CDCR confirms disciplinary actions are taken against hunger strikers protesting solitary confinement conditions

A California prison official confirmed that disciplinary actions have been taken against inmates who participated in this summer’s hunger strike calling for an end to indefinite solitary confinement.

Read more: California prisoners end 60-day hunger strike after lawmakers vow to hold public hearings to discuss solitary confinement reforms

In July, between 12,000 to 30,000 inmates in California’s 24 prisons went on a hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions at the security housing units (SHU), where inmates spend 22 to 23 hours a day in isolation in an 8 feet by 10 feet cell with little or no natural light. Inmates held in isolation are not allowed any contact visits and are severely restricted in their communications as well as access to reading materials and educational programming.

At a hearing before the Assembly and Senate public safety committees on Oct. 9th, Michael Stainer, Director of Adult Institutions at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said every prisoners who participated in the July hunger strike or work stoppage protest were written up with a rules violations report, which could potentially result in having their privileges revoked.

Stainer said “quite a few” of the hunger strike participants are “still going through the hearing process” to determine whether further disciplinary actions are warranted. CDCR previously stated that any inmates deemed to be “leading and perpetuating the disturbance” may be removed from the general population to administrative segregation.

Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) expressed concern that disciplinary actions were being taken against inmates who were engaged in what many people would consider acts peaceful civil disobedience.

“It’s an odd thing,” Hancock said of CDCR’s response. “And it usually – in other instances where I’ve seen things like that, it has led to increased hostilities, not better understanding.”

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