This is the 11th day of the California prisoners' hunger strike against indefinite solitary confinement and other ills associated with solitary confinement. As of the last report I'd seen more than 2000 prisoners remain on hunger strike, despite retaliation and all manner of threats from California's prison officials.
Here's what prison officials have been doing to hunger strikers and their legal advocates:
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation continue to retaliate against hunger strikers. Yesterday it was reported that a core group of strikers were moved from the Security Housing Unit in Pelican Bay to even more restricted isolation. Since then, supporters have learned that prison officials have been attempting to break the resolve of strikers by blasting cold air into the SHU and Administrative Segregation (AD-Seg) units at Pelican Bay.If you've been reading these hunger strike diaries this should sound familar. You can get sent to solitary confinment because you are suspected of having some connection with someone who is suspected of being a gang member. Now, you can be denied the right see your attorney because your attorney's associate is being labeled a "security risk."
Also, in a move to restrict communications between prisoners and their legal advocates, the CDCR has issued an exclusion order denying attorney Marilyn McMahon access to her clients at Pelican Bay State Prison, many of whom are in the 11th day of their protest against indefinite long term solitary confinement. The order bans McMahon from the prison pending a CDCR investigation to determine whether one of her legal assistants "presents a serious threat to security."
On Monday, supporters did a phone blast to Jerry Brown's offices, demanding that he order prison officials to negotiate. Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity spokesman Issac Ontiveros told me that the blast had gotten officials attention, because they were forced to shut down their phone lines due to the call volume.
On Wednesday, we learned that officials were retaliating against 14 leaders of the hunger strike:
We want to provide a brief update on our collective struggle to end the torture of long-term solitary confinement. As expected the CDCR has responded to the resumption of our peaceful protest by retaliating against 14 of us here at Pelican Bay, subjecting us to similar escalation as in 2011.Today we learn from the LA Times that officials do not plan on doing medical checkups on the strikers for another week:
Specifically, on July 11, 2013, we were placed in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), where we are subjected to more torturous conditions than in the SHU. Despite this diabolical act on the part of the CDCR intended to break our resolve and hasten our deaths, we remain strong and united! We are 100% committed to our cause and will end our peaceful action when CDCR signs a legally binding agreement to our demands.
PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Representatives
Prison officials said they do not plan physician checkups for most protesters until they have refused meals for 17 days.And that officials have shown no indication they are willing to negotiate:
Magnani, who was on the mediation team that helped end similar protests two years ago, said that she has been in weekly contact with corrections officials, but that the officials have expressed no willingness to open discussions about the current strike.Yet.
Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said... protesters had been warned that the hunger strike would bring consequences: "They should allow their lawsuit to take its course and not be protesting."
This is one of the largest hunger strikes in history, if not the largest. Even if the number of strikers continues to diminish, there is nothing anything like this in magnitude I can find reference to except a similar hunger strike two years ago by California inmates over the same issues.
Here's a description from an anonymous prisoner, written in 2011, when prison officials used the same retaliatory tactics, describing what it means to be moved from solitary to Administrative Segregation.
To help you better understand what took place, I'll tell you how this kind of thing happens. A crew of CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] officers will show up out of the blue at a prisoner's cell. They'll tell him to strip naked and hand his clothes to them. They'll give him his boxers, socks, shoes and T-shirt and tell him to put them on. Then they will handcuff him behind his back and escort him to Ad Seg. Ad Seg is a separate building that is located not far from SHU. They put the prisoner in a van with little cages in it and drive him over to Ad Seg.What You Can Do:
In Ad Seg you have no property when you first get there. When the guys from here in SHU arrived in Ad Seg, they went to an empty cell with nothing but the clothes they wore from their SHU cell.
The CDCR emptied out a row of cells in Ad Seg for the "so-called" leaders of the hunger strike. So, the ones who were moved to Ad Seg went from a cell with all their allowed property to a crazy world with nothing.
The CDCR did this as a retaliatory tactic. They do not like being exposed as to what is really going on here in California's SHU programs. It's something similar to The Wizard of Oz where the wizard is behind a curtain and making things look in a monstrous way that is completely false to reality. But the CRCR turned up the air-conditioning in Ad Seg to torture the guys they put over there. They were over there freezing while the cops were snickering about it. The cops would come in asking if they had had enough, and the cops would tell the guys, "All you have to do is start eating, and we'll take you out of here." As you can imagine, the guys responded with a lot of words that would be bleeped on TV.
Sign The Petition.
Be willing to take a simple action:
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS) invites you to support the hunger strikers by signing this Pledge of Resistance:
I will join PHSS in one action per week in response to some emergency facing the hunger strikers, and in resistance to the torture. These actions may include an email, phone call, letter, vigil, and/or activation of my network and will be initiated by the Emergency Response Network of PHSS.
Read more about the California Prisoners' Hunger Strike: