A rally to show solidarity with California prisoners who spent much of July on a hunger strike in protest of poor conditions is set for Monday morning.
The rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. outside the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles, organizers announced Sunday.
The July strike among prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in the San Francisco area, along with those at the Corcoran, Tehachapi and Calipatria prisons were designed to call attention to systematic abuse and torture in Security Housing Units at the facilities.
Most of the strikes ended after 20-plus days, when officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation acknowledged these concerns and agreed to make improvements.
Chief among the strikers’ five-point list of demands was a call for an end to so-called ‘debriefings,’ lengthy interviews prison officials used to determine an inmates’ gang status.
Prisoners complained the process often resulted in inmates being labeled snitches and being targeted for violence by rivals.
They also called for an end to group punishment and administrative abuse, an end to long-term solitary confinement, more nutritious food and improved recreational privileges.
Now that state officials are reviewing these demands, rallies such as the one scheduled Monday are planned as part of an International Day of Protest and Solitary with the Prison Hunger Strikers to keep up the pressure.
“Prisoners must gain the human rights and civil rights demanded by their very humanity — and by ours outside the prison walls,” organizers said in a news release.
“Let us show on Aug. 1 that the prisoners do not stand alone, through our demonstrations, rallies, religious services, fasts, call- the-governor-days, art and music.”