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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

CA State Prisoners going on hunger strike

Posted by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:28 PM
  • 107 Replies

Paul Sakuma/AP

Demonstrators rallied in front of the State Building in San Francisco two summers ago to support prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. A new strike started Monday to protest the continued isolation of many prisoners.
Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison launched a hunger strike Monday to protest the use of Security Housing Units as a way to break the power of prison gangs.

Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said 30,000 inmates refused their morning meal Monday. The department will only recognize a hunger strike when an inmate has refused nine consecutive meals. Also on Monday, 2,300 inmates declined to work or attend class.

California isolates 4,500 inmates from the general prison population in Security Housing Units at four prisons, but those at Pelican Bay face the most severe form of confinement. The super max's so-called "short corridor" restricts prisoner to their cells 22 1/2 hours a day. Inmates leave their cell only for exercise in a high-walled concrete yard, to shower, or for medical appointments. They are allowed no phone calls and can only visit with family separated by a glass partition.

Pelican Bay SHU prisoners led two mass hungers strikes in the summer of 2011 that spread to 6,600 inmates at 13 prisons. The hunger strikes each lasted less than a month and ended when the corrections department announced it would loosen some restrictions on inmates in the isolation units and review department policies for determining who to send there and for how long.

Prison officials separate inmates confirmed as gang leaders or members in isolation units indefinitely. CDCR has confined more than 500 prisoners in those units for more than five years, and dozens for more than 20 years.

Until last year the only way for SHU prisoners to return to the general population was to "debrief" — a process prison officials describe as renouncing gang membership, but which inmates describe as "snitching."

The CDCR made changes to gang management policies in 2012 that allow inmates to earn their way out of the SHU through good behavior.

But in a statement distributed by advocates for prisoners , the leaders of the hunger strike faulted CDCR's "failure to honor their word" and said the department had "acted in bad faith."

They say CDCR has actually broadened the isolation program, and still validates gang members on flimsy evidence.

"We believe that our pilot program addresses inmates concerns" said spokeswoman Terry Thornton. "It has been revised and reformed, it incorporates additional elements of due process, and we’ve created a step alternative for inmates to demonstrate their willingness to leave the gang."

Thornton said the department has reviewed the cases of 382 SHU prisoners statewide, released 208 of them to the general prison population and placed another 115 in various stages of the step-down program.

"People are leaving the SHU," Thornton said.






by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:35 PM

I don't believe that sort of isolation serves any purpose.  There are less restrictive ways to keep these people segregated.  We have serious human rights issues in our prisons

viv212
by Gold Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:36 PM
1 mom liked this
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/us/rethinking-solitary-confinement.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

That's a link to an article from
2010 talking about solitary confinement in prisons.
snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:38 PM

I actually remember reading this


Quoting viv212:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/us/rethinking-solitary-confinement.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

That's a link to an article from
2010 talking about solitary confinement in prisons.



snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Bump!  This is a great topic and I'm sick of discussing the same 2 issues

Firenygirl180
by Bronze Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I don't think anyone belongs in segregation unless they are a serious threat to other inmates or the corrections officers. Just being in a gang doesn't mean you are a danger. Yes, there are things you"have" to do to be accepted, but there are members that are in them solely for protection from other inmates.
survivorinohio
by René on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I kinda feel like we ought to keep the violent ones who prove to be violent all together and let em kill each other.  House offenders who have not demonstrated violence while doing their time somewhere els so as not to give the bad guys fresh meat so to speak. 

I have little hope for the most violent of our offenders.  I also think that solitary confinement is enough to make someone crazy and if they are already crazy it will only compound it.


Arroree
by Ruby Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:09 PM
7 moms liked this

Psh, let all the gang banging idiots starve themselves, no loss to California, there's an overabundance of them there to begin with.  Personally if it was my choice we'd ship all the gang members to an island to kill eachother off like the idiots they are. It would save a lot of innocent lives.

As for whether the confinements are deserved, seriously who are we supposed to believe, the guards or convicted gang bangers?  CA has a massive gang problem and the gang members in the jails and prisons in the state are constantly trying, and many times succeeding, to kill eachother. I'm all for keeping ALL of them in solitary cells and not allowing them to ever have access to eachother.

Arroree
by Ruby Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:10 PM
2 moms liked this

And yes i do realize i'm a bit extreme about it but after growing up in CA surrounded by all the gang bullshit i don't have a whole lot of sympathy left for any of them.

survivorinohio
by René on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:11 PM
1 mom liked this

And somewhat ot but looming as an elephant in the room is the issue of mentally ill inmates who receive no treatment behind bars and are regularly segregated exacerbating their conditions.  Those people need to be hospitalized, prison isnt going to do anything but torture them.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Arroree
by Ruby Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:11 PM
1 mom liked this


This, a million times this.

Quoting survivorinohio:

I kinda feel like we ought to keep the violent ones who prove to be violent all together and let em kill each other.  House offenders who have not demonstrated violence while doing their time somewhere els so as not to give the bad guys fresh meat so to speak. 



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