Inmates at a Nevada state prison are on a hunger strike in a protest they say is due to poor conditions inside the facility.
About 40 prisoners began the hunger strike on Dec. 1 first inside Nevada’s Ely State Prison and have accused jail staff of improperly using solitary confinement, physically attacking inmates, and not properly providing inmates with access to appeal and grievance forms, KVVU-TV reported.
“We are requesting immediate intervention from the state in regards to correctional abuse and violence against prisoners by convening a group of stakeholders represented by prisoner rights and human rights organizations as well as impacted people-advisory committees, legal experts, medical experts and other community stakeholders to provide immediate oversight into the conditions in ALL Nevada prisons, correctional centers and camps,” Return Strong NV, a grassroots organization that says it is “committed to deconstructing the prison industrial complex,” said in a statement.
In a press release, the Nevada Department of Corrections said that 39 offenders began participating in the strike most due to objections with the “food portions being served” but also due to “conditions of confinement, property issues and disciplinary sanctions.”
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The department says that as of Dec. 5, 27 offenders were refusing food but the total fluctuates daily because some offenders have received food one day but resumed their hunger strike the next day.
“Food is made available daily to all participants,” the department said, adding that the department takes “seriously the health and welfare of the offenders in its custody and is working to resolve this matter.”
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“The NDOC is auditing portion sizes at all facilities throughout the state and reviewing the contract with the current food vendor,” the statement added. “Additional complaints are also under review.”
Ely State Prison opened in 1989 and has a total capacity of 1,183 inmates along with 406 employees.
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Ely State Prison is also where death row inmates are housed in the state of Nevada before being executed.