The Occupy movement joined with prison reform groups to uphold the rights of prisoners whose suffering is concealed behind the concrete walls of California’s vast prison system. The demonstration was held to expose prison abuses and to bear witness on behalf of the multitudes behind bars excluded from our democracy.
Nearly 4,000 inmates in the Security Housing Units in California’s prisons endure harrowing conditions of extreme isolation for years and even decades in concrete, soundproof cells measuring only six feet by eight feet, leaving only to exercise for about an hour a day in windowless “dog runs.”
The strike’s magnitude was historic, with 6,600 prisoners fasting in 13 prisons. Many prisoners around the world, and many people on the outside, fasted in solidarity. The movement to end the tortuous conditions of long-term solitary confinement was revitalized.