Hunger Strike at Yuba County Jail, California

Hunger Strike at Yuba County Jail, California

Yuba County Jail, Marysville, California
June 30-July 7, 2019

On Sunday, June 30, 36 immigrant detainees at the Yuba County Jail launched a hunger strike in protest of various conditions at the facility including inadequate medical care, unhealthy food, a lack of access to showers, and cockroaches and rodents. By Wednesday, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officially recognized the strike, participation had dropped to 15.

After ICE officially recognized the strike, Yuba County Jail moved all striking prisoners to H pod–a portion of the prison built in 1962 that staff and prisoners refer to as “the dungeon”, according to the Sacramento Bee. The strike ended early Sunday, July 7.

On Friday, July 12, about 400 people gathered outside the jail to protest conditions at the facility and to show support of the hunger strikers. The protest was organized by NorCal Resist and a coalition of other organizations including the Sacramento Immigration Coalition.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Joe Engle, a representative from the Sacramento Immigration Coalition, read a statement from a detainee who called attention to conditions at the jail. “I’ve been in Yuba County jail for 12 months now. When I arrived, the living conditions were inhumane and they still are,” the detainee wrote. “There are cells that have no water, the lights are not working … we are being treated not as ICE [detainees], but as criminals.”

About half of the beds at the Yuba County Jail are contracted with ICE, which pays the jail to house detainees per day. According to reporting from the Sacramento Bee, “As of 2014, 220 of 433 total beds in the facility belong to ICE, which pays the jail $97.39 per day for each detainee. With an average detainee population hovering between 170 and 190, the operation brings in almost $6.5 million a year for the jail.”


Protesters outside the Yuba County Jail in Northern California (Photo Source: 48 Hills).

Immigrant detainees begin hunger strike in Yuba County jail for improved conditions“, The Sacramento Bee, July 4, 2019.

Advocates: Yuba County jail conditions back to ‘normal’“, The Union, July 5, 2019.

Immigrant detainees end hunger strike after being moved to Yuba County jail ‘dungeon’“, The Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2019.

In Yuba County, protesting Northern California’s last ICE prison“, 48 Hills, July 15, 2019.


Featured image is from The Sacramento Bee.