The strike was reportedly initiated by inmates at Pelican Bay in Crescent City, and is expected to spread this week to other prisons managed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Bona said.
Details about DVI’s possible inmate involvement are only being released by CDCR officials, which operates DVI.
Bona, who spoke outside of DVI just after noon, said CDCR officials “didn’t want individual prisons commenting” about the situation.
An interview request with CDCR officials was being emailed to them by Bona on Monday afternoon. No response had come as of 5:15 p.m.
As part of the strike, inmates are not supposed to eat or work, according to Bona, who also noted that he saw some inmates going to their jobs.
Bona said DVI officials are in contact with CDCR headquarters.
“We’re getting an assessment of how many (inmates) will possibly participate,” he said. “It’s in the initial stages.”
A website, prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com, states the demands of inmates at Pelican Bay.
The mother of a DVI inmate, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation against her son, said the Tracy-based inmates have their own demands.
Inmates are allegedly upset about hot temperatures inside the prison due to the recent heat wave, small meal portions and poor condition of the drinking water.
The mother said the prison shouldn’t “mistreat our kids.”
“My son is in there and he told me they are going on hunger strike today,” she said. “They are asking for little bit more food. Some are going to bed hungry. And the water is like a brown color and they make them drink the water. A lot of the guys getting sick and getting headaches.”
The mother said members of her family had gone to the prison to picket Monday morning, but they went home when correctional officers told them to leave prison property.
Bona said DVI officials requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office to handle any picketers.
A CHP patrol car and at least two officers were stationed near the prison entrance around noon while sheriff’s deputies made periodic checks of the area.
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