MARYSVILLE, CA – The Vanguard has learned that Yuba County Jail Wednesday afternoon is in the process of moving I.C.E. detainee hunger strike organizer Carlos Sauceda to an unknown location, and has isolated all other hunger strikers in the jail to one area of the facility.
NorCal Resist said about 50 I.C.E. migrant detainees are on Day 4 of a hunger strike for better conditions.
The group said their main concern was the safety of Sauceda, and said that I.C.E. hunger strikers in El Paso have been threatened with immediate deportation, and those who have been not eating during the more than 40-day strike are being painfully force-fed.
The Yuba County Jail hunger strike by I.C.E. detainees is over what is being called deplorable and inhumane conditions at the jail.
“Substandard health care, poor and unsanitary conditions, and other issues raised by the detained folks are also shared by the general population inmates. Folks report to us that they have requested to see a nurse or medical professional multiple times because of a serious health condition without acknowledgment from the Jail. No one deserves this kind of substandard care.,” said NorCal Resist.
Conditions in the Yuba County Jail are inhumane, with civil detainees not receiving medical or dental care, treated like criminals not civil detainees, living in deplorable, unsanitary conditions with blocked toilets, and other health and safety issues, according to support organizations.
The Yuba County Jail reserves about 400 beds for I.C.E. detainees and is paid about $6.5 million a year.
Previous: War of Words at Yuba County Jail
Hunger Striking ICE Detainees Enter Day 4 of Not Eating Over ‘Inhumane’ Jail Conditions
By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau
MARYSVILLE, CA – As 40 to 50 ICE migrant detainees enter Day 4 of their hunger strike Wednesday in Yuba County Jail – ICE detainees are being force fed in El Paso after more than a month of not eating – there’s a growing war of words between immigrant rights supporters and Yuba County Sheriff/Coroner Wendell Anderson.
NorCal Resist and other immigrant rights groups called claims made by Anderson misleading.
The Sheriff confirmed 46 detainees – NorCal Resist says it’s 50 – have been on a hunger strike since Sunday to protest brutal and inhumane conditions at the jail, although the jail does not recognize a hunger strike until nine meals are missed.
“I believe that the general public feels that those incarcerated are for civil purposes and are not criminals. While the ICE population changes daily, Yuba County houses detainees whose crimes prevent many of them from interacting with the public, with jail teachers and with ministers,” said Anderson in a statement.
“I have dedicated my career to defending our communities, the victims of crimes and those who had no voice. I have a tremendous respect for human rights, quality of life and equality and would do nothing to jeopardize my beliefs and morals, nor would I demean others or oppress them in their pursuit of liberty and happiness,” he added.
The Sheriff then noted that “Many of those same detainees are individuals who, if released, would threaten public safety, the safety of our communities and the general public’s quality of life. Of the 46 detainees who are striking, 22 are identified as gang members, with two of them being MS13 gang members.”
But NorCal Resist vehemently disagreed, issuing this statement:
“ICE often wrongly and incorrectly classifies folks as gang-affiliated simply based on where they are from in the US and their ethnic or national background. Many folks being classified as MS-13 have absolutely no gang affiliations. Others may have had affiliations as youth but are no longer involved in any gang or criminal activity and are seeking to better themselves.
“Substandard health care, poor and unsanitary conditions, and other issues raised by the detained folks are also shared by the general population inmates. Folks report to us that they have requested to see a nurse or medical professional multiple times because of a serious health condition without acknowledgment from the Jail. No one deserves this kind of substandard care.”
About 170 people are being held for (ICE) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Yuba County Jail reserves about 400 beds for ICE detainees and is paid about $6.5 million a year.
According to NorCal Resist, “conditions in the Yuba County Jail are inhumane, with civil detainees not receiving medical or dental care, treated like criminals not civil detainees, living in deplorable, unsanitary conditions with blocked toilets, and other health and safety issues.”
“The Yuba County Jail is rife with constitutional violations,” said Rhonda Rios Kravitz. For 40 years conditions have not changed. They are brutal and they are inhumane,” she said, noting there have been at least 41 suicide attempts at the jail since 2014, and that a UC Berkeley literature grad student committed suicide in the jail in January 2017 while locked in a rubber “safety” cell.
Kravitz explained that “after a year of discussions (May 2017-March 2018) between the Plaintiffs’ counsel, who represent prisoners in the Jail, and the counsel for Yuba County, Magistrate Judge Brennan of the Eastern District of California granted final approval to the Amended Consent Decree on January 30, 2019. Plaintiffs’ counsel is now monitoring the County’s compliance with the decree. The Amended Consent Decree updated and revised the original 1979 Consent Decree.
“Yuba County has now agreed, to conduct a thorough review and remediation of suicide hazards; to improve its medical and mental health care; to increase mental health care staffing; to update policies on the use of Safety Cells, especially for inmates in mental health crisis; to provide more access to exercise, recreation, and out-of-cell time for all prisoners, and particularly for those in administrative segregation; to improve detoxification protocols; and to provide access to inpatient psychiatric care when needed. All prisoners entering the Jail will now be evaluated by medical, not correctional staff,” she added.
The hunger strikers issued the following demands:
- Immigration detainees and county inmates must be housed separately.
- Ensure that ICE and Grand Jury inspections lead to sustained compliance or systemic improvements.
- Immediately improve medical, mental health, and dental treatment services for new, existing, or emergency conditions.
- Follow ICE guidelines for timely medical care.
- Medical requests must be answered within 24 hours.
- Ensure that the staffing levels for medical and mental health providers as set forth in Exhibit C of the Amended Consent Decree are regularly and consistently being met.
- Hygiene issues must be addressed. Provide gloves that meet health and safety standards. Eliminate bugs and mold in the showers Provide clean clothes.
- Expand and provide constructive programming to detainees.
- Expand canteen and package items allowed. Ensure items are not expired.
- Allow radios and more TV channels.
- Improve translation services, and availability of translators.
- Address maintenance issues in a timely manner. If the temperature falls too low as per ICE guidelines, it must be fixed. Fix toilets, plugged sinks, hot water in the showers.