Calif. Prisons Prepare To Care for Inmates Taking Part in Hunger Strike
California prisons are preparing to provide medical care for inmates who have been participating in a hunger strike for six weeks, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (St. John, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/14).
In July, 30,000 inmates began refusing meals to protest the use of security housing units for indefinite isolation of certain prisoners as a way to manage prison gangs.
Members of the hunger strike -- organized by inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison -- seek a five-year limit on such isolation, as well as new educational and rehabilitation programs (California Healthline, 7/9).
Update on Strike
As of Tuesday, 287 prisoners still were participating in the strike, including 133 who have not eaten prison meals for the past 36 days.
Prison officials said 93 inmates have required medical attention in the past week, including six who were sent to outside health care facilities.
The majority of those needing medical care were experiencing:
- Abdominal pain; and
Prisons Prepare To Provide More Care
According to medical guidelines, individuals who refuse food for 40 days can experience serious complications, including:
- Progressive confusion;
- Loss of vision and hearing; and
Liz Gransee -- a spokesperson for California Correctional Health Care Services -- said prisons are preparing to care for inmates who have not eaten for more than a month by:
- Increasing daily monitoring of reports from prisons where inmates are participating in the strike;
- Moving sick inmates who are not taking part in the strike to local hospitals; and
- Sending inmates who participated in the strike but who have resumed eating to local hospitals ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/14).