California prison hunger strike called off
POSTED: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 9:48pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 9:51pm
(CNN) — The last of more than 12,000 California prison inmates who were on a hunger strike ended their protest Thursday morning, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.
Inmates in several prisons were demanding an end to long-term solitary confinement and a halt to what is known as the "debriefing" policy, in which inmates are required to provide information on prison gangs to get out of solitary.
The Corrections Department issued a statement saying all the hunger strikers were taking state-issued meals and that the department will "continue to implement the substantive reforms in California's Security Housing Units that we initiated two years ago."
Prisoners on solitary confinement are held in the security housing units. In July, the department said more than 300 inmates had either been transferred from those units back to the general population or were taking part in a program to gradually return them there.
The hunger strikers had other demands, including warmer clothing, better mattresses and better food. The statement from officials did not say if there were any changes in those areas.
As of Wednesday, there were 100 inmates on hunger strike. Forty of those had been on strike since the start of the protest, on July 8, Corrections Department spokeswoman Dana Simas said. The other 60 had joined at various times.
The strike's leaders were in the maximum-security prison at Pelican Bay, near the Oregon state line, but inmates in other lockups were encouraged to add their own demands.
The department said it was pleased that the strike was called off before any inmates became seriously ill.