Politics

California’s Prison Chief Says Hunger Strike Won’t Help Inmates

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Pelican Bay State Prison

An aerial view of Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County, with the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) shown an X-shaped cluster of white buildings set apart from the rest of the complex. (CDCR)

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — California’s prisons chief says inmates who are refusing meals to protest the state’s solitary confinement program for gang leaders are harming their own cause.

In his first comments on the subject, Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard tells The Associated Press that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation already has a program to reduce isolation sentences that can last for decades.

That program has stopped since a protest began Monday with about 30,000 inmates statewide refusing meals. They are supporting inmates with ties to gangs who are being held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Beard also said Wednesday that the department is unlikely to make more concessions to inmates.

The strike is the largest of three hunger strikes in the last two years.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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