Hunger strikers could face disciplinary action under state law
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is responding to a hunger strike disturbance by thousands of inmates in several correctional facilities. As of today, 4,252 inmates in eight state prisons have missed nine consecutive meals since Monday, September 26, 2011.
The following facilities have reported inmate participation:
• Calipatria State Prison
• Centinela State Prison
• California State Prison-Corcoran
• Ironwood State Prison
• Pelican Bay State Prison
• California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran
• San Quentin State Prison
• Salinas Valley State Prison
On September 28, CDCR informed hunger strike participants that the department will not condone organized inmate disturbances. Participation in mass hunger strikes and other disturbances will result in CDCR taking the following action:
• Participation in a mass disturbance is a violation of state law, and any participating inmates will receive disciplinary action in accordance with the California Code of Regulations; and
• Inmates identified as leading the disturbance will be subject to removal from the general population and be placed in an Administrative Segregation Unit.
CDCR may need to take additional measures to effectively monitor and manage hunger strikers and their nutritional intake. This could include the possible removal of canteen items from the cells of participating inmates. CDCR is continuing to offer state-issued meals to all inmates.
CDCR will take every effort to maintain normal program operations for non-participating inmates; however, a large-scale disturbance has the potential to impact programs, operations, staffing, safety and security. If normal programming is affected, CDCR will notify inmates and their families.
In May 2011, CDCR began conducting a thorough evaluation of its gang validation and Security Housing Unit (SHU) confinement policies and procedures. CDCR has already received input from other state correctional departments, the federal correctional system, consultants, experts, and internal and external stakeholders. A draft policy is under review and includes behavior-based components, increased privileges for SHU inmates who remain disciplinary free, a step-down process for SHU inmates, and a better defined validation process.
In addition, CDCR has authorized offering watch caps, sweat pants, hobby craft items and wall calendars for purchase; provided exercise equipment in SHU yards; authorized annual photographs for disciplinary-free SHU inmates; approved use of proctors for college examinations; and audited food-service operations at Pelican Bay State Prison.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 29, 2011CONTACT: TERRY THORNTON