30,000 California inmates refused meals yesterday at the start of a prison strike involving two-thirds of the state’s 33 lockups, as well as four out-of-state facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports. They refused breakfast and lunch, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners skipped work or classes, some saying they were sick. The new protest is far bigger than two years ago, when 11,600 inmates were refusing meals at one point The protest was organized by inmates held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border. Their complaints focus on policies that put inmates in isolation indefinitely, some for decades, if they are suspected of having ties to prison gangs. They want a five-year limit on such isolation. They also seek education and rehabilitation programs and the right to make monthly phone calls.