Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

What's changed in the year since California's inmate hunger strike began?

by Take Two®

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Georgia Valentine, an intern with the legal Services for Prisoners with Children, hangs a poster calling for the reform in the use of solitary confinement in California prisons during a demonstration at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Members of the Assembly and Senate public safety committees held the first of several joint hearings in response to a massive inmate hunger strike this summer protesting conditions for gang leaders held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison and three other state prisons. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Today marks one year since 30,000 California state prisoners began a hunger strike to protest the solitary confinement conditions faced by inmates.

It was the largest ever hunger strike by California prisoners, lasting 60 days. Prisoners complained that authorities used solitary confinement indefinitely, claiming that some had been housed in isolation for decades.

Here's how one inmate at Pelican Bay, Jeremy Beasley, described it in February of last year:

"I haven't had human contact with anybody without being in chains since 2004. I've became angry, I've become bitter, know what I mean? And to tell you the truth, I have no idea of how I'm going to react with people when I get out there."

Inmates are in these cells for 23 hours of each day, a practice that Amnesty International and the United Nation's have equated this with torture. But a year after the strike, what reforms and measures have officials taken to address the situation?

Reporter Michael Montgomery from the Center for Investigative Reporting has actually been inside solitary confinement, himself. He joins the show with an update. 

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