Oneida County Jail state inmates upset over extended stay; say they're on hunger strikeSubmitted: 06/26/2020
Peter Dubois
Peter Dubois

Oneida County Jail state inmates upset over extended stay; say they're on hunger strike
RHINELANDER - Due to overcrowding within state prisons, many state prisoners are temporarily housed in county jails. These inmates are told they won't be held there for more than 120 days. However, an inmate at the Oneida County jail reached out to Newswatch 12, saying many state prisoners have been there for much longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inmate, who asked to remain anonymous, says the facility isn't meant to hold state prisoners that long, and some people have been there for more than twice their contracted time.

In response, he says several inmates have taken part in a hunger strike for two days now.

"Some of us been here for longer than four months. Some of us been here for eight months or more," said the inmate. "We don't understand why we're being housed inside this unit when we're state inmates in a county jail."

The inmate says he understands due to the coronavirus, the DOC halted all rotations of state prisoners. However, he says the Oneida County jail does not offer many of the resources inmates normally receive at a state prison.

"If we can't be moved out of here after we've been here for four months then we would like them to bring resources in here so guys aren't sitting around here doing nothing. Provide religious activity or educational activity."

The inmate told us the group will continue its hunger strike until they have answers, and that they have no intent on sparking violence over the matter.

Jail officials tell us they acknowledge the problem, and have reached out to the DOC, which plans to hold a bed management meeting on Monday.

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