Confronting Torture in U.S. Prisons: A Q&A With Activists/Journalists James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Ridgeway and Casella, co-founders of Solitary Watch, discuss an upcoming prisoner hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison and the inhumane practice of solitary confinement.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in California have announced they are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011 to protest the conditions of their imprisonment, which they say are cruel and inhumane. An online petition has been started by supporters of the strikers. While noting that the hunger strike is being “organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity,” five key demands are listed by California Prison Focus:
1) Eliminate group punishments; 2) abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria; 3) comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long term solitary confinement; 4) provide adequate food; 5) expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates.