From comrades in Illinois
“The conditions here are inhumane & repressive. So much that we are forced to make a stand as men in righteous indignation.”–anonymous letter from Menard prisoner on hunger strike
A group of prisoners in a high security unit at Menard, a prison in southwestern Illinois, went on hunger strike on January 15. They put their lives on the line to protest inhumane conditions and placement in severe isolation, without reason or ability to challenge that placement. The conditions at Menard are intolerable; prisoners have described a lack of adequate heat and hot water, filthy, vermin-infested cells, a lack of access to basic cleaning and sanitation supplies, insufficient food and clothing, and a lack of access to legal resources and educational programming.
As of yesterday, several prisoners have been on strike for four weeks. The Department of Corrections has said they will not negotiate with prisoners while they are on hunger strike. In retaliation, one prisoner was beaten and another transferred. On February 7, several prisoners escalated the strike and began refusing liquids. Guards have threatened protestors with force-feeding if they do not end their strike.
Those on strike have asked for support:
“Public awareness is our only shield from unjust abuse of authority, which is why we ask for your support of our peaceful protest against our conditions of confinement.”
In the last several weeks, they have won access to hot water and basic cleaning supplies. But the administration has failed to meet demands around due process and timely access to medical care. Those on strike have revised clarified their demands, and stated they will end the hunger strike when hearings begin: “Once the informal face-to-face hearings begin, we will take your word that the other issues are going to be addressed and we will ALL come off our hunger strike.”
– the Warden of Menard Correctional Center, Rick Harrington, at (618)
826-5071, press 9 then 6 to reach the warden’s office
– and Illinois DOC Director Salvador Godinez, at (217) 558-2200, ext.
Urge the prison administration to end threats and retaliation against
protestors, and immediately meet the demands of the hunger strikers: due
process and humane conditions.
Facebook event for call-in: