[Ppnews] Hunger Strike Continues in CA Prisons - Rally Today at noon in Sacto

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 25 12:02:04 EDT 2011

Hunger Strike Continues in California prisons
Supporters rally to pressure CDCR to meet prisoner demands

Press Contact: Emily Harris, Statewide Coordinator
Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Rally 12 – 2 pm
California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation headquarters, 1515 S Street, Sacramento

Sacramento—Hunger strikes continue in prisons 
throughout California to demand more humane 
conditions, and supporters are rallying in 
Sacramento to maintain pressure on the California 
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
(CDCR). While hunger strikers at Pelican Bay have 
declared a victory, prisoners in Corcoran, 
Calipatria and Tehachapi prisons continue to 
refuse food until their demands are met.

“We are rallying today to show that the public 
still supports the continued hunger strikers,” 
says Lisa Marie Alatorre, Campaign Director for 
Critical Resistance, a member of Californians 
United for a Responsible Budget (CURB). CURB is a 
coalition of over 60 organizations that work to 
reduce the state’s prison budget and the number 
of people locked up in California prisons, one of 
several groups who organized the rally. “We are 
inspired by the victory at Pelican Bay, but the 
fight is not over. There are people across the 
country who will continue organizing until CDCR 
meets the demands of the continuing hunger strikers.”

Family members of strikers, advocates, and 
organizations from across California will be 
joining CURB at the CDCR headquarters for the 
rally, which will include a march to Governor 
Brown’s office and delivery of a signed letter 
urging the Governor to intervene in the 
negotiations and ensure the hunger strike demands are met.

Prisoners in the Corcoran Secure Housing Units, 
and those who face long-term solitary confinement 
in Tehachapi and Calipatria prisons, are carrying 
on the hunger strike started on July 1st by 
prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. The strike 
quickly expanded to approximately 6,600 people in 
a third of California’s prisons. It received 
broad international support - organizations and 
individuals held demonstrations throughout the 
US, in Canada, and in Australia, and flooded CDCR 
headquarters and Governor Jerry Brown’s office 
with demands for negotiation. Strikers won 
several concessions from the CDCR and prompted 
California lawmakers to initiate hearings on 
conditions in the SHU, including the practice of 
long-term solitary confinement. The CDCR also 
committed to holding similar hearings, but has yet to schedule them.

“Action is more important than ever. The CDCR 
must not only meet the strike demands, it must 
follow-through on promises made to the Pelican 
Bay prisoners, and there is no clear plan for how 
it will do that,” explains Prisoner Hunger Strike 
Solidarity member Manuel La Fontaine. Another 
wave of rallies are being planned across the 
country, including Ohio and New York.

The CDCR has come under increased pressure in the 
past months as public opinion polls show widening 
support for reforms to California’s massive 
prison system. The Supreme Court recently ordered 
the CDCR to reduce the number of people 
incarcerated because it has consistently been 
unable to deliver basic medical care to all prisoners.

“We are seeing over and over the same message to 
the CDCR, whether it is the hunger strikes, 
opinion polls or the Supreme Court decision: the 
atrocious conditions and policies within 
California prisons must end, and the place to 
start is by meeting hunger strike demands,” says Alatorre.

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