Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Spreading Throughout California System

July 7th, 2011 Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

CDCR Recognizes Thousands Participating, Advocates Demand Negotiations

Oakland - The California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation reported yesterday
that at least 6,500 prisoners in at least a third
of the state's prisons joined a hunger strike
during this last weekend, initiated at Pelican
Bay on July 1st. The CDCR has since adjusted its
numbers to just over 2000 in 9 prisons across
California. With prisoners striking at Corcoran
State Prison Secure Housing Unit (SHU), Folsom
Prison, CCI Tehachapi, Centinela and Calpatria
State Prisons, San Quentin as well as prisoners
in Perth, Australia, advocates and lawyers
working to support the strike claim these numbers
are much higher and are pushing the CDCR to enter
into negotiations with prisoners at Pelican Bay
and immediately implement the changes outlined in their demands.

The demands outlined by hunger strike leaders in
the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay Prison
include an end to long term confinement and
collective punishment; access to food and
programs; and an end to the practice of
"debriefing", or requiring prisoners to divulge
information about themselves and other prisoners
around gang affiliation in order to be released
back into general population.

"The sheer number of prisoners participating in
this strike, across conditions of isolation, as
well as racial and geographic lines speaks to the
urgency of these prisoners' demands," says Molly
Porzig of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
coalition. "It is overwhelmingly clear that the
CDCR has little other option than to meet these

An unnamed hunger striker at Pelican Bay told
legal workers with the Prisoner Hunger Strike
Solidarity coalition, "We feel the CDCR will not
make meaningful changes in policy unless this
strike gets so severe that prisoners start
dying. But we are in this until our demands are met."

Supporters of the hunger strikers have received
notices from the CDCR that mail to prisoners at
Pelican Bay is being refused. Advocates and
lawyers are also concerned about the health
conditions of prisoners who have the joined the
strike. "It's very important right now that
supporters, as well as the CDCR be in
communication with the hunger strikers so that we
can be aware of their condition," says Marilyn
MacMahon a lawyer with California Prison Focus,
also a member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike
Solidarity coalition. Health conditions across
the entire California prison system have been
widely condemned, and the subject of a recent
landmark Supreme Court ruling, due to medical
neglect and severe overcrowding.

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition
is continuing to try to maintain an open line of
communication with hunger strikers, as well as
planning rallies and protests in the days ahead,
and urging the public to call the CDCR to demand
negotiations with strike leaders.

Updates on the hunger strike can be found at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noticed something. All of these claims are from prisoners. Prisoners said this, prisoners said that. So we are to take their word for it? If they said the guards were pulling them out of their cells every hour and beating them for being on a hunger strike would this be taken as gospel? I have yet to see an article from a non- prisoner who has seen the prison conditions for themselves. These individuals are not in prison for being honest, kind, gentle, moral, etc. If being in a cell with meals brought to your door, free television, the best medical money can buy, the best psychological help money can buy, social interaction with at least 6 other people you are housed with, if that is what we call torture now, then most of the world is being MORE than tortured. Our military does not eat as well as these prisoners. If homeless people on the street knew how well they would be taken care of in prison they would commit a crime just to get there. Should I live on the street going through dumpsters or should I go to prison with a roof over my head, and meals brought to me? Probably 50% of the world live in worse conditions than these prisoners, and most people in America cannot have surgery for a $5 copay. Most people in America do not have the luxury of having a psychologist standing by to be able to talk to. Most people do not have guards standing by to protect them (even if it is from themselves). Inside prison you do not hear the cries of ones being "tortured" you hear laughter and lively banter in the pods. You hear cheering as their sports team score on the television. You hear conversations of life on the streets etc. Most people in the world would say, "If this is torture, sign me up!"
Final note.. how can you have a cell mate in "solitary confinement"? SHU is NOT solitary confinement.
Torture seemed to be a little more harsh in the past. Now I guess torture is redefined. I can see it in a movie now. "Talk or I will put you in a cell with no window!!" Boy oh boy that should do it!