For Immediate Release – October 14, 2011
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Phone: 510 517 6612
California – Immediately following a 10:30 am press conference Friday morning, family members, and advocates will gather at the California State Building in San Francisco for a rally to show continued support for hunger strikers at Pelican Bay State Prison who just stopped their strike, and for strikers at other California prisons who continue to refuse food. Family members of hunger strikers, along with members of the mediation team working as part of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition to push the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to negotiate with strikers, will report on the latest developments in the strike that has gripped the California prison system.
The past three weeks has seen widespread participation in a renewed hunger strike originally initiated at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) this past July. Hunger Strikers in SHUs across California, joined by thousands of prisoners from Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) Units and from prisons’ general population, have rallied around demands that include calls for an end to the brutal conditions of solitary confinement, as well as an end to widely denounced “gang validation” and debriefing processes that have been used by the CDCR to keep prisoner in SHUs for as many as 20 years. On Thursday, prisoners in Pelican Bay’s SHU stopped their strike when the CDCR agreed to take steps toward a sweeping review of SHU facilities and the individual cases of thousands of prisoners held in SHUs across California. Prisoners at no less that two prisons—Calipatria and Salinas Valley prisons—remain on strike for the time being.
“We have word that prisoners at Pelican Bay are feeling empowered by the strike across California and its pushing CDCR to negotiations,” says Jay Donahue of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “But we still have prisoners on strike demanding change, and we still need to hold the CDCR accountable to the promises it has made. So, we will rally to continue our support for all these prisoners, and will continue to help them win their demands. In many ways, this is just the beginning.”