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Old 09-09-2002, 12:44 PM
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Default Illinois Judge Rules Inmates Can Starve Themselves

Illinois judge rules prison inmates have right to starve themselves in protest
Fri Sep 6, 9:51 PM ET
By RYAN KEITH, Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Prison inmates can choose to starve themselves rather than endure years of solitary confinement and that right outweighs the state's duty to keep them alive, a judge ruled.



Two inmates have sometimes refused food to protest conditions at the maximum-security prison in Pontiac. Both are serving long terms for violent crimes and have been in solitary confinement because of bad behavior.

In his ruling Thursday, Livingston County Judge Harold Frobish allowed the prison to keep feeding the inmates until the state decides whether to appeal.

"They are in this cubicle 24 hours a day, and they read some and then they think. And that is all there is to do," Frobish said. "This is an existence where I find these defendants suffer from extreme sensory deprivation. I find it is a miserable existence.

"I find that if these defendants choose to die in these circumstances rather than live this way, that they should have a right to do so," he concluded.

Inmates John Barrell and Leon Snipes had burritos for lunch Friday and the prison has not tried to force-feed them when they refused other meals, said Brian Fairchild, spokesman for the Corrections Department.

The inmates' lawyer, Robert Travers, said inmates were protesting worsening conditions at Pontiac.
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Old 09-10-2002, 12:39 AM
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I agree that a person has the right to choose wether or not to eat and for that matter when to eat. However, this is not exactly an answer to the underlying situation. The judge seems to have just passed the buck, as usual, and dealt with only the legal end of force feeding and not his moral and ethical obligation to protect those who live in this country from injustice. It gets me pretty mad even though I hear these things all the time. As I read this I thought of a close friend who is not only in a Illinois state prison but who is also in Seg. I suddenly got the urge to stand outside Pontiac and chant.....
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