California: Some inmates continue prison hunger strike, advocates say

By Mary Slosson

LOS ANGELES | Fri Oct 14, 2011

(Reuters) – A day after California prison officials declared a 3-week-old hunger strike by thousands of convicts over, an inmate advocacy group said on Friday that at least 150 prisoners were still refusing to eat.

The protest began at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California and spread to at least 4,000 inmates in seven other facilities at its height late last month, with prisoners demanding an end to what they called inhumane treatment.

Many of the grievances focused on the prison system’s use of solitary confinement to enforce discipline and for what inmates say is a means of coercing them to “rat out” prison gang members.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Thursday the hunger strike had ended after prison officials agreed to review procedures by which certain convicts are classified as too dangerous for the general inmate population.

But inmate representatives later said that as of Friday 150 convicts were continuing their protest at two prisons because conditions in which they are held remained unaddressed.

“We know that there are people still going at Calipatria (State Prison) and Salinas Valley (State Prison),” said Isaac Ontiveros, a spokesman for the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “They have been clear that they are willing to keep going at great peril to their own health.” Continue reading