[Ppnews] Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Spreading Throughout California System

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 7 14:17:54 EDT 2011

Media Advisory – July 7th, 2011

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Spreading Throughout California System

CDCR Recognizes Thousands Participating, Advocates Demand Negotiations

Oakland – The California Department of 
Corrections and Rehabilitation reported yesterday 
that at least 6500 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 demands.”

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 

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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