Upcoming Actions to End Abusive Solitary Confinement in California

Protests in support of the hunger strikers in 2011.On July 8, inmates in prisons throughout California will resume their non-violent, peaceful hunger strike against the inhumane conditions of solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement has been overwhelmingly shown to cause permanent harm to people and does nothing to improve public safety.  No one knows that better than the people who are being locked up for weeks, months, even years at a time. 

But the State of California has ignored inmates' basic human rights demands and clearly needs to feel pressure from those of us on the outside.

Five Core Demands for Humane Treatment

The inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison began the strike in 2011 and inmates in Pleasant Valley, San Quentin, Tehachapi, and Corcoran prisons joined in solidarity. Collectively, they presented the Governor and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) with five core demands:

  1. No more group punishments, which punishes all inmates of one race for the actions of an individual.
  2. Abolish debriefing policy, where in order to be released from solitary confinement inmates must agree to inform on other inmates.
  3. End long-term and indefinite solitary confinement, in compliance with federal recommendations.
  4. Provide adequate and nutritious food.
  5. Provide and expand constructive programs and privileges for inmates in solitary

Despite promises otherwise, the Governor and the CDCR  have failed to make any meaningful policy changes that address these demands.

The people locked up in California prisons, some of whom have been in isolation for 40 years, continue to face unjustified and prolonged solitary confinement. Until the state makes a legally binding agreement to make their requested changes, the inmates “remain 100% collectively committed” to their hunger strike.

Here’s the full 2013 letter from the prisoners to the Governor and CDCR.

What You Can Do to Support the Hunger Strikers

The hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and throughout California prisons need support from all of us on the outside.

In the upcoming weeks, support their five core demands for basic human rights by participating in some of the events going on statewide. Send a message to the CDCR that long-term solitary confinement and the deprivation of basic living conditions amount to unacceptable torture!

June 20, Thursday

Oakland: 7PM Leafleting outside the Grand Lake Theatre following premier of “Fruitvale Station”

June 21, Friday

Los Angeles: 4:00 PM Protest* 300 South Spring St. Los Angeles, 90013

San Francisco: 4:00 PM Protest* at Market & Powell

June 22, Saturday

Richmond: 11:00 AM Juneteenth Celebration at  Nicholl Park on 31st and Macdonald Ave.

June 23, Sunday

Take the Hunger Strike to the faith community for sermons, prayers and other events

June 26, Wednesday

Oakland: 7:00 PM
Evening of Solidarity with Prison Hunger Strikers, report from Oscar Grant's uncle about his trip to the Zimmerman Trial
First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2505 Harrison Street, Oakland

July 8, Monday

8:00 PM Rally in support of the first day of the hunger strike. Norwalk City Hall, 12700 Norwalk Ave, Norwalk CA
There will be a full-size replica of a solitary cell.

July 13

3:00 PM Rally* at Corcoran State Prison: Caravans depart from around CA to Corcoran

Bay Area: 10:30 AM Caravans leaving from MacArthur BART in Oakland

Los Angeles: 8:30 AM Caravans leaving Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood

*Sign suggestions: "Long-Term Solitary Confinement = Torture!" "Support California Prison Hunger Strikers and their 5 Demands"

Learn more and RSVP on Facebook.

Have info on other upcoming events to support the hunger strike?  Please share in the comments.