URGENT: Hunger Strikers’ Health Rapidly Deteriorating

URGENT: Hunger Strikers’ Health Rapidly Deteriorating

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Prisoners are about to die in California prisons, possibly by the dozens or even more. Conditions are so bad they have preferred to starve themselves to death rather than live another week in such torturous conditions and let future prisoners endure the same conditions. Their actions scream to Californians to listen, to act, to prove that we do not want such torture in our names.

Please read the urgent bulletin below and contact your elected officials to demand that the hunger strike be addressed in a humane and rational way. The CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has so far refused to negotiate with either the prisoners or their outside representatives and refused to end even the most egregious injustices or improve conditions. If it continues on this path, CDCR will soon have a lot of blood on its hands.

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition received an urgent update from medical staff at Pelican Bay State Prison that the health of at least 200 hunger strikers in the SHU is rapidly worsening. A source with access to their current medical conditions who prefers to be unnamed reported:

“The prisoners are progressing rapidly to the organ damaging consequences of dehydration. They are not drinking water and have decompensated rapidly. A few have tried to sip water but are so sick that they are vomiting it back up. Some are in renal failure and have been unable to make urine for three days. Some are having measured blood sugars in the 30 range, which can be fatal if not treated.”

SHU prisoners at Pelican Bay have said they are willing to risk their lives and will continue to strike until their demands are met. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to refuse to negotiate.

Prisoners across California continue to refuse food in solidarity with the Pelican Bay SHU hunger strikers.

This past weekend, families and friends gave encouragement and support to their loved ones during weekend visits at prisons across the state, witnessing the toll the hunger strike is taking on their bodies. Families have said their loved ones are extremely pale, shaking and have already lost 20-30 pounds. Some families of prisoners who have only been drinking water for 12 days now witnessed their loved ones faint or go into diabetic shock in visiting rooms over the weekend.

People locked up across the state have been telling their friends and families about the tactics prison officials have been using to break the strike.

Many prisoners have said that medications are being denied to prisoners on hunger strike.

Prisoners have reported that guards in at least Pelican Bay general population and Calipatria State Prison have been calling throughout blocks and units: “The hunger strike is over! The five demands have been met!” which is not true. According to family members of prisoners at Calipatria, participation at Calipatria was huge - at least 1,500 prisoners throughout that prison alone joined the hunger strike - until the guards spread rumors of the strike ending. Some prisoners at Calipatria remain on hunger strike, however.

While the CDCR released its estimate of 6,600 prisoners participating in the hunger strike during the Fourth of July weekend and declared the numbers dropping to over 2,100 in the following days, of course the CDCR failed to mention how and why that happened. The decline in numbers in no way demonstrates a lack of support or dedication to this struggle from the prisoners, rather how eager the CDCR is to make this issue go away quickly and quietly.

One prisoner writes to a supporter: “I’m sincerely sick with end stage liver disease (ESLD) and a severe case of related diabetes. I’m going to end up in the hospital almost immediately and will be effectively isolated. Due to my dedication to the struggle, I will continue with my strike. I won’t know when to stop. If the demands have been met in whole, negotiated part, etc., I will not take the cops’ word, for the pigs have proven their word to be hollow. I will need the word of you or your outside support.”

Families and community organizations like Prison Moratorium Project continue to rally support outside of Corcoran and other striking prisons, sharing information and trying to visit their loved ones as regularly as possible. Families and community members are also supporting the strike outside Pelican Bay.