Prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit (SHU) are isolated for at least twenty-two and a half hours a day in cramped, concrete, windowless cells. They are denied telephone calls, contact visits, any kind of programming, adequate food and, often, medical care. Nearly 750 of these men have been held under these conditions for more than a decade, dozens for over 20 years. This treatment has inflicted profound psychological suffering and caused or exacerbated debilitating physical ailments.
Ostensibly, these men are in the SHU because they associate with gang members and isolating them is necessary to prevent gang activity and racially motivated violence. But in the summer and fall of 2011, these men, joined by other SHU prisoners throughout California, showed this claim to be the lie that it is. Organizing across racial lines, more than 6,000 SHU prisoners went on hunger strike for several weeks to protest their conditions. That's right - men who have been isolated for over a decade and deprived of basic human rights because they are allegedly connected to racially divided gangs worked together to demand basic rights and constitutional protections for themselves and one another. Now they have resumed their hunger strike, demanding that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation meet their demands.
Read the Series:
California Prison Hunger Strike Ends After 60 Days
A Call to Be Treated "Justly and Humanely"
Gang Instigation Alleged in California Prison Hunger Strike; Force-Feeding Possible
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Lorenzo Benton
Prisons, State Budgets and the New National Freedom Agenda
Prisoners' Struggle Against "Cruel and Unusual Punishment Amounting to Torture"
Sarah Shourd on Herman Wallace, California Hunger Strikers and the Horror of Solitary Confinement
Torturing Citizens Who Won't Turn Snitch: A Letter from Pelican Bay
Statement of Paul Redd Pelican Bay State Prison SHU Windowless Cells Dungeon Resident to Victoria Law
Please Stop "Reforming" Pelican Bay
Why We Strike - Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers: J. Baridi Williamson
Pelican Bay Two Years Later: Those Still Buried Alive Vowing Hunger Strike "Till the End"
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Richard Wembe Johnson
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Gabriel Reyes
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Todd Ashker
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Luis Esquivel
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Danny Troxell
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Paul Redd
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Ronnie Dewbury
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Jeffrey Franklin
Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers: George Ruiz
Radio Segment: Survivors of Solitary Confinement
Past Truthout Coverage of Pelican Bay
Pelican Bay Prison: One Year Later, Policy Remains "Debrief or Die"
California Prison Hunger Strike Ends, Conditions of "Immense Torture" Continue