Below are several quotes from a recently released letter from a Pelican Bay prisoner who participated in both hunger strikes. This particular prisoner suffers from end stage liver disease and hepatitis C, and is listed by the Pelican Bay medical staff as “totally disabled:”
“In an effort to break my [hunger] strike they began withholding my
pain medication as leverage. At first cold turkey until I reminded
them of the Plata and the federal judge’s ruling that it is criminal
to cold turkey a long-time recipient of medications for chronic pain.
So they issued just enough to clear them, but so minute and
ineffective to cause extraordinary pain, from both disease and
withdrawal symptoms. When that failed they came to my cell and said I
need to go to the CTC [infirmary] because I’m so sick and totally
disabled. It’s very, very worse than SHU conditions. It freezes 24
hours a day and you are entitled only to the linen on your bed,
what’s on your back, and a towel.
“Well, in an effort to ‘help me’ and ensure my dire health needs are
met, when I refused to go they extracted me. A very brutal act. They
did not enter as I prepared for, but instead, with three types of
‘toys’, an overwhelmingly suffocating gas, or like an impenetrable
cloud or fog, filled my cell. Then they tossed in a type of gas bomb.
Then hit me with a direct spray of another gas. On the verge of
passing out I left the cell. Interestingly, all the taunting and
provoking challenges [by guards] abruptly ended when the video camera
arrived. What happened to me was wrong on so many levels.”