Halima Kazem
September 25, 2015


Security and welfare checks since August 2015 at Pelican Bay state prison requires prison guards to check on inmates in segregated housing, such as solitary confinement cells, every 30 minutes to see if they are hurting themselves or trying to kill themselves.

Prison officials say the suicide checks started based on a 1995 ruling, Coleman v Brown, which said the state wasn’t doing enough for prisoners with mental illness and has been going on since 2006 elsewhere but came to Pelican Bay only a few months ago.

Steven Fama with the Prison Law Office, said the 1995 ruling, Coleman v Brown, lets the state decide how to develop a policy for suicide monitoring that doesn’t involve 30 minute security and welfare checks.

In a 31 August email to CDCR leadership, attorneys at the Prison Law Office said that they “received multiple credible reports from multiple prisoners that custody officers in the SHU are intentionally awakening each and every prisoner in the SHU every 30 minutes through not only aggressive use of the Guard One wand system and excessive stomping/key jingling noise throughout the rounding, but also by repeatedly slamming the door to the Pod, and shining their flashlights into every prisoner’s eyes”.

California prison advocates say suicide checks are inhumane treatment
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Organizations mentioned/involved: Prison Law Office
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