[Ppnews] Officials under pressure, begin negotiating with hunger strikers as their health deteriorates

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 15 10:23:03 EDT 2011



<http://sfbayview.com/2011/corrections-officials-accede-to-pressure-begin-negotiating-with-hunger-strikers-as-their-health-deteriorates/>Corrections 
officials accede to pressure, begin negotiating with hunger strikers 
as their health deteriorates

July 15, 2011

by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

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 
<http://www.prisonerswithchildren.org/>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 he 
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.


Some of the strikers' health has 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 California 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 U.S., 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."


Everyone who is against torture needs to support this hunger strike 
by matching the courage of these prisoners. 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."

Isaac Ontiveros of <http://www.criticalresistance.org/>Critical 
Resistance, a national grassroots organization working to abolish the 
prison industrial complex, is also a spokesperson for the 
<http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/>Prisoner Hunger 
Strike Solidarity Coalition. He can be reached at 
<mailto:isaac at criticalresistance.org>isaac at criticalresistance.org.



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