Hunger strike continues at Corcoran
A rolling hunger strike that has moved through three California prisons had dwindled by Wednesday to 69 inmates, officials said.
The fasting began among some 500 inmates Oct. 10 at the state's maximum security Pelican Bay State Prison near Oregon and at the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, north of Los Angeles. By Friday, Pelican Bay inmates had resumed eating. Those in segregated housing units at Tehachapi continued to refuse prison-prepared meals until Wednesday, when they resumed eating, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.
However, 69 inmates continued what is now a four-day fast at Corcoran State Prison.
Corrections officials said the inmates are protesting new gang control policies the state intends to put into place, defining when and how inmates suspected of gang membership are to be assigned to long-term segregation units away from the main population.
Conditions within those security housing units and the length of time inmates are held that way are the subject of a critical Amnesty International report and a subject of litigation. California has at least 78 inmates who have spent more than two decades in the tightly cloistered cells.
--By Paige St. John in Crescent City