CA Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano Promise Hearings in Response to Prisoner Hunger Strike

As prisoners endure their 54th day without food, California state senator Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano issued a statement today where they vowed to hold hearings in response to the hunger strike.

“The issues raised by the hunger strike are real – concerns about the use and conditions of solitary confinement in California’s prisons – are real and can no longer be ignored,” Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano said in a joint statement. Assemblymember Ammiano said further, “The Courts have made clear that the hunger strikers have legitimate issues of policy and practice that must be reviewed. The Legislature has a critical role in considering and acting on their concerns. We cannot sit by and watch our state pour money into a system that the US. Supreme Court has declared does not provide constitutionally acceptable conditions of confinement and that statistics show has failed to increase public safety.”

“We appreciate Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano’s promises to take action. Ultimately it is up to the hunger strikers’ themselves as to when and how they will end their protest. But as their advocates on the outside, we feel positive about today’s developments,” said Dolores Canales, who is a member of the strikers’ mediation team and whose son is in Pelican Bay.

Hancock and Ammiano’s statement represents the strongest steps forward in addressing the prisoners’ peaceful protest, and advocates and lawyers representing the strikers say they are eager to communicate this development to the prisoners. “The prisoners on strike have always been clear that there is a viable pathway toward resolving the crisis created by the CDCR,” Said Anne Weills, a civil rights attorney representing some of the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay. “I look forward to talking to hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay to get their thoughtful input around the Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano’s proposal.”

As advocates work to communicate with prisoners on strike around this development, they are also encouraging a cautious attitude. “The strike is not over yet and it is still at a very dangerous moment given that we are entering a long weekend where people have gone 54 days without eating,” said Marie Levin, whose brother is one of the four remaining strike representatives locked in Administrative Segregation at Pelican Bay. “We hope that the CDCR will not act to disrupt this potentially positive development by spreading false information to strikers or continuing to retaliate against their peaceful protest.”

Lawyers visited New Folsom Prison north of Sacramento yesterday where they discovered nearly 80 Pelican Bay strikers had been relocated. They reported that health conditions are poor but that many are still on strike. Some prisoners that had come off strike have resumed the protest due to mistreatment at that facility. Lawyers also reported that other prisoners at New Folsom also joined the protest when they learned of the mistreatment of their fellow prisoners from Pelican Bay.

Concern for the strikers and condemnation of the CDCR is spreading internationally. Earlier today Tessa Murphy, Campaigner on the USA at Amnesty International said,“it’s nothing short of appalling that instead of dealing with the complaints, California’s prison authorities have chosen to threaten inmates with force-feeding and disciplinary measures, and have moved some to other facilities.” Meanwhile the California Conference of Catholic Bishops, said they would “again extend our offer to Gov. Brown and Dr. Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), to assist in the resolution of this urgent life threatening situation. We offer to serve Gov. Brown and Dr. Beard on any outside oversight committee that may be convened to investigate any alleged human rights violations in the California’s prisons in order to propose the necessary corrective measures.”

9 thoughts on “CA Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Ammiano Promise Hearings in Response to Prisoner Hunger Strike

  1. I stand with the Bishops of Calif. this needs to end this is America we have a voice My God this has to stop! Pray America Pray! for change inside the wall this is wrong!! CDCR has to have outsiders overseeing them. What are they hiding when they wont accept what the Bishops offer?

  2. Any American citizen who thinks doesn’t effect them might want to re-think their stance on this situation. At any given time in you day by day living you could easily become a California prison statistic. We are the largest human warehouse in the United States and perhaps the world. When any organization such as the CCPOA becomes so large that they refuse any outside scrutiny or oversight something begins to smell dirty. We as a people have become so “drone” minded that we forget “we are the people” and have taken the back seat in allowing the world’s largest prison industry to become a human torture ground. Are we so caught up in our I-phones and electronics that we have allowed the CCPOA to run amok and rampant within the prison complex to doll out their own kind of punishment and dare anyone to take a peek inside to make sure they obey the written rule? Are we so desensitized to the human spirit that as a whole, we the public will sit back and become a part of the very actions we call ourselves punishing others for? If we continue to allow these prisoners to “strike to their death” then perhaps the next vacated cell should have our names on them because we have now become the torturers we claim to be punishing! Criminal behavior absolutely does have to be dealt with but not at the cost of our own behavior becoming criminal and we fail to recognize it! Only a system that has something to cover up does not allow outside oversight. Think about it people. Isn’t it time we stood up for what is right instead of allowing a certain group tell us what is right? If people continue to look the other way and allow the injustices to continue without alarm we have truly lost our own way.

  3. Thanks to CA Senator Hancok and Assemblymember Ammiano for promising Hearings Regardin CDCR Prisoners On Hunguer Strike,I don’t have a relative on SHU but I care for those that do. Our special concerns are for those who are still on the H.S and my hopes are to see the Ending of Solitary Confinement for All of Them.!!!

  4. The promise of future action by these legislators is a positive step, but without something in writing for the immediate future mere promises are meaningless. These guys have been betrayed before.

    • I appreciate that the senators and assemblymen are at least paying attention but I am afraid we all know how far promises go from anyone except God Himself! We need to see some action and now , not in the future! PLEASE

  5. It is about time that Catholic Bishops DO something on Behalf CDCR Prisoners on H.S. They Can Easily Contact Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard (CDCR Sec’ty) We Know They Can Help. God Blessings to the Hunger Strikers and their Families. Let’s Keep On Praying.!!!

  6. Pingback: Still Hungry for Human Rights | Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

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