California inmates end hunger strike after 2 months

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California officials say inmates have ended their nearly two-month hunger strike to protest the prison system's isolation policies.

Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said in a statement that all inmates began accepting prison-issued meals early Thursday.

“We are pleased this dangerous strike has been called off before any inmates became seriously ill," Beard said.

In a statement, some of the prisoners said they had "collectively" decided to end the strike, despite the fact that most of their demands have not been met.

"To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system's solitary confinement units is far from over," the prisoners said. They added: "With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression."

A federal judge had given authorities permission to force-feed inmates if necessary to save their lives.

More than 30,000 inmates had been refusing meals when the strike began in early July.

By this week, the number had dwindled to 100 strikers, including 40 who had been onstrike continuously since July 8.

The strike ended after two Democratic state legislators promised to hold hearings this fall on inmates' complaints that gang leaders are often held for decades in isolation units.

With contributions by NPR

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