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California Prison Officials Warn Inmates On Hunger Strike

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TEHACHAPI (CBS/AP) – California prison officials are threatening to discipline thousands of inmates who are participating in a statewide hunger strike.

Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Thursday that strike leaders could be placed in solitary confinement and followers could lose personal items from their cells.

Strikers have been protesting conditions in solitary confinement cells and gang security measures, which they have alleged puts them in danger.

Inmates are in isolation for a reason, countered Gov. Jerry Brown.

“We have individuals who are dedicated to their gang membership who order people to be killed, who order crimes to be committed on the outside,” he said. “My recommendation is to deal effectively with gangs in prisons.”

The strike began Monday and includes 4,252 inmates in eight prisons. A previous hunger strike over the same issues in July involved 6,600 inmates at its peak.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Inmates renewed the strike because they allege prison officials failed to follow through on promises made to end the July action. Officials said they are reviewing their policies, but the process takes several months.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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