[Ppnews] With 12, 000 Participants Last Week, CA Prisons Bar Family Visits

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 3 15:07:26 EDT 2011


For Immediate Release – October 3, 2011

With 12,000 Participants Last Week, Prisoner Hunger Strike Begins 8th Day
CDCR Bars Family Member Visits

Press Contact: Jay Donahue

Oakland – As the renewed prisoner hunger strike 
enters it’s second week, the federal receiver’s 
office released information that at least 12,000 
prisoners were participating during the first 
week. Prisoners are continuing a hunger strike 
that they temporarily suspend in July. 
Originating from Security Housing Units (SHUs) 
and Administrative Segregation Units (Ad-Seg) 
across the California, prisoners held at Pelican 
Bay State Prison, Calipatria, Centinela, 
Corcoran, Ironwood, Kern Valley, North Kern, 
Salinas Valley, California Rehabilitation Center 
in Norco, Pleasant Valley State Prison, San 
Quentin as well as West Valley Detention Center 
in San Bernadino County are currently 
participating. Over 3,000 California prisoners 
held in  out-of-state facilities in Arizona, 
Mississippi and Oklahoma have also refused food.

“This is the largest prisoner strike of any kind 
in recent US history,” says Ron Ahnen of 
California Prison Focus, “The fact that so many 
prisoners are participating highlights the 
extreme conditions in all of California’s prisons 
as well as the historic opportunity the state has 
been given to make substantial changes to SHU and Ad-Seg policies.”

Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported 
that their visits this weekend were denied by the 
Califonia Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation (CDCR) who cited security 
concerns. “A number of family members received 
notice that they were not going to be allowed to 
see their loved ones as long as the strike 
continues,” says Dolores Canales who has a son in 
the Pelican Bay SHU, “Denying visits only 
heightens the isolation that the prisoners and 
family members experience, especially at this critical time.”

Advocates and lawyers have expressed concern that 
banning visits, along with other tactics 
including the possibility of violence on the part 
of CDCR are being used in attempt to break the 
strike. “Historically, prison officials have used 
extreme measures, including physical violence to 
break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, executive 
director of Legal Services for Prisoners with 
Children and a member of the mediation team 
working on behalf of the strikers. “As this 
peaceful protest continues, it’s essential for 
lawmakers and the media to monitor the actions of 
CDCR. The department should not be allowed to use 
underhanded methods to resolve the strike.”  Late 
last week two of the mediation team’s lawyers 
were banned from CDCR facilities with the prison 
administration citing unaimed “security threats.”

The prisoners resumed their hunger strike on 
September 26 after the CDCR failed to address 
demands made when prisoners animally went on 
strike for almost the entire month of July. They 
have also reported heightened levels of 
intimidation and retaliation from prison 
officials since July.  Prisoners are deadening 
changes to long-term solitary confinement, gang 
validation and debriefing processes, and other 
conditions in the state’s Security Housing Units 
as well as in other parts of the prison system. 
Representatives of the hunger strikers have 
indicated that this may be a rolling strike, with 
prisoners coming on and off strike periodically, 
allowing for the possibility of a protracted 
struggle. Activists and family members 
internationally are planning protests in support 
of the hunger strikers in the coming weeks. For 
continued updates and more information, please 
visit 
<http://www.prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/>www.prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com





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