Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 1:58 am
This post was updated at 3:47 a.m. ET Tuesday:
The Associated Press reports: A federal judge approved Monday's request from California and federal officials to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.
The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.
California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state's required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Thousands of prisoners across the state are expressing solidarity with inmates being held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California. They began refusing meals on Monday.
Problem inmates at the Pelican Bay maximum security facility are held in the Security Housing Unit. Some inmates have been in the SHU, pronounced "shoe," for decades.
Advocates for the inmates have filed a federal lawsuit to end the protracted use of solitary confinement.
Nearly 150 women were sterilized in California's prisons without the state's approval, a practice that critics say targeted inmates who were seen as being at risk of serving a future jail term. Those numbers represent data from 2006 to 2010, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which first reported the news.