The Arizona Republic's JJ Hensley has just reported that the hunger strike in the MCSO's oppressive gulags, which I blogged about on May 5, and later on May 6, is continuing and involves upwards of 1,500 inmates in four of Joe's jails.
Hensley's piece states that,
"The sporadic hunger strikes began two weeks ago in Estrella Jail on the same day as a large protest against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff's officials attributed that effort to the protest.
"Another one-day strike followed earlier this week in Durango Jail. On Thursday, at least 1,500 inmates in four different jails participated in the strikes.
"The inmates' displeasure with jail food coincides with the presence of a dietitian who has worked to ensure the menu meets USDA guidelines, as U.S. District Judge Neil Wake ordered in a ruling against Maricopa County last fall.
"Arpaio said the dietitian's recommendations resulted in the food being healthier - but tasting worse."
Gotta admit I laughed out loud at that last bit about the food "being healthier -- but tasting worse." Riiiiiiiight, Joe. However, it's no laughing matter if you have to eat the slop Arpaio dishes out to inmates. The MCSO makes them pay for it with any money placed on their accounts by family. Keep in mind, 70 percent of those in Arpaio's dungeons are awaiting trial. That means they haven't been convicted of jack.
The information in Hensley's report differs somewhat from the confirmation of the hunger strike I received from a Board of Supervisors spokesman on May 6, but the main point is that the strike is ongoing, if sporadic, and that the sheriff's office is admitting that the May 2 Walk for Respect organized by Phoenix civil rights leader Salvador Reza, and led by rocker Zack de la Rocha, inspired this massive demonstration in the jails.
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Kudos to Hensley for the report. Also interesting is this statement from the sheriff, which sounds like a major whopper:
"Arpaio said the jails would go on lockdown Monday if the protest doesn't end, giving unwilling participants in the hunger strike the opportunity to eat without fear of reprisal.
"Five inmates requested protective custody during Thursday's strike because they wanted to eat but feared the other inmates, Arpaio said."
Keep spinning, Joe. I'm sure your supporters appreciate it, even if no one else does.