For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

California Prisoners on Hunger Strike to Protest “Torture”

WASHINGTON - The Los Angeles Times reports today: “More than 400 inmates at four California prisons are in the third week of a hunger strike to protest long, punitive stays in isolation cells. …

“Inmate advocates say thousands of inmates have joined the strike, which began July 1. Many are beginning to show dramatic weight loss and collapse with the early signs of starvation, they say.” The paper reports that prison officials refuse to allow reporters into the institutions to interview the strikers.

DORSEY NUNN, dorsey at prisonerswithchildren.org
Nunn is an ex-convict and the director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. He said today: “Prisoners in California are entering the 20th day of a state-wide hunger strike. According the California Department of Corrections at one point there were over 6,600 prisoners in 13 prisons participating in the strike. While those numbers have fallen, others have joined in. In Tehachapi, for example, according to the federal receiver’s office, 168 more prisoners have joined the strike on Monday. This strike is a historic event in that it has brought all races together in a common cause.

“At issue is the absence of real evidence used to validate prisoners as gang members and to hold them in the Security Housing Unit indefinitely. Some of these men have been in the SHU for over 20 years. The only way out is to ‘debrief,’ which is a euphemism for snitching. Then the informer will be sent to a ‘Special Needs Yard’ where living conditions are considerably better. The hunger strikers are those who refuse to be broken. Also at issue is the quality of life. The core demands of the prisoners are so modest that they’ve long ago been implemented in the federal prison system’s maximum ADX facility in Florence Colorado, and in some states such as Ohio’s supermax prison.

“Attorney Carol Strickman correctly notes that the process CDC uses to reduce prisoners to a state of submission, psychological incompetence or self-destruction is torture.”

To learn more about the hunger strike visit: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com.

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