[Ppnews] CA Prison Hunger Strike Resumes, Prisoners Cite Continued Torture

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 23 13:16:14 EDT 2011

California Prison Hunger Strike Resumes
Prisoners Cite Continued Torture, CDCR Bad Faith Negotiations

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

Oakland – On Monday, September 26, 2011, 
prisoners at both Pelican Bay and Calipatria 
State Prisons will resume hunger strike that last 
most of last July in continued protest of the 
inhumane conditions of their confinement, 
including long term solitary confinement and the 
widely-condemned practices of gang validation and 
debriefing. Despite international public outcry 
as well as legislative intervention in 
California, prisoners have stated CDCR has yet to 
make any substantial changes to their policies 
and has failed to keep up negotiation promises 
made when the strike was suspended in July.

“This is far from over and once again, hopefully 
for the last time, we will be risking our lives 
via a peaceful hunger strike on Sept 26, 2011 to 
force positive changes” writes Mutope Duguma 
(aka, James Crawford), a prisoner in the Pelican 
Bay SHU and a representative of the hunger 
strikers, “for 21 1/2 years we have been quietly 
held in Pelican Bay State Prison solitary 
confinement under some of the most horrible 
conditions known to man. So we continue to 
struggle to be treated like decent human beings.”

Prisoners in the Pelican Bay SHU will be joined 
on strike by prisoners in the Administrative 
Segregation (Ad-Seg) Unit at Calipatria State 
Prison, located in California’s southeast-most 
county. Ad-Seg Units are similar to SHUs in that 
they place prisoners in solitary confinement for 
long periods of time. In addition, prisoners at 
Calipatria are also subject to the same gang 
validation and indeterminate sentencing practices 
at the center of this past summer’s strike. Many 
prisoners marked as gang members at Calipatria 
are kept in Ad-Seg units for years before being 
transferred to Pelican Bay. “Several hundred 
prisoners in Administration Segregation Units at 
Calipatria State Prison have been validated or 
given an indefinite SHU term and majority of the 
men have been waiting three to four years in 
administration segregation to be transferred to 
the Pelican Bay SHU,” says Kendra Casteneda who 
has a family member at Calipatria, “The men at 
Calipatria are striking because the same 
conditions that exist at Pelican Bay exist in prisons throughout California.”

California Department of Corrections (CDCR) 
officials seem to be preemptively cracking down 
on prisoners in anticipation of the strike and 
have publicly said they were preparing to take 
harsh actions against strikers. Illustrating the 
CDCR’s hard-line stance, Undersecretary of 
Operations Scott Kernan said in a recent 
interview, “If there are other instances of 
hunger strikes, I don’t think the Department will 
approach it the same way this time 
around.”  Lawyers who have recently visited 
Pelican Bay have taken testimony from SHU 
prisoners who have been retaliated against by 
prison officials for their participation in this 
summer’s strike. “Prisoners are receiving serious 
disciplinary write-ups, usually reserved for 
serious rules violations, for things like talking 
in the library or not walking fast enough,” says 
Carol Strickman, a lawyer with Legal Services for 
Prisoners with Children, “It’s clear that prison 
officials are trying to intimidate these men and 
to make them ineligible for any privileges or 
changes that may be forced by the strike.”

This summer’s hunger strike saw widespread 
participation across the California prison system 
with at least 6,600 prisoners participating in 
more than a third of the state’s 33 
prisons.  National and international support led 
to a legislative hearing in the state’s capitol, 
where conditions in California’s Security Housing 
Units were scrutinized by state legislators and 
condemned by experts.  Family members, advocates, 
and organizations have vowed to continue to 
support the prisoners in resuming their strike, 
and to help them in winning their demands.

For more information about the strike and for 
ongoing updates, please visit 

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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