Hunger strike at jail facilities concludes after nearly two weeks

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FILE ART- Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith

By Bay City News Service

After 11 days of not ordering food or canteens from the commissary, Santa Clara County jail inmates have concluded the third hunger strike in county facilities since 2016, according to an advocacy group 

Jose Valle of Silicon Valley De-Bug announced today that the hunger strike at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose and the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas has concluded after lieutenants from the jail met with strikers on Wednesday.

Authorities agreed to meet demands made by a coalition of detainees known as Prisoners United of Silicon Valley that requested more time out of cells and guaranteed time and supplies to maintain a clean environment.

The other three demands set out by Prisoners United of Silicon Valley were not yet addressed because of their presence under litigation with the Berkeley-based firm Prison Law Office's federal lawsuit Chavez vs. Santa Clara County, Valle said.

Those demands were related to improvements on the county's classification system, solitary confinement restrictions and the inmate grievance system.

Valle said that Prisoners United of Silicon Valley suspended the hunger strike, "as a good faith effort to honor the lieutenant's agreement and to allow the Prison Law Office to carry on their voice in a court of 

On Monday, family members and friends of the inmates taking part in the hunger strike rallied out of support and concern for their loved ones, as some were reporting serious health effects like weight loss and dizzy spells.

The most weight reported lost during the strike was 22 pounds. Others mentioned experiencing massive headaches and stomach cramps as well, according to Valle.

Prisoners previously alleged that they were not being monitored properly under the conditions of a hunger strike. One inmate recorded in a call that was posted to Silicon Valley De-Bug's YouTube channel stated that he was not being weighed or checked for dehydration during the first week.

That same inmate claimed that Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith was at fault for the strike, stating she was responsible for its inception.

Santa Clara County sheriff's officials have not commented since last Tuesday, stating that the strike was "an unproductive negotiating tactic for change."

They also said that a select few individuals instigated the strike.

Valle said that the public should focus on the statement detainees were making about the demands and their importance because the hunger strike was the last straw.

Sheriff's officials were not immediately available for an updated comment.