California Prison Inmates End 2nd Week of Hunger Strike – State Continues Its “Disinformation Campaign”

by on July 14, 2011 · 13 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Popular

Pelican Bay State Prison, where the hunger strike began on July 1, 2011. The prison is situated 10 miles from the Oregon border, and 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Today, hundreds of inmates in five California state prisons ended the second week of a hunger strike to protest living conditions, in what has become the largest coordinated protest by state inmates.

And the State of California continues its “disinformation campaign” about the hunger strike which began July 1, by declaring that the strike was “probably synchronized … through organized criminal networks.”  Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) made this statement to the media:

 “This goes to show the power, influence and reach of prison gangs. Some people are doing it because they want to do it, and some are being ordered to do it.”

 Activists who support the strikers dismissed the gang ties, and said the other inmates had rallied to support a group of 150 prisoners who started the protest inside the Secured Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border.

Carol Strickland, an Oakland attorney who is working with the hunger strikers, said this:

“I don’t think this is something that represents gang control. This was an unusual example of unity among groups within the CDCR, and that’s knocked them back in a way. Here, the CDCR has managed to unite the groups – inmates are seeing their enemy is not the brown person across the way.”

Go here for the remainder of the SF Gate  article.

More on Medical Crisis of Hunger Strikers Who Need Support Pressuring Immediate Negotiations

By prisoner hunger strike solidarity /July 14, 2011

Legal representatives made visits to Pelican Bay SHU (Secure Housing Unit) Tuesday and interviewed a number of hunger strikers. Each prisoner explained how medical conditions of about 400 hunger strikers in the SHU are worsening. Many prisoners are experiencing irregular heartbeats and palpitations, some are suffering from diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. Many are also experiencing dizziness and constantly feel light-headed. Many struggle with shortness of breath and other lung and respiratory problems. Dozens of prisoners have fainted and been taken to either the infirmary and/or outside hospitals. Some prisoners also have Chrones disease, which leads to extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes and needs to be treated by adequate nutrition and hydration.

At least 200 prisoners continue the strike in solidarity with the prisoners at Pelican Bay at Calipatria State Prison, where summer heat has reached to 110 degrees F, even hotter inside the SHUs. Some people have experienced heat stroke due to severe dehydration.

 Prisoners at Corcoran have also notified us that hunger strikers there are struggling with the same symptoms of severe dehydration. After mild seizures and severe diabetic shock, some people have been taken to the infirmary.

Many doctors outside of prison, some of whom have experience working with prisoners, have explained to us that adequate hydration is paramount to preventing fatal starvation. The fact that the prisoners are showing symptoms of such extreme dehydration shows the prisoners are approaching a medical crisis.

Dr. Corey Weinstein, a private correctional medical consultant and human rights investigator with 40 years experience providing health care to CA prisoners, explains:

 “The strikers’ claims of substandard and prejudicial medical care at Pelican Bay are certainly true. As well the medical staff refuses to take on their responsibilities as health professionals to advocate for their patients in matters of daily life related to food, nutrition, exercise and mental hygiene. Those who should be providing care act the jailer instead. Given my long history of working with California prisoners, I have grave doubts about the Department of Corrections’ ability to adequately carry out their own guidelines and protocols even during this urgent and public moment. Reports such as prisoners with very low blood sugar levels and lack of urination for 3 days should not be coming from the prison. These are men who require hospital care under prison protocols. We should ask why do they remain at the prison?”

 Clearly the prisoners are in dire need of adequate food and hydration. The only way to prevent people from dying right now is for the CDCR to negotiate with the prisoners with the outside mediation team the prisoner’s have approved of.

Support the Prisoners in Winning their Demands! Take Action NOW!  Click here for info on how to get involved.

*If you have information you think we should know about or suggestions of how people can support the strike that will help pressure CDCR to negotiate immediately, please contact us:

**Supporters everywhere are encouraged to coordinate and organize events, actions, and demonstrations that amplify the prisoner’s voices and will effectively urge the CDCR to negotiate immediately

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

wakeupandsmellthecoffee July 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I noticed something. All of these claims are from prisoners. Prisoners said this, prisoners said that. So we are to take their word for it? If they said the guards were pulling them out of their cells every hour and beating them for being on a hunger strike would this be taken as gospel? I have yet to see an article from a non- prisoner who has seen the prison conditions for themselves. These individuals are not in prison for being honest, kind, gentle, moral, etc. If being in a cell with meals brought to your door, free television, the best medical money can buy, the best psychological help money can buy, social interaction with at least 6 other people you are housed with, if that is what we call torture now, then most of the world is being MORE than tortured. Our military does not eat as well as these prisoners. If homeless people on the street knew how well they would be taken care of in prison they would commit a crime just to get there. Should I live on the street going through dumpsters or should I go to prison with a roof over my head, and meals brought to me? Probably 50% of the world live in worse conditions than these prisoners, and most people in America cannot have surgery for a $5 copay. Most people in America do not have the luxury of having a psychologist standing by to be able to talk to. Most people do not have guards standing by to protect them (even if it is from themselves). Inside prison you do not hear the cries of ones being “tortured” you hear laughter and lively banter in the pods. You hear cheering as their sports team score on the television. You hear conversations of life on the streets etc. Most people in the world would say, “If this is torture, sign me up!”


Frank Gormlie July 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Not sure which world you’re living in. Can you tell us? We posted your comment just to show others what level ignorance is out there. For starters, “the best medical money can buy” ? Are you serious? For seconds, “our military does not eat as well as these prisoners.” I could go on, but why bother.


Em July 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Let me guess you are a C/O, or wish you were? I see you are standing with the 50% that hate inmates. There are a significant number of C/O that agree that the torture has to stop. Are they lying? You wanted to know what the guards think. They can’t say anything for fear of the “Green Wall” the biggest and richest gang of them all-CCPOA and Brown is their bought and paid for whore. Best medical care where? Then tell me why a man with colon cancer and a colostomy bag passed out in his cell and died two days later? OH Great Medical care; are you aware that the chief medical officer at the prison killed an inmate in Walla Walla Washington because during surgery to fix a broken ankle he FORGOT to turn on the respirator? You should make him YOUR primary doctor. The $5 is for an aspirin if you are lucky. We paid $1,000 for hearing aids after 3 years of losing his hearing tests; that would be a good doctor for your children! You sound like a bitter wanna be that got beat up for your lunch money. Yes, our military DOES eat better than SHU inmates. The C/O’s in SHU straight up said they wouldn’t eat what they are fed; it looks like vomit 80% of the time. Do you even know the definition of torture? Probably NOT. It is to willfully deprive a person of basic needs like food, access to natural light, medical, sleep, etc to coerce information from one. Sounds like the SHU; not all prisons or yards are like this but they have been treated worse and worse and now it has come to a head. They were left for almost two months this year without ever leaving their windowless cell. For the record our loved one is not in there for a violent crime, there was no victim, and there was no property taken. So don’t tell me that people don’t fall in the cracks and tossed out with a prison population that is busting out at the seams. Did you know that 3,500 teachers were laid off while the CCPOA got a 3% raise? An inmate that is trying to better himself might be smarter than the teacher at your child’s school. People like you stick their heads in the sand and let the politicians have their way with OUR tax dollars and want to blame the inmates for the high taxes. It is people like you that I hope don’t vote, Educating yourself on the real issues; job security and the unions big campaign donations is why we have over 200,000 people stuffed into 33 prisons that are made to hold 130,000 at $44,000 per year per healthy inmate and $250,000 per year per sick inmate the CCPOA-CDC Justifies the extraordinary budget (R goes on when rehab goes in) It makes the 2 million look like chump change that they gave to Brown. He owes the union and they got paid and 3,500 teachers got canned. I care about that not only for our loved ones horrible life-the crime did not fit the time, but because MY Grandchildren attend public school. I think the union rather enjoys teachers being laid off; our kids are their future job securty. It all rolls down hill so if you think they are starving because they are horrible babies, you have no idea who’s in there. Wake up and pull your head out and educate yourself before you start blowing ignorant smoke up your own W@ZZoo


Lena July 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Very nicely put Em. I wish there was more compassion in this world and less ignorance. But you know they do say ignorance is bliss… People seem to fear what they dont know. Bottom line is the inmates are people regardless of their crimes and who are we to judge them for their actions?


john July 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Thia may be the biggest “howler” of a post I’ve seen in quite awhile on the internet, in any forum on every issue under the sun. “Guards standing there to protect you… ” umm, ever hear of prison rape?
“Meals brought to me…” oh of course, breakfast in bed, with marmalade!
I’ve never been in a state prison, but I’ve been downtown here in San Diego for a few days on contempt charge (later dropped) and I have been in the military. Jail food is HORRIBLE, I mean barely edible. Slop is the best way to describe it.
This idea that prison is some kind of country club or bed and breakfast is insane.


SONIA GONZALEZ July 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

wakeupandsmellthecoffee seriously? How little you know of the real world. You need to spend a day in the life to see how it feels before you speak. At the end of the day the prisoners are in there for not following the rules and regulations of our world. Understood accepted even, but yet the guards, the warden, the prison system as a whole is not following the rules and we should look the other way because? The law is the law and no man is above the law.


Tony July 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

The SHU at Pelican Bay is where the shot-callers are… WHAT ARE THEY OFFERING IN RETURN ???
They say their conditions are in-humane ,, hmm
Do they think all the stabbings & violence that they order on other prisoners is humane ?
If they stop their violence & drug buisness,, then by all means – NEGOTIATE !


Not Concerned July 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm

wakeupandsmellthecoffee is 100% correct. Calif state inmates (Convicted felons) are entitled to free medical, the best money can buy. As a citezen you are NOT entitled anything. If the public was aware ofn a fraction of the benifits the inmates recieved they would be outraged. Please people, these folks are not alter boys. Pull your FR%()%(%(^)ING head out of the sand. Come up fot a tour and see with your own eyes


Patty Jones July 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm

The best medical that having NO money can buy, which is about the same medical care I get. Why has the state been ordered to release thousands of prisoners? Because of the lack of medical care they receive.

If the public was aware of a fraction of the abuses prisoners endure they would be more outraged than they are.


Frank Gormlie July 15, 2011 at 10:55 am

Whose shoes are you shining?


mr.rick July 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

I’m sure it’s not shoes he’s shining. He’s polishing German Helmets.


BOBOB July 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I still don’t get why we should feel sorry for prisoners…FG clue me in bro. You deleted my first message saying that it makes me laugh? It’s not enough that our tax dollars feeds them, clothes them, shelters them, pays for the guards and electricity and on and on and on…They are the criminals. So prison is substandard compared to the real world? DUH.


Graciela Rodriguez August 21, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Hmmm, I wonder if anyone that has posted negative comments about the prisoners has actually ever been there in their shoes. You are soon right when you say they are not Alter Boys and so on. But as far as the best of everything….I think not. I am the mother of one of the Prisoners. Yes he made very bad decisions in his young life and yes I feel completely responsible. Even though I did the best that I could for him. However My son is serving a 14 year sentence for a non-violent No-Victim Crime, and has never been in prison before. Yes he did commit a Felony which landed him doubt. He should pay the price for his actions. But my son went in healthy and now he suffers from many illnesses plus cheap dental fixes that most of us take for granted. A single infected tooth can actually kill you if its not treated, or make you very ill.
Even though they have committed crimes against society that does not make them less human…I agree some people deserve the worst treatment ever..such as crimes against children, murder..etc But then again who am I to judge? I really doubt that the prisoners get 5 star treatment in any aspect of the word…just being there to visit a loved one is a horrible experience. If only all could see the daily life they live… maybe….just maybe you would think twice before you speak..
We are only able to see what they (DOC) allows us to see…remember that
you don’t see the money they bring in for every person that’s in the SHU or the money they make from family and friends just trying to stay in touch with someone on the inside.

And although they are the ones that have committed the crimes the family and friends are the ones that also pay the price in so many ways.

Thanks for listening


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