California Inmate Hunger Strike for Rights

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

California prisoners went on hunger strike all the way from July 1st to July 22nd in the name of demanding better treatment and living conditions. They were not alone, however. The inmates have support from people beyond the prison walls helping them fight for their cause. NBC Bay Area news reports, “Organizers who say California prisoners are ‘tortured’ in solitary confinement are planning a rally Monday to show support of inmates who spent much of July on a hunger strike over poor living conditions.”

The strike included inmates from Pelican Bay State Prison near San Francisco and prisoners at Corcoran, Tehachapi, and Calipatria prisons. Reports say that the hunger strike was specifically aimed at ending five key things. NBC Bay Area news reports:

“Chief among the strikers’ five-point list of demands was a call for an end to so-called ‘debriefings,’ lengthy interviews prison officials used to determine an inmates’ gang status. Prisoners complained the process often resulted in inmates being labeled snitches and being targeted for violence by rivals. They also called for an end to group punishment and administrative abuse, an end to long term solitary confinement, more nutritious food and improved recreational privileges.”

Once California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials acknowledged the motives behind the inmates’ strike, the majority of the strikes stopped. Now, state officials are seeing what they can do to meet the demands of the inmates. In the mean time, however, outside people are doing what they can to make sure the motives of the movement do not fall by the wayside being forgotten or ignored by officials. One such way to accomplish that is rallies like the one planned for Monday which is a part of an International Day of Protest and Solitary with the Prison Hunger Strikers. NBC Bay Area news reports, “Advocates will rally at the California State Building, at Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street in San Francisco, at noon. At 1 p.m., protesters will march to the offices of Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris at 455 Golden Gate Ave. Other rallies will be held in Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle and Chicago.”

Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.



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