Grantees Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) is a coalition based in the Bay Area made up of grassroots organizations & community members committed to amplifying the voices of and supporting the prisoners at Pelican Bay & other CA prisons while on hunger strike.

In the Spring of 2011, prisoners inside Pelican Bay State Prison contacted prisoner-rights and anti-prison activist organizations announcing 50-100 prisoners would be beginning a rolling hunger strike on July 1st, and that they needed support making sure their voices and demands were heard and acted on outside prison walls.

The prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) began what became a historic hunger strike to protest the cruel, inhumane and tortuous conditions of their imprisonment & to improve the treatment of SHU-status prisoners throughout California. At least 6,600 prisoners across the state of CA joined in solidarity with the Pelican Bay hunger strikers’ demands.

After entering negotiations with the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) and refusing food for nearly four weeks, the prisoner hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay’s SHU  called for a stop to the hunger strike on July 20th to give the CDCR a few weeks to implement substantial changes to their policies & comply with the prisoners’ demands. The CDCR failed to follow through, so prisoners throughout the state resumed the hunger strike on Sept 26th, 2011, and say they will continue striking until these changes are made.

This courageous action falls within a long legacy of prisoner-led resistance throughout the world, including inside both men and women’s prisons in the US. As such, these struggles are connected to global struggles against inequality and powerlessness, for self-determination and liberation.

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