On September 26, thousands of California prisoners in inside and outside the state resumed their hunger strike to protest the conditions of solitary confinement in security housing units (SHU). The strike was suspended after three weeks in July to give the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) time they said they needed to respond to prisoner demands, which include.
Since many had refused food for up in three weeks, in July, their health is already seriously compromised and advocates around the state are rallying to support their demands.
CDCR is responding harshly, taking away all family and legal visits, and other prisoner “privileges,” instead of seeing the strike as a powerful non-violent choice, used throughout history, to protest abuse.
At one point, 12,000 prisoners in 12 of the state’s prisons were on hunger strike, including California prisoners held in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma, according to the federal receiver monitoring the state’s prisons.
Corrections officials put the peak number at around 4100, but advocates say officials only counted inmates who missed nine or more meals.
“We believe the prisoners’ long term isolation, for years and often decades, is in blatant violation of constitutional and international law,” said Laura Magnani, Interim Regional Director of the Pacific Mountain Region of the AFSC, and a mediator for the prisoners.
“To punish the right to refuse food, in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, the Iran hikers, and others shames the state of California. The prisoners’ demands are reasonable and should be met.”
Call Gov. Jerry Brown: (916) 445-2841
For the latest updates on the strike go to the Prisoner Solidarity Coalition's blog.