California state prisons chief says inmates’ hunger strike has ended
SACRAMENTO -- California prison officials Thursday acknowledged the end to a 60-day inmate hunger strike, launched in protest of the state’s use of solitary confinement.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued a statement Thursday morning noting the 100 inmates who had remained on the hunger strike have resumed eating meals. They are now undergoing medical supervision as they slowly return to solid food.
Inmate representatives are planning to make their own announcement at a public rally Thursday morning in Oakland.
“We are pleased this dangerous strike has been called off before any inmates became seriously ill,” state prisons chief Jeffrey Beard said in a statement.
“I’d like to commend my staff and the staff with the federal Receiver’s Office for working together to ensure the health and safety of all employees and inmates was a top priority. CDCR will continue to implement the substantive reforms in California’s Security Housing Units that we initiated two years ago.”
The hunger strike began July 8, when more than 30,000 inmates in two-thirds of the state’s prisons began refusing state-issued meals.
Corrections officials refused to negotiate throughout most of the protest.
The strike’s end was triggered by legislative leaders who last week called for public hearings on conditions in California’s maximum security prisons and the use of solitary confinement, according to sources close to the protest leaders.
The state has nearly 4,000 inmates in segregation cells, and according to one expert, another 6,600 in temporary isolation.
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