prison051707.jpgA group of people will rally in front of the State Building in San Francisco on Friday as part of a statewide day of fasting and advocacy actions aimed at drawing attention to the issue of prison overcrowding, according to a spokeswoman for the group.

Prisoners and their supporters up and down California will be joining in the “Starving for Justice” fast with the help of supporting groups like Californians United for a Responsible Budget, a statewide coalition of more than 40 organizations trying to curb prison spending by closing facilities and reducing the number of people incarcerated.

In August 2009, a federal panel ordered the state to drastically reduce its prison population – by about 40,000 inmates – to correct constitutional violations caused by overcrowding.

California has filed an appeal against the ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in October.

Meanwhile, conditions in the prisons are worsening, rally spokeswoman Helia Rasti said.

Prisoners suffer from insufficient medical care and inhumane conditions, among other things, she said.

“Ultimately, the people who end up locked up in cages are family members, are members of our society – they are people’s children,” Rasti said. “We’re talking about human beings.”

Friday’s rally and the statewide fast are meant to send a message to state politicians to push for a reduction in the prison population, she said.

“If we are at all invested in having a safer, kinder society … then we need to care about how we are addressing people who might harm other people,” Rasti said.

The San Francisco rally is scheduled to take place in front of the State Building at 350 McAllister St. starting at 11:30 a.m.

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