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California prison protest continues with 29,000 refusing meals

July 09, 2013|By Paige St. John
  • Kenneth Keel, of Fair Chance Project Inglewood, joins about 75 demonstrators Monday in support of 29,000 inmates who are refusing meals in protest of prison conditions.
Kenneth Keel, of Fair Chance Project Inglewood, joins about 75 demonstrators… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

Inmates across the state continued a mass protest, refusing meals and participating in work stoppages.

The state corrections department on Tuesday afternoon confirmed about 29,000 inmates continued to refuse meals, down slightly from the day before. In addition, 2,000 inmates refused to go to their prison jobs or classes, said department spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

She said the protests were causing no disruptions. “Everything is still normal; everything is still quiet,” Thornton said.

Inmate advocates who helped mediate an end to previous mass protests in 2011 said no new talks have been scheduled but that state officials, in anticipation of the coming strike, agreed in June to minor requests for added food and clothing. They said the state has not budged on inmates’ core demand for an end to indefinite solitary confinement.

Without access to phone calls or face-to-face visits, those mediators said they had no way to know how protest leaders held in isolation at California’s high-security Pelican Bay State Prison were faring.

They were awaiting updates from lawyers who were to meet Tuesday with their own clients at Pelican Bay.


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Twitter: @paigestjohn

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