WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — People gathered Tuesday afternoon to march on the Iroquois County Jail, demanding better medical care.
The march came eight months after inmates Andre Maiden and Jason Fancher died in custody. The Illinois Prisoner Rights Coalition is demanding access to trained medical staff and timely medical care at the Iroquois County Jail.
Activists delivered a petition demanding changes at the jail to the sheriff three months ago. They said he has not responded yet.
“If no one else is fighting for them, it’s important to have people in the community holding them accountable,” coalition member Mya Hendrix said.
The changes they asked for include: sufficient access to medical care, accountability of officers violating inmate rights, and protecting inmates from sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation.
The group left from Forest Park at noon to march to the county jail. A rally followed, with speeches from the mothers of Maiden and Fancher.
“I want Sheriff Hagen to know my son’s life mattered,” Alta Young said of Maiden. “He was loved. He was cared for despite what they thought. I loved him.”
Fancher’s mother, Jerrie Craighead, talked about one of her last conversations with her son, who was asthmatic.
“He called me and he said you know, Mom, I think I’m gonna die here,” Craighead recalled. “Anyway, I told Jason, ‘Oh Jason, you’re so negative,’ and uh, by God, he sure did. He died here.”
The group plans to return in May as well.
WCIA reached out to the sheriff’s office for a statement. Hagen has not responded.