Cook County Jail Hunger Strike

Cook County Jail inmates begin refusing their food

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Information was directly from a Chicago Tribune Article written by reporter Megan Crepeau

COVID-19 has peaked the levels of all citizens in the US, including those incarcerated. Cook County inmates have begun denying ordinary nourishment, a form of hunger strike, in the hopes of receiving better treatment and conditions in their county jail in the heart of Chicago, Illinois.

Detainees told the Chicago Tribune they are organizing what they are calling ‘hunger strikes’ — albeit many are eating some grocery store nourishment — over their proceeded with confinement as the coronavirus spreads inside one of the country’s biggest correctional facilities.

“Detainees put out a pressure sign to one another, similar to, man, we have to stand together,” Donnelle Thurman told the Chicago Tribune in a telephone talk with this week, taking note of that individuals like him confronting first-degree murder accusations have little to lose. (source: Chicago Tribune)

Sheriff’s officials are throwing caution to describe this as anything close to a hunger strike, calling it “reckless and inaccurate”. They noted that the detainees were eating food from the commissary instead and jail procedures define “hunger strike” as abstaining from food altogether.

The sheriff’s officials seem to be avoiding any conflict and are trying to work with the innmates, even forwardging their deamnds to be reivewed by a judge. Among their demands:

  • Release on bond
  • Increased access to calls with family
  • Cleaner conditions
  • Reopening of the courthouse so their cases could be heard more quickly

Thurman said he realizes the chances are slim that a murder defendant and “refusing food was based on trying to get us (inmates) something.”

Veteran public defender Marijane Placek, who represents Thurman, told the Tribune she had never seen a mass hunger strike at Cook County Jail in her decades of practice.

“The jail has always (had) such a transitory population,” she said. “It’s not a place where people get to know each other, trust one another, and know that people have their back. The fact that this is happening so quickly, you can imagine how desperate conditions must be.”

Tensions have been high at Cook County Jail for the last two weeks and may have been what led to a brutal attack on jail guards in maximum-security Division 9 on Tuesday.

Read the full Chicago Tribune article: Cook County Jail inmates begin refusing food over COVID-19, sheriff forwards their petition for better treatment to judge

Edward Johnson and Associates P.C.

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