"an unspecified threat"

State officials confirmed that some protest leaders were moved but refused to identify the prison where they were located. All of the 14 strike leaders were signatories of protest-related documents, including a manifesto calling for unity among prison ethnic groups against the corrections system.

Department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said any materials taken from inmates were returned unread. She also said protesters had been warned that the hunger strike would bring consequences: 'They should allow their lawsuit to take its course and not be protesting.'

Laura Magnani, a member of the San Francisco office of the American Friends Service Committee, said the more isolated the inmates are, 'the more difficult it is to open up communication' between the state and the prisoners' advocates.

Magnani, who was on the mediation team that helped end similar protests two years ago, said that she has been in weekly contact with corrections officials, but that the officials have expressed no willingness to open discussions about the current strike.

Read More | "Prison hunger strike leaders moved to separate quarters" | Paige St. John | ?LA Times