SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of prisoners who have spent more than a decade in a California prison’s notorious solitary confinement cells have filed a new federal lawsuit alleging their living conditions amount to torture.
Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights took over the lawsuit Thursday that was originally handwritten and filed by two inmates of Pelican Bay State Prison’s so-called security housing unit.
The suit seeks the immediate release from solitary confinement of 500 prisoners who spent more than 10 years in the unit, improvement in living conditions and other changes.
The lawyers say they were alerted to the case during a prisoner hunger strike last year called attention to the conditions at Pelican Bay. That strike included 6,600 inmates throughout the state at its peak.