DRAPER – An inmate hunger strike officially ended at the Utah State Prison in Draper Thursday.
As of noon, all 42 maximum security inmates who have been on a hunger strike since July 31 voluntarily agreed to end their strike and accepted food trays, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Corrections.
The inmates, all of whom are documented gang members, according to the press release, provided a letter listing six demands when they commenced their strike. The demands included the release of five gang leaders from a separate maximum security unit, the press release said, and other things not detailed by the Department of Corrections.
Read more: Prison hunger strike may be almost over
“Most of the inmates’ demands focused on issues the Department has been working on for months — which UDC had communicated to the inmates as well as several advocacy groups prior to the hunger strike,” the press release said. “That work will continue, with the goal of implementing changes in restrictive housing operations as soon as possible while upholding the safety and security of the institution.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said it received dozens of letters from the striking prisoners detailing inadequate nutrition at the prison, lack of supplies to maintain the hygiene of their cells, insufficient medical treatment and extreme isolation.
Prisoners in the “special threat group” at the prison are kept in their cells for 47 out of every 48 hours, the ACLU said, only being allowed out of their cells three times a week for about an hour, and only with their cellmate.
In a press release issued earlier this week, the ACLU said Utah needs to fall into step with national trends and move away from this extreme isolation toward “greater integration of all prisoners into a rehabilitative correctional experience.”
“While the UDC’s efforts are to be commended, the extreme conditions that STG prisoners face are ongoing and urgent,” the ACLU said. “We therefore urge prison officials to improve conditions for STG prisoners as quickly as possible and support the right of the striking prisoners to seek these changes.”
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