Rebecca McCray: How Violent Convicts Changed Prisons With the Ultimate Peaceful Protest

How Violent Convicts Changed Prisons With the Ultimate Peaceful Protest
Rebecca McCray, Take Part, September 3, 2015

Every six to eight weeks, Dolores Canales drives 14 hours north from her home in Fullerton, California, to talk to her son, John Martinez, through a glass wall. Martinez has been incarcerated for second-degree murder since 1994. The visits matter, because seeing his mom every couple months is the closest thing to contact he gets with another human being who isn’t a corrections officer.

Martinez has spent the last 14 years in solitary confinement, in Pelican Bay Prison in Crescent City, where he has been for almost five years, and at Corcoran State Prison before that. He is one of the prisoners who will likely reap the benefits of a historic settlement reached Tuesday in a case challenging how, when, and for how long the California Department of Corrections uses solitary confinement.

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