Tuesday: California, national people of faith to ask Gov. Brown
for a just, humane end to prison inmate hunger strike.
In support of the California prison inmates who are on a hunger strike, representatives of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will, on Tuesday, July 30, join with inmates’ families in Sacramento to ask Gov. Jerry Brown and Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard to meet the inmates’ demands and bring the hunger strike to a swift and humane end.
On July 8, prisoners throughout California began a peaceful hunger strike to protest the inhuman conditions of long-term solitary confinement. In California, nearly 12,000 people in prison are held in solitary confinement for 23 to 24 hours a day in small, windowless cells without sunlight, fresh air, meaningful human contact or constructive activity for many years, even decades.
People of faith and the families of inmates will gather at 10 a.m. at the south end of the State Capitol. The group will deliver a letter to the Governor, signed by more than 1,000 clergy and religious leaders from across the country, as well as petitions from partnering groups. The letter and petitions ask Gov. Brown and the California corrections department to meet the core demands of prisoners in the Special Housing Units (SHU) to resolve the hunger strike swiftly.
“Thousands of California prisoners are engaged in a hunger strike, not because they want to commit suicide, but because they have no other way to protest the egregious conditions of prolonged solitary confinement,” said Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “The experience of indefinite solitary confinement is so harmful that in California, thousands of prisoners continue to risk their lives to call us to attention.
“This is a matter of faith because God has endowed human beings with dignity and worth, which are violated by the experience of isolation. Consequently, more than 1,000 clergy and other religious leaders in California and across the country have come together in signing a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to honor the reasonable core demands of California prisoners in Security Housing Units — some of whom have now faced decades in indefinite solitary confinement.”
WHAT: A gathering of religious community and prison inmate families to call on California officials to meet inmates’ demands and bring the hunger strike to an end
WHEN/WHERE: People of faith and families of SHU inmates will:
- Gather at the south end of the State Capitol, 1315 10th Street, Sacramento, at 10 a.m.
- Proceed to the Capitol to deliver a letter to Gov. Brown, signed by more than 1,000 clergy and religious leaders.
- Walk to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S Street. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., inmates’ families, clergy and people of faith, and other supporters will ask that Secretary Beard listen to their urgent concerns about the California inmates’ hunger strike.
- Virginia Classick, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture
- Family members of inmates on hunger strike in California prisons
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Since its formation in January 2006, more than 320 religious organizations have joined NRCAT, including representatives from the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Sikh communities. Members include national denominations and faith groups, regional organizations and local congregations.