As one Public Defender says in the article below, things have to be pretty bad
inside the County County Jail for inmates to rally together. Supporters have 
demonstrated outside the and the jail is under some court scrutiny but a lot 
more has to happen to cause the Federal court to order more jail releases.

The recent inmate attack at the jail highlights some flaws and lack of security
showing how even the jail guards in the maximum security unit are physically
vulnerable and short-staffed. That situation cannot safely continue during this
Covid-19 emergency.
Cook County Jail inmates begin refusing food over COVID-19, sheriff forwards their petition for better treatment to judge

“…inmates on three tiers in Division 11, and one tier in Division 10, have intermittently refused their food trays for a couple of days at a time in recent weeks, a statement from the sheriff’s office confirmed.

But it would be “reckless and inaccurate” to describe that as a hunger strike, sheriff’s officials said, noting that the detainees were eating food from the commissary instead and jail procedures define “hunger strike” as abstaining from food altogether.

Still, the sheriff’s officials confirmed they have forwarded a petition from the inmates, who requested their demands be reviewed by a judge.

Among their demands: release on bond, increased access to calls with family, cleaner conditions and a reopening of the courthouse so their cases could be heard more quickly. Thurman said he realizes the chances are slim that a murder defendant gets released on bond pending trial, so they were sure to make additional requests.

“(Refusing food) was based on trying to get us something, because of the fact they said we are violent criminals and cannot leave Cook County,” he said.

The jail has become a hot spot for the virus and a hot spot of controversy. Authorities have scrambled to release detainees in recent weeks in the hope of stemming the disease’s spread, with a focus on those facing nonviolent charges…”

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