Prisoners at Calipatria State Prison have decided to temporarily end their hunger strike to regain strength. Hunger strikers were subject to extreme retaliation at the hands of warden Leland McEwen and guards, including witholding water and vitamins. Reports from prisoners that indicated that many men were collapsing in their cells and that the guards were doing nothing when alerted. A family member said that the infirmary there was full and that prisoners needing medical care were being transferred to Centinela.
It is becoming apparent that Calipatria is basically used as a stepping stone to Pelican Bay or other California SHUs. A majority of the men held there have been validated as gang members and have effectively been given SHU status. Some spend as long as 4 years in solitary confinement, awaiting transfer. Calipatria has virtually no programming for prisoners, and prisoners frequently have nothing in their cells to enrich their days. The prison has prohibitted radios and television, which violates CDCR policy. The hunger strikers have added these items to their demands.
As prisoners throughout California continue their struggle for human rights and against torture, we must keep up the pressure on Governor Jerry Brown and the CDCR as the 5 core demands have only been minimally addressed We will continue to post updates as we get them. A recent letter from a hunger striker stated:
“A caged man is a spirit trapped in steel — leave him alone and his
spirit becomes one with his cage — it’s all he knows. Motivate him,
nurture and socialize him, and his spirit soars. It’s only then that the
man realizes the difference between him and his cage — the reasons for
it. Thus, allowing him to finally be free from it.”