Medical Conditions of Hunger Strikers Worsen, Strikers & Supporters Keep Fighting Back

Numbers of hunger strikers began to drop this week after the CDCR intensified retaliation on the strike. The hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay who were kept in the D Corridor of the SHU were moved to Administrative Segregation at Pelican Bay. Lawyers who were finally able to have one visit last week (after some lawyers of the prisoners’ mediation team have been banned) report that the CDCR has the air conditioning on high in 50 degree weather. The hunger strike representatives continue to be willing to risk their lives in order to win the 5 core demands.

The CDCR’s numbers also appear to be low due to guards falsifying records of hunger strikers. At Calipatria, for instance, hunger strikers report they were finally given their liquids after filing medical requests (even though they were still denied liquids for the first several days of the strike). Now, however, guards have been delivering liquids on the prisoners’ food trays.  Once strikers take the liquids off of the trays, the guards record they are not striking (CDCR counts strikers based on who touches the state-issued food trays and who doesn’t).

Medical conditions are also worsening for strikers throughout the state. We’ve received reports that after 12 days of no food, prisoners are once again losing severe weight and fainting. One hunger striker at Pelican Bay was denied his medication and consequently suffered from a heart attack and is now is an outside hospital in Oregon.

Families converged in Sacramento on October 5th to pressure the CDCR to implement the prisoners' 5 core demands

Family & community members continue to support the hunger strikers by holding rallies, community events and vigils, publicizing the courageous action inside prison and building pressure on representatives to intervene  in the CDCR’s handling of the strike.

Families of SHU prisoners are calling for supporters everywhere to hold mass vigils in support of the hunger strikers on Thursday nights. If you can organize a vigil in your community, please email prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity[at] For more events, check out our events page here.

21 thoughts on “Medical Conditions of Hunger Strikers Worsen, Strikers & Supporters Keep Fighting Back

  1. This may be a very dumb question, but what is the difference between Ad Seg and the D Corridor of the SHU? How much more do the hunger strikers lose when they are transferred to Ad Seg?

  2. Bless the beautiful families and friends supporting the inmates’ demands for humane treatment. God bless us all and I pray for justice.

  3. @ Vikki – “This may be a very dumb question, but what is the difference between Ad Seg and the D Corridor of the SHU? How much more do the hunger strikers lose when they are transferred to Ad Seg?”
    This not a dumb question at all as it is not an easy answer so bear with me on my attempt to explain the difference between the two.. First – there are steps required to take to segregate a prisoner from general population and those steps fall under administrative segregation placement procedures. It has various options for such placements but initially, these are interim or temporary placements pending a review of the threat, reason or logic for removing this prisoner from GP. There is a due process required to inform the prisoner of the reason of placement and a review period as well.

    AD Seg can be used for protective custody, voluntary or involuntary, disciplinary, pending disciplinary or pending gang validation thus awaiting transfer or transition to a higher custody level placement thus no longer appropriate to remain in GP as he or she poses a threat to being on that yard at that time. Many times because gang validations are done at a SHU unit by a committee, the prisoner is moved to a SHU for holding and the validation hearing. In other words AD Seg is an interim or temporary restrictive placement pending finality in the decision to approve the permanent placement of a prisoner at the higher custody level or release the prisoner back into GP.

    SHU units are maximum custody facilities that accept the receivership of those placed in Admin Seg for reasons above for long term placement. SHU units are considered to be the most restrictive custody levels in most prison systems and severely restrict the prisoner’s access to those privileged in GP. One could say that the SHU are more punitive because of these restrictions by design but AD Seg has the same interim rules as the SHU does so staff can maintain tight controls on the prisoner’s behaviors, access and movement. Most SHU policies resemble the AD Seg policies in nature or practice by AD Seg remains to be a management tool to separate prisoners from GP and into a holding unit.

    I hope this helps. General in explanation as there are specific steps within each process but outline of purpose regarding both references.

    • Thanks for the explanation. Another question: By being moved from SHU to Ad Seg, what more do the hunger strike participants lose? (I am trying to wrap my head around this so that, when I explain it to others, it will make sense)

    • Wow, I feel as though I just read a chapter from some type of “bible”…maybe it is the one wrote by the “Prison Industry”. You did an outstanding ‘job’ (if you will) of explaining that. I have a son so dear to me that this whole criminal disaster is tearing me up. I feel as though my hands are tied and, the more I try to do for my son, the tighter the restraint gets! His very life is in the hands of people who can manipulate him. Whatever happened to “do your time”, get rehabilitated, and get your freedom, so that you can become a productive citizen? What’s a “productive citizen” nowadays? Someone pushing a broom around at a park? Plz don’t take that wrong, anyone. Point being, there’s nothing offered to parolees that will give them a chance at a successful release. A blessed future is in the hands of that which is mightier than those who “control” us now. Thank you kind soul….


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  6. @Vikki – they can lose credit for time served (forfeited) – they can be impacted by parole decisions – they can lose eligibility for incentives or priviledges – the range is much too long to describe but there are severe reprecusions for not following the rules n regs while in the SHU or in AD Seg as their treatment will be based on extra punitive methods on top of those already imposed when they arrived at the SHU or AD Seg.

  7. The primary difference between SHU and AdSeg (in addition to the information above) is the men do not have access to any of their property…not even clothing. All property is put in storage while men are in AdSeg

    In SHU, the men have basic items like books, access to mail, toiletries and what few property items they are allowed. For the hunger strikers currently in AdSeg – mail, even legal mail is being withheld. According to recent interviews with the men in AdSeg, they have a jumpsuit, a mattress and a thin blanket. that is all. Crescent City has temperatures in the low 50’s, and the air conditioning is being run full blast.

    In the SHU, men may have 2 hour visits (twice a week) behind glass, with family and friends. in AdSeg, no visits.

    At this site,, pictures 3, 4 and 7 of the 30 show a SHU cell.

    An AdSeg cell is the same, with nothing in it but a thin mattress and blanket.

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  9. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty” & “freedom of speech”? I had a “mother” (step/adopted) who use to try the “force-feeding” thing on me. Wonder what she’s doing now besides being dead for 40 years. Come to think about it, (I can start ranting because of my wounds, sorry) some people aren’t in their right minds because of mental illness factors – so what’s the excuse of the prison system? It’s gone “unchecked” by the citizens of this country & it’s plain horrifying!!!! I feel as though I’ve been under a rock for 17 years. Wonder what I’ll be doing when I’m dead? Shakes me to my core!

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  11. Would someone please explain to me why validated “gang members” are not only placed in shu ,sometimes for life ,based on “validation” but have their commisary resticed,their tvs removed,etc…All things that have no bearing on “control”,but are punative.These prisoners have not been charged with “crimes” over and above whatever brought them to prison in the first place,so how do they warrent such treatment?
    How do we justify confinement to tiny cells with almost no human contact for their whole prison term?
    I am shocked! To subject them to cold of 50 degrees with no clothing to speak of is just inhumane as is saying they are “eating” when their weigh loss is quite large in many cases.
    I stand in agreement with the strikers and am shocked at the response of CDC.It makes me very sad to say Ilive in California.

  12. .I am a wife of an inmate serving SHU time n Pelican Bay and whose husband is an active hunger striker. I want to let everyone that will listen hear about this: On Saturday 10-8-2011, I received a photo of my husband in an envelope addressed by him to me. There was nothing in this envelope but his photo. This photo was suppose to be his annual photo granted by CDC as part of the Hunger Strikers request, however this photo actually made me sick to my stomach. CDC took this picture of my husband looking unhealthily skinny, pale (more than usual) with dark circles under his eyes and sent it home knowing this is the last thing I want my family to see of my husband. Is this some sick joke? Is this CDC’s way of showing their control? The purpose of the annual photo was suppose to be so that family members who could not make the journey to Pelican Bay often or regularly can keep with them as a reminder of their loved one. Who would want to see their loved one in such a sickened state? A good friend of mine suggested that I use this photo to show the years of deterioration the SHU does to the human body by using a before and after type scenario. If this doesn’t constitute inhumane treatment, someone please tell me what does? I will not allow my husband to be used as a tool to target for any such injustice. This photo affected my children, and for that alone I will pursue justice.

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  14. @Sheryl – there is no legitimate, sound or established correctional practice that provides such restrictions once placed in a SHU. The only reason for such actions would be used is what you eluded to and that is to implement “punitive conditions” to gain compliance on an pending issue between the CDCR and the of validated gang member or part or part of a regimented “behavioral modification program” that is used to break resistance or alleged negative conduct. It’s not something that should be condoned by the administration as many validated gang members nationwide have the same priviledges as General Population max custody prisoners and doing time with these amenities having no impact on the order or security of the SMU / SHU unit they reside within.

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