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July 11, 2013

Huge hunger strike now on-going in California

As reported in this New York Times article, headlined "Hunger Strike by California Inmates, Already Large, Is Expected to Be Long," prisoners are expressing their displeasure with California prison conditions in a dramatic way. Here is how the article begins:

Nearly 29,000 inmates in California state prisons refused meals for the third day Wednesday during a protest of prison conditions and rules. The protest extended to two-thirds of the 33 prisons across the state and all 4 private out-of-state facilities where California sends inmates, corrections officials said. Thousands of prisoners also refused to attend their work assignments for a third day, and state officials were bracing for a long-term strike.

Once the state tallies the official number of participants, the hunger strike could become the largest in state history. A similar hunger strike over several weeks in 2011 had about 6,000 participants at its official peak, corrections officials said, and a strike that fall had about 4,200.

The protest is centered on the state’s aggressive solitary confinement practices, but it appeared to have attracted support from many prisoners with their own demands for changes in prison conditions.

Jules Lobel, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the lead lawyer in a federal lawsuit over solitary confinement, said he expected the strike to go on for much longer than previous ones because inmates would refuse to accept anything less than a legally binding agreement for immediate changes.

“Last time, they took promises of reforms, but they are not going to do that again, because two years later the reforms have not materialized in any real way,” Mr. Lobel said. “This could become a very serious situation over time, because it seems we have a substantial group of people who are prepared to see it to the end if they don’t get real change,” he said.

UPDATE:  This Wired story provides a timely account of why everyone should be deeply concerned about the overuse of solitary confinement.  The piece is fittingly headlined "The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement."

July 11, 2013 at 07:41 AM | Permalink

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Death by starvation is prolonged. Even the Nazi commandant of a concentration camp couldn't take watching it. He decided to rescind the sentence of death by starvation for a praying priest. The priest had volunteered to take the place of prisoners who rebelled, but had families.

The Nazi Commandant ordered the priest be dispatched with poison after 10 days. In the Schiavo case, the judge ordered this handicapped person on no water, and she went faster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Kolbe

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 11, 2013 8:14:39 AM

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