California Prisons

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California prisoners suspend hunger strike

Barbara Becnel in Oakland

Surrounded by family members, mediation team member Barbara Becnel reads the statement announcing the suspension of the prisoners' hunger strike. 

Twenty prisoner representatives of all the ethnic groups involved in the California prisoners’ hunger strike have decided to suspend the strike on the 60th day.

Tell California officials to resume meetings with prisoners

On Aug. 19, 2013, California prison officials won a court order saying they could force-feed dozens of inmates who have been on a hunger strike for six weeks over solitary confinement conditions. This order will not end the strike, or prevent other nonviolent demonstrations.

Religious leaders: End Calif. prisoners’ hunger strike, reform use of solitary confinement

Pelican Bay Prison

Pelican Bay Prison

Pelican Bay Prison in California.

Photo: Jelson25

Editor's note: The California prisoners suspended the hunger strike on Sept. 5, 2013. Please visit for the latest information.

Hunger strike: California prisoners take charge for nonviolent change

Holding tank

At R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, a Level 4 inmate waits in a temporary holding tank. These tanks are used when an inmate is in the process of being moved to the Administrative Segregation Unit and is deemed a threat to the safety and security of the institution.

Editor's note: The California prisoners suspended the hunger strike on Sept. 5, 2013. Please visit for the latest information.

California solitary confinement hearings bring home the human cost

Laura Magnani

Laura Magnani of AFSC’s San Francisco office is a nationally known expert on solitary confinement.

On February 25th, AFSC participated in a hearing focused on the reality of new policies intended to change the practice of gang validation in prison, which presently leads many prisoners to be held in solitary confinement indefinitely based on their association with people whom prison staff perceives as gang members. 

Governor vetoes media access bill in California

Editor's note: On Sept. 30, 2012, Gov. Brown vetoed the media access bill. AFSC’s Laura Magnani responded:

Update: After CDCR Prison Hunger Strikes, Implementing Solitary Confinement Changes

On December 28, AFSC Regional Director Laura Magnani and another member of the “mediation team” met with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Undersecretary Terri McDonald to discuss CDCR progress on changing policies and procedures for gang validation into the SHUs (security housing units).  In that meeting, Undersecretary McDonald stated the following points.

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