At least 2 ICE detainees remain on hunger strike at CoreCivic's prison on Hubbard-Youngstown Road
By Justin Wier
When Maria Almeida’s husband didn’t call her last Thursday, she thought something was wrong.
Almeida lives in Philadelphia, but her husband has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, a privately run prison on Hubbard Road on the North Side, since July 19.
They talk on the phone daily, and she makes the seven-hour drive from Philadelphia to visit him on Saturdays.
When she finally talked to him Sept. 15, he told her there had been a hunger strike to protest conditions at the prison.
Almeida’s husband was not on a hunger strike, but she said he was still under lockdown 23 hours a day from Thursday through Sunday.
Guards put notes on cell windows reading, “Enjoy your one hour today to shower, eat and call your family,” she said.
For 27 hours beginning Thursday, detainees were not provided with food and drink, she added.
“It’s inhuman,” Almeida said.
As of Friday, two detainees remained under ICE’s hunger-strike protocols, a spokesman for the agency said.
The protocols apply to detainees who have gone without eating for 72 hours and ensure they receive close medical supervision. They continue to have access to food at designated meal periods and are provided an adequate supply of drinking water, the spokesman added.
He neither confirmed nor denied that the facility was placed on lockdown or any detainees had been hospitalized.
CoreCivic, the private-prison giant formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, operates NEOCC. It directed questions to ICE and said the hunger strike was not applicable to the state and federal inmates at the facility outside of ICE’s jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Youngstown Police Department turned over three men to ICE after they were pulled over for running a stop sign.
Ignacio Mendoza, 31, Reynaldo Herrera and Jose Lopez, no ages listed, possessed fake identification, according to the report.
Police passed the information on to ICE officials, who told them Mendoza and Herrera recently were deported and Lopez is in the country illegally.
ICE officials took the men into custody.
Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally IV, who has been outspoken in his criticism of President Donald J. Trump’s immigration policy, said officers do not seek out undocumented immigrants.
Still, he said officers may come into contact with them.
“Even though I’ve spoken up on the immigration issues, there are occasions where our guys are going to pick people up who they think have done something wrong,” McNally said. “I’ve never said I’m opposed to that.”