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Hunger strike Round 2, Day 3: 6,000 on strike, threats from CDCR

September 28, 2011

by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

On Aug. 11, about three weeks after CDCR had promised to meet the prison hunger strikers’ demands, supporters held a vigil to remind Gov. Brown to speak out and tell CDCR to keep its promises. – Photo: United for Drug Policy Reform
Today, Sept. 28, lawyers and mediators with Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity’s mediation team confirm that at least 6,000 prisoners throughout California are resuming the hunger strike that began in July. The CDCR refuses to release the specifics: where prisoners are striking exactly and how many prisoners are striking at each prison.

We know that hundreds of prisoners in the general population at Calipatria are joining the hunger strike for one week in solidarity with 200 hunger strikers in Calipatria’s two Administrative Segregation Units (Ad-Seg and ASU), bringing Calipatria’s numbers up to 500-1,000 hunger strikers.

Family members have also reported prisoners are striking at CCI Tehachapi’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), demanding that the five core demands written by hunger strikers at Pelican Bay be implemented for all SHU-status prisoners in California. Prisoners at Corcoran, Centinela and Valley State Prison for Women have also joined the hunger strike again in solidarity with SHU-status prisoners across the state.

Prisoners at West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County are refusing state-issued food in solidarity with SHU-status hunger strikers across the state as well. West Valley prides itself as being one of the largest county jails in California. The majority of people locked up at West Valley are pre-trial prisoners.

Carol Strickman, staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners With Children reports today: “We just received word that CDCR is reporting that 6,000 prisoners throughout the system went on hunger strike on Monday. CDCR is sending memos to prisoners which threaten punishment for participation in a hunger strike.”
In a Sept. 27 memo signed by Deputy Director Scott Kernan, the CDCR has threatened disciplinary action against any prisoners taking part in the strike as well as placement in Ad-Seg and the removal of canteen items. The CDCR recently stated that it had sufficiently addressed the prisoners’ demands and that any future hunger strikes would not be treated in the same fashion as the July strike, which lasted for nearly four weeks.

The prisoners maintain that while some privileges have been approved, such as sweat pants, colored pencils and proctored exams, the CDCR has yet to move on the demands related to solitary confinement and gang validation. “Though promises were made at the end of the last hunger strike, and some progress has been made, it is painfully slow for people who have lived under conditions of torture for years and often decades in California’s prison system,” says Laura Magnani, a member of the prisoners’ mediation team and a representative of the American Friends Service Committee.

“While the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation tries to paint the prisoners as nothing more than ‘dangerous gang members,’ we see this strike as a courageous effort to work across all cultural and ethnic divisions through time honored non-violent actions.”

Many of the prisoners have stated that they intend to continue their hunger strike until all of their demands are met, despite the possibility that they might suffer serious health consequences or death. Reports from the July hunger strike indicated that many of the strikers lost 20-30 pounds and experienced dizziness, fainting and heart arrhythmia.

From security housing units to county jails, conditions of imprisonment in California are horrendous, ridden with medical neglect and overcrowding as condemned by the U.S. Supreme Court in the May ruling that found the CDCR to be in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The expansion of the strike demonstrates that CDCR’s atrocious practices and brutal conditions are in fact a system-wide issue and endemic of the CDCR.

Support the prisoners in winning their demands! Call Gov. Jerry Brown and urge him to make the CDCR comply with the prisoners’ demands!

Visit the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition at http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com and contact them at prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity@gmail.com.

 

3 thoughts on “Hunger strike Round 2, Day 3: 6,000 on strike, threats from CDCR

  1. G B

    LOL…comply with prisoner demands! WTF do you think this is? Since when does any law enforcement agency comply with prisoner demands? These individuals housed in SHU are the worst of the worst…they got their say, and now they are just acting foolish ~ take their canteen away and turn off their water to ensure that they are TRULY on a hunger strike! Refusing state meals is not a hunger strike. Ordering Ensure to sustain themselves is NOT a hunger strike. Rediculous…and all this is going to do is cost the state taxpayer more money.

    Reply
  2. LAinjustice

    Check out what is going on in Los Angeles. Steve Ipsen is a deputy district atttorney running for DA in 2012 and he has your answer to solve this problem. It is called "Reform First". He is looking at the system from a different perspective then any of the other candidates and has your solution. He criticizes elected DA Steve Cooley for his policies of creating outrageous numbers of felons who commit nonviolent crimes. Once labeled a "felon" there are no jobs and no possibility of re-integration. He is white and says that what the policies in the LA DAs office are the problem and that to fix the problem felonizing every non violent crime has to stop. Steve Ipsen outlines his plan at http://www.ReformFirst.com

    "Reform First" – I am voting for Steve Ipsen for LA District Attorney in 2012. This guy gets it. He has the best idea that I have seen so far.

    Reply
  3. Pedro Ortiz

    I was there 9 years.I also seen first hand how some of the big homies and other upper guys from the otro races take advantage of the younger homies and make them do more time because of the work they have to put in.

    to get outa there i focused on my kids and family and left that world behind. dont get me wrong there are good homies in there that would do the same as i did but they got the monkey of the big homies watchin over them at every turn. Anyone who thinks these folks are being abused got the sheets pulled over thier head. its not a fun place but neither are the people they earn there way in there. I know I earned my way there and got what i deserved but it was a blessing cause it got me right. This is the stuff im talking about. how does a man gain fat when he's supposed to be starving for the cause and some leader at that……

    http://s1097.photobucket.com/albums/g358/pedrosla

    Reply

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