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Hunger Strikes in British Prisons, 1913-1940  > 
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Hunger Strike in British Prisons 1913-1940


There were 22 recorded strikes in 1931, spread over 12 prisons. As the tables below show, a large majority of the strikes lasted less than a week. Continuing the trends of previous years, more than half of the strikes included no information about force feedings, while more than a third of prisoners refused to give a reason for their strike. 

There is no evidence of a coordinated group strike in 1931. The two longest strikes of the year were carried out by the same prisoner, Arthur Harrison. On June 9, 1931, Harrison was remanded to Brixton; the following day he began a 35 day hunger strike, stating simply that he did not want any food. Officials used an oesophagal tube to force feed him 85 times, around two and a half times per day. 

On July 15, the day his strike ended, Harrison was sentenced in court to five years at Parkhurst for larceny, false pretence, and being a "habitual criminal." In December he began a 39 day hunger strike in protest over being placed on a punishment diet. Once again officials used an oesophagal tube to force feed him, but did so less frequently the second time around (38 feedings, just under once per day).  


Duration of Strikes

This table includes all 22 strikes from 1931.

Notable Strikes, 1931

Arthur Harrison

Arthur Harrison First Strike
Arthur Harrison Second Strike