Hundreds of inmates keep up protest

By Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate July 26, 2013 05:44 pm

Hundreds of inmates are still participating in a hunger strike calling for the end of indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons.

On Wednesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported 707 inmates in 10 prisons still protesting after 2½ weeks of refusing state-issued meals. The number is down from 30,000 who refused meals on July 8, the first day of the strike.

This hunger strike is the third in that past two years organized by a group of inmates in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit.

Two of the core members who coordinated the strikes are also part of a lawsuit originally filed in 2009 that is now calling for the release to general population of all inmates who have been housed in the Bay’s SHU for longer than 10 years. The SHU holds mainly inmates identified as gang affiliates by prison investigators. 

The lawsuit alleges indefinite SHU housing is cruel and unusual punishment.

The two members, along with  two other plaintiffs, are scheduled to be interviewed in a court deposition next week, according to an attorney for the inmates.

It is an emergency deposition requested on behalf of the inmates due to their participation in the hunger strike, which “imperils (their) life, major bodily functions, and ability to present testimony in court at any future date,” court documents state.

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