After nearly three weeks of refusing food, inmates at Pelican Bay have ended their hunger strike, however, inmates at Calipatria and Salinas Valley prisons are reportedly still on strike.
Both the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity and officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued a memo to the press announcing the hunger strike at Pelican Bay had been called off. Inmates started eating again after the CDCR said it would meet prisoners' demands, including continue a reviewing its conditions for prisoners in solitary confinement and its policies of gang validation.
"This is something the prisoners have been asking for and it is the first significant step we've seen from the CDCR to address the hunger strikers' demands," says Carol Strickman, a lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, "But as you know, the proof is in the pudding. We'll see if the CDCR keeps its word regarding to this new process."
Inmates went on strike on Sept. 26, claiming the CDCR had not substantially met their earlier demands to improve prison conditions and revamp its policies for validating gang members in prison. The strike started out large, with more than 4,000 inmates in eight state prisons refusing to eat state-issued meals. However, the number steadily dropped and as of today only 580 inmates in three state prisons were still on hunger strike, according to the CDCR.
Inmates, who went on a hunger strike for 20 days in July, issued a statement via its mediation team, which met with CDCR officials this week.
"People would rather die than continue living under their current conditions. ...It is a privilege, an honor to be a part of the struggle, to be a part of history for the betterment of all those inside these cement walls...I will go as far as my body allows me to go."
Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF