[Ppnews] California Prison Hunger Strikers Continue Their Resistance

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 2 12:20:45 EDT 2013

  California Prison Hunger Strikers Continue Their Resistance

by Dylan Murphy / September 2nd, 2013

    We are now at a critical stage, where each minute that passes is
    extremely taxing mentally and physically. Many of us participating
    since day one are suffering what may be irreversible damage, and are
    facing a very real possibility of death.

    -- Pelican Bay hunger striker and Short Corridor representative
    Aurturo Castellano
    <http://m/2013/08/28/day-52-prisoners-isolated-disturbing-news-from-corocran-strike-participation-grows-prisoners-remain-committed-cdcr-is-not-going-to-break-us/> 55
    Days on Hunger Strike

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) refuses 
to negotiate with prison hunger strikers as they enter day 56 of the 
protest at solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. The hunger 
strikers are in increasing danger from heart attacks but maintain their 
resolve to continue their resistance until the CDCR agrees to negotiate 
around their five core demands 

Governor Gerry Brown maintains the same refusal to negotiate hoping that 
the punitive measures taken by the CDCR against the hunger strikers such 
as refusal of medical treatment, blasting cold air into cells, 
withholding mail and visits, will break the protest. Instead, Governor 
Brown wants to pump millions into expanding the prison-industrial 
complex in California which benefits big business while imprisoning ever 
greater numbers of working class people.

The refusal of CDCR and Governor Brown to negotiate with the hunger 
strikers is bringing increasing condemnation from around California. In 
the last few days criminologists and criminal justice reformers 
have called upon Brown and the CDCR to begin immediate negotiations with 
the hunger strikers and to "Stop the political posturing and 
name-calling, and start negotiating before there is blood on your hands."

Meanwhile the California Conference of Catholic Bishops 
<http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/ca-bishops-issue-statement-on-prison-hunger-strike-and-isolation-policies/> have 
again reiterated their opposition to the CDCR's use of solitary 
confinement of prisoners and offered to serve on any oversight 
committee, "that may be convened to investigate any alleged human rights 
violations in the California's prisons in order to propose the necessary 
corrective measures."

The continuing resistance of the hunger strikers taken with increasing 
public pressure has finally forced leading politicians in California to 
intervene in the situation. On August 30, Senator Loni Hancock 
(D-Berkeley) and Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who are 
Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety, issued a 
statement declaring their intention to convene public hearings on the 
conditions in California's prisons that have led to the hunger strike. 
The public hearings are scheduled to start in the autumn and continue 
into next year.

"The issues raised by the hunger strike are real -- concerns about the 
use and conditions of solitary confinement in California's prisons -- 
are real and can no longer be ignored," Senator Hancock (D-Berkeley) and 
Assembly member Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said in a joint statement 

The hearings will focus upon two issues raised by the hunger strike: the 
conditions facing prisoners in maximum security prisons and the effect 
of of long-term solitary confinement as a prison management strategy, 
and a human rights issue.

Assembly member Tom Ammiano 
chair of the Assembly committee on Public Safety made the further 
damning statement, "The Courts have made clear that the hunger strikers 
have legitimate issues of policy and practice that must be reviewed. The 
Legislature has a critical role in considering and acting on their 
concerns. We cannot sit by and watch our state pour money into a system 
that the US. Supreme Court has declared does not provide 
constitutionally acceptable conditions of confinement and that 
statistics show has failed to increase public safety."

Lawyers for the hunger strikers will communicate the proposal for public 
hearings to the men. Meanwhile, the hunger strike continues in the face 
of yet more punitive action 
by the CDCR. 80 Pelican Bay hunger strikers have been relocated to New 
Folsom Prison and suffered mistreatment by prison authorities leading 
other prisoners there to join the hunger strike in protest. People 
around the world need to keep up the pressure 
<http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/> upon the CDCR and 
Governor Brown to negotiate in good faith with the representatives of 
the hunger strikers.


At Pelican Bay, the four main representatives of prisoners in the Secure 
Housing Unit who initiated the call for a mass hunger strike, have 
issued the following appeal 

"We are calling on all people of conscience to make their opposition 
heard. The people have the power to change things now. Know this: Our 
spirit and resolve remain strong and we know we can count on you all! 
Together we are making it happen, not only for ourselves, but, more 
importantly, for the generations to come."

With the Utmost Solidarity, Love, and Respect---Onward in Struggle,
Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor Collective
Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU
Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU
Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP-SHU

Dylan Murphy is a historian and trade union activist. Read other 
articles by Dylan <http://dissidentvoice.org/author/DylanMurphy/>.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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