Official: Seven detainees in Ferriday on hunger strike

Published 12:18 am Friday, July 12, 2019


NATCHEZ — A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson confirmed seven people are in a hunger strike at the River Correctional Facility in Ferriday but denied earlier reports of a hunger strike beginning at the Adams County Correctional Facility, located east of Natchez on U.S. 84.

The Clarion Ledger reported on its website Wednesday afternoon that the daughter of an ICE inmate said her father arrived at the Adams County facility on Sunday after being transported from other facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana.

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Her father had been held since November and began a hunger strike Tuesday in Adams County with other inmates in protest of poor conditions.

The daughter told the Clarion Ledger she wished only to be identified as “Maria” and did not disclose her father’s identity.

“He told her others need medical attention and they need soap, toothpaste and shampoo,” The Clarion Ledger reports. “His commissary money from the previous facilities hasn’t yet been transferred, and he has no money to buy essentials. He told her he and the other detainees decided to ‘unite’ and go on a hunger strike.”

Bryan Cox, Southern Region Communications Director for ICE, said Thursday afternoon that no persons were in hunger strike status at the Adams County facility as of Thursday afternoon, and said any claim of lack of hygiene is incorrect.

“All persons in ICE custody receive toiletries and other essential hygiene items,” Cox said.

Cox said ICE only recently began placing inmates at the Adams County facility in late June.

“Expansion of ICE detention capacity is tied to the current realities at the Southwest Border,” Cox said.

Cox said hunger strike protocols are triggered after nine consecutive missed meals.

“I don’t have any reports of missed meals today,” Cox said Thursday afternoon.

In recent months, other hunger strikes have been reported in ICE facilities in the Southeast.

Seven people have been in hunger strike at River Correctional Facility in Ferriday since July 9, Cox said.

In March, The Associated Press reported 24 immigrants participated in a short-lived hunger strike demonstration at the Ferriday facility.

“Immigrant advocates say the strike started … with about 150 people, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says only 24 people have continuously denied meals,” the Associated Press reported.

ICE began contracting with the privately run prison in Ferriday on a temporary basis this year “to deal with a spike in immigrants coming through the U.S.-Mexico border,” The Associated Press reports.