Legal representatives made visits to the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at California’s Pelican Bay prison Tuesday, and interviewed a number of hunger strikers. Each prisoner explained how medical conditions of hundreds of hunger strikers in the SHU are worsening. Many prisoners are experiencing irregular heartbeats and palpitations, some are suffering from diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. Many are also experiencing dizziness and constantly feel light-headed. Many struggle with shortness of breath and other lung and respiratory problems. Dozens of prisoners have fainted and been taken to either the infirmary and/or outside hospitals. Some prisoners also have Chrones disease, which leads to extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes and needs to be treated by adequate nutrition and hydration.
At least 200 prisoners continue the strike in solidarity with the prisoners at Pelican Bay at Calipatria State Prison, where summer heat has reached to 43C, even hotter inside the SHUs. Some people have experienced heat stroke due to severe dehydration.
Prisoners at Corcoran have also notified us that hunger strikers there are struggling with the same symptoms of severe dehydration. After mild seizures and severe diabetic shock, some people have been taken to the infirmary.
Many doctors outside of prison, some of whom have experience working with prisoners, have explained to us that adequate hydration is paramount to preventing fatal starvation. The fact that the prisoners are showing symptoms of such extreme dehydration shows the prisoners are approaching a medical crisis.
Dr. Corey Weinstein, a private correctional medical consultant and human rights investigator with 40 years experience providing health care to CA prisoners, explains:
“The strikers’ claims of substandard and prejudicial medical care at Pelican Bay are certainly true. As well the medical staff refuses to take on their responsibilities as health professionals to advocate for their patients in matters of daily life related to food, nutrition, exercise and mental hygiene. Those who should be providing care act the jailer instead. Given my long history of working with California prisoners, I have grave doubts about the Department of Corrections’ ability to adequately carry out their own guidelines and protocols even during this urgent and public moment. Reports such as prisoners with very low blood sugar levels and lack of urination for 3 days should not be coming from the prison. These are men who require hospital care under prison protocols. We should ask why do they remain at the prison?”
Clearly the prisoners are in dire need of adequate food and hydration. The only way to prevent people from dying right now is for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to negotiate with the prisoners with the outside mediation team the prisoner’s have approved of.
Support the Prisoners in Winning their Demands!
**Supporters everywhere are encouraged to coordinate and organize events, actions, and demonstrations that amplify the prisoner’s voices and will effectively urge the CDCR to negotiate immediately.
For more information go to: Prisoner Hungerstrike solidarity