The hunger strike over conditions in SHU units in California resumes on July 8. Those who have been following this blog during the previous hunger strike may remember that, in March 2012, CDCR released new regulations in SHU units. The conditions have drawn the attention of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, and a torture expert from the United Nations. And, various organizations in California have reignited the fight against solitary confinement under the banner Stop Torture CA. My former student Azadeh Zohrabi and current students Courtney Oxsen and Ashley Toles are among those spearheading this campaign, and my colleague and former student Caitlin Henry does important and valuable work on prison visits and organizing.
For those only now joining the bandwagon, a new piece on the hunger strike coalition website explains why the new policies amount to torture. Among other things, the guilt-by-association piece remains alive and well, and new definitions expand what would be considered as a "gang" for solitary confinement purposes.
We will provide updates on the hunger strike as its beginning date approaches and wish success and good health to the strikers, many of whom are elderly and frail.