As California Prisoner Hunger Strike Reaches Critical Moment, Families and Advocates Return to Capitol, Demand Action from State Government

August 14, 2013

Press Contact: Azadeh Zohrabi, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, Ph:  310-612-9706

the mock "SHU" solitary confinement cell at the State Capitol

The mock “SHU” solitary confinement cell at the State Capitol

Oakland—All eyes are on California, as prisoners across the state’s vast prison system hit their 38th day of hunger strike in protest of the torturous conditions of solitary confinement.  Prisoners’ loved ones and supporters joined 100 people on the steps of the state capitol Wednesday afternoon to demand swift and resolute action from California decision makers.  Activists also set up a life-sized replica of a Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell, encouraging the governor, legislators, and members of the public to experience for just a few minutes what thousands of California prisons live through, many for decades.

Irene Huerta’s husband has been in solitary for 28 years and is currently on hunger strike.  Huerta is part of a mediation team that is trying to keep channels of communication open between strikers and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), with hopes of reaching an end to the strike.  “It is important for us to be here today.  It is day 38 and our loved ones could die soon if no one steps up to do anything,” says Huerta.  She joins many others in condemning the CDCR’s continued attacks on strikers, along with Governor Brown’s total silence on the entire issue.  “For Brown to say nothing at all, at such a critical moment, that is a slap in the face.  To say anything at all, even to speak against the strike, that’s one thing.  But to remain silent when people’s lives are on the line and their families are worried sick? There is nothing worse.” Continue reading