California prison chief: Hunger strike will harm inmate's cause

DOC says it's unlikely to make more concessions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's prisons chief says inmates who are refusing meals to protest the state's solitary confinement program for gang leaders are harming their own cause.

In his first comments on the subject, Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard tells The Associated Press that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation already has a program to reduce isolation sentences that can last for decades.

That program has stopped since a protest began Monday with about 30,000 inmates statewide refusing meals. They are supporting inmates with ties to gangs who are being held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Beard also said Wednesday that the department is unlikely to make more concessions to inmates.

The strike is the largest of three hunger strikes at California prisons in the last two years. 

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