Today, Prisoners at Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) & Calipatria’s Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) resume their hunger strike.
The strike this past July exposed the conditions and practices of Pelican Bay’s SHU. Referring to the first round of the hunger strike, Mutope Duguma (aka, James Crawford), a strike representative in Pelican Bay’s SHU writes, “This is far from over and once again, hopefully for the last time, we will be risking our lives via a peaceful hunger strike on Sept 26, 2011 to force positive changes. For 21 1/2 years we have been quietly held in Pelican Bay State Prison solitary confinement under some of the most horrible conditions known to man. So we continue to struggle to be treated like decent human beings.”
Now over 100 hunger strikers at Calipatria State Prison, in solidarity with the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay, are risking their lives to expose the conditions of the ASU at Calipatria. According to Calipatria ASU prisoners, roughly 80% of the prisoners in the ASU have been given indefinite SHU terms, and are placed in this isolation unit to await transfer to one of California’s three other SHU’s for men, namely Pelican Bay. Most of the prisoners currently in Calipatria’s ASU have been waiting transfer for 3-4 years.
ASU prisoners at Calipatria have also reported that prison officials have not been implementing the changes addressed by the five core demands written by the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay even though the demands refer to all SHU-status prisoners throughout CA, not just at Pelican Bay. The prisoners at Calipatria are furthering the struggle to stop the torture and mistreatment of SHU prisoners by insisting the five core demands be effectively implemented for all SHU-status prisoners no matter what prison they are located in. Since many of the programs and privileges for prisoners varies from prison to prison, Calipatria hunger strikers have amended Demand #5 to include TV & radios as well as P.I.A soft shoes, privileges not already in place at Calipatria’s ASU.
In preparation for the hunger strike, Calipatria ASU prisoners have sent in medical requests for liquids while on strike, after having been denied liquids during the first round of the hunger strike in July. ASU Prisoners have also prepared by sending Calipatria’s warden their five core demands with their amendment to the 5th demand. According to letters from Calipatria ASU hunger strike participants, who prefer to remain unnamed, the strike is “a peaceful protest against CDCR’s inhumane solitary confinement and their insufficient and abusive [gang] validation process.”