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Supporting California and Santa Cruz Prison Hunger Strikers at 'Hunger for Justice'
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
On July 31, community members in Santa Cruz marched to the county jail as part of "Hunger for Justice," an international day of protests and events held in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike in state detention facilities across California since July 8. According to the organization Sin Barras, 37 prisoners in the Santa Cruz County Jail have also joined the hunger strike. [Scroll down for photos. Top video: prisoners inside of the Santa Cruz County jail respond to the demonstration by flashing their lights and pounding on the windows of their cell]
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"The people running the [Santa Cruz County] jail are trying to say that no one in there has been on hunger strike, when we have heard from people who have been inside that they have in fact been on hunger strike," a member of Sin Barras said.

After marching to the county jail, a noise demonstration was held to let those inside, "hear and know we are outside doing this for them," organizers said.

Women inside of the detention facility did let demonstrators know they had been heard.

One inmate was yelling out and trying to communicate with the group, saying "Free....[inaudible]." She was possibly shouting out a name, but no one seemed to have been able to make out exactly what she was saying.

Other inmates flashed their lights and pounded on the windows of their cells. Their hands could be seen as they pressed them against the opaque window coverings.

A member of Sin Barras pointed out that there is solitary confinement in the women's facility, adding "I know people with mental problems who are locked up right here in isolation."

Ending long term solitary confinement and the Security Housing Unit (SHU), is one of the demands of the prisoners who are on hunger strike in California's State prisons, and the topic was a point of focus at the Hunger for Justice demonstration.

Members of Sin Barras read excerpts from letters from a prisoner with whom they are corresponding who is currently being held in the SHU at Corcoron State Prison.

He has been living in a small box for decades in that facility, with no human contact, no access to sunlight, no adequate food, and no adequate medical care. When describing how torturous his living conditions are, he refers to the strike, saying, "hunger strikes are political statements, they are also acts of desperation."

Activists report that on Monday July 22, one of the hunger strikers, Billy “Guero” Sell, died while inside Corcoran SHU.

30,000 prisoners in California state prisons began the hunger strike on July 8, and their five core demands are:

1. End Long-Term Solitary Confinement
2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Gang Status Criteria
3. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse
4. Provide Adequate & Nutritious Food
5. Expand & Provide Constructive Programming

The Hunger for Justice events were also held in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, and the "many Trayvons who have been killed by state and vigilante violence," an announcement for the event read.

For more information about Sin Barras, see:

Alex Darocy
§Speakers from Sin Barras at the Town Clock
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
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by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Solidarity With The Prisoners. SHU = State Sanctioned Torture
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Justice For Trayvon
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
Two Thirds of Women is State Prisons are Mothers of A Minor Child
§Free Hugo Pinell
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
Free Hugo, Yogi Bear Pinell, 23 year Pelican Bay SHU, 43 years solitary, 49 years in prison, stop the torture!
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§End Racist Mass Incarceration
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Santa Cruz County Jail
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Fire To The Prisons
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Using Crutches to Make Noise
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Women Flash Lights in Their Cells
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§The Women's Facility
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Demonstrators Left This Sign
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Candle Light Vigil Back at Town Clock
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§Hunger For Justice
by Alex Darocy Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 5:54 PM
§More Videos
by Alex Darocy Thursday Aug 8th, 2013 3:26 PM
More videos at:

Supporting the Prison Hunger Strikers at 'Hunger for Justice' (part 2)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Anti-Fascist
Friday Aug 2nd, 2013 9:41 PM
Solitary confinement is torture, not rehabilitation. It is a crime against humanity and it is certainly a waste of our tax dollars and must be abolished, as should the death penalty. Serious rehabilitation is as follows:

(1) Every single person under age 50 should be required to get at least a high school education (most are functionally illiterate), take job training courses for decent paying jobs, and be given the medical care and therapy they need to live a healthy lives, so that they are out of prison in 5 years or less.

(2) All sentences must be changed to be no longer than 5 years.

(3) Drugs must be legalized to end the prison pipeline and remove the street market value of drugs, thus ending any profiteering from the sale of these drugs.

(4) All prisoners over age 50 must be given at least $3,000 a month to live on, rising with the cost of living, free medical care and therapy as needed, and free housing either living alone, or if incapable of living alone, then in group housing.

(5) All prisoners must be sent to their County of origin so as to be near family and friends to promote healing and quick integration into society. All prisons in remote areas must be closed and destroyed as the horrifying concentration camps that they are.

As to people being sent to prison who are old, usually they had serious problems as young adults that were never addressed, often connected to drug usage. So, the prison system will have to give them the therapy they should have had as young adults, paid for with our tax dollars.

Anything other than serious rehabilitation is a profound waste of our tax dollars. Prisons steal needed tax dollars from our social services and education programs as we cannot have guns and butter.
by 5 year limit?
Saturday Aug 3rd, 2013 6:11 PM
So let me get this straight: I drop by your house, and murder your wife and kid. And you're okay with me doing 5 years, then out. We're all good?

Riggggggght. P.C. fantasy.
by G
Sunday Aug 4th, 2013 11:23 AM
I think so!

Meanwhile, back at the straw man...

What about those that drop bombs on innocents? They don't even do 5 months!

What about banksters stealing obscene amounts of money? They don't even do court!

5 years for murder? No, I am not OK with that, but you are ignoring the point of the Hunger Strike For Justice. I'll assume you weren't doing it on purpose. People are being tortured. Not just in other countries, here too. If you are OK with that, why not be brave enough to publicly express your opinion, instead of hand waving with tired cliches? I could guess why, but that would require using tired cliches.
by 5 year Limit
Monday Aug 5th, 2013 12:31 PM
I wasn't ignoring the hunger strike; I was rebutting what I think is a ridiculous proposal by anti-fascist. (The 5 year part, and much of the rest. $36K in salary for any prisoner over 50? Really? Someone should make more because they did a crime than if they're simply unemployed?).

But in reply to your point about torture and solitary and being okay with it: No, Im not. But I don't have a better solution, and I don't think "no prisons" is the solution either.

Case in point, the death that brought this protest to a head, of Billy Sell. Why was he in solitary? Because he murdered his cellmate. So what's your proposal; release him? Give him another cellmate? I see limited options to a crappy reality. And part of the crappy reality is there are some people who are sociopaths, psychopaths, and murderers..and I don't want to live on the same block with them.
by The SHU is Torture
Monday Aug 5th, 2013 2:45 PM
Billy Sell was originally sent to prison for attempted murder, so an argument could be made that the inhumane conditions in prison turned him into a murderer.

But we don't know he was a murderer. The same prison that has lied about his participation in the hunger strike is also the same prison that told us he was a murderer (see link below for more info about this).

Also, that he murdered his cellmate doesn't mean he shouldn't be treated humanely as part of his incarceration.

Also, singling out Billy Sell as a representative of the demographics of the majority of hunger strikers is dishonest.

From a good article about Sell:

"Sell, unlike most California hunger strikers, was in the SHU since December 2007 for murdering his cellmate. Approximately 3,000 of the 4,500 men held in the SHU are there for alleged gang affiliation, and the remaining 1,500 are generally there for set terms for disciplinary infractions."

Suicide of California Hunger Strike Participant Draws National Attention to a Broken System


California remains under federal court supervision to ensure that California reduces its overcrowded prison system, delivers Constitutionally acceptable health services, and protects those diagnosed as mentally ill.In his review of the 34 suicides in CDCR facilities in 2011, Dr. Patterson found that:

24 of 34 (70.6%) committed suicide in single-cell status
20 of 34 (61.8%) had a history of suicidal behavior
30 of 34 (88.2 %) had a history of mental health treatment
9 of 34 (26.5%) committed suicide in Administrative Segregation
2 of 34 (5.9%) committed suicide in the Security Housing Unit
1 of 34 (2.9%) committed suicide on death row
5 of 34 (14.7%) suicides were discovered after the process of rigor mortis had begun, indicating 2-3 hours had passed before the individuals were discovered
25 of 34 (73.5%) cases showed significant indications of inadequate assessment, treatment, or intervention

As is clear from this data, the suicides in California prisons disproportionately occur in segregation units, and particularly with inmates in solitary confinement. Solitary Watch has previously reported on suicides in solitary confinement units.

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