Google+

Voices from Solitary: “Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere”

The following letter was written by an inmate at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, California, who had been placed in solitary confinement in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) after being “validated” as a gang member. Written on July 31st, the letter highlights institutional problems at CCI and makes various recommendations. It also declares support for the […]

A Hunger for Justice in Pelican Bay

Note: The following piece ran on The Guardian’s website on Monday, July 25. On 21 July, prisoners in solitary confinement at California’s notorious Pelican Bay State Prison began accepting the meals that were slipped to them through slots in their solid mental cell doors. For many, it was the first time they had eaten in three weeks. A group […]

Voices from Solitary: Letter from a California Prison Hunger Striker

The following letter was sent by a hunger striker at California Correctional Institution (CCI) Tehachapi, one of three state prison containing an all-solitary Security Housing Unit (SHU). The letter was written by an SHU inmate to his girlfriend, who forwarded it to Solitary Watch for publication. It is dated July 21, after the writer had been refusing […]

As Prisoners End Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay, Their Cause Continues

Reports from California Prison Focus, among other groups supporting prisoners on hunger strike in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), confirm that the strikers last night agreed to begin eating. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reportedly made small concessions having to do with prisoners’ possessions and educational programming, and also promised a comprehensive review […]

Statements from Human Rights and Civil Rights Groups Support Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

After three weeks, hundreds of California inmates are still participating in a hunger strike that at one point spanned thirteen prisons and 6,600 prisoners. The most resolute participants appear to be concentrated in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, where the hunger strike began, and in the SHUs at Corcoran and Tehachapi. Many hunger strikers are weakening […]

Who Are the Hunger Strikers? How Prisoners Land in Pelican Bay’s SHU

Sympathy for the prisoners on hunger strike in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prisons is limited by the widely held impression that these men (and indeed, most supermax prisoners) are the “worst of the worst.” According to conventional wisdom, in order to land in the most secure units in the prison system, these […]

Update: Pelican Bay Prisoners Reject State Proposal, Continue Hunger Strike

The Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition yesterday provided the following information, based on reports from the mediation team chosen by the prisoners: This afternoon leaders of the Pelican Bay hunger strike unanimously rejected a proposal from the CDCR to end the strike. In response to the prisoners’ five, straightforward demands, the CDCR distributed a […]

Starving in Solitary: California Prison Hunger Strikers’ Health Declines, But State Will Not Negotiate

Photo: Laura Sullivan, NPR

Photo: Laura Sullivan, NPR It’s been two weeks since a group of inmates in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit stopped eating. Their hunger strike was launched to protest conditions in solitary confinement in California’s oldest and largest supermax, where they spend at least 22 1/2 hours a day locked down in their cells, […]

Voices from Solitary: Letter from a Pelican Bay Hunger Striker

The following letter was written by John R. Martinez, one of the inmates in the Security Housing Unit at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison who began a hunger strike on July 1 to protest conditions in solitary confinement. Written just before the strike commenced, the letter is  addressed to Governor Jerry Brown, Secretary of Corrections and Rehabilitation Matthew Cate, […]

Hunger Strike in the Supermax: Pelican Bay Prisoners Protest Conditions in Solitary Confinement

Pelican Bay State Prison

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, inmates in solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison are standing up for their rights in the only way they can–by going on a hunger strike. The prisoners, who are being held in long-term and often permanent isolation, have sworn to refuse food until conditions are improved in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit […]