Serving time for sexual assault, inmate declares hunger strike over prison conditions

By Steve Gonzalez | May 15, 2006

An inmate serving a 28-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault filed a civil rights complaint in federal court May 8, alleging that prison officials at the Menard penitentiary in Chester failed to make Menard a safer environment for him.

Charles Sharp alleges that on March 16, another inmate threatened him with bodily harm if he was to go to the chow hall to eat.

He claims he declared a hunger strike, but it was not documented.

"I am currently in Protective Custody (PC), for fear of my life and safety being a former gang member I wanted out and the gang had a hit out on me and now while in PC, I am still forced to live in fear," Sharp wrote in his handwritten complaint.

He claims that after 24 hours of not eating, he was officially placed on hunger strike status and will not come off the hunger strike until he speaks with Internal Affairs and put in kick-out status.

Sharp claims the staff has been made aware of his situation, but has done nothing, jeopardizing his safety.

Sharp claims that three days into his hunger strike, he attempted to climb back into his bed when he lost his footing while becoming faint and dizzy striking his head on the bunk.

According to Sharp, he was taken to the Health Care Unit and was forced to urinate, and then in restraints, was forced to walk barefoot to a holding cell where he was ridiculed by officers at the prison for being a satan worshipper.

Sharp claims that officers at Menard failed to document his hunger strike, which caused him to become dizzy and fall causing an egg shaped knot on his forehead in which no aspirin or ibuprofen was administered.

Sharp is seeking damages in excess of $800,000 in damages, an order of protection keeping corrections officers away from him, a transfer to Pontiac penitentiary and any other relief he may be entitled too.

The case has been assigned to Chief District Judge G. Patrick Murphy.


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