Inmates leading California’s largest prison protest ended a two-month hunger strike without winning major concessions on solitary confinement conditions but with the promise of legislative hearings, reports the Los Angeles Times. The strike, which began with 30,000 inmates refusing meals and ended with 100, drew international attention to the state’s use of prolonged prisoner isolation. It was orchestrated by a few inmates at Pelican Bay prison near the Oregon border.
This week, 10 protesters a day were requiring medical care. Yesterday prison workers sought to move four of the frailest to medical wards, but they refused to go. Inmate leaders, as they agreed to resume eating, said they had “suspended” their protest. “Our goal remains: Force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners, as well as our loved ones outside,” protest leaders said in a statement released by ex-state Sen. Tom Hayden. Prison officials insisted that solitary confinement policies, revised after smaller hunger strikes in 2011, are non-negotiable.