[Pnews] Update from Menard, Illinois: Prison Hunger strike resumes Sept. 23
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 25 11:43:09 EDT 2015
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
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
* 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
“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,
* 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.”
/Attorney, writer and activist Alice Lynd can be reached at
//salynd at aol.com/ <mailto:salynd at aol.com>/_. _/
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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