Zaharibu, or Michael Reed Dorrough, is held a prisoner at the California State Prison – Corcoran Secure Housing Unit (SHU). He was falsely arrested in 1985. He has spent more than 24 years in solitary confinement.
With this website we, Friends of Zaharibu, show our support for his case for innocence.
Also, we want to highlight the torturous conditions inside California’s solitary confinement units: locked in a very small cell for 24 hours a day, with only yardtime a few hours a week; no telephone calls ever; one hour visits behind glass; never being able to touch one’s family/loved ones; one photo a year they had to fight for to get; inadequate food and clothing, etc. Zaharibu needs to be heard and released.
We have also created a Facebook profile page for Zaharibu that we manage to keep in contact more easily with his family and friends, supporters.
Note: “Being validated” does not mean a lot, it is the terminology of the California dept. of Corrections (CDCR). The term is being used not only for gang members but also to lock-in solitary people who adhere to authors, political programs, etc. that are classified by CDCR as undesirable in their views. Making these prisoners political or politicised prisoners.
Michael Dorrough, an inmate at California State Prison, Corcoran, who has spent 24 years in the SHU after being validated as a member of the Black Guerilla Family in 1988, is skeptical of any talk of reforms:
It is virtually impossible to figure out or believe anything you might hear regarding the step down program. It’s supposed to be revised again. This will be the sixth revision. In all honesty I would not want to be included in it. Aside from those privileges that have been outlined in each of the draft proposals, you have no idea what the expectations are. And it is stated that there are expectations. There is a contract that you must sign stipulating that you agree with whatever the expectations are. No one knows what the contract looks like and that’s usually the best indication that something is wrong.
Dorrough, who has been held in all three of California’s SHUs, writes of psychological struggles as a result of his prolonged isolation:
I know that, psychologically, damage has been done. I don’t just talk to myself, I curse myself out. Sometimes I’ll drop something, a piece of paper, a spoon, and I’ll get mad at whatever I’ve dropped. I’ll snatch it off the floor with the intention of harming it.
You can actually feel yourself disconnecting. And I ask myself from what? You really have been cut off from everything. This is it.
And here we are only allowed out to the yard cages once, maybe twice a week. We are confined to the cells 24 hours a day, five or six days a week. I have developed a condition in which I bite down on my back teeth constantly. It’s been happening for a couple of years. And the only thing I have been told is that it’s all in my mind.
“Isolation can really crush your spirit,” he writes.
Michael Zaharibu Dorrough
P.O. Box 3481,
Corcoran, CA 93212
(Zaharibu was forcibly removed from 4B to 4A during the July 2013 hunger strike)