[Ppnews] Amidst Pressure, CDCR Enters Negotiation with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 15 10:16:56 EDT 2011


Amidst Pressure, CDCR Enters Negotiation with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Mediators, Advocates: “Battle is Still Uphill, Health Still Deteriorating”

Press Contact:    Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Office: 510 444 0484

Oakland—With the Pelican Bay prison hunger strike 
entering its third week, mediators reported 
Thursday that the California Department of 
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has 
responded to pressure from strikers and outside 
supporters, beginning initial negotiations with 
strike leaders in the prison’s Security Housing 
Unit, along with an outside mediation 
team.  Advocates working on behalf of the 
strikers continue to rail against the CDCR’s slow 
movement over the past two weeks in addressing 
the prisoners’ demands, expressing grave concerns 
about the strikers’ rapidly deteriorating 
health.  Hundreds of prisoners at Pelican Bay 
remain on strike, with thousands more 
participating in prisons throughout California's 33 prisons.

Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services 
for Prisoners with Children, and a member of the 
prisoner-selected mediation team says that 
leaders are determined to keep up their strike, 
but worries about the CDCR’s willingness to move 
negotiations forward. “Both parties are dug in,” 
says Nunn. “The CDCR is not offering anything 
substantial, and the strikers aren’t receiving 
anything substantial. So they’ll keep going.  And 
we don’t know how long it’ll be before people start dying.”

Earlier this week, advocates and supporters 
received word that some of the strikers’ health 
had deteriorated to near-fatal levels.  With the 
CDCR slow to move on negotiations, and with 
already poor health conditions at the core of the 
prisoners’ demands, many fear that time is 
running out.  “The strikers’ claims of 
substandard and prejudicial medical care at 
Pelican Bay are certainly true.” says Dr. Corey 
Weinstein, a correctional medical consultant and 
human rights investigator with 40 years 
experience providing health care to CA prisoners. 
Weinstein continues, “Given my long history of 
working with California prisoners I have grave 
doubts about the Department of Corrections’ 
ability to adequately carry out their own 
guidelines and protocols even during this urgent and public moment.”

Meanwhile, organizations and individuals have 
held demonstrations throughout the US, in Canada, 
and in Australia, and have flooded CDCR 
headquarters and Gov. Jerry Brown’s office with 
demands for negotiation. Strike supporters are 
urging people to take further action to have the 
strikers’ demands met. “Everyone who is against 
torture needs to support this hunger strike by 
matching the courage of these prisoners,” says 
Molly Porzig of Critical Resistance, a member of 
the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition. 
“Historically, people have taken up civil 
disobedience to prevent mass death, and we're in such a moment now.”

Negotiations are set to continue 
Friday.  Mediator Dorsey Nunn says the team will 
continue to urge the CDCR to negotiate in good 
faith: “The strikers’ demands are so minimal, 
they want to have hope like anyone else. The CDCR 
could end the strike by providing even a little 
bit of hope for these prisoners.”

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