Thadeus Greenson and Kaci Poor/The Times-Standard
California prison officials and prison advocacy groups announced Thursday the end of a three-week hunger strike that saw thousands of inmates at more than a dozen institutions refuse meals.
Dorsey Nunn, a mediator between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the striking prisoners, said he spoke with Pelican Bay State Prison inmates over the phone Thursday who confirmed the news.
”The choices they were confronted with were torture or death,” Nunn said. “Those really aren’t choices. I think they chose to live to fight (for) justice another day.”
The strike began July 1 with 11 inmates in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Secure Housing Units, where suspected gang members are held in near complete isolation, sometimes for years at a time. The group issued a list of five demands — seeking better living conditions and treatment — and was quickly joined by more than 6,500 inmates in 13 institutions throughout the state who began refusing meals.
According to CDCR Deputy Press Secretary Terry Thornton, the striking inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison resumed eating state-issued food Wednesday night after a CDCR executive visited the prison and provided clarification on proposed plans to review and change policies. Changes implemented to date, according to the release, include “providing cold-weather caps, wall calendars and some educational opportunities for SHU inmates.” Continue reading