California Prisons, Hunger Strikes and Overcrowding
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California Prisons, Hunger Strikes and Overcrowding

As California continues its battle against a federal court order to reduce its prison population, the state continues to struggle with a massive hunger strike among prisoners over the use of solitary confinement.

Image-for-WWLA.jpgOn our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, two years after Osama bin Laden was killed, there are fears the terrorist group is planning attacks from Yemen and other countries. Guest host Madeleine Brand considers whether al Qaeda remains a real threat. Also, the fascinating case of Henrietta Lacks, the African American woman who died young from cervical cancer. Her cells would be used by science to save the lives of millions of people. Now her  family has a say in what the future research will be.

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A federal court has forced California to reduce its prison population by diverting more low-level offenders to county jails. But the state still has 9,600 too many prisoners, and they need to be moved out of crowded prisons by the end of the year. That may force the state to release as many as 1,000 prisoners before they have completed their sentences. At the same time, there are still hundreds of prisoners on hunger strike in protest against the Department of Corrections' use of solitary confinement. Paige St John has been following both of these stories for the Los Angeles Times.

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