Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hunger Strike, Day Three: 29,000 Inmates Refusing Meals; 2,000 Enagage in Work Stoppage

The L.A. Times reports this morning:

The inmates issued a hand-written letter spelling out their demands for improved prison conditions, including cleaner facilities, better food and more access to the prison library. It is one of at least eight demand letters California prison officials had in hand as some 29,000 inmates — a slight decline from 30,000 Monday — refused meals Tuesday.

Corrections officials said the wide protests — mostly focused on solitary confinement conditions — were causing no disruptions, although 2,000 inmates refused to show up for their prison jobs or attend classes. The state does not acknowledge a hunger strike officially until inmates have missed nine consecutive meals, which would occur late Wednesday.

The protest comes at a time of turmoil in the California prison system, criticized by the federal courts for unconstitutionally poor care of inmates and an unchecked outbreak of potentially deadly valley fever. State officials recently agreed to comply with a federal judge's order to move 2,600 inmates at risk of contracting the disease from Pleasant Valley and Avenal state prisons.

Interesting tidbit:

Corrections officials said Ramadan complicates their count of those who refuse meals in protest rather than as religious observance.

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