As released yesterday, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity has confirmed that at least 6,000 California prisoners in jails, General Population, Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg/ASU) and Security Housing Units (SHUs) are hunger striking for the human rights of California’s SHU-status prisoners. We have confirmed prisoners are striking at Pelican Bay, Calipatria, CCI Tehachapi, Centinela, Corcoran, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, and West Valley Detention Center.
The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) has not released the total number of prisons, or which prisons prisoners are striking at. The CDCR withheld accurate numbers for several days after the first round of the strike in July until we pressured reporters to investigate and force the CDCR to release information. We know the CDCR is not releasing accurate numbers, and that many more prisoners are participating and supporting the strike in various ways.
The CDCR has also upped retaliation on the strike by deeming the entire strike a prison “disturbance” under Title 15. The CDCR has delivered memos to prisoners at each state prison threatening that any participation or support for the hunger strike will result in disciplinary actions, such as placement in Ad-Seg/ASU or SHUs (for prisoners currently in General Population), increased destructive cell searches, removal of canteen items, and worse. We know that a number of prisoners lost their jobs as added punishment for supporting the strike in July.
The spreading strike and overwhelming international support for it demonstrate the seriousness of torture throughout the prison industrial complex. It is no coincidence that the first round of the hunger strike followed the US Supreme Court’s finding that CA’s prison system is in violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Not surprisingly, the CDCR is criminalizing the strike and insisting that the hunger strikers are violent gang members that deserve to be tortured. Meanwhile, we face similar struggles against criminalization outside prison, as cities across CA are stepping up suppression policing tactics, such as gang injunctions, youth curfews and loitering ordinances, inevitably sweeping more people from working class communities of color into prison.
On top of all of that, the state’s realignment plan gives us a huge opportunity to get people out of prison but also adds the threat of unprecedented jail construction to this landscape.
Given this “perfect storm,” we can and must connect our struggles and continue to vigorously defend our communities and unleash our will to resist and organize.
Strike Spreads Rapidly, At least 6,000 prisoners resume strike
September 28: Today (9/28/11) lawyers & mediators of Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity’s mediation team confirm that at least 6,000 prisoners throughout CA are resuming the hunger strike that originally began in July. The CDCR refuses to release where prisoners are striking exactly, and how many prisoners are striking at each prison.
We know that hundreds of prisoners in the General Population at Calipatria are joining the hunger strike for one week in solidarity with 200 hunger strikers in Calipatria’s two Administrative Segregation Units (Ad-Seg & ASU), bringing Calipatria’s numbers up to 500-1,000 hunger strikers.
Family members have also reported prisoners are striking at CCI Tehachapi’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), demanding that the five core demands written by hunger strikers at Pelican Bay be implemented for all SHU-status prisoners in CA. Prisoners at Centinela have also joined the hunger strike again in solidarity with SHU-status prisoners across the state.
Wednesday, October 5th, 12pm-2pm: Rally! at CDCR, 1515 S St, Sacramento.
Thursday, October 6, 5-7 p.m.: Vigil at UN Plaza, SF.
Saturday October 8th from 12:00 to 3:30 p.m: social gathering and potlock with Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition members, local activists, friends and family members of incarcerated loved ones in California prisons, to meet and socialized. Come and join us and share your favorite treat with us. Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster Street, Oakland, CA.
Thursday, October 13, 5-7 p.m.: Vigil at 24th & Mission, SF.
Thursday, October 20, 5-7 p.m.: Vigil at Fruitvale BART, Oakland.
Friday, September 30 12-1:30pm: Picket at the American Consulate. 1155, rue Saint-Alexandre, corner Rene Levesque, metro Place des Arts. For more info, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This list is of upcoming events we know of. If you are organizing an event in your area, let us know!
Throughout the month of July, 2011, thousands of prisoners across California participated in a hunger strike against torturous conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit.
Hungerstrike News documented their struggle and the actions of those who stood in solidarity with them.
As we enter this new period, Hungerstrike News will continue to support the prisoners and report on their struggle.
Has Your Mail to Someone in Prison Been Refused?
From Julie Tackett:
Having your mail rejected is one of the most upsetting things to have happen when you have a loved one in prison. Whether is just a mistake on your part, a concerted effort cut family bonds or blatant retaliation for things like the Hunger Strike, it will help to keep track of trends. I have a spread sheet to record mail rejected by CDCR. I will watch for trends of increased rejections by facility, type of rejections, reasons for rejections, and otherwise keep an eye on things.
Palestinian Prisoners on Hungerstrike in Israeli Prisons
Isolation torture is a worlwide scourge, often directed at political prisoners and others who resist oppression. In some contexts these people are accused of being "gang members", in others they are accused of being "terrorists". In all cases, this dehumanization is used as a justification for the unjustifiable: the purposeful attempt to scientifically drive a human being insane.
As of September 27, Palestinian prisoners have begun a hunger strike against the abusive conditions they are made to suffer. Their demands are:
"1. End the solitary confinement and isolation of our comrade, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the PLO Central Council, Ahmad Sa'adat, Abu Ghassan.
2. End the policy of isolation for all prisoners;
3. End the policy of systematic humiliation by the occupation army against the Palestinian people at checkpoints and crossings, particularly targeting visitors to prisons, and end the arbitrary denial of visits to the prisoners, especially the prisoners from the Gaza Strip. End the humiliation and abuse of prisoners during transfer."