California Prisoners End Hunger Strike
Prison officials announced Thursday that California inmates have ended the hunger strike that began three weeks ago at Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County, near the California/Oregon border, as Care2′s Amelia Thomson DeVeaux reported here.
The inmates organized the strike in protest over conditions and policies within the facility. More than 6,600 inmates at 13 prisons throughout California were involved in the movement at its peak.
Prisoners Showed Signs Of Dramatic Weight Loss
Inmates had begun to show signs of dramatic weight loss and some even collapsed from starvation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The prisoners had made six key demands, including that the prison reform its policies on long-term solitary confinement.
They also called for an end to a policy allowing indefinite detention in the isolation unit for inmates suspected of continued involvement in gang activity.
Hunger Strike Continues At Three Other State Prisons
However, while the hunger strike at the maximum security Northern California Pelican Bay appeared to be over, California corrections officials acknowledged more than 500 inmates continue to refuse meals at three other state prisons.
From The Los Angeles Times:
More than 400 inmates remain on hunger strike at the California State Prison in Corcoran, more than 100 at the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi and about 29 at Calipatria State Prison, said prison spokeswoman Terry Thornton.
Earlier this week, 17 inmates who had begun to show early symptoms of starvation were moved from Pelican Bay to Corcoran, to “ensure we have sufficient and appropriate medical resources” to treat them if they continued the strike, said Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the federal receiver overseeing prison healthcare.
Among the protesters’ demands is an end to a policy that requires them to inform on gang members in order to be released from Security Housing Units, where inmates often spend years in solitary confinement as punishment for violating prison rules.
The protests came in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that ruled California’s overcrowded prisons constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” and required the state to dramatically reduce its prisoner population.