Prisoners’ hunger strike in its third week


Finally making mainstream media…..

The inmates are protesting lengthy stays in isolation cells. Prison officials say 49 inmates who have lost at least 10 pounds each are ‘being monitored closely.’

Hunger strike demonstrators

Delores Canales, left, and other demonstrators gather outside the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Los Angeles in support of the California prisoners participating in a hunger strike. (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times / July 19, 2011)

By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles TimesJuly 19, 2011

Reporting from Sacramento

More than 400 inmates at four California prisons are in the third week of a hunger strike to protest long, punitive stays in isolation cells.

Prison officials, who refuse to allow reporters into the institutions to interview the strikers, said 49 inmates who have lost at least 10 pounds each are “being monitored closely,” including seven at Pelican Bay, the maximum-security prison near the Oregon border where the hunger strike began.

An inmate at the state prison in Tehachapi in Central California has lost 29 pounds, according to Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the court-appointed receiver in charge of prison healthcare.

Inmate advocates say thousands of inmates have joined the strike, which began July 1. Many are beginning to show dramatic weight loss and collapse with the early signs of starvation, they say.

Dozens have been sent to prison infirmaries because of irregular heartbeats and fainting, according to a statement issued Monday by a group calling itself California Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity, which represents attorneys and family members of inmates. “Most have lost 20-35 pounds,” the statement said.

Major medical problems begin once a hunger striker has lost 18% of his or her body weight, according to an article from the Journal of the American Medical Assn. that prison officials said they were using as a reference for what to expect if the protest continues. Life-threatening problems typically begin when a person loses 30% of body weight.

Continue Reading @ The LA Times

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