HUNGERSTRIKE UPDATE, DAY 35 for Humane Conditions in CA Prisons

Please read and take action now. If you are in the Humboldt region, please come to the Arcata Plaza on Thursday in Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers, 5PM FOR THE 5 DEMANDS!  There are Solidarity events all over CA and the world. Check out the calendar on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website  & create your own events!

Before you read the Hungerstrike News, please sign these petitions:

FOUR PETITIONS TO SIGN! (don't worry about accidentally signing a petition twice; it won't let you)


Vol. 3 #26, August 11, 2013 

Day 35 Countdown for Humane Conditions

Carol Strickman, Mediation Team
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

Some California prisoners got good news on Friday: the Federal Communications Commission agreed to limit how much companies can charge for phone calls made from behind bars. But this welcome reform does not affect SHU prisoners. Why? Because SHU prisoners in California are not allowed to call home. Lack of family phone calls is one of the reasons why California’s SHU cells are characterized as solitary confinement – the harsh deprivation of family and social ties.

Prisoners in the SHU are not even allowed to write letters to their loved ones, if their loved ones are also incarcerated. The letters they are allowed to write are copied and scrutinized by gang investigators for evidence of gang involvement. And gang investigators find “gang involvement” everywhere they look – even in the drawings of a five year old girl who sends her artwork to her daddy. Imagine a little girl getting her drawing back from the prison because it is considered gang-related. Gang investigators will even reach out to family members and friends who write to SHU prisoners, warning them that they face possible investigation themselves merely for corresponding with a SHU prisoner.

SHU prisoners in long-term solitary confinement value their family relationships above all else. So that is what SHU prisons try to destroy. Consider this: a mother with two sons in prisons (one in general population and one in SHU) cannot write to both. Why? Because she knows that gang investigators will link her sons to each other through her address, thereby jeopardizing the son in general population with gang validation and placement in SHU.

This is the meaning of cruel and unusual punishment. How long would you tolerate these sorts of attacks on you and your family? Would you be driven to hunger strike because of these and other cruelties?

CDCR has created the conditions that drive prisoners to desperation. Whether it be a lonely suicide in an isolation cell or a united peaceful protest, the message is clear: SHU prisoners have been pushed beyond the limit of what human beings should have to bear. It is horrifying to witness CDCR’s response to the current hunger strike: crank up the cruelty and let them die.

Today is Day 35.

On behalf of the Mediation Team,
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, (510) 289-7225


Hunger Strike Mediation Team
Dr. Ronald Ahnen, California Prison Focus and St. Mary’s College of California
Barbara Becnel,
Dolores Canales, California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement
Irene Huerta, California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement
Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee
Marilyn McMahon, California Prison Focus
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children
Azadeh Zohrabi, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children

Please Also Read Intense Informative Countdown Reports
Day 34:
Day 33:

SHU isolation cell to be installed on State Capitol South Steps Aug. 14

by D’Andre Teeter, San Francisco Bay View

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, in support of the California prison hunger strikers and their five demands, invite the public to visit an installation of a life-sized mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell on the California State Capitol South Steps in Sacramento.

The cell will be on display – and you can walk right in to see how it feels – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14. A press conference, featuring Assemblymember and Public Safety Committee Chair Tom Ammiano, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, people formerly incarcerated in California Department of Corrections (CDCR) SHUs, SHU prisoners’ families, and other voices of support and conscience will be held at noon.

Read more.

California’s Continuing Prison Crisis

New York Times Editorial, August 10, 2013

California has long been held up as the land of innovation and fresh starts, but on criminal justice and incarceration, the Golden State remains stubbornly behind the curve.

Over the past quarter-century, multiple lawsuits have challenged California’s state prisons as dangerously overcrowded. In 2011, the United States Supreme Court found that the overcrowding had gotten so bad — close to double the prisons’ designed capacity — that inmates’ health and safety were unconstitutionally compromised. The court ordered the state to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates, to 110,000, or to 137.5 percent of capacity.

CDCR Medical Phone Numbers for Families

Family members who want to call the CDCR to ask about loved ones inside have two options. Please note that these are not for general public use. CDCR is now saying that family members should receive information within 24 to 72 hours. Inmate medical inquiry line: (916) 691-1404. Hunger Strike Hotline: (916) 324-3397.

CDCr Public Hotline on Prisoner Strike

The California prisoncrats have set up a new 'public hotline number' for people to voice your concerns on the hunger strike: 916-324-3397.

Phone now, phone often, phone angry - CDCR has blood on its hands!


  • Strike the Prisons is a one-shot broadsheet produced by some comrades, to explain and draw attention to the current prison strikes. Copies are available for ten cents each plus postage (five cents each if you get a bundle of over 2500); email Copies can also be printed or read online from the pdf available at
  • Interested in writing to prisoners? Learn more about the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition's Human Rights Pen Pal program; email for more info!


Family of Support for those with Loved Ones in Prison (FOS) is a new collective forming in Oakland. We are family members and people directly impacted by a loved one’s incarceration. We are forming out of a need for a community of support, information and social action by and for each other. We meet twice a month in Oakland. Children are always welcome. This collective is just forming, so we do not currently have any formal materials, website or agenda. Come be part of our collective and help create the community you want to belong to. Or just come by to get support.

Email us for more information:

News from Various Sources
(Good and Bad)


Action Calendar

August 14

  • Sacramento, CA: SHU Isolation Unit Installation Co-Hosted by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano; 8am – 8pm @ South Steps, State Capitol, Sacramento (map). Press conference at noon. More information:

  • San Francisco, CA: Solidarity vigil/leafleting; 12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Spear and Mission, San Francisco (map). Contact Email: katrap40@gmail.comContact Phone: 510-381-1287.

August 15

  • Arcata, CA: Thursdays "5pm for the 5 Demands!"; 5pm – 8pm @ Arcata Plaza, Arcata, CA. Informational Demonstration set up to educate about the struggle to End Long Term Solitary Confinement and other tortures in CA prisons and to build Solidarity with the Hunger Striking Prisoners!

Hungerstrike News is a regular source of information and media clippings about the unprecedented 2013 prisoner hunger and work strikes.

While this newsletter exists in solidarity with various other initiatives to support the prisoners' struggle, it is an autonomous initiative. For more background information and news about the current struggle, see:

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

The Rock Newsletter

California Prison Focus

Solitary Watch: News from a Nation Under Lockdown