Reports from California Prison Focus, among other groups supporting prisoners on hunger strike in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), confirm that the strikers last night agreed to begin eating. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reportedly made small concessions having to do with prisoners’ possessions and educational programming, and also promised a comprehensive review of policies regarding “gang management and secured housing.”
As California Watch points out, a “previous department study that proposed overhauling gang policies and reducing the length of time inmates spend in Security Housing Units was mothballed,” as were similar promises made following a 2001 hunger strike at Pelican Bay. According to The Dissenter, groups supporting the hunger strikers say that press coverage and public support prevented prisoners from being retaliated against during the strike. They are urging the public and the media to continue monitoring progress toward the strikers’ demands. Solitary Watch will continue to provide updates as information emerges.
The Pelican Bay hunger strike has been one of the most significant prisoner actions of recent decades. Solitary Watch volunteer reporter/researcher Sal Rodriguez has completed a Fact Sheet that includes background on Pelican Bay State Prison, conditions in the SHU, criteria for placement in the SHU, prisoner demands, the progress of the hunger strike, the state response, background on the landmark case Madrid v. Gomez, and more: