Loved Ones and Community Groups Rally at Merced County Jail in Support of Pre-trial Detainee Hunger Strike Over Conditions

Family and Community Leaders call on Sheriff Warnke and jail correctional staff to meet detainee demands

Contact: Victoria Espinoza – (209) 947-5700
Facebook/Instagram: @mercedunderconstruction

MERCED, CA. – On March 21st, 2022 M.I.R.A. (Merced Inmate Rights Association), and Merced Under Construction will host an action in solidarity with the men currently on hunger strike in the Merced County Jail. The purpose of this action is to ensure that the voices of those within the Merced County Jail are amplified. This is one of many hunger strikes that have taken place inside of the Merced County Jail facility due to harsh conditions and treatment. The largest took place on 9/9/2016 with over 185+ detainee participants, and outside hunger strikers.

“The Merced County Correctional staff should jump at the opportunity to eliminate archaic detention methods and policies that continue inhumane treatment in our jails. A step in the right direction would be meeting the demands of the pre-trial detainees on hunger strike,” said Merced Under Construction community advocate, Victoria Espinoza.

The list of demands includes:

  • Improve the cleanliness and sanitary standards in the inmates’ housing facilities. Black mold has not been remediated, cleaning chemicals not distributed properly.
  • Improve medical (still unresolved)
  • Provide more education, job training, rehabilitation and religious programs (necessary to reduce recidivism)
  • Expand visitation. Detainees went without visits for over 2 years and the jail just opened up with conditions that inmates and visitors must be vaccinated, now children under age 5 are banned from visitation

According to an article recently written by the Merced Sun-Star, “The Sheriff’s Office says many of the issues raised in the inmates’ letter to administration have already been resolved.” This is not true and we challenge the Sheriff’s office to detail exactly what has been addressed. Those of our community that are locked up in the jail and that continue to endure living in these inhumane conditions vow to continue their strike until they see real change.

Who: M.I.R.A, Merced Under Construction
What: For Sheriff Vern Warnke to meet pre-trial detainees demands for their basic human
When: March 21st, 2022 at 9:30am
Where: Merced County Sheriff’s Office/County Jail, 700 W. 22nd St., Merced, 95340
Visuals: community members, family and clergy, with signs.

The Monday, March 21 action was covered by the Davis Vanguard and KPFA Upfront.

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