Dept. of Corrections LYING About Prisoner Hunger Strike / 21st Day of Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 21, 2011

Prisoners In Solitary Confinement On 21st Day Of Hunger Strike

Department of Corrections Is LYING About the Strike & Prisoners' Medical Conditions!

"The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has been lying to the public, lying to the media, and lying to prisoners,"  says Verbena Lea of Redwood Curtain CopWatch. Now, the CDCR has issued a bogus press release claiming that the prisoner hunger strike in the Pelican Bay State Prison SHU is over. The media has an ethical responsibility to investigate the truth when the CDCR attempts to make such a false claim. The prisoner hunger strike against the torture of the SHU began on July 1, 2011 and is still going strong despite serious medical problems experienced by the prisoners. The CDCR has proven that it cannot be trusted or relied upon for genuine information.

 

The CDCR has refused to act in good faith, instead deliberately making false and misleading statements, and hiding information- in attempts to downplay the strength of the prisoners' nonviolent hunger strike, end the strike without meeting the prisoners' demands, deceive legal advocates, and suppress support for striking prisoners which has spread internationally.

CDCR has consistently tried to break the strike in these ways:

  • enticed prisoners into not fasting before the strike began by releasing a “4th of July Menu,” including food that prisoners have never seen before in prison

  • continuously down-playing participation and support in regards to numbers. 

  • told prisoners at Calipatria that the strike was over and the demands met more than a week ago, when this was not true

  • refusing to disclose accurate, if any, information about the striking prisoners' medical status and other details on the strike from press, media, advocates, family members and prisoners

  • violating medical protocol, including not distributing prescribed medication

  • told the Federal Receiver’s office all prisoners were refusing medical care, and that the Federal Receiver’s office therefore does not need to follow protocol and weigh prisoners or do medical examinations until later

  • denouncing family members, friends, prisoners, and lawyers speaking out about the urgent medical crisis as prisoners experience symptoms of severe dehydration due to no food for weeks and torturous conditions

  • said the strike is led by vicious gang members to justify torture and discourage wide-range support

  • hanging up and/or disconnecting when supporters call-in urging the CDCR to negotiate

  • claiming the CDCR cannot implement the changes asked for in the demands, when they are basic standards even in other Supermax prisons

  • throwing hunger striking prisoners not yet in the SHU and Ad-Seg units into solitary confinement as punishment for supporting the strike

  • transferring hunger strikers to other prisons– the Receiver’s Office has said that hunger strikers have been transferred from Pelican Bay to Corcoran, and Corcoran to Pelican Bay

  • continuing to deny mail, the primary source of much needed human contact

The CDCR is now denying lawyers and other members of the strikers' outside mediation group access into Pelican Bay State Prison. The CDCR is thus, not only blocking communications important for prisoners' human rights demands to be met by the CDCR, but is denying prisoners in isolation, many of whom are in dire medical condition, contact with their legal support.

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition provides more information as to the CDCR's attempts so far to “break the strike and dwindle support for it” http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/repression-breeds-resistance/

Prisoners on hunger strike in Pelican Bay are determined to strike until their five core demands, demands which include an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement, are met by the CDCR.

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