Has California’s Prison Hunger Strike Really Ended?

Advocates say that nothing's been confirmed, and it's unclear whether inmate demands have been met.

By Jamilah King Jul 21, 2011

On Thursday, prison officials announced an end to the three week old hunger strike that began at Pelican Bay State Prison. Yet prison advocates claim that those reports have yet to be confirmed.

The statement that the hunger strike had ended came Thursday morning from Corrections Secretary Matthew Cole. The strike began on July 1 at Pelican Bay, California’s maximum security prison and soon spread to other prisons throughout the state and country. As Jorge Rivas wrote earlier this week, prison officials had been closely monitoring 49 inmates who had each lost at least ten pounds.

But Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, a group that’s been advocating on behalf of the inmates since the mass action began, cautions against jumping to conclusions. "This statement has yet to be validated by a single external source," the group said about prison officials’ announcement that the strike had ended. "Until we receive real confirmation from prisoners and the appointed mediation team, now is not the time to let up our pressure."

It’s unclear whether any of the prisoner’s demands have been met.