Prison Focus Issue 56
Beginning on Wednesday, July 20th, people incarcerated at Orange County Jail engaged in a hunger strike to protest their treatment at the jail. Working with advocates at the Southern California ACLU, the hunger strikers based their demands upon a 2017 report released by the ACLU, calling attention to prolonged isolation, lack of access to medical care, excessive use of force, retaliation for filing grievances, and lack of access to grievance forms. On July 20th, reports say that the first five participants began refusing meals, and by the second day they were joined by somewhere between 145 and 200 others. On day four of the strike, the two lead organizers – Josh Waring and Johnny Martinez – were moved into isolation, but have since been returned to their cells. The strike was staggered across ten days, with participants engaging for different periods of time, until the final remaining participant began accepting meals again on July 28th. The strike has been put “on hold” by organizers in order to re-strategize and maintain their health for upcoming actions. ACLU will continue working with families of the prisoners, calling attention to the ongoing problems in the jails and demanding independent oversight of the Sheriffs' Department.