WARREN, Maine (AP) — Inmates in solitary confinement at Maine State Prison went on a hunger strike to protest living conditions, a prison advocacy group said.

Five inmates started refusing meals Monday, and three had abandoned the effort on Wednesday, the Maine Department of Corrections told the Portland Press Herald. Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition publicized the strike and has been in touch with some of the prisoners, the newspaper said.

Inmate Nicholas Gladu told the coalition in text messages that the inmates in solitary confinement are locked in for at least 22 hours per day and lack adequate medical and mental health treatment and access to religious services. Gladu is serving a 38-year sentence for crimes including gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact against a child.

The two inmates who were still on strike “are engaging in dialogue with facility administration,” said Anna Black, director of governmental affairs for the Maine Department of Corrections. They were being monitored by medical staff and had access to food purchased from the prison commissary.

(Copyright (c) 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox