Franklin County Jail, Pennsylvania
April 2, 2020
A hunger strike at the Franklin County Jail which began on March 30 spread to a second block and won a few improvements in the preventive measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. Family members of some of the strike participants were given a statement and list of demands signed by 16 prisoners. Shortly after the statement was released the prisoners who signed the statement were moved to segregation, likely in retaliation for the strike. The hunger strike and demands were organized to protest a lack of proper sanitation supplies since the facility went on lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
@GovernorTomWolf @JohnFetterman @WGAL @abc27News @PONews @county_news @fox43 @witfnews @PatriotNews @aclupa @prisonsociety got this text message today from another inmates family i have had no contact from my fiance since sunday. Can someone PLEASE HELP? pic.twitter.com/hbhKw0uVrf
— Zether De Ath (@zether) April 7, 2020
In-person visitation was suspended on March 17, forcing prisoners to rely heavily on tablets supplied by the facility for any contact with the outside world, including news and information about the pandemic. The prisoners described how they had not been provided with enough chargers and that the tablet’s internal complaint program was malfunctioning, causing them to rely on outside family members to deliver the statement to media contacts and the warden. The prisoners also described how a guard stated that he wanted to catch COVID-19 so he could come to the jail and infect the prisoners in the hopes that some would be killed.
After the prisoners were moved to solitary, some prisoners reported improvements in the conditions. Some family members, however, have heard that the strike which started in block F has now spread to block E, which contains the disciplinary segregation units. The Franklin County Jail has yet to comment on the situation.
“Family members say Franklin County Jail inmates are staging hunger strike over coronavirus concerns“, PA Post, April 8, 2020
“Inmate hunger strike alleged at FCJ“, Franklin County Free Press, April 8, 2020
Zether De Ath, @zether, Twitter, April 7, 2020
“Hunger strike at FCJ brought improvements“, Franklin County Free Press, April 12, 2020
Article published: May 10, 2020
Header photo source: Public Opinion