A 2011 hunger strike by California convicts attracted the attention of human rights advocates, and that led to an extraordinary alliance. If this group of lawyers and prisoners has its way, the barbaric conditions in our prisons will come to an end.
Hunger-striking inmates seeking an end to California’s use of solitary confinement concluded their two-month protest Thursday, three days after state lawmakers pledged to hold legislative hearings on conditions in the state’s maximum security prisons.
California’s overcrowded prisons have “fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements,” causing “needless suffering and death,” according to a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court. The state, which imposes draconian sentences on repeat offenders, must now find a way to reduce its prison population by at least 38,000 inmates.