A demonstrator holds up a sign during a rally in front of the State Building in San Francisco on July 1, 2011 to support prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. Inmates in an isolation unit at Pelican Bay State Prison are on a hunger strike to protest conditions that they describe as inhumane. Advocates say several dozen inmates in the Security Housing Unit declined to eat their morning meal on Friday. The unit holds about a third of the 3,100 inmates at the Northern California prison.
Nearly a week ago, inmates at Pelican Bay state prison started a hunger strike. Pelican Bay is a maximum security prison near the Oregon border. Some of the inmates there are housed in extreme isolation units. The hunger strike has spread to 13 other state prisons, and - in the last few days - 6500 inmates participated. That makes it the largest prison strike in California in at least a decade. KPCC's Julie Small joins Madeleine with an update.