What began as a hunger strike among inmates of the isolation wing of California’s Pelican Bay prison has turned into a statewide display of solidarity. A number of prisoners in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit, California’s highest-security complex, refused their state-provided morning meal on Friday to protest the inhumane conditions of their confinement. Inmates in the Security Housing Unit spend 23 hours per day in soundproofed, windowless cells. Their daily hour of exercise is walking around a small, walled space. The intent is to keep prison-gang members and those considered dangerous to others separated from fellow inmates.
Despite original claims by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that the hunger strike was limited to fewer than two dozen Pelican Bay inmates, spokesperson Terry Thornton said yesterday that the weekend had seen a peak of 6,600 protesters. According to Thornton, there are currently around 2,100 prisoners declining meals. Thirteen of California’s 33 penal facilities have counted protesters among their inmate populations and it appears that the sentiment of solidarity is spreading beyond state borders. On Friday, a number of those incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary refused their food trays for a full 24 hours. More PrisonerPal.com True Crime Today Magazine Subscriptions for Prisoners since 1975