Several inmates at the Brockville jail on Monday began a hunger strike to protest the meals the facility is providing to them.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monday confirmed the hunger strike is taking place at the city jail.
“Several inmates are currently on a hunger strike because they were not satisfied with the meals they were provided on the weekend,” spokesman Brent Ross wrote in an email to the Recorder and Times.
“The ministry is monitoring the situation.”
A source who said her boyfriend is currently in the Brockville jail said inmates are protesting being served food that is months past its expiry date.
“The meal trays in general are expired. They have due date stickers on them and they're from three months ago,” she said. “You can't give someone a meal that's three months old.”
The woman said her boyfriend hasn't eaten in two days.
White said the facility has also been placed on a lockdown as a result of the strike. The lockdown was put in place Monday morning, White said.
“He called this morning and said not to be expecting any phone calls because the guards came in this morning and said that they were putting them all on lockdown,” The woman said on Monday afternoon.
During lockdown periods, inmates cannot use the phone and are rarely allowed outside of their cells. However Ross, with the ministry, said late yesterday afternoon the facility is not currently in lockdown.
The woman said she called public health inspectors, who told her they would investigate the situation. But Ross said the inmates are provided adequate meals.
“The ministry provides healthy balanced meals to all of its inmates in accordance with the Canada Food Guide,” he said.
The woman said the hunger strike began after inmates reached a breaking point when served months-expired bologna over the weekend.
The exact number of inmates participating in the hunger strike is unknown. The woman said five or six ranges of inmates are refusing to eat their meals.
“It's not healthy. It's not a healthy jail,” she said.
The Brockville jail is largely a remand centre which can accommodate up to 48 prisoners, most of whom are in transition.
The woman said she is disgusted with the food that her boyfriend and other inmates are being served.
“You go to jail and this is what happens, but they are still human beings,” she said.
“They have their rights, too.”