Locked-Up in "High Security Unit" and Not Told Why, Prisoners Hunger Strike for Answer

Categories: Crime

"They are completely and entirely untrue," Schaer says. "The inmates want attention and now they're getting it."

See also: Dirty Illinois Sheriff Resentenced to Life in Prison

According to Schaer, the units are clean, heat and hot water is plentiful, there are a few mice here and there, but that's to be expected in a rural area, and inmates are given regular mental health evaluations. As for the allegations that inmates are not told why they are placed in the administrative detention unit, he says that is false, too.

"They're told why and they're given clear directives," Schaer says.

So if everything in the unit is fine, why would the inmates want to go without food for several days in protest?

"Because they're not happy with how the system works and they're trying to take extreme action," Schaer says. "We think these allegations are either entirely untrue or gross exaggerations. People do irrational things - that's what lands them in prison. And they're doing irrational things because they're taking an inaccurate view of their actual situation."

But the Uptown Peoples Law Center says that the situation is very real and ever since the 2013 closure of the controversial Tamms Correctional Center, a "supermax" prison where inmates were subjected to solitary confinement-like conditions, the Illinois Department of Corrections appears to be recreating mini-supermax prisons around the state by carving out special units such as the one at Menard, which does nothing to rehabilitate inmates.

See also: Nothing Left to Lose: Faced with supertough restrictions, inmates at Tamms protest by refusing to eat

"We want these guys to come out and be law-abiding and paying taxes instead of being screwed up in the head," Nelson says."We're already spending a lot of money to house them there. So let's do something so they're better off when they come out."

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E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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9 comments
Greg McDaniels
Greg McDaniels

After working in the Missouri prison system for a year, I can say this is something many inmates in higher security do. They claim the conditions are horrible, everything else they had claimed in here. It's not true. It shouldn't be a surprise. The problem with Bradley Hardins argument is a lot of prisoners are not treated great but I don't believe it is a direct result of recidivism rates or how they act when they get out. In all reality, they act far worse inside than most would if they were on the streets. Scary really.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

yeah? well they have health insurance, the poor in Mo. don't...

Mark Nolan
Mark Nolan

if they want Holiday Inn they should have chosen that path, its not intended to be comfortable

Matt Burkey
Matt Burkey

Prisoners or not, someone should still look into this. We don't know who these people are or why they are locked up so dont judge, everyones got a story. & this isnt nazi germany. those certain things they arent getting are just about the only comforts they will get in prison

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

The problem is if you listen to prisoners EVERYONE in prison is innocent. I just wish the ones who ARE GUILTY would man up & take it so the limited resources available could go towards the TRULY INNOCENT. It sucks!

Suzie Shepherd
Suzie Shepherd

Meanwhile in nursing homes, the elderly and handicapped are laying in their own urine and not getting any attention at all. Something has to change. We watch prisoners like a hawk and give them basic needs, yet the people that need attention the most aren't getting it. So sad.

Laura Beard King
Laura Beard King

putting this on high priority! right after world hunger. ::)

Christopher Arnel
Christopher Arnel

If u don't wanna live in these conditions... DONT GO TO PRISON!!!

RG Hillyard
RG Hillyard

Awww, they are criminals, give them an extra blanket and tell them to STFU

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