Contra Costa jail hunger strikers win their demands


by Coby Phillips, MDF Hunger Strike Representative

On July 19, 2013, all Martinez Detention Facility hunger strikers suspended their hunger strike. (Prisoners there had joined the statewide California hunger strike when it began on July 8, after submitting their own demands to the warden; see “Open letter to Contra Costa sheriff: Martinez AdSeg prisoners join hunger strike, issue demands.”) Below are the demands that were met by MDF command staff:

Martinez-Detention-Facility-2, Contra Costa jail hunger strikers win their demands, Abolition Now! Demand No. 1 was granted in full. Classification shall tell detainees in writing why they are being held in AdSeg as well as program expectations you must meet to be released from AdSeg.

Demand No. 2, to be released from your cell for at least an hour a day, be able to clean your cell and dump your trash, was partially granted. Command staff is working to come up with a free time schedule that follows Title 15 standards. One part of this that is granted in full is that all detainees will be given an opportunity to empty their trash can every day.

Demand No. 3 had three parts. Two parts were granted in full. MDF medical and mental health staff shall no longer conduct ANY type of appointment on the intercom system nor at detainees’ cell doors, where private medical issues are heard by others in violation of medical privacy laws (HIPPA). The third part, allowing AdSeg detainees to reach medical triage on the phone systems, as all other modules do, is still being worked on with command staff.

Demand No. 4 called for an end to housing mental health and non-mental health detainees together. Command staff told Classification to house mentally ill inmates only on D-module as a last resort.

Demand No. 5 was granted in full. All MDF detainees’ will be allowed to purchase ink pen fillers from canteen. Also, necessary photo copies will be made for detainees’ filing court documents. These will be implemented in a reasonable time frame.

It is in good faith that we suspend our hunger strike and that MDF command staff will continue to implement our Five Core Demands. MDF command staff has been very open to our ideas – with the exception of Dr. Dennis McBride, who tried to guide detainees into refusing water as well as food.

We hope all other hunger strikers can get some much needed relief on their demands. If this does not occur, we will resume our hunger strike.

Special thank you to our loved ones on the streets, all organizations and media outlets who covered our struggle.

Send our brother some love and light: Coby Phillips, 2008011408, MDF D-C-4, 901 Court St., Martinez, CA 94553-1700.