As the country enters its 26th day since the partial government shutdown, some inmates inside a Manhattan detention center have decided to partake in a hunger strike after family visits were canceled for the second week due to a lack of staffing.
According to the New York Times, inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, or M.C.C have denied their breakfast and lunch meals. The facility, which holds about 800, is one of the most important in the federal prison system and has housed few infamous names including Mexican drug leader El Chapo and terrorists.
Federal public defender Sarah Baumgartel said she learned of the hunger strike from a detainee she represents. Baumgartel declined to identify the inmate out of fear he’d be singled out. “They have already refused a meal — I believe they refused breakfast and lunch.”
Along with canceled family visits, the dispensing of medication to inmates in need has also been affected. The New York Times reports a prosecutor inside a federal court was “informed” that because of the shutdown, there are issues with prescribing medication.”
On Monday (Jan. 16) Bureau of Prisons lawyer Adam Johnson emailed defense lawyers stating “due to staff shortages,” attorneys would not be able to speak with their clients at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. “We regret the inconvenience and will notify you immediately once visiting resumes.”
The partial government shutdown is a stand off between Donald Trump’s demands for funding to construct a wall along the U.S- Mexican border and a newly elected Democratic Congress refusing to acquiesce.
Since then, more than 800,000 employees have gone without pay.