Hunger strike leaders isolated, backers say

07/19/2013 12:00 AM

07/21/2013 1:19 PM

Supporters of state prison inmates taking part in a hunger strike complained Thursday that inmate leaders have been moved to more isolated areas and prevented from meeting with one of their attorneys.

The complaints come as the hunger strike that began July 8 continues to protest inmates being held in solitary confinement for indefinite periods.

The hunger strike originally resulted in 12,421 inmates participating in 24 prisons, as well as four out-of-state facilities holding California inmates under contact.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it considers an inmate to be on a hunger strike after having missed nine consecutive meals.

Since the strike began, the number of inmates participating has decreased. By Monday, the department said 2,572 inmates in 17 state prisons were still participating.

Inmate advocates said Thursday that leaders of the hunger strike who were housed in the Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison had been moved to more restricted segregation units in what they called retaliation.

They also complained that one of the inmate attorneys had been banned from having access to the inmates.

A statement issued on behalf of 14 inmate leaders says they were moved last week "to break our resolve."

A CDCR spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Call The Bee's Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091. Follow him on Twitter @stantonsam.

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