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News :: Human Rights
Eric McDavid - Day 5 of Hunger Strike
by Sacramento Prisoner Support
13 Nov 2007
Dear friends and supporters,
We wanted to give you the latest news about Eric’s medical and food situation. Things are still quite critical, and we need everyone’s help as Eric enters day five of his hunger strike.
After visiting the doctor on Friday night, the jail began offering Eric the same medications he took for his pericarditis in the spring. Due to his hunger strike, however, Eric is declining to take the medication until the jail can tell him if there would be any adverse affects. They have yet to do this. While his heart condition persists, it has lessened in intensity. On Saturday he was finally able to lie down again, although when he called us this morning (Monday) he said he had trouble getting to sleep last night.
His hunger strike is beginning to take its toll on his body. This morning he told us the circulation to his hands and feet is getting weaker, and eventually he had to get off the phone because his legs were tiring. Because Eric has not received vegan meals since a week before his trial in September, he is starting his hunger strike with an already weakened body and immune system. He informed us on Sunday that he has lost approximately 20 pounds in the last two months (he discovered this when they weighed him during his visit with the doctor).
Despite this, Eric stands firm in his decision to continue his hunger strike. In fact, he has expanded the objectives of his hunger strike, and is now requesting the following from the jail:
“A written, notarized and signed document consisting of the following agreement between the parties involved, i.e. myself and Sacramento County Main Jail:
1. A healthy provisionary diet will be provided by the jail that does not consist of animal products and byproducts
a. This healthy, provisionary diet will be provided to individuals requesting it due to their moral, ethical and religious needs
2. Within the next three months dates will be allocated for the meeting of parties who fund, operate, manage and oversee issues dealing with the food services at SCMJ; whereas the central intent will be to secure the necessary steps in creating a complete vegan diet, as well as its implementation at the soonest possible date [There are currently models in place for vegan food in jails and prisons. Florida prisons recently made vegan diets available to everyone who needs a “special diet” (kosher, halal, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.) ]
3. This agreement would be binding to the current administration as well as all successive
This means, in essence, that the jail must now not only feed Eric, but also must change their underlying policies about vegan food. This decision is motivated by Eric’s desire that no one have to endure this struggle in the future. All prisoners should be afforded their right to healthy, nutritional food – it is the jail’s responsibility to ensure that this happens.
Eric knows this will not be an easy battle, and he needs all of us on the outside to support him as much as possible. There are a number of things you can do to support Eric at this time, including calling the jail, spreading the word about his hunger strike, and sending him letters of support.
The most urgent thing you can do right now is call the jail and request they agree to Eric’s demands AND that they respond properly to his medical needs. Here are some things you should say when you call:
1) Eric's x-reference number: x-2972521 (if they ask, he is housed at the main jail)
2) Eric needs to be given vegan food immediately. His heart condition is almost certainly linked to his atrocious nutritional intake, and until they provide him with healthy food, his heart problem will persist. Because Eric is demanding that they talk to him about changing their policy, it is imperative that they speak with him right away about working on an agreement. You should request to speak with Captain Scott Jones, the jail commander, about these issues.
3) Eric needs to receive an ECG, blood work and an x-ray ASAP. These tests are imperative to determining other possible causes of the pericarditis. Again, until they fully understand what is causing the condition, they will only be treating symptoms.
The phone number to the Correctional Health Services Division is: (916) 875-9782.
You can also email them at: inmatepatientcare (at) saccounty.net.
Their website says that they log all calls and emails to the Correctional Health Services Division and that you will receive a response within 24 hours (this has NOT been the case, as those of you who have called or emailed probably know). If you get an answering machine, leave a long detailed message, including your name and number if you would like to receive a call back
You should also call the main jail line at: 916-874-6752 or 916-874-6905, leave a message with them, and also request to speak with Captain Scott Jones.
Please spread the word about Eric and his hunger strike. The more people we have working for his health and safety out here, the more likely he is to receive the food and medical care he needs. We must not let the bars and concrete silence his voice, but to do that we must be vocal ourselves. We hope to post a flyer on the website soon that you can pass out around town or use at events. Encourage your friends and family to call and email the jail – it only takes a few minutes out of your day, but its critically important for Eric. This fight is not only for Eric’s life, but for all those after him who refuse to abandon their ethics and compassion in jail.
And please keep writing Eric during this difficult time. Our letters help feed his spirit, even when his belly is empty… For guidelines and info on writing Eric at the jail, visit his website at www.supporteric.org.
Our deepest thanks to everyone who has been calling and emailing the jail – we need you to keep it up!
We’ll keep you updated on this situation as more information becomes available.
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