Logan inmates go on hunger strike over living conditions

Local News

Conditions at logan correctional facility were so bad that three inmates chose to go on a hunger strike to draw attention to them.

“We’ve been hearing that there was a sewage backup upon grounds,” Deanne Benos with the Women’s Justice Institute said. “And that women were literally walking through their own excrement, and a certain housing unit or so at the facility.”

Logan correctional center is the largest women’s penitentiary in the state. While the conditions were appalling for inmate rights advocates, they weren’t surprising.

“I hate that they’re going through this, but i’m not surprised. I’m, we’re letting it deteriorate, and it’s the worst for the women,” Benos said.

The Illinois Department of Corrections confirmed the information about the sewage leak in a statement Thursday.

“Due to plumbing issues on May 29, 49 women in Housing Unit 7 at Logan Correctional Center were temporarily relocated to Housing Unit 5, which is currently unutilized,” Lindsey Hess with the Illinois Department of Corrections said Thursday. “On June 1, facility staff identified a leaky pipe in the basement of Housing Unit 7. Out of an abundance of caution, the facility moved the women back to Housing Unit 5 until repairs could be made. On June 7, to protest the lack of video conference kiosks and weak Wi-Fi connection in the temporary space, three women verbally declared a hunger strike. Upon completion of the plumbing repairs on June 9, the women were moved back to Housing Unit 7. At that time, the three women verbally declared they were ending their hunger strike.”

The state announced a plan last month to cut the women’s prison population in the state by 50 percent. Part of the plan is to ditch the large facilities like Logan for a more regionalized approach.

“I think that the fact that this the challenges have reached this level is a wake up call that, like, we have to take action,” Benos said.

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