AirTalk

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California Prison Hunger Strike: Would force-feeding be legal, ethical, moral?

by AirTalk

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Should force-feeding in prisons be legal? Getty Images

Thousands of California inmates have been on a hunger strike since early last week in protest of prisons’ use of indefinite solitary confinement and calling better overall prison conditions.  Thirty thousand prisoners were a part of the strike at its start, but the number has fallen to just over 4,000 in the protest that involves two-thirds of California prisons. The strike raises questions over whether force-feeding inmates will be considered.

As the debate over force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay heats up and some lawmakers call for its end, what would California Corrections do? It has said there are no plans to start force-feeding inmates as of yet, but courts say prisons can force-feed inmates if it’s necessary to maintain safety and order. Should inmates be allowed to go hungry if it endangers their own safety? 

Guests:

Christie Thompson, Reporter, ProPublica

Scott Kernan, Retired Undersecretary of Operations, California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Jon Eisenberg, Attorney, Horvitz & Levy LLP

Margo Schlanger, Professor of Law, University of Michigan 

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