More than 20,000 inmates are caged in isolation in the United States at any one time. Originally designed as a temporary disciplinary action, solitary confinement has drifted into use as a long-term punishment. This act of inhumanity is a clear contradiction of the Eighth Amendment. During the Pelican Bay hunger strike that rippled into prisons across the country, a 66-year-old man with extreme medical needs, Leonard Peltier, was forced into "the hole" at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania...
The Endless Punishment of Leonard Peltier
"It is a sincere pleasure to once again extend my hand to my beautiful New Afrikan people. I have been recuperating from not eating for 20 days straight and I can tell you based on my personal experience that it was hell! I could feel the life gradually being sucked out of me...
Mutope Duguma: This hunger strike is far from over
Hugo Pinell, one of the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay State Prison, has now been held in continuous solitary confinement for over 40 years--longer than any other US prisoner known to date... see After the Hunger Strike
"legalized torture": The shame of California
Prisons function as an unemployment program comparable to early capitalist workhouses, except they've become warehouses for unused labor rather than sites of production. When prisoners return to their communities, observes [Ruth Wilson] Gilmore [author, Golden Gulag], the cycle is repeated: they are locked out of "education, employment, housing, and many other stabilizing institutions of everyday life. In such inhospitable places, everybody isolates." -- Tony Platt, GoodToGo blog
Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California. Photo by Adam Tanner / Reuters.
a letter from inside Pelican Bay:
"I remember feeling the pangs of hunger and wondering if our efforts were even being heard, and I would see something in the news about the protests... At this point, I would get a surge in energy to carry on in the strike... the will to resist is unbreakable once you have tasted what true freedom is or understand a different society is possible. -- Jose Villarreal, August 5, 2011