Federal inmates in Honolulu start hunger strike, attorney says - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Federal inmates in Honolulu start hunger strike, attorney says

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The Federal Detention Center on Oahu The Federal Detention Center on Oahu
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Months after more than a dozen members of Hawaii's largest and most powerful prison gang were put behind bars they have started a hunger strike.

The inmates say just because they're locked up in a cage doesn't mean they're not human.

"Seeing is believing. These are the actual maggots," said Neil Kugiya, attorney for one of the USO Gang members, as he read the writing on the envelope.

Attorney Neil Kugiya opened his client's envelope in front of us and showed us the maggots and bugs still moving around inside. They allegedly came from breakfast that was served inside the Federal Detention Center a couple weeks ago.

"This is not there by accident or mistake. They are doing something to the food. This is what they're serving the inmates," said Kugiya.

The allegations are being made by about 14 inmates. They are members of the USO prison gang being held on racketeering charges including assault, bribery and drug smuggling. The inmates are being held in the Special Holding Unit and say they're deprived all sorts of privileges like exercise time and visitations with family. They also claim they aren't given clean clothes like underwear or socks for five days.

"After a couple days it can get pretty nasty. It's pretty much torture for them," said Kugiya.

The inmates say they don't know what else to do so last night they started a hunger strike.

"What they're asking for is they just want to be treated like human beings. They don't want to be treated worse than a human," said Kugiya.

The Federal Detention Center rules say a hunger strike isn't recognized until 72 hours after it began and every incident will be reviewed and reported.

However this one is only into the first day and administrators haven't made an official comment. But sources say the food in the Federal system is much better than at the state prisons and dispute the claims.

Kugiya says he is not sure how long the hunger strike will last.

Many of the USO Gang members go to trial for the new charges in June.

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