• September 26, 2017, 04:02:51 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Welcome to ILLINOIS PRISON TALK, www.illinoisprisontalk.org - A Family Support Forum and Information Center for those interacting with the Illinois Department of Corrections. IPT members are comprised of family/friends of inmates, prison reform activists, ex-offenders, prisoner rights advocates and others interested in the well-being of Illinois prisoners. We encourage open discussion but please be tolerant of other's opinions. This website is protected by Copyright © 2006-2017. All rights reserved. There are some private forums that require registration, please register.

Author Topic: Alleged Hunger Strike Begins at Menard  (Read 1111 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gizgirl2

  • Support Staff
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 724
  • Karma: 13
Alleged Hunger Strike Begins at Menard
« on: September 24, 2015, 01:40:40 PM »

By Pete Spitler
Staff Writer

 Posted Sep. 23, 2015 at 10:28 PM

 
A group of roughly 30 people staged a “noise-in” at Menard Correctional Center in Chester on Wednesday.

The protest was intended to be part of an event that coincided with the start of an alleged hunger strike by inmates housed in the Administrative Detention (AD) unit of the maximum-security facility.

A protester on scene, Matthew (who declined to give his last name), said an unnamed lawyer - who was said to be in contact with the prisoners - emailed individuals involved in prisoner solidarity groups.

The Herald Tribune was provided a copy of the email, which contains a list of core prisoner demands. The email states that AD inmates are hunger striking due to, in part, no written reasons or information on the reasoning behind their continued placement in AD.

“There was no specific organization at all there,” Matthew said of the rally. “It was organized in the sense that people told other people what was going to be happening at the time.”

Matthew also explained the decision behind a noise-in.

“The idea is to create as much racket and noise as possible to let the prisoners hear that there are people who support them and think they are worthy of being considered as people,” he said. “We support their hunger strike and their demands.”

Prisoner core demands are as follows and were said to have been compiled by attorney Alice Lynd as a result of letters from prisoners in AD that were received during this month:

• An end to long-term solitary confinement.

• Minimum due process at AD review hearings by providing inmates with written reasons for the committee’s decision for continued placement in AD and for inmates to be allowed to grieve all adverse decisions.

• More access to outside recreation.

• Meaningful educational programs to be implemented “to encourage our mental stability, rehabilitation and social development for the sake of ourselves and the community that we will one day return to.”

• More access to visiting privileges.

“For most of our families, traveling to Menard is like traveling to another state,” the email said. “Considering the distance, 2-hour visits behind plexiglass is insufficient. We should be allowed 5 or 6 hours.

“Moreover, our family members, including inmates, should be provided the human dignity and decency to purchase food items and refreshments from vending machines after traveling such great distances. This would benefit one’s social development, as well as benefit (the) prison staff environment.”

The email called for the public’s help by calling Menard CC Warden Kim Butler, Illinois Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“We will stay on (hunger strike) as long as possible in order to hopefully bring some change to our conditions,” the email said. “We thank you for any kind of support you can give us.”

The email also makes reference to another hunger strike at Menard that occurred in January and February of 2014 and reportedly involved around 25 inmates. The email claims that the “hunger strikers” in that incident were later sent to other prisons in California, Virginia, West Virginia and New Mexico.

The email does not state how many inmates plan to participate in the newest strike.

“Most of it went along according to plan,” Matthew said of Wednesday's protest. “Correctional officers gave us problems for parking on state property, which was ironic as we blocked traffic way worse on the shuffle than if they would have let us park there.”

In an email to the Herald Tribune, IDOC spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said the agency had no comment on the rally.

http://www.randolphcountyheraldtribune.com/article/20150923/NEWS/150929733/?Start=2

Offline me

  • Support Staff
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1324
  • Karma: 47
Re: Alleged Hunger Strike Begins at Menard
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2015, 09:34:29 AM »
Update from Menard: Hunger strike resumes Sept. 23
September 25, 2015

by Alice Lynd

Some of you will remember the hunger strike in January-February 2014 by prisoners in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois. During and after the hunger strike, several of the strikers were sent to prisons as far away as California, Virginia, West Virginia and New Mexico. Others remain in Administrative Detention at Menard.
Supporters of the Menard prisoners’ hunger strike stage a “noise-in” outside the prison on Sept. 23, the first day of the strike. – Photo: Marissa Novel, Daily Egyptian

Supporters of the Menard prisoners’ hunger strike stage a “noise-in” outside the prison on Sept. 23, the first day of the strike. – Photo: Marissa Novel, Daily Egyptian

Many of the 2014 hunger strikers wanted to know why they were there, and they wanted to know what they had to do to get out of Administrative Detention. Although the Illinois Department of Corrections now issues some notices, the notices still don’t answer those questions.

A form called Notice of Administrative Detention Placement Review, DOC 0432 (effective May 2014), says, “This document shall serve as notice of your upcoming review for placement in Administrative Detention by the Administrative Detention Review Committee.” The notice shows the “Review Date for Initial Placement in Administrative Detention” or “Continued Placement” or “Transfer from Disciplinary Segregation.”

Next, it says: “Notice of Administration [sic] Detention Placement Rationale: In order to prepare you for your Administrative Detention placement review, you are advised that the Department’s rationale for your prospective or continued placement in Administrative Detention is based upon the following reason(s): …”

But the reason may be no more than “Information was received that …” without any finding of guilt for a rule violation.

The form then specifies: “Copies of the following identified documents relied upon by department administrators that may subject you to Administrative Detention placement, or continued placement, are attached to the notice; however, portions may have been redacted based upon a finding that disclosure would compromise security or safety: …”

But the entry in every case we have seen is “N/A” and no documents are mentioned or attached.
Many of the 2014 hunger strikers wanted to know why they were there, and they wanted to know what they had to do to get out of Administrative Detention. Although the Illinois Department of Corrections now issues some notices, the notices still don’t answer those questions.

After the review, the warden sends the prisoner a memo that says: “This memo is to inform [name and number] the Menard Administrative Detention Committee has reviewed your Administrative Detention placement and has voted to continue your placement in Administrative Detention on Phase 1. You will be reviewed again in 90 days.”

I’ve compiled the following information drawn from letters received in September 2015 from prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard:

“Here in A.D. [Administrative Detention], everything is still the same. No one is being released and we are still not getting meaningful hearings. We are still not getting any written reasons or any new info relied on for the basis of the committee’s decision for our continued placement in A.D. We are still getting the same vague memos.

“We now only get one day a week of out-of-cell exercise (yard). We are in our cells 24 hours a day, six days a week. We are being excessively confined in our cells. We are still not allowed to participate in any educational programs. Our mail is not being picked up or passed out five days a week, as they are supposed to.

“We don’t see any end to this indefinite isolation/solitary confinement. Due to these issues and more, we are going to go on hunger strike once again. We will be declaring a hunger strike on Sept. 23, 2015. We will feel very thankful for your help in spreading the word.

“Our core demands are:

We demand an end to long term solitary confinement.
We demand minimum due process at Administrative Detention Review hearings by providing inmates with written reasons, including new information relied upon for the committee’s decision for our continued placement in A.D., and be allowed to grieve all adverse decisions. As it stands, the basis of the committee’s votes are kept secret.
We demand more access to outside recreation for the sake of our physical and mental health. As it stands, we are confined indefinitely to these cages for six days out of the week, with the exception of one five-hour day. This is unbearable.
We demand that meaningful educational programs be implemented to encourage our mental stability, rehabilitation and social development for the sake of ourselves and our communities that we will one day return to.
We demand access to more visiting privileges. For most of our families, traveling to Menard is like traveling to another state. Considering the distance, two-hour visits behind plexiglas is insufficient. We should be allowed five or six hours. Moreover, our family members, including inmates, should be provided the human dignity and decency to purchase food items and refreshments from vending machines after traveling such great distances. This would benefit one’s social development, as well as benefit prison staff environment.

“We don’t see any end to this indefinite isolation/solitary confinement. Due to these issues and more, we are going to go on hunger strike once again. We will be declaring a hunger strike on Sept. 23, 2015. We will feel very thankful for your help in spreading the word.”

“We ask the public’s help by calling the warden, the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections and the governor to check on our welfare.

Warden Kimberly Butler, Menard Correctional Center, 711 Kaskaskia St., Menard, IL 62259, 618-826-5071
Director John Baldwin, Illinois Department of Corrections, 1301 Concordia Court, P.O. Box 19277, Springfield, IL 52794-9277, 217-558-2200
Gov. Bruce Rauner, Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL 62706, 217-782-0244


“We will stay on [hunger strike] as long as possible in order to hopefully bring some change to our conditions. We thank you for any kind of support you can give us.”


http://sfbayview.com/2015/09/update-from-menard-hunger-strike-resumes-sept-23/