Thousands of California Prisoners, One Hunger Strike, One Week

Pelican Bay SHU

Via Solitary Watch – “California prisoners have been on hunger strike for one full week, today, in protest of long-term solitary confinement. The hunger strike began on July 8th with participation of approximately 30,000 people in two-thirds of California’s prisons, as well as several out-of-state facilities holding California prisoners. In the first days of the hunger strike, approximately 3,200 others also refused to attend work or education classes as a form of protest in support of the hunger strike. Currently, there are an estimated 4,487 still on hunger strike as ofSunday.

On Thursday, July 11th, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) put out a press release summarizing information about the strike.  Notably, unlike the strikes of 2011, CDCR declared the strikes to be a “mass hunger strike disturbance.” The press release indicated CDCR’s intention of punishing participants in the hunger strike, saying that participants of the strike would be subjected to disciplinary procedures and that hunger strike leaders would be placed in Administrative Segregation Units (Ad-Seg). Ad-Seg placement was commonly used against strike leaders in 2011, who reported being placed in cells generally smaller than their SHU cells and were significantly barer.

As hunger strike leader Todd Ashker wrote in 2011:

We were all isolated on a tier, in strip cells with nothing but a set of clothes and fish kit – spoon, cup, bar of soap etc. – with ice cold air blasting outta the vents! The warden personally told us, “As soon as you eat, you can go back to your SHU (Security Housing Units) cells.”

My “mattress” was not even a mattress. It only had lumps of padding in places and was only 50 inches long – on ice cold concrete. This was all intentional, by design. They know that when a person is subject to cold, the body requires more energy. When you’re not eating, the ice will cause your body to feed on muscle and internal organs and the brain etc. much faster. Permanent damage can happen a lot faster.

Solitary Watch was able to confirm that identified strike leaders at California State Prison, Corcoran, had already been placed in Ad Seg by Friday. Further, Corcoran Public Information Officer Lt. Anthony Baer confirmed that canteen items had been removed from the cells of participants. Lt. Baer also explained why CDCR ordered prisons not to divulge information as to how many individuals were striking at their facilities, saying “if word gets out that certain prisons are not participating or the number at a particular prison isn’t high enough – those inmates could be in extreme danger.” Full Article Here

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About MisBehavedWoman

Artist, activist.
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