Characteristics of Inmates Who Initiate Hunger Strikes in the New Jersey Department of Corrections

This Performance Improvement project ascertained characteristics of inmates in the NJDOC who engaged in hunger strikes from 2005-2015. 
The incidence of hunger strikes has not increased since 2005. Nearly all hunger strikers were males. Few hunger strikes proceeded beyond a few days. Special Needs patients represented a disproportion of the inmates who initiated hunger strikes. Antisocial Personality Disorder was more common among hunger strikers than in the general inmate population. Inmates facing disciplinary charges or who already were in disciplinary housing represented a disproportion of inmates who initiated hunger strikes, and the most common reasons given for these strikes were dissatisfaction with the disciplinary process, or with disciplinary housing. Longer hunger strikes sometimes ended with a compromise between the inmate and the NJDOC.

Conference Year: 
Presentation Type: 
Rusty Reeves, MD
Anthony Tamburello, MD
Jennifer Platt, DO
Drew Tepper, MD
Kerri Edelman, Psy.D
Presentation Thumbnail: