[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
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
Strike Solidarity Coalition. He can be reached at
<mailto:isaac at criticalresistance.org>isaac at criticalresistance.org.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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