6,000 California Inmates in Round 2 of Prison Hunger Strike

by on September 29, 2011 · 5 comments

in California, Civil Disobedience

 Round 2, Day 4: Strike Expands & Exposes ‘Perfect Storm’ in CA

by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity / September 29, 2011

As released yesterday, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity has confirmed that at least 6,000 California prisoners in jails, General Population, Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg/ASU) and Security Housing Units (SHUs) are hunger striking for the human rights of California’s SHU-status prisoners. We have confirmed prisoners are striking at Pelican Bay, Calipatria, CCI Tehachapi, Centinela, Corcoran, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, and West Valley Detention Center.

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) has not released the total number of prisons, or which prisons prisoners are striking at. The CDCR withheld accurate numbers for several days after the first round of the strike in July until we pressured reporters to investigate and force the CDCR to release information. We know the CDCR is not releasing accurate numbers, and that many more prisoners are participating and supporting the strike in various ways.

The CDCR has also upped retaliation on the strike by deeming the entire strike a prison “disturbance” under Title 15. The CDCR has delivered memos to prisoners at each state prison threatening that any participation or support for the hunger strike will result in disciplinary actions, such as placement in Ad-Seg/ASU or SHUs (for prisoners currently in General Population), increased destructive cell searches, removal of canteen items, and worse. We know that a number of prisoners lost their jobs as added punishment for supporting the strike in July.

The spreading strike and overwhelming international support for it demonstrate the seriousness of torture throughout the prison industrial complex. It is no coincidence that the first round of the hunger strike followed the US Supreme Court’s finding that CA’s prison system is in violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Not surprisingly, the CDCR is criminalizing the strike and insisting that the hunger strikers are violent gang members that deserve to be tortured. Meanwhile, we face similar struggles against criminalization outside prison, as cities across CA are stepping up suppression policing tactics, such as gang injunctions, youth curfews and loitering ordinances, inevitably sweeping more people from working class communities of color into prison.

On top of all of that, the state’s realignment plan gives us a huge opportunity to get people out of prison but also adds the threat of unprecedented jail construction to this landscape.

Given this “perfect storm,” we can and must connect our struggles and continue to vigorously defend our communities and unleash our will to resist and organize.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

AJ Honeylake September 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm

If he’s in the SHU, 99.99% of the time he’s there for a very darn good reason. It’s hard enough to validate active gang members in prison. You need at least three confirmed independent sources. It takes more than a tattoo on your face or note in your locker to confirm you are active in a prison gang. Heck, it even takes even more than active participation in a riot or stabbing a guy on the yard! Gang investigators have to prove a connection before they are able to send you to the SHU. Until then it’s a temporary stay in AdSeg (a.k.a. “The Hole”) for misbehavior, a place where it too includes cable TV,radio, personal mail, yard time and weekly canteen draws.

I see so many times where the media’s like, “Look at that poor little boy in four-point chains and leg restraints! He’s got four mean old cops on him, with their batons open, and he has to wear that scary spit mask! Mean old cops! Leave him alone!” What they don’t tell you is why he has to be transported that way. Maybe it’s because he likes to throw feces into the faces of whatever cop approaches his cell with his evening meal. Maybe it’s because the last officer he met yesterday got his throat slit with a paperclip from his legal papers. Maybe because, despite the fact that he’s only 120 lbs., he raped and murdered his 240 lbs cellie the other week and could care less about being transferred to death row, which would actually be an upgrade to his present arrangement.


sonseeahray R September 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm

this all boils down to simple human rights being violated! I am sickened about the things i hear that are going on inside the ca prisons. Theses inmates may be behind bars for various reasons…. but they are still human! People like my husband do not deserve to be treated like he is some sort of animal


AJ Honeylake September 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Hon, you hear things but I live them. I work in the prison system. Does it not seem surprising to you that convicted felons would lie, especially the ones kept in isolation for misbehaving so badly that they can’t even get along with other prisoners. By misbehaving I mean it’s the third or fourth time they’ve had to put them away for stabbing some guy in the neck for prison gang related activity and the prison feels that it’s just safer to put this guy in the SHU than let him stab more people and cost the state more money in wrongful death lawsuits.


Hippie Mike October 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I’m reminded of Richard Pryor, who after spending several hours visiting with prisoners, many of whom he assumed had been railroaded and were in to a large extent because of their race, he walked out to the parking lot, put his key in the car door to unlock it, paused, looked up toward the Heavens and said out loud, “THANK GOD THERE ARE PENITENTIARIES!!!!


Tea November 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

AJ Honeylake. You live these “things” that we mere civilians just hear second hand from our convict loved ones (who of course are only filling our heads with outrageous lies of miss treatment by correctional staff (such as yourself.) You know good and well that a large % of the men validated in the SHU especially in the last few years are not being placed there after stabbing other inmates time and again. The scary thing is that for so many people all it takes is a tiny bit of “power” and “control” over another person for them to feel above another human being. Correctional Officers and law enforcement in general are the largest and most dangerous gang in America because your actions tend to be justified, covered up and overall dismissed. As if putting on olive colored coveralls suddenly elevates you to some type of deity who is above the law; not just courts laws but mans law. The fight true justice and basic rights for inmates is fight that will remain almost impossible to gain ground on due to the fact that we’re going against such a corrupt and powerful industry. I will never stop fighting for what I feel is right though because I can look in the mirror with the knowledge that I never have to lie to the face starring back at me. I will never have to lie in my soul trying to convince myself that I believe I am better than the next man. I often wonder how long does it take for a simple “turn key” to be able to convince (fool) himself that he is something greater than what he really is?


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