[Pnews] Prisoner Hunger Strike Fight Moves to the Legislature, Community Rallies in Support

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 7 16:21:58 EDT 2013


*Media Alert—October 7, 2013**
Prisoner Hunger Strike Fight Moves to the Legislature, Community Rallies 
in Support*

*Press Contact:*
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
*
What: Legislative Hearings on Solitary Confinement, Rallies in Support 
of the Hunger Strikers
When and Where:  Wednesday October 9, 2013, State Capitol, Sacramento, 95814
–     11:30: Opening Rally on the West Side of the State Capitol
–     1:00-3:30: California Public Safety Committee Hearing in Room 4203
–     4:00 Closing Rally, State Capitol, 11th and N Streets*


Oakland—In response to the largest prison hunger strike in US history, 
California lawmakers are holding the first of a series of legislative 
hearings on solitary confinement in California prisons.

During their 60-day hunger strike, California prisoners brought the 
issue of solitary confinement to the attention of the world and garnered 
an unprecedented level of support for their cause. At its peak, 30,000 
prisoners were on strike, demanding an end to indefinite solitary 
confinement; fundamental changes in the draconian policies used to keep 
prisoners in solitary; and an end to collective punishment.

Prisoners suspended their strike on September 5th after Senator Loni 
Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano promised to hold hearings about 
conditions in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) and take action to 
address the issues raised by the strikers. The hearings will include 
testimony by family members and loved ones of prisoners, former 
prisoners, experts on solitary, advocates, as well as representatives of 
the CDCR.

“Although this hunger strike is suspended, the major demands of the 
strikers remain unmet,” said Donna Willmott, of the Prisoner Hunger 
Strike Solidarity Coalition.” We look to our legislators to take a stand 
against torture. We need them to use their power to bring California in 
line with other states which have succeeded in shutting down or 
drastically scaling down their SHU units.”

Prisoners involved in the historic strike are also hoping the hearings 
can produce real changes in California’s internationally condemned use 
of solitary confinement.  “"Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom 
Ammiano have basically said that there has to be change, “ Said hunger 
striker Mutope Duguma from Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU. “It is our 
hope that these current hearings will render that change that we so 
desperately seek, in the interests of all prisoners held throughout 
California in these isolation units and hopefully throughout the United 
States of America."

Supporters of the prisoners will hold a rally before the hearing and 
again at the conclusion of the proceedings. Family members, former SHU 
prisoners, attorneys and advocates will be available for comment.
###
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