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News from the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition:

Break the Chains

Break the Chains
Recent Posts

Prisoners Across at Least 6 California Prisons Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Strike Could Involve Thousands of Prisoners


Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Communications Director, Critical Resistance
Office:  510 444 0484
Cell:    510 517 6612

Oakland— More than 100 hours into an indefinite hunger strike started at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit, prisoners in at least 6 state prisons have joined in, with participation potentially growing into the thousands.  Hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and other prisoners participating are protesting the conditions in the Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU). 

Dozens of U.S.-based and international human rights organizations have condemned Security Housing Units as having cruel, inhumane, and torturous conditions. SHU prisoners are kept in windowless, 6 by 10 foot cells, 23½ hours a day, for years at a time. The CDCR operates four Security Housing Units in its system at Corcoran, California Correctional Institution (CCI), Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) as well as Pelican Bay.

As of Tuesday morning, advocates had confirmed hunger strike participants at Corcoran and CCI, as well as Folsom, Centinela, and Calipatria State Prisons. Despite the Hunger Strike spreading, the CDCR claimed in an LA Times article this past weekend that less than two dozen prisoners were on hunger strike.

“The CDCR is not following its own protocol around hunger strikes, but we have evidence that thousands of prisoners across in at least 6 prisons in California could be participating in the strike.  We think that CRCR knows this and is purposefully withholding information,” said Carol Strickman, staff attorney at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and legal team representative for Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity. 

In a statement released from Corcoran Prison’s SHU, prisoners said, “It is important for all to know Pelican Bay is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.”

A recent prisoner work strike in Georgia drew support from thousands of prisoner across at least 5 prisoners – the largest prisoner strike in US history.  And at the Lucasville, OH State Prison this January, three hunger strikers won far-reaching changes to prison policy concerning conditions for prisoners on death row.  “Given what’s happening in California prisons themselves, its no surprise we’re seeing organized action here too,” said Taeva Shefler from Prison Activist Resource Center. “The US Supreme Court – not just liberal activists– has agreed that California prison conditions amount to cruel and unusual punishment.  This growing Hunger Strike is the culmination of decades of abuse, neglect, foot-dragging, and incompetence by an unbroken sequence of CDCR administrations.”

Actions in more than 12 cities are scheduled to happen throughout this week to show support for the Hunger Strike, and an end to indefinite Solitary Confinement, gang validation and inadequate food and medical care as administrative punishment.







More at The Real News

News from the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition:

Key Documents


Agit Prop


Letters from Prisoners


Recent News

this will only show the last ten news items, for older items click here.


Support Organizations



Off The Hour, CKUT 90.3FM, interviews Ed Mead, June 9, 2011

Hard Knock Radio KPFA 94.1 FM, A Letter by a Corcoran prisoner, followed by an interview with Ed Mead and Laura Whitehorn, June 24, 2011

En bas à gauche, CKUT 90.3 FM, entrevue avec Carl du Comité de Soutien de la Grève de la Faim, 27 juin 2011

Sojourner Truth Radio, Update on Pelican Bay Hungerstrike, July 6, 2011

Off the Hour, CKUT 90.3FM, interview with Carl Small of the Montreal Hungerstrike Support Committee, July 11, 2011

CKUT 90.3FM, interview Emma and Jean-Luc of the Montreal Hungerstrike Support Committee, July 8, 2011

Carl Small of the Montreal Hungerstrike Support Committee interviewed on Radio Free World, CKUW 95.9 FM Winnipeg, July 15 2011

July 7 Interview with Canadian prisoner Peter Collins about the California hunger strike, and isolation-imprisonment in CanadaPeter Collins has been incarcerated some 28 years. He is an artist, creating artworks from cartoons to paintings of wildlife to portraits, of which his latest portrait, that of Ashley Smith* the young woman who died in prison while guards watched on and did nothing, was confiscated by prison authorities and written up as a charge of Contraband. Peter is also an activist behind the walls and in 2008 he won the Canadian Award for Action which was given jointly by The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch. He is also a prolific writer and has been published in various magazines and blogs and hes also a regular radio commentator reporting on prisoners struggles, the realities of Canadas law and order agenda and the abuses that prisoners are subjected to in prisons in Canada. It is said by his outside supporters that its because of his activism that the Correctional Service of Canada doubly punishes him, by not supporting him for parole and writing up bogus contraband reports, setting up a censorship board for his artwork at the Bath prison, where he is incarcerated and other various forms of oppression. In this interview Peter is asked about his thoughts on the hunger strike which began with the prisoners in the SHU of the Pelican Bay State Prison in California, and his own reflections of what a SHU is like, having been incarcerated in one before in the province of Quebec. (*The inquiry into the death of Ashley Smith is still going on.)


Solidarity Words & Action


Background Material



Outside support work for the July 1st hunger strike is being coordinated by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) Coalition, based in the Bay Area and made up of grassroots organizations committed to amplifying the voices of and supporting the prisoners at Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) in their hunger strike to end tortuous conditions. Support is crucial; to get involved check out prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com or telephone 510-444-0484.

A blog has been produced my comrades in Montreal with a focus on support activities in canada: http://www.contrelesprisons.blogspot.com/

i also have a page up with as complete a calendar of solidarity events as i have been able to manage.

The Kersplebedeb website is in support of the goals of the hungerstriking prisoners, and of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, but is a completely separate project, and PHSS and the prisoners in question are in no way responsible for or necessarily in agreement with anything here. If you see any links or resources you think would belong on this page, please get in touch!