Deborah Dupre

 Human Rights Examiner

October 20, 2011

Many men from Calipatria ASU who have been on the mass Pelican Bay hunger strike remain in the hospital at Centinela according to prisoner advocate Kendra Castaneda on Thursday.

Castaneda stated in an email to the Examiner that many men from Caliatria ASU who were on California’s Pelican Bay hunger strike are still hospitalized an suffering at Centiela where they were eventually transferred “after falling to the ground.”

According to Castaneda, the men are reportedly suffering “organ damage from the mass retaliation the prison did to them during both of the hunger strikes.”

In retaliation for the strike, the men were subjected to withholding water, withholding fluids, and denying medical access until an inmate dropped to the ground or lost 22lbs.

“That mass retaliation was ordered by Calipatria’s Warden Leland McEwen during the hunger strikes,” she stated.

“Please pray for these men.”

 Mediators who met with hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay, one of whom had been transferred to Corcoran due to the strike, confirmed on October 13 that prisoners there decided to stop on day 18 of the strike after nearly 3 weeks.

 The prisoners had cited a memo from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that detailed a comprehensive review of every Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoner in California whose SHU sentence is related to gang validation according to Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Solidarity.

“The review will evaluate the prisoners’ gang validation under new criteria and could start as early as the beginning of next year,” the group reported.

“This is something the prisoners have been asking for and it is the first significant step we’ve seen from the CDCR to address the hunger strikers’ demands,” stated Carol Strickman, a lawyer with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

“But as you know, the proof is in the pudding. We’ll see if the CDCR keeps its word regarding this new process.”

 Gang validation is a practice CDCR uses throughout California prisons.  

Hundreds of prisoners who have been validated at Calipatria have been held in Adminstrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) for as long as four years, awaiting transfer to Pelican Bay where they will go into solitary confinement.

Learn more:  Watch CNBC’s “Billions Behind Bars: Inside America’s Prison Industry” featuring Prof. Martin Horn.

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