[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
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
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
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
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