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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Update on Pelican Bay Hungerstrike.

The most important part of this update is that Pelican Bay inmates intend to resume their hunger strike on Sept 26th. We will keep everyone informed about what is happening and will hopefully be bringing some solidarity actions together.

The initial hungerstrike has brought much attention to prison conditions in California and the SHU (secure housing unit, long term solitary) in particular. Since the hungerstrike CDRC (CA department of rehabilitation and corrections) has released sobering statistics about SHU inmates, allowed media a rare peek into the corridors, and held a legislative hearing on Aug 23rd.

Here is the hungerstrikers' 5 core demands. Here is a detailed description of how these demands have not been met or taken seriously by CDCR. Here are excerpts from a letter from a SHU inmate, which was read at the Aug 23rd legislative hearing.

How this relates to Ohio prisoners... We've heard many rumors that Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is intending to create a SHU unit with gang debriefing policies. Last week we heard from inmates that recent moves in the prison system support these rumors. Specifically, ODRC is moving death row from OSP in Youngstown to CCI in Chillicothe.  The suspicion is that the newly opened space in OSP will become a SHU. Our friends also told us about ODRC's gang validation and investigation programs, which are have a history of wantonly labeling inmates as gang members, using inmates against each other and even pressuring inmates to "blood out" meaning: prove you are no longer in the gang by attacking or killing gang members. Solidarity with Pelican Bay SHU and other hungerstriking CA inmates today can help prevent Ohio prisons from becoming even more unstable, arbitrary and insane than they currently are.

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