After 4 weeks of desperation, frustration and solidarity, the hunger strike at Pelican Bay’s super-max security prison finally came to a halt. Though the strike is over, the hunger for change persists.
For those who are unfamiliar with the hunger strike, here’s a brief recap: nearly 7000 men across California State prisons organized a hunger strike in protest of highly questionable procedures and treatment in the facilities. One of the greatest bones of contention is Pelican Bay’s use of ‘debriefing’ and extended stays in the ‘SHU,’ or Security-Housing Units. Debriefing requires an inmate of suspected gang affiliation to either classify himself as an active member of a said gang and/or to identify other inmates who are affiliated with a gang-an act that can put his safety in harm’s way. However, if he fails to adhere, he is subjected to a minimum of 6 years in the SHU until he confesses.