VIDEO: Santa Clara County Inmates Call Off Hunger Strike

Santa Clara County inmates broke their fast on Thursday, claiming a “small victory” after jail officials agreed to address at least one of their four demands.

Upward of 200 inmates at the Main Jail in San Jose and the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas participated in the hunger strike, which began on April 15, to call attention to what they call arbitrary security classification, solitary confinement, abuse of the grievance system and a lack of sanitation and out-of-cell time.

Jail administrators reportedly met with inmates, making clear that they were not there to negotiate, and agreed to help with that last issue. In a recorded phone call from the jail, an inmate who asked not to be named, said his fellow incarcerates will receive a full three hours of out time every other day, “which was not happening prior to our current strike.”

“In addition, proper sanitation, daily cleaning, will be taking place for the showers, phones, tables, neutral programming areas and so forth,” the same inmate told said on behalf of an inmate coalition called Prisoners United. “This sanitation will not cut into our out-of-cell program time.”

The rules have not changed, he explained, but the practice has.

“Now, regardless of the fact that these were already existing policies, it was still not taking place prior to our current strike.”

Video update via Silicon Valley De-Bug. 

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