Inmate hunger strike suspended at Santa Clara County Jail

Bay City News
Saturday, October 22, 2016
(KGO-TV)
kgo-KGO-TV

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A two-week hunger strike by hundreds of inmates at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose was suspended today as sheriff's authorities have addressed some of the strikers' demands.[br /][br /]The strike that began on Monday with about 100 inmates to protest unfair conditions at the custody facility grew to about 300 inmates by Thursday, according to community organizer Jose Valle of Silicon Valley De-Bug.[br /][Ads /][br /]About two-thirds of the inmates on strike were already in isolation, according to Valle.[br /][br /]b]RELATED: [url HREF="http://abc7news.com/news/inmates-at-santa-clara-county-jail-on-hunger-strike/1565543/" TARGET="" REL=""]Inmates at Santa Clara County Jail on hunger strike[/url][/b][br /][br /]This afternoon, Valle spoke with one of the strikers who told him the strike was suspended because correctional administrators met three of their five demands: more clothing exchanges and providing enough clothes to inmates; setting equal prices as listed for items at the commissary instead of overcharging for the products and stop misappropriating the inmate welfare fund.[br /][br /]The group is still looking for custody staff to adopt the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's classification system and end solitary confinement, Valle said.[br /][br /]Many inmates are placed in isolation indefinitely as their case goes through the court system, at times for many years before they're convicted, according to Valle.[br /][br /]Some people are in solitary confinement based on opinions of jail guards and the group is seeking that those inmates be given the opportunity to be placed in a lower class based on their behavior, Valle said.[br /][br /]"It's going to take more than one day to end this," he said.[br /][Ads /][br /]The strikers are also looking for community involvement in the decisions to make sure their requests are met, he said.[br /][br /]The group on strike was allowed more program time with other inmates today outside of their cells where they met with jail administrators and shook hands with them, according to Valle.[br /][br /][b]RELATED: [url HREF="http://abc7news.com/news/official-slams-santa-clara-county-sheriff-over-inmate-hunger-strike/1565844/" TARGET="" REL=""]Santa Clara County Sheriff slammed over hunger strike[/url] [/b][br /][br /]"The hunger strikers are appreciative of the sheriff meeting their demands, (but) at the same time they want to make sure this is a permanent change," he said.[br /][br /]An assistant sheriff met with the inmates today to discuss the changes already made and future reforms, sheriff's officials said in a tweet this afternoon.[br /][br /]The Sheriff's Office has also reduced prices for phone calls, among other changes, sheriff's Sgt. Richard Glennon said.[br /][br /]During the strike, non-heated boxes of food were given to a local homeless shelter run by The Salvation Army, according to Glennon.[br /][Ads /][br /]The Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Santa Clara County, a union that represents the deputies, endorsed the strike.[br /]"The issues raised by these inmates are not new concerns, nor are they concerns unique to the inmates. We find ourselves in agreement with the striking inmates," union vice president Roger Winslow said in a statement Thursday.[br /]The union also called out Sheriff Laurie Smith's lack of leadership that has also been expressed by the county's Blue Ribbon Commission On Improving Custody Operations, the Prison Law Office in Berkeley and the National Institute of Corrections, according to Winslow.[br /][br /][facebook URL="https://www.facebook.com/DanNoyesABC7/posts/1778213342429110" /][br /][br /][b][url HREF="http://abc7news.com/iteam/" TARGET="" REL=""]Click here[/url] for more I-Team stories.[/b]