CALIFORNIA -- A 60-day hunger strike by a group of inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison came to an end this morning, as inmates started taking state-issued meals and began the process of re-feeding.
Isaac Ontiveros of the Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition calls today a victorious day.
"We agree with the prisoners when they say 'We've gained a lot of positive ground toward achieving our goals, there is still much to be done,'" Ontiveros said.
The victory, he says, is that prisoners have opened up the possibility of substantial and fundamental changes regarding solitary confinement, which is evident in the legislative commitment of Senator Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
"In vowing to hold a series of hearings of the public safety committees in which resolute action will be taken against the grievous human rights violations that are happening in the California prison system," Ontiveros said.
Prison officials held a meeting with hunger strike leaders Wednesday -- during which the leadership and 14 organizers voted to end the strike.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Beard said in a statement released this morning, "We are pleased this dangerous strike has been called off before any inmates became seriously ill."
Beard also commends his staff and says the CDCR will continue to implement the substantive reforms in California's Security Housing Units that were initiated two years ago.