California Inmates Launch New Hunger Strike On October 10th

From Solitary Watch

On October 10th, inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison and California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi launched a hunger strike. The hunger strike, which has in total involved five hundred inmates, coincided with the date of an announced racial cease-fire issued by inmates in Pelican Bay referred to as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. The group, which consists of several inmates who are said by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to be leaders of criminal prison gangs including the Aryan Brotherhood and Black Guerilla Family, issued a call for all inmates to cease racial conflict and urged unity among inmates across California.

It has been speculated that because this same group also lead the historic hunger strikes that took place last year, inmates misinterpreted the October 10th date to launch a hunger strike.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Inmates on a six-day hunger strike at the state prison near Tehachapi are raising objections over new state policies on how gang members are identified and treated, state officials say.

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said those policies have yet to be implemented and are under review by the state Office of Administrative Law.

As of Monday, 161 inmates within segregated cell blocks at the California Correctional Institution, called the Security Housing Unit, continued to refuse meals, Thornton said. The fasting began on Wednesday with nearly 300 inmates at Tehachapi, as well as another 200 inmates in the general prison population at Pelican Bay State Prison hundreds of miles away. Pelican Bay inmates resumed eating by Friday, Thornton said.

Family members of SHU inmates at Tehachapi told the Los Angeles Times they were unaware of the protest. Unlike a larger statewide hunger strike last year, Thornton said corrections officials had no warning and little information about the underlying issues of this strike. Some hunger strikers have complained about prison food and property rules, while others are raising complaints about proposed gang control policies.

Today, a letter signed by the Short Corridor Collective and issued to California Governor Jerry Brown declared their opposition to proposed CDCR reforms of the SHU and “‘status’-based, indefinite isolation,” a reference to the fact that the majority of inmates in the SHU are there for alleged involvement in prison gangs. The letter, which can be read here, does not reference any current hunger strike action.

If anyone has more information about the circumstances of this hunger strike please contact the author at: