[Ppnews] Prisoner At Corcoran Dies, Hunger Strike In ASU Continues

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 13 14:06:58 EST 2012

February 13, 2012
Prisoner At Corcoran Dies Hunger Strike In ASU Continues

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland - Family members and advocates are seeking information 
surrounding the February 2nd death of Christian Gomez, 27, a prisoner 
at Corcoran State Prison. It remains unclear whether or not Gomez was 
participating in an ongoing hunger strike in the prison's 
Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), or whether his death was 
related to the strike. The California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation (CDCR) has not disclosed the cause of death saying 
that they have not yet received an autopsy report.

"Conditions inside California prisons are atrocious, especially when 
it comes to physical and mental health care," says Laura Magnani, 
Interim Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee 
and an expert witness during an August 23rd hearing in Sacramento 
regarding California's Security Housing Units (SHUs) , "Any time a 
prisoner dies inside one of their institutions, the CDCR must be held 
responsible." California's prison healthcare system has been under 
federal receivership since 2006 due to inhumane and deadly conditions 
caused by severe overcrowding. Federal Judge Thelton Henderson 
recently announced an imminent end to the oversight.

Prisoners in the Corcoran ASU have been on hunger strike for periods 
of time since late December of 2011. Their 11 demands include 
adequate access to the law library and legal assistance and an end to 
the practice of holding prisoners in ASU after they have served their 
sentences in the unit. "ASUs are similar to California's SHUs in that 
they are often used to punish prisoners who are jail house lawyers or 
who have organized with their fellow prisoners to make political 
demands," says Molly Porzig, an organizer with Prisoner Hunger Strike 
Solidarity Coalition, "Some prisoners are confined in solitary, 
without privileges afforded in general population such as radios and 
phone calls for years at a time and without any means to challenge 
their cases." A 2009 review by the Office of the State Inspector 
General of the CDCR's policies in ASUs found that prisoners in 
several units had been held for inappropriate lengths of time, 
violating their due process rights and costing the department of 
millions of dollars.

It is unknown how long prisoners at Corcoran will keep up their 
hunger strike, but letters from participants indicate that they 
continue until the CDCR meets their demands. One prisoner recently 
wrote, "The struggle that is being fought in this ASU at Corcoran 
State Prison is only a small part of a bigger struggle that is being 
fought, and that will be continuously fought, against the oppression 
that is evident in all parts of the world today." Two hunger strikes 
took place in prisons across California last year, at one point 
involving at least 12,000 prisoners. Last year's strikes, as well as 
the Corcoran strike, are unprecedented in the history of the CDCR and 
have seen unity amongst prisoners across racial and geographic lines.

For more information and updates, please visit 

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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