Monday, October 03, 2011

CDCR Threatens Crackdown of Prisoner Hunger Strike, Bans Lawyers

For Immediate Release - September 30, 2011

CDCR Threatens Crackdown of Prisoner Hunger Strike, Bans Lawyers
Mediation Team Appeals to Governor for Action

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

California - With the hunger strike continuing to
spread from Pelican Bay and Calipatria State
Prisons to at least 6 other prisons, the
California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation has threatened to crack down on
the at least 6,000 participants, including
sending prisoners to solitary confinement. The
CDCR also faxed expulsion orders to two mediation
team lawyers, notifying them that they had been
banned from all prisons pending an investigation
into whether or not they had "jeopardized the
safety and security of CDCR institutions.
Meanwhile, the prisoner-selected mediation team
that has been trying to negotiate with the CDCR
since the strike was initiated in July sent a
letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, demanding a meeting
and lodging their vehement objections to the
actions of CDCR officials.

"This is very worrisome to say the least," says
Carol Strickman, one of the mediation team
lawyers banned from CDCR facilities. "We have
been receiving steady reports from prisoners of
CDCR intimidation and retaliation leading up to
the strike. Now, we have the CDCR threatening
prisoners and cutting off contact with our legal
team. We obviously don't want to imagine the
worst, but we are legitimately concerned about
violence on the part of the prison administration."

In a letter sent to Gov. Brown this morning,
mediators laid out the prisoners' demands and
said that prison officials' inaction at the
negotiation table and threats to prisoners
"clearly demonstrate the unwillingness of CDCR
officials to address the prisoners' demands
adequately." Mediators are asking for a meeting
with Brown, saying, "We are ready to bring forth
specific proposals that will make the current
proposed reforms complete and bring California in
line with best practices nationwide. We can and
must end torture in California's prisons now."

Support for the hunger strike continues to grow
nationally and internationally. "The strike is
growing throughout the California for Security
Housing Units, from Administrative Segregation
Units, throughout the general population.
Prisoners are becoming more and more united in
their opposition to the horrendous conditions
they are forced to endure at all levels of the
prison system," said Manuel La Fontaine, of the
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition. "And
as their strike grows, so does the support coming
from outside the prison walls. People see this
as a human rights issue, and so no level of
repression on the part of the CDCR will stop
people all over the world from fighting to help
these prisoners win their demands."

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