Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hunger Strike Continues in CA Prisons - Rally Today at noon in Sacto

Hunger Strike Continues in California prisons
Supporters rally to pressure CDCR to meet prisoner demands

Press Contact: Emily Harris, Statewide Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Rally 12 - 2 pm
California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation headquarters, 1515 S Street, Sacramento

Sacramento�Hunger strikes continue in prisons
throughout California to demand more humane
conditions, and supporters are rallying in
Sacramento to maintain pressure on the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(CDCR). While hunger strikers at Pelican Bay have
declared a victory, prisoners in Corcoran,
Calipatria and Tehachapi prisons continue to
refuse food until their demands are met.

"We are rallying today to show that the public
still supports the continued hunger strikers,"
says Lisa Marie Alatorre, Campaign Director for
Critical Resistance, a member of Californians
United for a Responsible Budget (CURB). CURB is a
coalition of over 60 organizations that work to
reduce the state's prison budget and the number
of people locked up in California prisons, one of
several groups who organized the rally. "We are
inspired by the victory at Pelican Bay, but the
fight is not over. There are people across the
country who will continue organizing until CDCR
meets the demands of the continuing hunger strikers."

Family members of strikers, advocates, and
organizations from across California will be
joining CURB at the CDCR headquarters for the
rally, which will include a march to Governor
Brown's office and delivery of a signed letter
urging the Governor to intervene in the
negotiations and ensure the hunger strike demands are met.

Prisoners in the Corcoran Secure Housing Units,
and those who face long-term solitary confinement
in Tehachapi and Calipatria prisons, are carrying
on the hunger strike started on July 1st by
prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. The strike
quickly expanded to approximately 6,600 people in
a third of California's prisons. It received
broad international support - organizations and
individuals held demonstrations throughout the
US, in Canada, and in Australia, and flooded CDCR
headquarters and Governor Jerry Brown's office
with demands for negotiation. Strikers won
several concessions from the CDCR and prompted
California lawmakers to initiate hearings on
conditions in the SHU, including the practice of
long-term solitary confinement. The CDCR also
committed to holding similar hearings, but has yet to schedule them.

"Action is more important than ever. The CDCR
must not only meet the strike demands, it must
follow-through on promises made to the Pelican
Bay prisoners, and there is no clear plan for how
it will do that," explains Prisoner Hunger Strike
Solidarity member Manuel La Fontaine. Another
wave of rallies are being planned across the
country, including Ohio and New York.

The CDCR has come under increased pressure in the
past months as public opinion polls show widening
support for reforms to California's massive
prison system. The Supreme Court recently ordered
the CDCR to reduce the number of people
incarcerated because it has consistently been
unable to deliver basic medical care to all prisoners.

"We are seeing over and over the same message to
the CDCR, whether it is the hunger strikes,
opinion polls or the Supreme Court decision: the
atrocious conditions and policies within
California prisons must end, and the place to
start is by meeting hunger strike demands," says Alatorre.

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