The courage of the hunger strikers continues in the face of severe repression by the CDCR, as today marks Day 18 of the second phase of the historic CA hunger strike.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity has received letters from hunger strikers throughout the state, which have been severely delayed due to the CDCR’s retaliation of tampering with strikers’ mail.
Chad, a hunger striker at Pelican Bay, details some of the retaliation he has experienced for participating in the strike again:
In an effort to break my strike, they began withholding my pain medication as leverage. At first cold turkey until I reminded them of the Plata and the federal judge’s ruling that it is criminal to cold turkey a long-time recipient of medications for chronic pain. So they issued just enough to clear them, but so minute and ineffective to cause extraordinary pain, from both disease and withdrawal symptoms. When that failed they came to my cell and said I need to go to the CTC [infirmary] because I’m so sick and totally disabled. It’s very, very worse than SHU conditions. It freezes 24 hours a day and you are entitled only to the linen on your bed, what’s on your back, and a towel.
Chad, who suffers from end stage liver disease and hepatitis C, goes on to explain how guards ordered him out of his cell when it was clear his medical condition was worsening:
In an effort to ‘help me’ and ensure my dire health needs are met, when I refused to go they extracted me. A very brutal act. They did not enter as I prepared for, but instead, with three types of ‘toys’, an overwhelmingly suffocating gas, or like an impenetrable cloud or fog, filled my cell. Then they tossed in a type of gas bomb. Then hit me with a direct spray of another gas. On the verge of passing out I left the cell. Interestingly, all the taunting and provoking challenges [by guards] abruptly ended when the video camera arrived. What happened to me was wrong on so many levels.
Chad is currently in the prison’s infirmary under the care of the infamous Dr. Sayre, who is notorious for abusing prisoners. Chad ended his hunger strike after ten days.
Pelican Bay hunger strikers have also been transferred to Corcoran as retaliation for striking. During the first round of the strike in July, 17 strike representatives at Pelican Bay were transferred to Corcoran, a facility unlike Pelican Bay that is permitted to force-feed hunger strikers.
The CDCR has released that prisoners continuing to strike at only three prisons: Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Salinas. However, prisoners at Calipatria continue to write to the coalition & their loved ones, declaring the strike is still going strong in Calipatria’s ASU. The CDCR has continuously down-played Calipatria’s participation in the strike no doubt in an effort to conceal the breadth of their torturous conditions & practices across the state.
One prisoner hunger striking at Calipatria’s Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) wrote to us explaining the significance of the hunger strike:
Men of respect, men of honor, have committed their lives to the struggle. Literally placed their lives on the line in order to put a stoppage to all these injustices we are subjected to day in and day out. People would rather die than continue living under their current conditions. That’s why to me, it is a privilege, an honor to be apart of the struggle, to be apart of history for the betterment of not only “me” but for all those inside these cement walls…I have joined this second hunger strike once again full heartedly with a smile on my face. I will go as far as my body allows me to go.
Rallies and events outside of prison in cities across CA & the US, (including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and New York) are continuing to support the strike. You can support the strike by helping make 160,000 calls to Governor Brown by Wed October 19th, by attending a solidarity event near you, or by organizing an event with your community. Check out more ways to support the strike!