Demonstrators hold up a sign during a rally in front of the State Building in San Francisco, Friday, 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. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Thirty-thousand inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison in northern California have been refusing their meals since yesterday morning. The inmates are on a hunger strike to protest the use of isolation as a way to break the power of prison gangs.
They claim that prisoners are kept locked in cells without any access to other inmates, school or work programs, sometimes for decades.
KPCC's Julie Small has been following the story and she joins the show to tell us more.