Sacramento, Calif.- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is responding to a mass hunger strike disturbance by thousands of inmates in several correctional facilities.
As of today, 12,421 inmates in 24 state prisons and four out-of-state contract facilities have missed nine consecutive meals since Monday, July 8, 2013. An inmate is considered to be on a hunger strike after he has missed nine consecutive meals.
CDCR is not identifying how many inmates are or are not participating in specific prisons. The mass hunger strike is organized by prison gangs and publicizing participation levels at specific prisons could put inmates who are not participating in extreme danger.
In addition, 1,336 inmates have refused to participate in their work assignments or attend educational classes.
Participation in a mass disturbance and refusing to participate in a work assignment are violations of state law, and any participating inmates will receive disciplinary action in accordance with the California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Section 3323(h)(A) and Section 3323(f)(7).
Inmates identified as leading and perpetuating the disturbance will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the California Code of Regulations, Title 15 Section 3315(a)(2)(L) and may be removed from the general population and be placed in an Administrative Segregation Unit pursuant to CDCR’s hunger strike policy.
CDCR does not condone inmate disturbances. Mass hunger strikes, work stoppages and other disruptions have the potential to impact programs, operations, staffing, safety and security.
CDCR will make every effort to maintain normal program operations for non-participating inmates; however, if normal programming is affected, CDCR will notify inmates and their families.
CDCR may need to take additional measures to effectively monitor and manage hunger strikers and their nutritional intake. This could include the possible removal of canteen items from the cells of participating inmates. CDCR is continuing to offer state-issued meals to all inmates.
CDCR has revised its gang validation and Security Housing Unit (SHU) confinement policies and procedures. The new revisions were implemented as a pilot program on October 18, 2012.
The new comprehensive strategy supports CDCR’s goals of reducing long-term SHU confinement for offenders who do not engage in gang behavior.
The reforms place an emphasis on documented behavior, provide individual accountability of offenders, incorporate additional elements of due process to the validation system and provide a Step-Down Program as an alternative for offenders to demonstrate their commitment and willingness to refrain from criminal gang behavior.
Moreover, gang associates – a majority of inmates housed in SHUs – are no longer placed in a SHU based solely upon their validation unless there is a corresponding confirmed disciplinary behavior at the time of the original validation.
Since last October, CDCR has conducted 382 case-by-case reviews of validated inmates housed indefinitely in SHUs. As of June 28, 208 inmates housed in SHUs have either been transferred or are approved for transfer to a general population facility and 115 inmates were placed in various phases of the Step-Down Program, an incentive-based, multi-step program that provides graduated housing, enhanced programs, interpersonal interactions and increased privileges for validated inmates who refrain from criminal gang behavior.