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Four inmates on hunger strike require medical attention

July 18, 2013|By Paige St. John
  • Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison exercise in a yard. Prison medical officials say four inmates on a statewide hunger strike required medical attention Thursday.
Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison exercise in a yard. Prison medical officials… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

SACRAMENTO -- California prison medical officials said Thursday that four inmates participating in a statewide hunger strike have required medical care and a fifth has been referred to a physician.

Three of those protesters at the state prison in Calipatria in Southern California were moved to an outpatient housing facility within prison grounds for care, said Liz Gransee, a spokeswoman for the court-appointed medical receiver's office in charge of prison healthcare.

The fourth inmate, at Pelican Bay State Prison, was not moved but given fluids through an IV, while another protester at that prison was sent to a physician, Gransee said.

Friday marks the 12th day of a protest that began July 8 with 30,000 inmates refusing their state-issued meals. As of Thursday, the number of protesters had dropped to 2,300.

[Updated at 3:50 p.m.: California corrections officials on Thursday afternoon updated the number of active hunger strike participants to 1,457 inmates housed in 15 prisons.]

Inmates participating in the disturbance are calling for limits on the state's use of solitary confinement to control prison gangs, as well as changes in how inmates are identified by race for discipline after gang-related violence in prisons.

California corrections officials contend the protest itself is coordinated by prison gangs. Inmate advocates say the state's use of indefinite isolation is excessive, causes physical and psychological damage and violates prisoners' constitutional rights. A federal lawsuit over those conditions also is pending.

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paige.stjohn@latimes.com

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