California gets OK to force-feed some hunger-striking inmates


Sharon Bernstein
Reuters
August 20, 2013

California authorities won court approval on Monday to force-feed some prisoners on a hunger strike after officials voiced concerns that inmates may have been coerced into refusing food in a protest against the state’s solitary confinement policies.

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton E. Henderson, responding to a request by state authorities, ruled that California prison doctors may force-feed select inmates near death, even if they had previously signed orders asking not to be resuscitated.

Some 136 California inmates are currently taking part in a hunger strike that began July 8 in prisons statewide to demand an end to a policy of housing inmates believed to be associated with gangs in near-isolation for years. Some 69 of the striking inmates have refused food continuously since the strike began.

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