Hunger Strike Rally at CDCR Headquarters With Strike in Third Week, CDCR Continues to Reject Prisoner Demands

For Immediate Release – July 18, 2011

Press Contact: Jay Donahue

Office: 510-444-0484

Cell: 415-515-4134

What: Rally in Support of Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Where: CDCR Headquarters, 1515 S St, Sacramento

When: Monday July 18th, 2011, 1pm

 

Oakland – Prisoners’ families and community members will gather at 1pm today outside the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) headquarters in Sacramento to rally in support of prisoners on hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison. Last week the leaders of the strike decided to continue striking because the CDCR failed to address any of their five core demands during negotiations. The strike, now in its third week, is reaching a critical point with reports of dozens of striking prisoners being taken to the infirmary because of irregular heartbeats or fainting.  Most prisoners have lost 20-35 pounds. “What’s most troubling is that the CDCR has not offered anything substantial in response to the prisoner’s demands, which include an end to long term solitary confinement,” says Carol Strickman, a lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity legal team.  Strickman also notes, “Some of these guys have been in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for 20 years or more and are suffering the severe affects of being locked in a 6 x 10 concrete cell for 23 ½ hours a day. What they are asking for are basic human rights.”

 

At least 400 prisoners at Pelican Bay continue to refuse food and thousands more around the state are striking in solidarity, including CCI Tehachapi, Corcoran, Centinela, Calipatria, RJ Donovan, San Quentin, Valley State Prison for Women, and Folsom, making it the largest hunger strike in the history of the embattled California prison system. The system, under federal receivership, has been court ordered to release 33,000 prisoners because of medical neglect caused by severe overcrowding. “We are urging our state representatives and Governor Brown to step in and force the CDCR to recognize the prisoners’ demands,” says Manuel LaFontaine, an organizer with All of Us or None, “The California prison system is already responsible for prisoner deaths because it provides substandard medical care. California’s lawmakers need to step up and take action against the situation at Pelican Bay.”

 

Mediators and lawyers who have spoken with hunger strikers at Pelican Bay say they remain committed despite having not eaten for 18 days. Some have said they are willing to strike to the death unless their demands are met. Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team points out, “The hunger strikers believe that this is the only way they can get the CDCR to rectify the conditions they are experiencing in the SHU. They believe they have no other recourse.”

 

Supporters of the strikers will continue to hold rallies and events to highlight the situation at Pelican Bay and to show solidarity with the prisoners. For more information and regular updates, visit prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com.

One thought on “Hunger Strike Rally at CDCR Headquarters With Strike in Third Week, CDCR Continues to Reject Prisoner Demands

  1. Pingback: Inmate Health Dwindles as Prison Hunger Strike Enters Fourth Week | My Blog

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