Thursday, July 21, 2011

CDCR's Claims That Strike Is Over Unsubstantiated

For Immediate Release - July 21, 2011

Press Contact: Jay Donahue
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland - The California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prematurely
announced an end to the Pelican Bay hunger strike
today. The strike is protesting conditions of
confinement international human rights groups
have called torturous and inhumane. Lawyers and
mediators in contact with the strikers, however,
have not received confirmation from the hunger
strike leaders that the strike is over. "We would
like to hear directly from the men at Pelican Bay
that they have resumed eating and what demands,
if any, have been met," says Carol Strickman, a
lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with
Children." At this point, Strickman continues,
"we have not been able to ascertain what concessions
may have been granted."

Supporters of the strikers say this issue is not
resolved. "The CDCR has used deceptive tactics
throughout this strike to try to overcome
prisoner resistance," says Taeva Shefler, a
member of Prison Activist Resource Center and
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity. "In order to
break the strike, the CDCR has regularly
underestimated strike participation and withheld
information regarding the health of striking
prisoners. Prisoners not yet in solitary have
been placed in Administrative Segregation or
Security Housing Units as punishment for
protesting. These are the very issues this strike
aims to change in the first place."

Information coming from Pelican Bay and other
prisons has been sparse at best over the last
three weeks, as CDCR has declined to grant media
access to the prisoners on strike and letters
sent by family members have been returned by the
prison. "There's a reason this department is
mired in multiple court orders, receiverships,
and other monitoring processes," says Molly
Porzig of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Coalition, "The lack of reliable communication
today simply underscores the core of this crisis."

Supporters continue to urge the public to call
Governor Brown's office asking him to exert
pressure on the CDCR to meet the prisoner's
demands. For updates, please visit

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