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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

California Prison Inmates Go On Hunger Strike

A lock is seen on a small port where items are passed to inmates without having to open the cell door in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

A lock is seen on a small port where items are passed to inmates without having to open the cell door in the Secure Housing Unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Segregation cell from corridor, Pelican Bay State Prison. (Photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

Segregation cell from corridor, Pelican Bay State Prison. (Photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

What could be the largest prison protest in California’s history is entering its second day. Officials said yesterday that 30,000 inmates across the state have refused meals.

Inmates leading the protests have released a list of eight demands, starting with a limit on the amount of time prisoners can be held in isolation.

The protest has been planned for months by a small group of inmates who are held in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison, a maximum security prison near the Oregon border.

Officials won’t acknowledge that a hunger strike is underway until inmates have missed nine meals in a row.

But they are already saying the numbers are bigger than a previous hunger strike in 2011, involving 6,000 prisoners across 12 prisons.

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