Transcript: Former SHU inmate Jose “Danny” Murillo’s remarks at UC Hastings on March 19, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Jose “Danny” Murillo, UC Berkeley student who served 5 years in the security housing unit (SHU) inmate at Pelican Bay. The panel discussion on solitary confinement was held at UC Hastings College of the Law on March 19, 2013.

…So, I’m studying ethnic studies. I’m an undergrad at Berkeley. I’m a student in ethnic studies and a minor in teaching. What I want to do with it – I’m still trying to figure that out. I know that I’m going to focus on prisons when I do get my Ph.D….[inaudible]

You do meet a lot of good folks, you know? I’m at Berkeley and I met Steven. I met a lot of good folks there. What I want to do – I know I want to focus on education because when I got to Pelican Bay SHU, they had the college courses there and when I started doing the college courses – actually when I got the GED and I started doing college courses and I started seeing my grades – A’s and B’s – I think “Oh, I can actually do this.” I’ve never been a good student, you know?

…I was studying in my cell by myself but I had a group of individuals around me that were also taking course and I just got into it…Education saved my life. That’s what happened to me. Education saved my life. Not just education but being able to apply it in a way that empowered me to understand that I’m much more than just somebody to do [time] for assault for the rest of my life…

It was at Pelican Bay that – I had to go to Pelican Bay SHU to have individuals see the potential that I refused to see in myself, and when I was there, I met a lot of great folks…

What I’m going to do with it. I don’t know. I just hope that I’m able to make a positive impact in my community…Wherever people are marginalized, that’s my community.


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