Voices From Solitary: Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Was “the Only Way to Get the Word Out” About Prison Abuses

The following is excerpted from a letter from Alfred Sandoval, a Pelican Bay SHU inmate and one of the original leaders and participants in this summer’s three-week hunger strike. Addressed to “All Media, Prisons Supporters, etc.,” it was written on June 26th, a few days before the strike began. Sandoval describes his own experiences, and outlines a series of abuses […]

“Toxic Conditions”: Testimony of Dr. Terry Kupers on Solitary Confinement

Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist, professor at the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and expert in forensic mental health, spoke before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee on August 23rd, 2011 addressing the issue of solitary confinement and the need for reform of California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs). The document is also available […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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, […]