A judge this week authorized the force-feeding of prisoners on 44-day hunger strike at Pelican Bay Prison in California
A judge this week authorized the force-feeding of prisoners on 44-day hunger strike at Pelican Bay Prison in California. District Judge Thelton Henderson said that it was necessary to override the inmates wishes so as to avoid “great bodily harm”. She also said that the advance “do not resuscitate directives” of the inmates were invalid. The prisoners are campaigning against allegedly sub-standard solitary confinement conditions in the prison.
Judge Henderson’s decision has been widely criticized. Jules Lobel, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a representative of the inmates, said that force-feeding “should only be used as a last resort, but here there are a number of reasonable alternatives”. The World Medical Association in 2006 declared that force-feeding “contrary to an informed and voluntary refusal is unjustifiable.”
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