There is no hunger strike occurring at Bayside State Prison in Cumberland County, officials with the state Department of Corrections said Wednesday.
Just a few of the 2,200 inmates at the facility in Maurice River Township are skipping a meal in apparent protest of food served by a new private vendor, department spokesman Matt Schuman said.
“There aren’t any inmates who are starving,” Schuman said. “They won’t eat breakfast, but they will eat lunch and dinner. It’s not like a hunger strike. There are no inmates who refuse to eat, period.”
Eric Holliday, president of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association, told The Press of Atlantic City on Saturday that guards reported inmates were on a strike for several days. The inmates charge that food at the prison is “not up to par,” he said.
Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services took over food production at Bayside in February as part of a state pilot program. Aramark serves 1 million meals a day and provides other support services are 600 correctional facilities.
Schuman said the inmate’s food issue “hasn’t been totally resolved yet.” The department is talking with inmate representatives and Aramark officials about the alleged problems, he said.
“Hopefully, before too long, we will be able to resolve the problem,” he said.
Holliday could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
In 2011, 91 Bayside inmates staged a one-meal strike to protest prison services. State corrections officials said the inmates’ concerns were addressed and the strike ended immediately.