Solidarity with Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers! CEDP Statement.

Author: 
Campaign to End the Death Penalty

Please visit the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity blog for information on actions you can take to help striking prisoners.

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) stands in solidarity with the prisoners of Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) who have been engaged in a hunger strike since July 1 in protest of their deplorable conditions.

The prisoners at Pelican Bay prison in California live in a world in which collective punishment is common, sunlight is rare, and food is used as a tool of coercion. They live in a world that is so unlike the world that most of us take for granted that it strains our comprehension. The world of the prisoners has one goal, to create passive, compliant prisoners; prisoners who will not clamor for more; prisoners who will not rock the boat; prisoners who will not threaten to expose just how rotten the prison system is. 

This world has failed. While these demands show us a world turned upside down, they also show us a prison population that is fighting back against their appalling conditions. The prisoners have stated that their hunger strike will be indefinite until their demands are met. This means they could face serious health issues or even death. For them, a fighting death is preferable to the hell they are living. 

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty supports the Pelican Bay hunger strikers and stand with all prisoners who seek to better their lives. We stand in solidarity with these brave fighters in their quest for justice and humanity.

The demands of the prisoners clearly show the capricious and dehumanizing conditions in which they the prisoners are calling for:

1.     Eliminate group punishments.  Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race.  This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.  

2.     Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. 
Debriefing produces false information - wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.

3.     End long-term solitary confinement. Segregation should be used as a last resort and prisoners require access to adequate healthcare and natural sunlight.

4.     Provide wholesome, nutritious meals and access to vitamins.

5.     Expand and provide constructive programming such as photos of loved ones, weekly phone calls, extension of visitation time, calendars, and radios, etc.

You can read the prisoner’s full text of their demands here: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/take-action/