SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Inmates at Santa Clara County’s main jail are on a hunger strike.
The people have been refusing food for nearly a week after reporting unsafe conditions and treatment of those who test positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak.
According to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, there were 127 active coronavirus cases among county inmates on January 11. It’s the largest outbreak the jails have had during this pandemic.
As of Friday, active cases dipped to 91.
Jose Valle of advocacy org Silicon Valley De-Bug says they have received reports from inmates about cruel treatment of those who test positive in the jails.
Valle says those with the virus are often put into unsanitary living cells. Inmates hope with the hunger strike, the correctional system will hear their concerns. They are asking staff to follow health protocols to keep the virus out of the jail, and also for more a more sanitary space to quarantine.
In response to the concerns, the sheriff’s office said:
“[We] are aware of the hunger strike involving approximately 50 or so inmates that began on Wednesday 1/13/2021. We take the health and welfare of those in our care seriously and we will work closely with custody health services regarding those who elect to participate. Our office will continue to work to address and resolve concerns related to jail operations.”
Inmates also want visitation time due to being separated by glass, as well as clear communication on protocol inside the jail.