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.”
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.”