Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Ensure prisoners’ basic needs are met and end long-term solitary confinement
Long-term solitary confinement has been confirmed as a method of torture, yet it is still an often-used form of punishment in many prisons across the country. In 2011, prisoners in California went on a hunger strike as a protest to this treatment. At the peak of the protest, thousands of prisoners were involved. Many suffered permanent health damage and at least two died. The protests ended when prison officials agreed to review the terms the inmates were requesting and asked for time to implement them. Now, yet another hunger strike is set to begin as in the two years since the original protest, the prison officials have yet to come through on their promises.
The inmates have five core demands – an end to group punishment and administrative abuse, abolishment of debriefing policy and modification of gang status criteria, compliance with US Commission on regards to ending long-term solitary confinement, provision of adequate and nutritious food, and expansion of constructive programming for inmates. Simply put, they are asking for fair treatment under the worst of conditions. Many times, inmates are offered an early release from solitary confinement for reporting the gang status of other inmates, regardless of whether that information is actually true or not. They are also fed chemical-filled food with low nutrition.
No one should be forced to undergo torturous treatment, yet some inmates are held in solitary confinement for years at a time. It is time to support these prisoners’ strike until they get a more acceptable quality of treatment. They are committed to getting better treatment and we should be committed to supporting them.
Dear Governor Jerry Brown,
Many prisoners in your state are being held in inhumane conditions that equate to torture. While these prisoners may not deserve to be treated as if they were kings, they should be treated with basic decency. Unfortunately, conditions in California prisoners – particularly those experienced in solitary confinement – are not acceptable.
These prisoners are preparing to go on a hunger strike until their five basic needs are met, just as in 2011. In 2011, this strike involved thousands and ended only when prison officials agreed to implement changes. Unfortunately, two years later, nothing has been done.
It is now your turn to step up. Please take this opportunity to support these prisoners in their request for basic decency in their treatment. Torture is unacceptable in this day and age.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: World Can’t Wait via Flickr