Crime & Justice

Pelican Bay prisoners renew hunger strike over conditions

The "Secure Housing Unit" at Pelican Bay State Prison.
Julie Small/KPCC

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Inmates in isolation units at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border renewed their hunger strike Monday, according to a Pelican Bay spokesman. Prisoners are pushing for better conditions and an end to indefinite detention there.

A Pelican Bay spokesman wouldn't give further details on the strike.

In July they initiated the largest hunger strike in California prisons; more than 6,000 inmates refused food. The protest ended after prison official agreed to some changes. Now some of those prisoners say corrections officials have reneged on the deal.

Nancy Kincaid, who works with the federal receiver in charge of prison medical care, explained how they prepared for the renewed hunger strike. "Gearing up the medical professionals to be on the lookout for those inmates who may have a chronic illness or medical condition that makes them more vulnerable to a severe illness or a severe reaction sooner than a healthy person who chooses not to eat."

Kincaid says medical staff will make sure to provide treatment as soon as possible to any inmate who needs it. No prisoners died from the hunger strike in July. Prison health care staff treated dozens for dehydration and a handful spent time in hospitals.