Didn't see anything about this here, but this is very exciting news for those of us who follow the travesty that is our criminal punishment system:
SACRAMENTO — Officials said 30,000 California inmates refused meals Monday at the start of a prison strike involving two-thirds of the state's 33 lockups, as well as four out-of-state facilities.More below the fold...I'm gonna make this one short.
Participants refused breakfast and lunch, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners skipped work or classes, some saying they were sick.
In a public statement, the organizers of the strike inside the prison describe the failed process of their attempts to address some of their concerns:
“The principal prisoner representatives from the PBSP SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement do hereby present public notice that our nonviolent peaceful protest of our subjection to decades of indefinite state-sanctioned torture, via long term solitary confinement will resume today, consisting of a hunger strike/work stoppage of indefinite duration until CDCR signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands, the heart of which mandates an end to long-term solitary confinement (as well as additional major reforms).You can read the entire statement here.
Our decision does not come lightly. For the past (2) years we’ve patiently kept an open dialogue with state officials, attempting to hold them to their promise to implement meaningful reforms, responsive to our demands. For the past seven months we have repeatedly pointed out CDCR’s failure to honor their word—and we have explained in detail the ways in which they’ve acted in bad faith and what they need to do to avoid the resumption of our protest action.
Some of you might remember this Mother Jones piece, when Shane Bauer investigated the conditions in California's prisons. It's worth reading for context of this strike:
...Pelican Bay's public information officer, is giving me a tour of the Security Housing Unit. Inmates deemed a threat to the security of any of California's 33 prisons are shipped to one of the state's five SHUs (pronounced "shoes"), which hold nearly 4,000 people in long-term isolation. In the Pelican Bay SHU, 94 percent of prisoners are celled alone; overcrowding has forced the prison to double up the rest. Statewide, about 32 percent of SHU cells—hardly large enough for one person—are crammed with two inmates.Prisoners are put in SHUs for a variety of reasons, including demonstrating leadership skills while being black, or having pictures of Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, or Nat Turner. This reminds me of an important constitutional provision that allowed slavery in the U.S. to continue after the end of the Civil War:
13th Amendment: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.You can sign a petition here urging Governor Brown to meet the prisoners' demands.
I also urge you to watch these video links (scroll down on the page linked) featuring Vikki Law, author and activist around gender and the prison industrial complex. While the CA strike is not directly about gender, her ideas and observations on the prison system/criminal punishment system are very relevant, and worth considering.
Thank you for reading, and I urge you to sign and share the petition. Peace.