Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monday - Sacramento Hunger Strike Rally at CDCR Headquarters

For Immediate Release July 18, 2011

Hunger Strike Rally at CDCR Headquarters

With Strike in Third Week, CDCR Continues to Reject Prisoner Demands

Press Contact: Jay Donahue
Office: 510-444-0484

CDCR Headquarters, 1515 S St, Sacramento
Monday July 18th, 2011, 1pm

Oakland -- Prisoners families and community
members will gather at 1pm today outside the
California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (CDCR) headquarters in Sacramento
to rally in support of prisoners on hunger strike
at Pelican Bay State Prison. Last week the
leaders of the strike decided to continue
striking because the CDCR failed to address any
of their five core demands during negotiations.
The strike, now in its third week, is reaching a
critical point with reports of dozens of striking
prisoners being taken to the infirmary because of
irregular heartbeats or fainting. Most prisoners
have lost 20-35 pounds. "What's most troubling is
that the CDCR has not offered anything
substantial in response to the prisoner's
demands, which include an end to long term
solitary confinement," says Carol Strickman, a
lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with
Children and member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike
Solidarity legal team. Strickman also notes,
"Some of these guys have been in the Security
Housing Unit (SHU) for 20 years or more and are
suffering the severe affects of being locked in a
6 x 10 concrete cell for 23 ½ hours a day. What
they are asking for are basic human rights."

At least 400 prisoners at Pelican Bay continue to
refuse food and thousands more around the state
are striking in solidarity, including CCI
Tehachapi, Corcoran, Centinela, Calipatria, RJ
Donovan, San Quentin, Valley State Prison for
Women, and Folsom, making it the largest hunger
strike in the history of the embattled California
prison system. The system, under federal
receivership, has been court ordered to release
33,000 prisoners because of medical neglect
caused by severe overcrowding. "We are urging our
state representatives and Governor Brown to step
in and force the CDCR to recognize the prisoners'
demands," says Manuel LaFontaine, an organizer
with All of Us or None, "The California prison
system is already responsible for prisoner deaths
because it provides substandard medical care.
California's lawmakers need to step up and take
action against the situation at Pelican Bay."

Mediators and lawyers who have spoken with hunger
strikers at Pelican Bay say they remain committed
despite having not eaten for 18 days. Some have
said they are willing to strike to the death
unless their demands are met. Dorsey Nunn, a
member of the mediation team points out, "The
hunger strikers believe that this is the only way
they can get the CDCR to rectify the conditions
they are experiencing in the SHU. They believe they have no other recourse."

Supporters of the strikers will continue to hold
rallies and events to highlight the situation at
Pelican Bay and to show solidarity with the
prisoners. For more information and regular
updates, visit

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