California Prisoner Hunger Strike: Countdown in the Struggle for Humane Conditions

Day 32


August 8, 2013 — Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners.

 

These are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise.

 

Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly.

 

Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti. Guards are also being strategically divisive by tactically treating some prisoners nicely and others in the most demeaning ways, hoping—as the guards openly discussed in front of some prisoners—to create division so the prisoners will begin to fight each other. The guards’ goal: to undermine the hunger strike. According to these same talkative guards, this unprofessional behavior is what they were instructed to do to help bring the hunger strike to an end. Continue reading

Thousands march across the West Bank in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike

by on May 11, 2012

Palestinians march in support of prisoners on hunger strike, Nablus, May 11, 2011. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/ActiveStills)

Press Release
Friday, May 11, 2012

[Marches, demonstrations and clashes took place all across the West Bank in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, on its 25th day.]

Thousands took to the streets today in Palestinian cities and villages across the West Bank, in solidarity with over 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.

Hundreds protested in the town of Beitunia, adjacent to Ramallah, in front of the Israeli Ofer prison and military court, which have become a recent flashpoint with nearly daily demonstrations. Several moderate injuries from rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas projectiles were recorded, including one to the head.

Twenty year-old Majd Barghouti was injured in the eye by a rubber-coated bullet shot by Israeli soldiers who tried to suppress another demonstration, in the village of Aboud, north-east of Ramallah. He was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital, where he is expected to undergo surgery. Continue reading

California Prison Crisis Sparks Statewide Hunger Strike

By Angola 3 News, 11 August, 2011
Angola3news.com:  An interview with Isaac Ontiveros of Critical Resistance

On July 20, hunger strikers at California’s infamous Supermax, Pelican Bay State Prison Secure Housing Unit (PBSP-SHU), declared victory and ended their nearly three-week fast for human rights. The strike had been announced several months beforehand and when it began on July 1, the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay were joined in the fast by thousands of other prisoners across the state. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), at least 6,600 prisoners in at least one third of California’s 33 prisons participated in the hunger strike.

In response to the hunger strike, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and the Public Safety Committee in the State Assembly of California will hold an informational hearing on August 23 regarding conditions and policies of the Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay. Activists have initiated a statewide mobilization around this hearing, in order to pressure state legislators and the CDCR to make substantial changes. Continue reading