Earlier this month, a group of prisoners in the Pelican Bay Supermax facility just south of the Oregon border organized the largest prison protest in California history. At the time, it was reported that an estimated 30,000 inmates in two-thirds of California's 33 prisons had opted to refuse meals in a mass hunger strike. And it's still going on.
On June 20, 2013, prisoners held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit in Oakland, CA announced their plan to embark upon nonviolent peaceful protest on July 8. According to the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSSC), a group committed to amplifying the voices of prisoners on strike, prisoners had maintained since January that they would be willing to starve themselves unless the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agreed to negotiate honestly about prisoners' demands, "the heart of which mandates an end to long-term solitary confinement."
Prisoners' demands have been represented in five core points:
- End group punishment and administrative abuse
- Abolish the debriefing policy, and modify active/inactive, gang status criteria
- Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement
- Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food
- Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates