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State prison officials vow to crack down on inmate hunger strikes

September 29, 2011 |  8:15 pm

Pelican Bay State Prison
California corrections officials said Thursday that they were cracking down on thousands of inmates who have been staging hunger strikes at nine prisons, including some of the state's highest-security facilities.

The inmates are protesting what they consider degrading conditions in isolation cells and gang-security measures that unfairly punish prisoners. In July, thousands of inmates staged a three-week hunger strike at prisons across the state.

Leaders of the current hunger strikes were warned that they would be removed from the general population and placed in an "administrative segregation unit" if the actions continued, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

"The department will not condone organized inmate disturbances," the agency said.

Other inmates were told they would face disciplinary action and could suffer other punishment such as having their canteen items taken from their cells, officials said.

More than 4,200 inmates have missed nine consecutive meals since Monday at facilities including Corcoran State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Pelican Bay State Prison and San Quentin State Prison.

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— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Guard tower at Pelican Bay State Prison, one of the prisons where inmates are staging a hunger strike. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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