Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Prisoners Across at Least 6 California Prisons Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers


Strike Could Involve Thousands of Prisoners

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Office: 510 444 0484
Cell: 510 517 6612

Oakland More than 100 hours into an indefinite
hunger strike started at Pelican Bay State
Prison's Security Housing Unit, prisoners in at
least 6 state prisons have joined in, with
participation potentially growing into the
thousands. Hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and
other prisoners participating are protesting the
conditions in the Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit (SHU).

Dozens of U.S.-based and international human
rights organizations have condemned Security
Housing Units as having cruel, inhumane, and
torturous conditions. SHU prisoners are kept in
windowless, 6 by 10 foot cells, 23½ hours a day,
for years at a time. The CDCR operates four
Security Housing Units in its system at Corcoran,
California Correctional Institution (CCI), Valley
State Prison for Women (VSPW) as well as Pelican Bay.

As of Tuesday morning, advocates had confirmed
hunger strike participants at Corcoran and CCI,
as well as Folsom, Centinela, and Calipatria
State Prisons. Despite the Hunger Strike
spreading, the CDCR claimed in an LA Times
article this past weekend that less than two
dozen prisoners were on hunger strike.

"The CDCR is not following its own protocol
around hunger strikes, but we have evidence that
thousands of prisoners across in at least 6
prisons in California could be participating in
the strike. We think that CRCR knows this and is
purposefully withholding information," said Carol
Strickman, staff attorney at Legal Services for
Prisoners with Children and legal team
representative for Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity.

In a statement released from Corcoran Prison's
SHU, prisoners said, "It is important for all to
know Pelican Bay is not alone in this struggle
and the broader the participation and support for
this hunger strike and other such efforts, the
greater the potential that our sacrifice now will
mean a more humane world for us in the future."

A recent prisoner work strike in Georgia drew
support from thousands of prisoner across at
least 5 prisoners the largest prisoner strike
in US history. And at the Lucasville, OH State
Prison this January, three hunger strikers won
far-reaching changes to prison policy concerning
conditions for prisoners on death row. "Given
what's happening in California prisons
themselves, its no surprise we're seeing
organized action here too," said Taeva Shefler
from Prison Activist Resource Center. "The US
Supreme Court 'not just liberal activists' has
agreed that California prison conditions amount
to cruel and unusual punishment. This growing
Hunger Strike is the culmination of decades of
abuse, neglect, foot-dragging, and incompetence
by an unbroken sequence of CDCR administrations."

Actions in more than 12 cities are scheduled to
happen throughout this week to show support for
the Hunger Strike, and an end to indefinite
Solitary Confinement, gang validation and
inadequate food and medical care as administrative punishment.

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