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On Sept. 23, 2015, at least 19 and possibly as many as 22 men in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center began a hunger strike that ended on Sept. 28. It was nearly a week after the hunger strike ended before we received any mail from them. The following is a composite account based on what they sent us, written on the first and last days of the hunger strike.
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.
On this upcoming Monday, April 28, we are asking and encouraging people to participate in a Call-In Day in support of the prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois who are facing retaliation for engaging in a hunger strike in January. Prisoners there have been beaten by guards and metal boxes have been placed over their windows.
On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. 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, Warden Rick Harrington, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez.
The Re-Examining the Lucasville Uprising Conference, held April 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, was a resounding success by all reports. “A strong and vibrant coalition has come together to advocate for innocence of those convicted in the aftermath of the uprising,” reports Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, one of the organizers.
Although on a very small scale (which by no means diminishes the deed), we, the people, have wrought a revolution – “a sudden and momentous change in a situation” – and accomplished in 12 days what the powers that be have repeatedly told us would never happen.
The rally at Ohio State Penitentiary was attended by a large crowd, including many members of the families of the hunger strikers, despite the freezing weather. And there's wonderful news: All three have resumed eating because they achieved a victory. The prison authorities have virtually met their demands. The strikers are in high spirits, and now they can turn their attention to their death sentences. Before, they were fighting about their conditions of confinement, but now they begin the fight for their lives.
Four prisoners unjustly sentenced to death for the 1993 Lucasville, Ohio, prison uprising began a hunger strike on Monday, Jan. 3, to demand that they be placed on Death Row rather than be held in solitary confinement – and to initiate a campaign that will hopefully lead to executive clemency. Here, the first of the prisoners to begin the strike speaks out.