California: Pelican Bay SHU Hunger Strike

On July 1, 2011, between 50 and 100 prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), Corridor D, are going on an indefinite hunger strike.  The D corridor (also known as the “short” corridor) has the highest level of restricted incarceration in the state and among the most severe conditions in the nation.  The rules of their confinement are extremely harsh in order to force them to “debrief” or offer up information about criminal or prison gang activity of other prisoners.  Most inmates in the SHU are not members or associates of prison gangs, as the PBSP staff claims, and even those who are put their lives and the lives of their families and other prisoners at risk if they debrief.

Using conditions of severe mental and physical harm in order to force prisoners into confessing is torture!  Many debriefers simply make up information about other prisoners just to escape the isolation units.  This misinformation is then used to validate other prisoners as members or associates of prison gangs who in reality have nothing to do whatsoever with gang activity.

California Prison Focus recently interviewed some of those who are leading this hunger strike and we will be taking a number of key steps to publicize this event.  This widespread hunger strike has the potential to become the most significant event in California prison reform in the last decade.  Public support is crucial.  Please stay in touch with California Prison Focus and other prison organizations who are supporting this hunger strike.

Attached are two documents.  The first lays out the five core demands of the hunger strikers.  The second is theirformal complaint which outlines how the conditions of their imprisonment constitute human rights violations and violate both US and international law.

In support,

California Prison Focus

1 Comment

  1. Whitney

    Thanks for sharing this info & please check out: for updates & ways to show support from the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition–these folks are in contact w/ prisoners on a weekly basis & working to build support for prisoners at Pelican Bay and Corcoran. We’re also organizing international solidarity actions on July 9th–check the site for more info!

    In Struggle,


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