Michael Reed Dorrough was falsely arrested and convicted in 1985. He is now 66, and still imprisoned, held a prisoner at SATF, Corcoran. Michael spent more than 25 years in solitary confinement for his political convictions. This site is kept by a dedicated supporter. MichaelReedDorrough.org
Today the interview that Bryan Mazza conducted with Michael Dorrough was aired on KALW’s Uncuffed (91.7FM in the Bay Area, or online at kalw.org. He speaks about his time in the newly built SHU in Pelican Bay prison, where he started the 26 years he was locked in solitary confinement.
We received the joyful news that as of November 2015 Zah is out of solitary confinement! He is still being held at a Level iii which means he is not allowed out of his cell after 3 PM. But overall he sounded much better in his letter.
Although he writes it is cold up there (no heating in the cells), the food is usually hot, and not bad, and he has spent time out in the yard, which has helped his health too. He can also see the mountains when he leaves his cell. Also, he has been able to call regulary, something which still is very special, because for most of the 26 years Zah spent in solitary, he was not allowed to call.
The prison is about 6 hours from his family in Compton, which is too far for his elderly mother to travel, so we hope that he can one day be moved closer to her, but best would be if his case was overturned…
Since April 2015 Michael Reed (Zaharibu) Dorrough has been in prison for 30 years while innocent. Zaharibu is now 61. He is being kept in solitary confinement since 26+ years, due to his political views (New Afrikan), and his health is failing because of this stressful and highly unhealthy situation he is forced to live in.
Please read Michael’s story here, and please spread the word. We need Michael to go home, so that he can look after his mother and be with his family. Here you can download a flyer summarizing his case for innocence.
Michael was moved to an adjoining unit in April, because of being moved up to “step 3” in the “Step Down Program.”
We would like to know if there are attorneys or legal helpers or innocence organizations out there who could help us get Michael back into court. Thank you for your consideration.
It is very obvious here that they have no intention of releasing certain people to general population – they are issuing rules violation reports and finding [certain] people guilty for things that make it obvious that it’s politics. I mentioned in a previous letter that we were issued “rules violations reports.”
I believe that the closer certain people get to being considered for release, these “Rules Violations Reports” will be used to justify retaining those people in SHU.
I am no closer to a general population than i was 26 years ago. And the same thing can be said for a number of prisoners. And because so many of us are being issued “Rules Violations Reports” that have absolutely nothing at all to do with gang activity (except in the warped thinking of the i.g.i. [institutional gang investigators] no one is interested in engaging in any of what the Cdcr proposes – and no one should expect us to subordinate ourselves to things like this.
The Cdcr should be willing to admit that certain people will not be released for whatever reason – and then commit themselves to developing programs for those prisoners.
The state would love to have us – still – fighting this battle years from now – while they continue to subject us to torture – and deprive us the opportunities to re-connect with our families and loved ones, and really, nothing has changed. There are no programs at all in place – and, the policies as to the privileges that were available in SDP [Step Down Program] have been reduced.
People here want to program, they look for light at the end of the tunnel, but only see darkness.
Michael Zaharibu Dorrough was moved last week from his cell which he shared with his comrade and who helped him with the medical issues, to a single cell, because of his CPAP-Machine (to help against sleep apnea). It was a move against his will.
The Assistant Wardens did not allow him to use his extension cord, which he has had since a year without any danger, and the rules are such that he IS ALLOWED to have it. Still, the AW’s took the cord and moved him to a single cell where they think he can use his CPAP-machine. But the cord is STILL too short!
They have not done anything to ensure Mr Dorrough can use the CPAP Machine properly. They do not care. In fact, one of the Assistant Wardens is supposed to help Prisoners with Disabilities. She allegedly went out of her way to have the extension cord taken away. Why?
Please help ensure better quality of medical care for Mr Dorrough and hundreds, maybe thousands more prisoners held indefinitely in dark, dirty cells 23/24 hours a day 7 days a week. Please write in protest to: Medical Receiver Kelso, at CPHCSCCUWeb@cdcr.ca.gov:
Zaharibu’s support suggests sending emails to the CSP-Corcoran SHU Ombudsman Cherita Wofford to let her know prisoners held in CSP-Corcoran SHU unit 4B-1L (maybe in other units also but this is what we know) are NOT receiving their rightful property that was ordered via vendors by their family, and they are receiving paper trays of food, which means a smaller portion every day. Also they routinely get NO YARDTIME. ACTION: Email of the Ombudsman: firstname.lastname@example.org and cc it to: email@example.com. Here is what Zaharibu wrote: “We routinely get beat out of everything that we have coming: – Yard – Personal property items that we are allowed to have (there is a new property matrix out since January and Zaharibu was denied boxer shorts sent in by his parents via a vendor!). – We are fed on paper trays almost daily. I have personally spoken to an associate warden here, and the guy who is in charge of implementing the SDP (step down program), both agree that we should get everything that we are entitled to, but neither of them will do anything, nothing at all, to enforce policy and ensure that we are issued those items that we have coming: receive our yard, and receive our full portion of food (something that is not possible on paper trays).” (from a letter dated Feb 13, 2014).
In: SF Bay View, Dec. 2nd, 2013by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough
To the extent that it is possible, we have been following the legislative hearings and we are hopeful – cautiously optimistic – that something meaningful and permanent will result from them.
We are all mindful of the promises made by some legislators in 2000 that efforts would be made to change the inhumanities that are inherent in the SHUs and exacerbated by the state, the pitting of prisoners against one another, isolating prisoners away from their families and loved ones and housing us in areas that are hostile to us (the complete illness). But we are also mindful that this time the legislative hearings are being held as a result of struggle and sacrifice.
It is what Frederick Douglass meant by “If there is no struggle there is no progress … Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” He also said, “Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.”
And it was magnificent [during the hunger strike] to see inside the walls, to actually struggle together, people from different cultures and spaces. (The hospital here was overwhelmed nightly.)
And it’s really important that we separate ourselves from the state-created gang narrative that has been responsible for so much discourse [and discord] amongst us for so long.
This coming together to reclaim our humanity required political maturity on everyone’s part, young and old alike, throughout the system and the organizing efforts of the many, many progressives out there were and are equally magnificent. It serves as a basis for our hope.
And more than anything I wanted to write to say, from all of us here, thank you (and that is such an understatement) to you, the Bay View and everyone throughout the nation and globe for your courage, leadership, faith and friendship, support and inspiration and love.
There is still so much work to do and freedom to win and we look forward to the struggle ahead with you all. Until we win or don’t lose.
Send our brother some love and light: Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, Cor SHU, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.