Monday, October 03, 2011

Day Seven: Hunger Strike Grows to Nearly 12,000 - State Threatens Lawyers

Prisoner Hunger Strike Grows to Nearly 12,000!

Numbers released by the federal receiver's office
show that on September 28th, nearly 12,000
prisoners were on hunger strike, including
California prisoners who are housed in out of
state prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and
Oklahoma. This historic and unprecedented number
shows the strength and resolve of the prisoners
to win their 5 core demands and is a serious
challenge to the power of the California prison
system and to the Prison Industrial Complex in general.

Prisoners are currently on strike in Pelican Bay
State Prison, Calipatria, Centinela, Corcoran,
Ironwood State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison,
North Kern State Prison, and Salinas Valley State
Prison. Throughout the last week prisoners at
California Rehabilitation Center in Norco,
Pleasant Valley State Prison, San Quentin as well
as West Valley Detention Center in San Bernadino
County were participating.

The receiver’s office and the CDCRÂ begin
monitoring prisoners who have refused food for 72
hours or for 9 consecutive meals. Representatives
of the hunger strikers have previously stated
that this will be a rolling strike, allowing
prisoners to come off strike to regain strength.
Because of this, numbers will likely fluctuate
throughout the duration of the strike.

a short video about solitaritary confinement
produced by the American Friends Service Committee.

State prison officials investigate 2 advocates

by Michael Montgomery

Founded by the Center for Investigative Reporting

October 1, 2011

Just days after thousands of California inmates
renewed a hunger strike, two Bay Area attorneys
closely involved in mediation efforts got a
surprise: They were under investigation by the
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for
allegations of misconduct and unspecified security

The attorneys Marilyn McMahon, executive
director of California Prison Focus, and Carol
Strickman of Legal Services for Prisoners With
Children have been banned from state
institutions until the investigation is resolved,
according to temporary exclusion orders signed by
Corrections Undersecretary Scott Kernan on Sept. 29.

The investigation will determine whether the
attorneys "violated the laws and policies
governing the safe operations of institutions
within the CDCR," the order states.

The document does not provide details about the
allegations. It cites a section from California
Code of Regulations that reads:

"Committing an act that jeopardizes the life of a
person, violates the security of the facility,
constitutes a misdemeanor or a felony, or is a
reoccurrence of previous violations shall result
in a one-year to lifetime exclusion depending on
the severity of the offense in question."

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed
the department had banned "some specific
attorneys" from one facility for alleged
misconduct. She declined further comment, citing
an ongoing investigation.

The move is another indication that the
corrections department intends to handle the
current protest differently from an earlier
hunger strike, which ended July 20 after
officials agreed to some concessions, including a
review of policies governing the state's
controversial Security Housing Units, where some
inmates have spent decades housed alone in
windowless cells.

Since then, strike leaders have accused
corrections officials of failing to carry out
their promises.

"CDCR has responded with more propaganda, lies
and vague double-talk of promises of change in
time," reads a statement from the leaders posted
on an advocacy website. The inmates vowed to
continue the protest indefinitely, until actual
changes are implemented."

But corrections officials say they've kept their
commitments and claim the protests are the work
of dangerous gang leaders.

"Unlike in the first instance where we certainly
evaluated their concerns and thought there was
some merit to it, this instance appears to be
more manipulative, and it certainly has the
possibility of being a real disruption to the
Department of Corrections and the security of its
staff and inmates," Kernan said.

A memo signed by Kernan and distributed to
inmates Sept. 29 warned the department was
treating the new hunger strike as a "mass
disturbance" and said any prisoner who joined the
protest would be subject to disciplinary action.

General-population inmates identified as strike
leaders will be locked in special segregation
units normally used as punishment for major rules
violations, according to the memo.

Strickman and McMahon have been involved in
extensive discussions with corrections officials,
including Kernan, and leaders of the strike, who
are housed in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security
Housing Unit.

Neither attorney was available for comment.

Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services
for Prisoners With Children, condemned the
sanctions against the attorneys and said he
expected the department would place similar
restrictions on other advocates in order to
further isolate leaders of the hunger strike.

"They"re trying to move us out of the way," he

Nearly 3,400 inmates at six prisons have refused
state-issued meals for three consecutive days,
according to the most recent data from the corrections

Written Statement from the Men at Calipatria
State Prison ASU segregation unit, dated 9/20/2011

Greetings to you and all. We are writing this
letter in regards of the hunger strike happening on

This is gonna be our second time participating in
the Hunger Strike and that goes for the majority of
the men here in ASU.

We all have experienced the dread of Calipatria's
misconduct in one way or another. We have been
wrongfully validated as a prison gang
associate. The evidence used against us is
insufficient and untrue which majority of us are
experiencing this.

We are all supporting Pelican Bay and their 5
core demands, but we also have issues with this
administration and all their misconduct. There's
people here who have been waiting to get
transferred to Pelican Bay SHU for 3-4 years and
during this wait we aren't being allowed what we
have coming as SHU status inmates such as our
T.V.'s or Radios.

Roughly, 80% of us back here in ASU are validated
inmates and this administration's only response
is to appeal it. We aren't even given a fair
chance to even "appeal it" because the
information used against us is considered
"confidential" and CDCR doesn't allow us to confront
our accusers.

Its being estimated that the number of
participation in round 2 of the hunger strike is
to be in the 100's and that's just counting the men
in ASU here.

We all stand strong together and we all strive
for the rights of not only Pelican Bay and

Our protest is a peaceful solid food hunger
strike and our demands coincide with the 5 core
demands of Pelican Bay with the addition of us
being given our appliance (T.V. or Radio) and our
P.I.A. soft shoes.

During the last hunger strike we were denied our
liquids which we had a right to have (such as
milk, juice, coffee packs, etc) up to 3 times a day.

We are committed to take it as far as we can go
and some of us men in ASU are willing to die if
we have too to stop our inhumane conditions we are

We all would like to remain anonymous but with
this letter, we hope all turns out for the best
and we thank you for your support and time.

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