For Immediate Release—July 15, 2013
Prisoner Hunger Strike Continues, Californians Gather From Across the State to Show Support and Continue Pressuring Gov. Brown and CDCR to Meet the Demands
Press Contact: Kamau Walton
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Oakland—In a powerful show of support for California prisoners on their 6th day of hunger strike, over 400 demonstrators converged on Corcoran State Prison on Saturday. Family members of prisoners, former prisoners and supporters from all over the state braved 105 degree temperatures to stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers, who are demanding an end to the use of indefinite solitary confinement as well as changes to the CDCR’s notorious debriefing policy which compels them to inform on other prisoners as a condition of release from solitary.
Corcoran State Prison is the site of a Security Housing Unit (SHU) that holds nearly 2,000 prisoners in isolation, the majority of whom have been placed in solitary because of alleged gang affiliations. Danny Murillo, who spent 7 years in solitary in California prisons, described the racist nature of the “gang validation” process:
I have witnessed numerous individuals primarily Latino and Black inmates being targeted because they hold in their possession drawings of Aztec, Mayan, or other indigenous cultures, or for having books by Malcolm X or George Jackson. What this policy says to me is that the culture, heritage, the memory of your ancestors, and your political identity are a violation of CDCR regulations and because of this violation you can be placed in solitary confinement in a cell for 22 ½ hours per day for the duration of your sentence, which could range from a couple of months to the rest of your life.
Other speakers denounced the conditions of the SHU as a part of a larger pattern of the CDCR’s violation of basic human rights, from the denial of medical and mental health care to the sterilization of 148 women in California prisons.
Community members are demanding an end to the CDCR’s threats of retaliation against the strikers. Today, prisoner hunger strike supporters from across the country will be joining with community members flooding Governor Jerry Brown’s office with calls demanding that he enter into honest and binding negotiations.