30,000 Calif. Inmates Refuse Meals

In California on Monday, 30,000 inmates refused meals as the start of a hunger strike involving two thirds of the state’s 33 prisons and four out-of-state facilities—which could make it the largest jailhouse protest in state history. Participants skipped breakfast and lunch, and 2,300 inmates skipped work or classes, saying they were too sick to participate. Organized by a small group of inmates being held in solitary confinement at the Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border, the prisoners are calling for a five-year limit on isolation, which can last decades if the inmate is suspected of having gang ties. The inmates are also seeking education and rehabilitation programs and the right to make monthly phone calls.