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Several Wisconsin Inmates Will Refuse Food to Protest DOC Isolation Practices

HungerStrikePoster.jpg
SOPHIA
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Some Wisconsin inmates plan to stage a short hunger strike starting Friday. Organizers say they want to raise awareness about what they claim is the overuse of solitary confinement.  Bernie Gonzalez says inmates, who may be invisible to most people in Wisconsin, are sometimes held for years in isolation. Gonzalez works for SOPHIA – an interfaith group that addresses what it calls social injustices.

“This is the only thing they can use as their last power to actually have their voice heard,” Gonzalez says.

According to Gonzalez, the state has held some inmates for years in what could be considered solitary confinement - with little human contact.

“It’s not just the inmates that are suffering, it’s the loved ones that are on the outside, so you also have to keep in mind the families,” Gonzalez says.

The inmates are demanding that Wisconsin limit solitary confinement to one-year and improve mental health treatment for those held in isolation.

The state Department of Corrections did not return our request for comment, but last year, it limited solitary confinement to 90 days, in most cases. It also has a practice known as administrative confinement which reportedly has no limits.