[Pnews] Update from Menard hunger strikers: We need outside support, force feeding threatened

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 23 10:43:50 EST 2014

    Update from Menard hunger strikers: We need outside support, force
    feeding threatened

January 21, 2014

/The following information is drawn from letters received from prisoners 
in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, 
Illinois, and compiled by attorney Alice Lynd./

/Jan. 21, 2014/ -- On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in 
Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger 
strike. Officers shook down their cells and took any food they found. 
The hunger strikers were sent to see medical staff and charged $5 for 
medical treatment.

On the way back from seeing medical staff, one prisoner (said to be 
Armando Valazquez) was pushed onto the stairs while in handcuffs by two 
officers. Those officers then kicked and stomped on his back, picked him 
up and then slammed his face into the plexiglass window on a door. One 
officer was sent home early that day. Prisoner Velazquez was moved to 
the Health Care Unit and the prisoners have not seen him since.

The hunger strikers have been told the prison administration is working 
on obtaining a preliminary injunction to force feed them. They expect to 
continue the hunger strike even if they are force fed.

"We need as much outside support as possible," the prisoners say.

Please call or email:

    * Gov. Pat Quinn, (217) 782-0244,
    * Warden Rick Harrington, (618) 826-5071
    * Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez,
      (217) 558-2200, ext. 2008

/Attorney Alice Lynd can be reached at salynd at aol.com 
<mailto:salynd at aol.com>./

    Menard prisoners' demands

In a letter to Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador A. 
Godinez, Alan Mills of Uptown People's Law Center in Chicago writes that 
prisoners formerly housed at Tamms and now in Administrative Detention 
at Menard in the High Security Unit, or HSU, "have contacted our office 
regarding both the process by which they were placed in this unit and 
the conditions of their confinement in the unit.

"They have advised us that due to the lack of response from anyone 
within the Department regarding their informal complaints and formal 
grievances they will begin an indefinite hunger strike today, Jan. 15.

"The men have forwarded the following demands to us in the hopes that we 
can facilitate resolution of the issues:

   1. A hearing upon arrival and rationale for placement, as well as the
      written rules and regulations regarding their classification;
   2. Quarterly /*meaningful*/ reviews of continued placement;
   3. Timely written responses to grievances in compliance with the
      departmental directives;
   4. The ability to have reasonable access to cleaning supplies for
      their personal cells;
   5. The common areas to be cleaned and sanitized (i.e., showers) and
      the vermin and rodent infestation eliminated;
   6. Adequate heat and hot water in cells and common areas;
   7. The ability to purchase basic commissary items (i.e., thermal
      clothing, shoes etc.), pursuant to departmental regulations;
   8. Access to individual razors and nail clippers held by departmental
   9. Timely addressed medical treatment (i.e., physical, mental and
      dental ailments); and
  10. Adequate access to legal property boxes and the law library."

/Alan Mills can be reached at Uptown People's Law Center, 4415 North 
Sheridan, Chicago IL 60640, (775) 769-1411, www.uplcchicago.org 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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