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30,000 Inmates Begin Largest Hunger Strike in California History

Two years ago, hunger strikes drew national attention to California prisons, but this year, they are even bigger:

California officials Monday said 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history.

Inmates in two-thirds of the state's 33 prisons, and at all four out-of-state private prisons, refused both breakfast and lunch on Monday, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton. In addition, 2,300 prisoners failed to go to work or attend their prison classes, either refusing or in some cases saying they were sick. (Paige St. John / LAT)

Full numbers are a little fuzzier based on how you count who is on a hunger strike. However, prison officials certainly take the issue seriously, and made some changes after the 2011 strike. This one seems primarily focused on long term isolation for possible gang affiliation, but the issues are generally broader than the one issue. As the hunger strike continues, more information about prisoner concerns, as well as safety concerns from the prison system will get a lot more attention.

All this, with the backdrop of the ongoing hunger strike by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and its increased attention after Yasiin Bey/Mos Def's viral video depicting the force-feeding guidelines practiced by the military.

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