California prisoners on a hunger strike for better facility conditions by Julia New

In the past decade, there has been an increase in incarceration rates in California particularly, causing overcrowding in prisons and decreasing the quality of prison care overall. In the first place, jails are not supposed to be a pleasant place to stay because they are supposed to be forms of punishment to discourage further criminal activities. In jail, one is literally striped of all dignity, privacy, and freedom. Prisoner abuse is not at all uncommon, and prisoner riots and revolts are not uncommon either.


Currently, US has the highest number of prisons and highest incarceration rates in the world. The numbers are significantly higher than other countries.

In this chart, we can clearly see that the incarceration rates in juveniles and adults have increased over the years since 1976-2000, up til 2002; however, for adults the average is still relatively higher than it was in the 60s, whereas for juveniles it seems like incarceration has decreased since 1996. Overall, US still has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Now with these large amounts of people getting incarcerated every year, no wonder why the prisons are becoming overpopulated and strained.

Basically in the article, In particular, in High Desert State Prison in Sacramento California, 10 prisoners started a hunger strike in order to demand cleaner living conditions, better food, and better clothes. In particular, the solitary confinement and maximum security cell prisoners suffered most because their cells were typically the worst cells in the prison. Then, up to 30,000 inmates started participating in the strike as well, refusing meals as well. The inmates refused to report to work or extra classes as well. Not only did the inmates have a problem with the solitary confinement conditions, but the federal court often cracks down on prisons for their poor care of inmates and making deadly viruses and fevers run rampant in the facilities. Federal judges ordered the release of 100,000 to  contaminated prisoners to more isolated facilities. The strikes continued with demands of better food, warm clothing, unlimited supply of candy and soup. Eventually, after a long time of revolting, these conditions at the prisons were finally met.,0,3342394.story

This photograph shows what a solitary confinement cell looks like, obviously it is one of the more dirtier, unpleasant, and isolated ones. These cells are reserved for criminals who are really dangerous and cannot live with a cell mate. Based on the terrible cell conditions, one can see why these people would protest for better conditions. I would have too if I were a prisoner in this type of cell for it does look pretty dreadful. Though prisoners are trying to fight for their equality, they need to remember that they are in jail and that jail is meant to be a punishment not a reward, so frivolous things are not necessary. They are the ones who got in trouble, they are the ones who got their privileges suspended. Incarceration is when almost all your privileges as a citizen goes out the window and you are forced to do whatever the warden tells you. However, if inmates show signs of improving/changing, then he could be allowed more shopping time, better food, and more freedom even. That way it will encourage inmates to become better people, be motivated to get out of prison eventually. However, even prisoners still deserve some rights because they are still human civilians after all. They should still be given the basic necessities to survive at the least, enough to keep prisoners alive, but to not pamper or spoil them because they are still in prison after all. As much as they complain about inequality, they are the ones who brought the inequality onto themselves by being in jail. So in a way i both sympathize and don’t sympathize without the inmates protest because both have their pros and cons. However, there is still inequality for jailers who try to apply for jobs after their incarceration time because typically employers prefer employees with clean records because incarcerated individuals are more likely to commit the same crime again verses the one with clean records. So in a way, being incarcerated does become a huge a blotch in your status in society for that is how society operates, discriminates and everything. Basically being incarcerated does have to do with social inequality because once branded as a prisoner, you will always be seen as a prisoner.


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