Prisoner in Corcoran SHU Dies While on Hunger Strike: Fellow Prisoners Mourn, Advocates Raise Questions About His Death

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Ph: 510 517 6612

Oakand–Mediators working on behalf of hunger striking prisoners have¬†received disturbing news that Billy Sell, known to his friends as Guero,¬†died while on strike at Corcoran State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU)¬†on Monday, July 22. His death is being ruled a suicide by prison¬†officials. Fellow prisoners have reported that Sell was participating in¬†California’s massive statewide hunger strike–now in its 20th day. They¬†further reported that Sell had been requesting medical attention for¬†several days prior to his death. They described Sell as “strong, a good¬†person” and openly questioned the California Department of Correction and¬†Rehabilitation (CDCR) ruling his death a suicide, saying it was “completely¬†out of character for him.” Advocates are outraged at Sell’s death, noting¬†that it could have been prevented if CDCR had negotiated with strikers.

Mediators are working to get further accurate information and¬†accountability from the CDCR. “This story is deeply troubling and¬†contradicts the assurances that the hunger-striking prisoners are receiving¬†appropriate medical care,” Says Ron Ahnen, of California Prison Focus and¬†the mediation team representing striking prisoners. Mediators have made an¬†official inquiry to the federal receiver overseeing California’s prisons.¬†This report come amid growing concern for the medical care strikers are¬†receiving, along with continued condemnation of the CDCR’s response to the¬†strike and Gov. Brown’s total silence on the issue.

K. KersplebedebK. KersplebedebK. Kersplebedeb

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