We also received a letter from an inmate at FCI Elkton, who wrote an article about the 24 hour lights-on policy which he says inspired the protest. We're working on publishing the whole article, but here's an excerpt about the food strike: "On May 18th, 2011, the majority of the inmate population at Elkton participated in a "food strike" where they refused to attend the meals offered at the chow hall in protest of a variety of newly imposed policies (constant lighting at nighttime being the most significant). The protest lasted about a week.
The six different housing units capitulated at various times, eventually succumbing to certain appeasements on the part of prison stuff to call off the strike." The author did not participate in the food strike, and based on his calculation of those who attended the chow hall, over 90% of the prison population was absent. "The author's non-participation should not be construed as a lack of opposition to the policies under protest. Rather, the author... opted to file for relief under the inmate grievance system instead." He has has some success with grievances in the past. He also insists that "at no time during the food strike was the public or institutional staff in any danger." The food strike seems to have successfully reduced the number of lighting fixtures kept on at night, but not enough to prevent sleep deprivation. Expect to see links to the full article here as soon as we get it published.
PELICAN BAY- Speaking of inmates refusing food, there's a huge hunger strike going on in CA prisons, started at the SHU unit of Pelican Bay. Thousands of inmates are participating, there are many ways people on the outside can show solidarity. This website has up-to-date information about the hungerstrike: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
We are participating in this rally at OSP on Sat July 23rd hosted by the Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network:
The Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network and our many friends and allies will be holding two rallies in support of the Pelican Bay State Prison hunger strikers: July 9, noon, Market Square (W. 25th St. & Lorain Ave.), Cleveland - and Sat., July 23, 2-4, at Ohio State Penitentiary, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd., Youngstown, OH 44505. "Sending Solidarity from Supermax to Supermax" This will be followed ay 4:30 by a reception at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 614 Parmalee Ave, Youngstown 44515, with discussion of the California hunger strikers and a DVD entitled, "USP Marion", an interview with a prisoner who was physically and psychologically tortured. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .If you'd like to carpool from Columbus, let us know by emailing email@example.com. We also received a copy of Hasan's statement about pelican bay, and are happy to share it here.