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Hunger strikers to return to Pelican Bay and a new warden

September 06, 2013|By Paige St. John
  • Pelican Bay State Prison is the origin of a statewide inmate protest that started July 8.
Pelican Bay State Prison is the origin of a statewide inmate protest that… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO -- Prison hunger strikers who were shipped out of Pelican Bay State Prison so they were closer to medical services and administrators in Sacramento say they have been promised they'll be returned eventually to their old cells now that the demonstration has ended.

And a new warden awaits them.

As the last 100 protesters ended their 60-day hunger strike on Thursday, they also learned of a shift in command at the state's super maximum-security prison. 

Pelican Bay Warden Greg Lewis retired in August, about a month into the strike, and stayed on for a few weeks, said corrections spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman.

A deputy administrator stepped in to run the prison until next week, when the former warden from the California Correctional Center outside of Redding, Ron Barnes, will come out of retirement to take over, Hoffman said. A permanent replacement is still being sought, she said.

Advocates for the protesters expressed concern that the men have sufficient time to regain their health before returning to solitary confinement in Pelican Bay.

They were to undergo supervised feeding at California State Prison near Folsom, but prison medical staff said most of those inmates began immediately eating regular meals, and four identified as needing transfer to a medical unit refused that care.


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