Dying for Sunlight
Today, at the notorious California super-maximum prison, Pelican Bay, hundreds of prisoners are on a hunger strike. As of July 1, 2011 a number of men ceased eating state meals in protest of horrendously long-term confinement, government repression, lack of programs and the hated gang affiliation rules.
According to California Prison Focus, the health of some the men are dangerously deteriorating. Some have ceased drinking, as well as eating and haven’t urinated in days. Some are threatened by renal failure, which can result in death.
Why? The demands of the strikers seem relatively tame, which gives us some insight into the level of repression. The five core demands are:
- Individual instead of group responsibility.
- Abolition of the “gang-debriefing” policy, which endangers both those who debrief and/or their families.
- An end to long-term solitary confinement.
- Adequate food, and
- Constructive programs, such as art, phone privileges and the like.
A sub-demand is adequate natural sunlight—sunlight. There are few things more torturous than dying by starvation. These men are killing themselves potentially for fresh air and sunlight, and about a third of California prisoners, 11 out of 33 prisons, have joined them.
Contact the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition to find out how to support this effort for human rights. On the web at:
—PrisonRadio.org, July 15, 2011