After two months and numbers of protesting prisoners dwindling from 30,000 to only about 100, leaders of the California prison hunger strike have called it. There was no major, groundbreaking outcome, but inmates will get a chance to have their case heard in legislative hearings.
In a statement released by former California state Sen. Tom Hayden, protest leaders said “Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners, as well as our loved ones outside.”
According to California prison officials, the policies concerning solitary confinement are “non-negotiable.”
The strike, which lasted about two-months, got lawmakers’ attention and now the solitary confinement policies of California state maximum-security prisons will be reviewed in public hearings that are scheduled to take place this fall. The inmates’ ultimate goal is to shorten the length of time that one can spend in solitary confinement.
Now that the hunger strike has ended, opening up an avenue for dialogue, state officials are preparing and looking forward to the hearings. “Our real work begins now,” said California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). “We will soon start preparing for hearings that I hope can bring an end to the disgraceful conditions that triggered the hunger strike.”
As the solitary confinement policy currently stands, prisons can force an inmate to remain in isolation for decades.