A federal judge approved a request to force-feed California inmates if needed.
It is the seventh week of a statewide prison hunger strike. Since July 8, almost 70 prisoners have refused the prison-issued meals, and officials fear for their welfare. If prisoners have signed do-not-resuscitate requests, policy is to let them starve to death. However, Judge Thelton Henderson gave blanket authority to feed inmates whose health might be failing.
Is this a violation of inmates’ constitutional rights? On one hand, the hunger strike means that the prison will have to spend more time and resources on inmates whose health is failing, and resources at prisons are already stretched thin. But on the other, the prisoners have a right to strike, and given that they are imprisoned, the ways in which they can express their displeasure and make themselves heard are few.
COMMENTARY BY SAN SPITAL, SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE & PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY