Update: Hunger strike ends at Hamilton’s Barton Street jail


Published April 26, 2023 at 12:59 pm

A hunger strike taking place at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre on Barton Street has ended after five days.

On Wednesday morning (April 19), prisoners on the jail’s fourth floor began a hunger strike to demand better conditions at the jail: less frequent lockdowns, daily yard time, faster mail, and to keep all of the channels currently available on the prison’s TVs.

There were also concerns previously raised about a shortage of razors, leading to health and hygiene issues and forcing some prisoners to forgo shaving entirely.

The strike ended on Monday after several concessions were promised by administration, according to The Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project:

  • More frequent mail and formal permission to send mail within the institution
  • Yard time and smudging at least three times a week
  • Improved access to razors and fresh bedding
  • Lock-up at 8 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
  • Access to equipment for haircuts in order to look presentable for court appearances

Additionally, on days where the jail is short-staffed, administration has promised rotating lockdowns to ensure inmates are not confined to their cells for longer periods.

“We call on the administration to follow through on the rest of their promises immediately. Prisoners have already let us know that if admin doesn’t follow through, they are ready to act again,” the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project posted on its Facebook page.

Volunteers with the group, which calls for reduced isolation in all prisons and focuses on ongoing issues at the Barton jail, organized multiple public protests outside the jail during the past week in support of the prisoners.

While striking prisoners have resumed eating, group advocates say they will continue to watch the situation.

RELATED: Life after Barton Street Jail: A look at resources for inmates reintegrating into society

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