FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–JULY 17, 2013
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Ph. 510 517 6612
Oakland–At least 14 prisoners being held in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at California’s notorious Pelican Bay State Prison were forcibly removed from their cells and placed in more punitive isolation late last week, according to lawyers who visited their clients on Tuesday.
“They have been singled out for their participation in the ongoing California prisoner hunger strike and targeted because they are outspoken prisoner activists,” according to Kamau Walton of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. The 14 were placed in Administrative Segregation last Thursday.
Prison officials, also confiscated legal material from the prisoners, including attorney-client protected documents relating to a highly publicized federal class action lawsuit against the state of California. The lawsuit contends solitary confinement is a violation of prisoners’ 8th Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment, as well as their rights to due process.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to lowball strike participation numbers – on the 10th day of the strike thousands are still participating throughout the California prison system, with at least 30,000 participating last week. Prisoners continue to call on the CDCR to negotiate over their demands.
“This is a clear attack against a non-violent protest,” says Anne Weills, attorney for several hunger strikers. “It is pathetic that in response to prisoners’ calls for basic human and civil rights, the CDCR responds by violating those rights.” Weills also notes that all 14 prisoners retaliated against had signed onto last summer’s Agreement to End Hostilities Among Racial Groups–a document issued from the Pelican Bay SHU, urging prisoners to resolve conflicts peacefully amongst themselves and to work to end wider violence in the prison system. The CDCR has refused to distribute the Agreement among prisoners.
In a statement issued this morning, strike representatives said, “on July 11, 2013, we were placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), where we are subjected to more torturous conditions than in the SHU. Despite this diabolical act on the part of the CDCR intended to break our resolve and hasten our deaths, we remain strong and united! We are 100% committed to our cause and will end our peaceful action when the CDCR signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands.”
Governor Jerry Brown has been completely silent on the strike that has gained international news attention. He remains mired in multiple scandals in the California prison system. Brown will be taking a European vacation, visiting among other places, Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Family members and loved ones of the strikers are outraged.