Below is an excerpt from "One Year Anniversary of Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Against Solitary Confinement," by Sal Rodriguez. I congratulate all inmates who helped bring awareness to your torturous conditions by participating in the hunger strike.
One year ago on July 1, 2011, approximately 6,600 inmates across California launched a hunger strike in protest of conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison. The leaders of the strike were a group of prisoners referred to as the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective, a multiracial group of prisoners.
The group issued five demands:
1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse
2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria
3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement
4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food
5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.
The strike would last three weeks before coming to an end. Several strikers would be hospitalized. The strike brought attention to the widespread use of solitary confinement in California; currently, approximately three thousand inmates are held in one of California's three Security Housing Units, where inmates determined to be gang members are sentenced to indefinite terms in solitary confinement. Those sentenced to the SHU for gang validation must either become an informant and leave the gang, must be inactive for six years, or they must parole from their sentence; the phrase "Parole, Snitch, or Die" captures the means of leaving the SHU. (See the entire article at SolitaryWatch.com at this link http://solitarywatch.com/2012/
I also received an announcement about a July 3rd rally against injustice. Although the announcement came too late to share it with my readers, it had a message that remains timely:
NOW IS THE TIME TO COME TOGETHER . . . AND PICK UP THE WORK TO FREE MUMIA AND ALL THE OTHER POLITICAL PRISONERS, END THE DEATH PENALTY, AND DISMANTLE THE SYSTEM OF MASS INCARCERATION ("THE NEW JIM CROW").