Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Grows; State Threatens Disciplinary Action

Categories: Health
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Hungry for change
The hunger strike at California prisons has grown to include roughly 6,000 inmates, less than 24 hours after prisoners started refusing state-issued meals.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would not confirm how many inmates have joined the effort, but said they will have those numbers by tomorrow. An inmate is only considered officially on a hunger strike after skipping nine consecutive meals, and tomorrow is the nine-meal mark, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman with the CDCR.

She did confirm that thousands of inmates from various facilities across the state have been refusing to eat state-issued meals. That's not to say they aren't eating at all; some are munching from their canteens, or the snack food they are allowed to purchase while in prison, Thornton said.

She also confirmed that a memo went out today to inmates, detailing the ramifications they could face should they push on with this hunger strike.

"They could receive loss of credits and loss of privileges," Thornton told us. "Mass disturbances is a rules violation."

The inmates, who went on a hunger strike in the month of July, and resumed yesterday after a monthlong hiatus, say the CDCR has failed to meet their initial demands, including more humane conditions for prisoners in solitary confinement. According to the hunger strikers, 513 of the 1,111 prisoners held at Pelican Bay have been in solitary confinement for 10 or more years, and 78 have been held for more than 20 years without access to light or open space for prolonged periods of time. "Just imagine being locked in a bathroom for 24 hours, seven days a week, year after year after year for no legitimate reason," one prisoner said in a statement released today by the California Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity group. 

The CDCR says that those prisoners aren't technically in solitary confinement; they have access to the yard 10 hours a week and they are allowed to watch television and converse with other inmates. "That's not solitary confinement," Thornton said.

Inmates are also claiming that the CDCR is creating a "sham" process to identify gang members to torture them. But Thornton says that the CDCR has already started the process of revamping its gang identification policies, and will have a proposal by the start of next year.

"We have to give our wardens a chance to look at it and give their input," she said. "We're on track with doing everything we said we were doing."

But inmates just aren't satisfied by that.

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17 comments
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Pureheartmint
Pureheartmint

we should all be concerned , these are human life's and many of them forgotten the one thing that brings us together is we all breath and bleed irregardless of color,and no one knows there tomorrow. and sadly there are those that promised to serve and protect and have forgotten there oath,and have become felons with a badge,lets support these inmates ,How would you respond if these basic necessity's were taken from you.in life you one day will be treated the way you treat others..think on that treat others as you want to be treated woe to those that have mistreated Gods people.

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

Inmates lie and tell their wives, family, and girlfriends about how they are being treated mean by cops. They even lie about the crimes they get disciplined for while in the pen. Theyll tell you they got put in the SHU for a drawing on their wall, when really it's the case that they stabbed somebody on the yard because some guy won't pay his drug debt. They'll tell their wives that they lost their visiting privileges for talking too long on the phone. When really, it's because they got busted at their last visit (that their wife didn't know about) getting drugs smuggled in by one of their pen pal girlfriends, who managed to fit a whole ounce of marijuana inside of her vagina.

You people can't have it both ways. Either we're mean old cops that could care less if the inmates die, or we're oh too friendly cops who bring in cell phones and contraband. We can't be both at the same time! Most cops are neither, but you don't get to see any of that. Once put behind prison walls, it's out of sight, out of mind. We protect your loved ones from getting killed and killing each other. And we do it outnumbed 100 to 1, without guns on our belts, and very often with just keys alone.

There are some inmates that I've worked with that I can almost trust with my life. I know that they will have my back. I've worked with them for years and stood up for them when they were wrongly accused. I've resolved disputes for them and made their prison stay real smooth.I treated them right and with respect, and they treat me the same in return.  Then there are some inmates that I can't trust with anything.

By the time an inmate makes it to the SHU, he's already had several trips to AdSeg ("the hole"). He's been transfered in and is taken out of the general population because he is a threat to even other inmates. A lot of SHU inmates have hundred-year sentences for killing other inmates while in prison, and many of them are proud. Coming to Pelican Bay is considered a badge of honor for them, and the make more money selling drugs in prison than they do out.

anonymous
anonymous

What a spin the CDC(R) puts on this! Inmates in the short corridor were put on a "modified program" where they do not get 10 hours of "yard time" in another concrete box, and are given write ups for conversing with other inmates. Saying hello to a neighboring inmate is considered gang activity and a justification to extend SHU terms.

Sister
Sister

Thornton said "That's not to say they aren't eating at all; some are munching from their canteens, or the snack food they are allowed to purchase while in prison".

Thats absolutely FALSE!  The guards at Pelican Bay removed all canteen and all food items from cells the day before the strike.  They said they did that to monitor how much inmates are eating (if they accept their meals or not). 

Everything the CDCR is saying is BS!

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

That doesn't make sense, because according to the anti-prison activist websites running the protests, the inmates are refusing canteen to avoid the appearance that they are giving food to inmates on strike. So, which is it? Is canteen being removed from cells or are inmates refusing canteen? You guys can't have it both ways. Quit lying on the cops to protect the rapists, murderers, and child molestors of the world!

Debbie
Debbie

Yes, these inmates did a crime, and they're doing their time. They take full responsibility, many have been in these small cells for years. That doesn't make it right for them to be treated like that! Regardless, they are human whether you like it or not. They aren't asking for the red carpet, very simple things, that our State can't comply with. How can we expect the State of California to better things in prison when they can't even run the state right? I say let there be a different way of getting out the SHU then debriefing! That's the main focus. That's not true about being validated the first time yes all they need is 2 informants, once they do the 6 year term, they try and find anything a card a piece of paper with certain names or someone debriefing just throwing out a name and you get another 6 year term! This way of validation is uncalled for there should be a investigation when being validated.

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

Next time you need a kidney or live transplant, I hope you're happy that some guy scheduled next month's death row is ten steps ahead of you in line and that you're paying for his transplant with your taxes.

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

If he's in the SHU, 99.99% of the time he's there for a very darn good reason. It's hard enough to validate active gang members in prison. You need at least three confirmed independent sources. It takes more than a tattoo on your face or note in your locker to confirm you are active in a prison gang. Heck, it even takes even more than active participation in a riot or stabbing a guy on the yard! Gang investigators have to prove a connection before they are able to send you to the SHU. Until then it's a temporary stay in AdSeg (a.k.a. "The Hole") for misbehavior, a place where it too includes cable TV,radio,  personal mail, yard time and weekly canteen draws.I see so many times where the media's like, "Look at that poor little boy in four-point chains and leg restraints! He's got four mean old cops on him, with their batons open, and he has to wear that scary spit mask! Mean old cops! Leave him alone!" What they don't tell you is why he has to be transported that way. Maybe it's because he likes to throw feces into the faces of whatever cop approaches his cell with his evening meal. Maybe it's because the last officer he met yesterday got his throat slit with a paperclip from his legal papers. Maybe because, despite the fact that he's only 120 lbs., he raped and murdered his 240 lbs cellie the other week and could care less about being transferred to death row, which would actually be an upgrade to his present arrangement.

Sister
Sister

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  You obviously know nothing about the validation process!  People are being validated for having drawings on their wall, working out with people the prison housed them with, and yes, for having notes in their cells.  The SHU should be for peole like that, however most people in the SHU are far from that.  Prison officials put them there based on personality.  If they don't like you, they make up a point or 3, trust me i know many men who are going though that right now.  Not everybody there deserves to be there. 

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

Sorry sister, I work in a prison and read the Title 15 regularly. I used to work in both AdSeg and the SHU. Lies are being spread about the gang validation process by many prison activist and inmate wive groups from people who have never even set foot behind prison walls. These expert criminals are merely using the uninformed media to gather symapthy for their attempt to extort the prison administration through manipulative tactics. If you Google further, you'll find that they've even inspired prisoners in India to go on hunger strike to keep their contraband cell phones.

The idea of hunger strikes isn't new. An example of a legitimate hunger strike is the women's hunger strike in the Occoquan Workhouse for civil rights. This is nothing like that, This is complaining over not getting your fat steak on time.

sister
sister

AJ thats simply not true, sure title 15 says that.  But thats not whats happening.  Thats why someone needs to step in and monitor the CDCR, because they make up their own rules as they go along.  I go to Pelican Bay once a month.  My brother was validated for the reasons i described.  it's a fact the prison is doing this. 

And they wish they got steak there!

Opinionizmiown
Opinionizmiown

Just let 'em continue. The problem will solve itself.

Carl ToersBijns
Carl ToersBijns

Just keep you eye focused on the bouncing ball - interesting times for both sides to see who backs down first.. and how [or who] many will fall - either physically or politically.... this is not a win win for the state as more scrutiny will fall on the CDCR with every day that goes by....

AJ Honeylake
AJ Honeylake

It'll just be another lawsuit that takes place that costs the state more money. Inmates already get better healthcare and dental than the general population. Heck, even guys on death row get liver transplants before me or you do.

Emcurry12006
Emcurry12006

Better check your facts before you type them.....You are very wrong

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