I ate them. B sent me a couple of stamped envelops and paper. It was nice of him to do that. Mike gave me some stamps shampoo and toothpaste.

During mail pick up, I received 6 pieces of rerouted mail. They were all inspected and read twice. My mail are flagged. I was happy to receive those letters. I got letter from J, A, M, K and O. I got a fan mail response from the SF Weekly story. K was very vocal about the injustice done by the governor. I want to write her back. A shared a lot with me. He talked to Yuri about me. I’ll read J’s letter before I go to sleep. I wrote her a short letter, but didn’t make it out. I’m still feeling good right now. I hope all is well with Rico, Mike and L.

We will win.”