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The history of prison hunger strikes in California




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.
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.
Paul Sakuma/AP

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More than 600 inmates are protesting solitary confinement through a mass hunger strike that began July 8th. But it's not the first time California prisoners have refused food to seek concessions from prison officials.

With more on the history of prison hunger strikes in California and beyond is Professor Keramet Reiter, who solitary confinement teaches criminology at the University of California at Irvine.