California State lawmakers are set to hold hearings this fall on the extended use of solitary confinement in State prisons. The hearings will give inmate advocates, human rights officials, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation the opportunity to address solitary confinement practices.
Among the States, California has the highest use of solitary confinement, both in terms of numbers and percentage of inmates. Inmates are sentenced to solitary confinement by prison administration officials for gang affiliation and acts of violence. Some estimate that as many 10,000 inmates are currently in solitary confinement, at least 500 of whom have been so for over ten years.
As of September 5, 2013, the inmates suspended their hunger strike. The State lawmaker’s call for legislative hearings on prison conditions and promises to work on policy changes played a key role in the striking inmates’ decision to suspend their hunger strike.