SACRAMENTO -- California prison officials have put 14 inmate leaders of a statewide protest over solitary confinement conditions into yet deeper isolation.
The protest is now in its 10th day, with 2,312 inmates refusing state meals and 271 refusing to go to work or attend classes.
Lawyers for inmates in the Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison arrived to find their clients had been moved to administrative segregation, used to punish inmates who have violated rules. In addition, prison gang investigators had taken the legal papers of some of those transferred inmates, said Carol Strickman, an attorney for Prisoners With Children, an inmate advocacy group.
Corrections officials in Sacramento did not immediately respond to requests for information about the transfers, or other actions being taken against the protesters.
The 14 inmates had been publicly identified as leaders of the prison protests, including signing a manifesto earlier this year calling for unity among prison ethnic groups against the state corrections system.
Strickman said the transfers not only cut off protest leaders' communication with participants, but prevented them from monitoring events. "They don't have access to radio or television," she said.
Protest leaders at California State Prison at Corcoran have also lost privileges, including the ability to see visitors, said Lt. Anthony Baer, the prison's public information officer.