April 08, 2020

Hunger strike at state prison in sixth day

THOMASTON – In the sixth day of a hunger strike at Maine State Prison, the number of inmates participating had fallen to five as mental health and medical professionals continued efforts to ease the situation, Deputy Warden Nelson Riley said Thursday.

The strike follows an apparent suicide hanging that occurred Oct. 5 in the special management unit. Since then, two more inmates attempted suicide and 13 prisoners began a hunger strike on Saturday. Maine State Police are investigating the suicide.

The prisoners who attempted suicide have been treated and are on a constant suicide watch, while inmates involved in the hunger strike are being monitored by medical and mental health staff, Warden Jeffrey Merrill said Wednesday.

The strike started because security measures were instituted for inmates’ safety.

Because of the suicide, and attempts and threats to commit suicide, prisoners in the special management unit are being checked every 15 minutes rather than each half-hour.

Shaving razors and toothbrushes with handles were taken from prisoners to prevent inmates from harming themselves or others.

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