Men’s Colony inmates join statewide hunger strike

July 12, 2013

CMCshadowInmates at the California Men’s Colony have joined a statewide hunger strike over the treatment of prisoners, just as state officials are trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that prison conditions have improved.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is not identifying how many inmates are participating at specific prisons, but officials said that a total of 12,421 inmates have participated in 24 state prisons and four out of state prisons. The striking inmates have missed nine consecutive meals since Monday.

In addition to those on hunger strikes, 1,336 inmates have refused to complete work assignments or attend educational classes.

The focus of the strikes is a protest of the long-term, solitary lockup of inmates in security housing units, known as the SHU. The Men’s Colony, which is a medium security prison, does not have a SHU.

Prison officials say gang leaders are behind the statewide strikes. Prisons often use the SHU or solitary confinement to extract information on gangs from the prisoners.

Last year, the Department of Corrections revised its SHU confinement policies with the goal of reducing long-term lockup of those who do not engage in gang behavior.

Other prisoners have joined forces with striking gang members to protest the quality of food, mattresses, clothing and other conditions.

The current hunger and work strikes have come at the same time as the state is battling an inmate population reduction order in federal court.

A panel of three federal judges has ordered California to reduce its prison population by 10,000 inmates this year, but state officials petitioned the Supreme Court Wednesday to reverse that order.

In its request for a stay of the inmate population reduction order, Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris said in an address to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that prison conditions have improved due to realignment of low-risk inmates from state prisons to county jails.

Still, California prisons currently hold about 50 percent more inmates than they were designed to house.

 


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10 Comments

  1. Rambunctious says:

    Thank God they don’t have a Union….

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. CambriaMaven says:

    Watch this short movie for a fuller view of why the prisoners are striking:

    Former Hostage Shane Bauer Investigates Solitary Confinement
    http://youtu.be/KS7hCZ8IiMc
    (from a Mother Jones journalist last September)

    IMHO: Several of the comments seem to have strong confidence in our system of justice. That system is a collection of very real human beings whose decisions aren’t always made under ideal circumstances (like you and me, they can make honest mistakes). I myself do not have that level of confidence that the system functions well. This country has over 80,000 individual human beings – sons and daughters – held in solitary confinement across the country, many of whom were put into solitary not because of the crime they were convicted of, but because one human being decided they met some arbitrary definition of a threat. And in California, the minimum time before appeal is 6 years…in solitary…Regardless of actual guilt , no one should be subjected to what amounts to torture. This is not about releasing dangerous people, it’s about not being a country who imprisons and tortures more people than any other country on the planet.

    (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
  3. jarhead says:

    they say there on a hunger strike , but most inmates have enough food in there cells to last them two weeks , top ramin and such , so its all BS that there not eating . but who cares anyway , dont eat , DIE of starvation and their will one less POS in this world , so continue on with your strike when your cell food runs out , I BET YOU WILL be beggin for food , SORRY we ran out

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  4. r0y says:

    This whole country is on its way to being a prison. It might not matter in a few years.

    Saying that, I now will have a case built against me in 10-15 years, showing what a non-compliant resident I am… as everything is copied and stored just for that kind of crap now.

    Without morals and virtue, there is no freedom. Period.

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  5. Ted Slanders says:

    .
    I don’t know, is it just me that sees the solution for overcrowed prisons right before our eyes? Is it too cold-blooded to let the known gang bangers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc., continue their hunger strike, and subsequently, line up the ambulances to take them away upon their demise? This seemingly win-win situation in turn will allow the population to recede, giving the non-violent offenders a less crowded enviornment.

    Furthermore, if the “gang members” that are initiating this hunger strike don’t like the conditions of prison life, then shouldn’t they have not gotten themselves in the position to be in prison in the first place? They want their cake and eat it too? Huh?

    “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.” (Proverbs 28:5)

    Most prisoners always find God prison, you pick which God, but most pick the Hebrew-Christian God. Therefore, this particular God’s bible will give the prisoners the comfort that is needed when prision life gets to be tough. Ironically, what their prison conditions are now, even though to them it’s uncomfortable, is a cakewalk compared to this God’s punishment that is historically shown towards His creation in the bible! They should feel lucky.

    If California really has to reduce its prison population by 10,000 inmates this year, then release this said amount that were placed in prison for any type of Marijuana offenses first and foremost!

    (22) 24 Total Votes - 23 up - 1 down
  6. Cindy says:

    Just legalize drugs and treat it like alcohol and tobacco. The fact that drugs are illegal doesn’t deter users in my opinion, people are going to do what they’re going to do. Use the funds that we spend on LE like the ill behaved NTF to educate kids starting in grade 1 about drugs and they won’t use them when they grow older. If they do use drugs, they would have regardless and no law would have stopped them from doing so.

    It’s the war on drugs that has gotten us into THIS MESS.

    (-3) 15 Total Votes - 6 up - 9 down
  7. mkaney says:

    Our prison population is the highest in the world both in terms of quantity as well as percentage of the population. This is because we have created a “criminal” class. The solution is easy. Make all nonviolent offenders perform restitution and/or work on public projects, make victimless crimes misdemeanors at the most, and then nobody will really care about the conditions in the prisons which house the violent offenders.

    (13) 15 Total Votes - 14 up - 1 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      One more thing. Reform the justice system so that prosecutors and cops won’t have incentives to over-charge or even frame people for crimes. It can be due to prosecutors looking for a “tough-on-crime” reputation with little regard to justice in individual cases or cops who add made-up charges to extract revenge on someone who didn’t pay them the “respect” they felt they deserved. Either way, their ego problems have added to a huge problem of excessive imprisonment.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  8. Pelican1 says:

    Let them eat cake!

    (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down

Comments are closed.