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CA: County jail inmates announce hunger strike to protest ‘price gouging’

[calaverasenterprise.com – 9/25/19]

Seventeen inmates at the Calaveras County Jail have announced their plan to initiate a hunger strike in protest of “outrageous prices” for telephone calls and commissary items including soup and ramen noodles.

“Not only are we afflicted, but our families as well,” the inmates wrote in a letter to the Enterprise. “We have made attempts at every other level to have this situation resolved, to no avail. We are hoping that the public can get involved and know the real situation that is going on here.”
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According to the inmates, local calls cost $2.91 for the first minute and 41 cents for each additional minute, while long-distance calls cost only 21 cents per minute. A soup from the jail’s canteen currently costs $1.23. They claim that those prices are far higher than those at other California facilities in which some of them have been detained.

Nineteen-year-old inmate Marc Holocker told the Enterprise on Monday that prices have gone up at the jail since he was incarcerated in May, and that his weekly allowance of $20 provided by his family is no longer sufficient to meet his needs. Outside of the telephone calls to his lawyer, which are free of charge, Holocker no longer calls family members, he said, opting instead to spend his money on food items.

The jail provides three meals daily, as mandated by the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC), however, Holocker claims it’s “not enough.”

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  1. bob

    This is typical ! I cant recall EXACTLY but a RAMEN soup was like 89 cents about 6 yrs ago in county jail in san diego, total RIP off when they are just 25 cents in the store…

    Phone calls the same, SCAM by that SECURUS Piece of shit, they use FREE VOIP to channel the calls and that price sounds about the right amount of a SCAM here in SD County jail to, they take advantage of especially people that CANT BAIL OUT and cant afford it,… and no surprise why they have a 98 or 99% conviction rate, the pub defenders are dumptrucks and dont care !!

    Ill tell A Small per story… I have a public pretender (that I MARSDEN’d and FIRED) she said I DUNNO Why you didnt take the deal you did it… I was like WTF your PUB Pretender is supposed to work for you no matter what technicality or at least to lessen the time If you are guilty… funny the marsden prolly made her look bad ! it was sealed session even CRAP DA didnt know what or why

  2. USA

    Disgusting! Very thought provoking. You have people locked up and either serving their time or fighting a case. These are very stressful times! Yet, you clearly have the telephone company and commissary are nailing jobless men/women in jail!

  3. Eric

    Feds are the same way. I made 20 cents and hour (yes, I wrote that correctly) and at the commissary a little piece of junk AM radio $40.00. New balance tennis shoes $50.00. A watch you could buy at Walmart for $7.00 was $25.00 and on and on. This is why there is so much crime, hustling, and trading contraband. Two cigarettes for a book of stamps. A tiny joint for a book of stamps. If you could get a CO to get you some contraband you lived well. If you were honest and worked everyday your life was a nightmare.

  4. kat

    Unfortunately it is often the families on the “outside” that are the ones being shaken-down by the prison system.
    We’re not talking about sending our loved ones extra money so they can buy surf & turf or Gucci loafers. We send them money for the basic necessities. soap, deodorant, thermal underwear, food so they’ll have something to eat when the food served that day is “unrecognizable” or has come from boxes labeled “not for human consumption.”, all drastically over-priced. We pay for phone calls with so much static on the lines that you hear every other word if you’re lucky.
    It’s all a money maker for the prison/jail….ask any family member on the “outside”, they’re the ones going broke.

  5. Eddie

    Hold up the food served at the jails not the correction fascilitys are horrible.. I chalange ataff and administrators to eat the food for a week n they deside they refussed only making excusse that a well balance meal..

  6. w

    It’s a system run with the pace and fortitude of molasses, on a shoe-string budget and by people that don’t feel the need to care. They’ll build a secure complex with all the modern technology, but use phones where the quality is laughable. And because nobody in the world outside is losing sleep over “jailed offenders” the system won’t change. They say “good, jail isn’t meant to be a vacation”.

    So my word for anyone out there who’s struggling and who may have a long road ahead, just keep with it. Remember that everyday you wake up that you didn’t just get there, your fight is under way and you’re not going to throw it all away no matter what the system does to you. And they will do A LOT. It could be 6 months. It could be 10 years. Get smart, trust your gut, and be aware. Do the math YOURSELF. Do the research YOURSELF. Make YOUR best assessment, even when it’s “wrong” according to someone else.

    Your biggest ally is YOU, but don’t feel alone as there’s a lot of people in the same boat. Examine other cases and the patterns WILL SURFACE. That’s the problem with all these “systems”, people becoming machines and being fed a “program”. Whatever the latest program is, it’s all built to circumvent, diminish, or destroy some other part of the system.

    • R M

      Sometimes, as you say: “Remember that everyday you wake up that you didn’t just get there, your fight is under way and you’re not going to throw it all away no matter what the system does to you.” That ends.

      Sometimes some wake up under a cardboard box, sometimes someone wakes up in a house they own knowing their savings dwindle as the days go by, sometimes someone has no way to fight (no computer, phone, internet), what then?

      Trust? In what?

      • w

        Trust that people are taking note of what’s going on, that the families of people on the registry are fighting it like it’s their fight too, and that everyone who’s affected by the rso machine is seeing the pattern.

        Over-legislate, under-represent.

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