30,000 California Prisoners Go On Hunger Strike Against Conditions

The Los Angeles Times reports on the largest prisoner protest in state history:

California officials don’t plan until Tuesday afternoon to update the situation in prisons throughout the state, where 30,000 inmates on Monday began refusing meals.

The mass protest was called for months ago by a group of inmate leaders in isolation at Pelican Bay State Prison over conditions in solitary confinement, where inmates may be held indefinitely without access to phone calls.

But inmates in at least five other prisons have provided their own lists of demands. They seek such things as warmer clothing, cleaning supplies, and better food, as well as changes in how suspected gang activity is investigated and punished. Lawyers for a group of Pelican Bay hunger strike leaders, who also are suing in federal court over what they contend are inhumane conditions, are to meet with their clients Tuesday.

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  • La

    Let them starve,

    They are there for a reason, If they want better food and living conditions then maybe they should have thought about their freedom. Instead of committing a crime.

    • InfvoCuernos

      because nobody ever gets sentenced to prison falsely in this country. In a perfect world, I would agree with your sentiment, but we are not anywhere near a perfect system and putting your trust in the system is just placing your head on the chopping block.

    • InfvoCuernos

      because nobody ever gets sentenced to prison falsely in this country. In a perfect world, I would agree with your sentiment, but we are not anywhere near a perfect system and putting your trust in the system is just placing your head on the chopping block.

    • Haystack

      You should think about *your* freedom, before you decide that the authorities should be able to do anything that want to you the moment you break a law.

      • Mick-Doscious

        Yeah, because not putting yourself in unlawful situations and not breaking the law is just too dang hard for us Americans. The crime rates of other countries are scores lower than ours because their prisons are REAL prison. The easy win in this situation? KEEP repeat and violent-offenders. Rehabilitate those who have shown the desire to change in different facilities, remove and replace if needed. Very simple. That way, that maniac that always throws feces at the officers and floods the dorms starves and gets no amenities.

        • Haystack

          We punish more crimes with prison, for longer sentences, and maintain a larger prison population than other countries. We are, on the contrary, stricter than other first-world countries with lower crime rates.

          And are you saying you’ve never committed a crime? Waited until you were 21 to drink? Never downloaded a copyrighted MP3 or image file from a web page? Clean driving record? Jailbreaking a cellphone is a felony now, incidentally.

          Would you be okay losing a foot if you’re caught jaywalking? You can always just not jaywalk, right?

          • Mick-Doscious

            If you think we are more strict and our prisons are worse than abroad, then you need to get out *alot* more. Prison in the USA may be hell because of the gangs and racial tension, but with dysentery, MRSA/Staph, starvation, and the constant fear of being raped, murdered, chopped and quartered and raped some more then having your head piked…prison in the US is a country club run by thugs.

            I didn’t have to wait until I was 21 to drink because when I joined the military my first duty station was Germany, never have downloaded anything that wasn’t licensed to me or free domain, spotless driving record to include over 400,000 military safe miles (some through mine fields at midnight). My cellphone works as a phone and texting which is all I need it for, so no need to jail-break it.

            Better a foot to learn than my life, I always use the cross-walks and even then do so with extreme caution…had a young lady run from between some cars right in front of me and barely got stopped in time downtown, so I am extremely vigilant. However I did not state anything so drastic as chopping off feet…I did say attempt to rehabilitate those who show they want it and let the repeat and VIOLENT offenders starve themselves for no reason. Warmer coats? You GET a coat. TV? On what planet should such a leisurely activity such as watching TV be allowed for prisoners? What type of moron thought up giving prisoners with nothing to do all day weight sets so they can bulk up and thug on everyone? Our country is more strict my rosy white American ass! One day, if someone accosts you, and they turn out to be some multiple repeat offender…mark my words, for you will remember them.

          • Haystack

            I’m comparing the US to other first world nations. Finland, for example, has easier prisons, much shorter sentencing, and still maintains lower crime rate than America. You can argue that there are other factors at work there, but then you would be making my point for me; severity of punishment is one among many factors that decide a nation’s crime rate.

            If a criminal becomes a repeat offender, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he/she wasn’t punished severely enough. On the contrary, they may have spent so long in the company of rapists and murderers that it’s extremely difficult for them to adjust to any other way of life–our corrections system hasn’t shown much concern for helping ex-cons to reintegrate into society. There are also a class of criminals (ones with psychopathic tendencies, notably) who are simply not deterred by the threat of punishment, no matter how severe.

            I think that prisoners have a right to complain about certain excesses, particularly the use of prolonged solitary confinement, which causes lasting psychological damage, even psychosis. In many cases, the victims are teenagers, who might spend a month or longer in solitary for their “protection.” In other cases, a prisoner can be left in solitary for years at a time. I don’t see how it benefits society to send ex-convicts away from prison with more mental damage than they came in with.

            We ought to look specifically at the prison conditions that are being protested and decide what is rational or irrational, what is fair punishment and what is excessive. The issue deserves a closer look than “Criminals are bad, so we should ignore anything they’re complaining about.” If we completely ignore any concerns about prison conditions, if we abandon any effort at oversight, then we’re opening the door to a system where people are made to suffer to a degree far beyond the severity of their original crime–and that, in itself, is criminal.

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            The USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers. USA is # 1!

    • Haystack

      You should think about *your* freedom, before you decide that the authorities should be able to do anything that want to you the moment you break a law.

    • Guest

      I once met a woman who was sent to jail for daring to pick up a kitchen knife when her husband was beating her. The cops didn’t believe she was defending herself, despite her obvious bruises. She didn’t even slash at him; she just held it and told him to back off…

    • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

      Are you saying to being inhumane will help rehabilitate anyone? Or are you saying you simply don;t care and feel your desire for vengeance is being satisfied by cruelty to others?

      You are a more despicable human being than those that are incarcerated.

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