Hundreds Demonstrate For Prisoner Rights In San Quentin

SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) — Hundreds of people gathered outside San Quentin State Prison Monday afternoon for a protest that organizers are calling historic because they say it merges the Occupy and prisoners’ rights movements.

Between 600 and 700 demonstrators were protesting peacefully outside the prison’s East Gate as of 2 p.m., according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

The protest began at noon and was scheduled to continue until 3 p.m. A prison spokesman said San Quentin was on lockdown and that prisoners were being kept in their cells.

Organizer Barbara Becnel said the protesters are calling for a number of reforms, including the elimination of solitary confinement, the death penalty and California’s “three strikes” law, and an end to the practice of trying some juveniles as adults.

The crowd included activists Sara Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who served time in an Iranian prison after being arrested by Iranian authorities while hiking along the Iraq border in July 2009.

Shourd was freed in September 2010, and Bauer and Fattal were released about a year later.

Speaking at today’s rally, Shourd said, “The prison officials say they need more time to end solitary confinement … I say we need to keep the pressure on and we need to end solitary confinement now.”

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

Bectel said the protesters have already achieved one of their goals: bringing the Occupy movement and the prisoners’ rights movement together.

Occupy Oakland’s website encourages its members to participate and lists carpool information for those who planned to attend.

She said the San Quentin rally is one of 15 taking place today at prisons throughout the country — including in New York, Baltimore and Boston — as part of National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.

The groups are seeking change at both the state and federal
levels, and are planning an “Occupy the Justice Department” action in Washington, D.C., on April 24.

Authorities have shut down the Interstate Highway 580 on- and off-ramps at East Francisco Boulevard while the protest continues.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

More from Ann Notarangelo
  • myrna

    Minors need to be tried as adults if they commit murder. Because of the gang problems, there are murders everywhere being committed by minors. You can’t just give them a few years and let them go like we used to do. I also believe in solitary confinement as a diciplinary tool. What other form of punishment could be enforced for wrong doing/violence, etc? And, as far as the death penalty goes, the only problem that I see with it is the length of time it takes to carry it out. Also, I think the only people who should be able to vote on the death penalty are people (families) that have been a victims of crime.

    • Soledad Brother

      So you’re willing to call them minors and treat them as minors in every aspect of their lives except when they do something bad? If anyone has a chance to be rehabilitated it is young offenders. We cannot call ourselves just if we lock them up and give up on them before they ever even have a chance to participate (by voting) in the society that puts them in prison. Also, I think that the only people who should be able to vote on the death penalty are the poor and African-Americans since they are the only people that are ever given the death penalty.

  • Vincent Chew

    These F%$#ing losers. Prisoner rights. What about the rights of the victims? This is a joke.

  • Jeff

    Prisoner rights?

    You have the right not to go to prison. Don’t do that stupid thing you were thinking about doing…..

  • myrna

    I totallly supported Sara Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal’s release from the iranian prison but because of their involvement in the occupy movement, and now this, maybe their hike is iran wasn’t so innocent. Isn’t there a better way for them to celebrate their freedom? Just a thought.

    • BM

      Well, they sure fooled a lot of people, didn’t they?

    • Soledad Brother

      Exercising one’s freedoms and making it a priority to obtain those freedoms for as many people as possible, especially those that are the poorest and most disenfranchised, is the best way to celebrate freedom. Just a more intelligent thought.

  • Trained in Stupidity

    Here’s an idea for you. If your so concerned for their rights, you can take them in to your house and try to keep them on track and paid for instead of the state. When they kill, rape and rob you, maybe, then you will get a clue to what you’re dealing with. If not, you won’t be around to confuse others anyway.

    • john

      Here is an ideal, stop the movies that entertain people with murder, rape, and robbery. We make all these people and the only thing we do to stop these acts are like them up and let others rape, murder and still from them. The liars that make these movies should be raped, murdered, and stole from, so they will understand what they create when they glorify things like this. O I forgot they are rich so they are good. No matter what the rich do they are good and the pore people are bad unless they are a good slave.

  • 8 ball side pocket

    Excrement seems to stick together they have building walls around people for thousands of years.

  • Mikey

    Just watched about the occupy San Quentin on the “news” what a bunch of B.S. the lady they interviewed said they are out there for basic rights such as, “blankets when it’s cold and nutritious meals!!” what a bunch of horse—-!! There are millions of children, elderly and veterans who have never ran afoul of the law and don’t eat nearly as good as these “poor” inmates that receive three squares and the opportunity to go to store.

    Blankets are one of the very first things given to inmates upon arrival, and when they are torn or ripped they get new ones end of story.

    Also they brought in the three Americans that were held in iran! For what?!?! There is no comprehensible way that they can be preparing to compare the two types of prisons.

    Could go on and on…….

  • Muderers

    These idiots cry over prison conditions, but could care less about the victim they raped or murdered. San Quentin is for violent criminals.

    • Soledad Brother

      San Quentin was also for George Jackson who was locked up for 11 years for supposedly stealing $70 from a grocery store. There are indeed murderers within the walls of San Quentin; after all, the white prison guards that murdered George Jackson committed the crime in San Quentin.

  • Soledad Brother

    Is the purpose of prison to minimize their rights, or to rehabilitate them, or to round up a good supply of people that you can force to work for private interests for slave wages? Either way you say that their rights are to be minimized — not taken away entirely as they are in many instances. The bill of rights extends to prisoners too; the 8th amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment, was actually designed specifically for them.

  • Prisoner Rights Need Reform Worldwide - »

    […] February 20, 2012, hundreds gathered outside San Quentin State Prison, one of the United States most notorious criminal institutions. Around 600 demonstrators, including […]

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