Round 2, Day 4: Strike Expands & Exposes "Perfect Storm" in CA
As released yesterday, Prisoner Hunger Strike
Solidarity has confirmed that at least 6,000
California prisoners in jails, General
Population, Administrative Segregation
(Ad-Seg/ASU) and Security Housing Units (SHUs)
are hunger striking for the human rights of
California's SHU-status prisoners. We have
confirmed prisoners are striking at Pelican Bay,
Calipatria, CCI Tehachapi, Centinela, Corcoran,
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, and West Valley Detention Center.
The California Department of Corrections &
Rehabilitation (CDCR) has not released the total
number of prisons, or which prisons prisoners are
striking at. The CDCR withheld accurate numbers
for several days after the first round of the
strike in July until we pressured reporters to
investigate and force the CDCR to release
information. We know the CDCR is not releasing
accurate numbers, and that many more prisoners
are participating and supporting the strike in various ways.
The CDCR has also upped retaliation on the strike
by deeming the entire strike a prison
"disturbance" under Title 15. The CDCR has
delivered memos to prisoners at each state prison
threatening that any participation or support for
the hunger strike will result in disciplinary
actions, such as placement in Ad-Seg/ASU or SHUs
(for prisoners currently in General Population),
increased destructive cell searches, removal of
canteen items, and worse. We know that a number
of prisoners lost their jobs as added punishment
for supporting the strike in July.
The spreading strike and overwhelming
international support for it demonstrate the
seriousness of torture throughout the prison
industrial complex. It is no coincidence that the
first round of the hunger strike followed the US
Supreme Court's finding that CA's prison system
is in violation of the 8th Amendment's
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Not
surprisingly, the CDCR is criminalizing the
strike and insisting that the hunger strikers are
violent gang members that deserve to be tortured.
Meanwhile, we face similar struggles against
criminalization outside prison, as cities across
CA are stepping up suppression policing tactics,
injunctions, youth curfews and loitering
ordinances, inevitably sweeping more people from
working class communities of color into prison.
On top of all of that, the state's realignment
plan gives us a huge opportunity to get people
out of prison but also adds the threat of
unprecedented jail construction to this landscape.
Given this "perfect storm," we can and must
connect our struggles and continue to vigorously
defend our communities and unleash our will to resist and organize.