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Prisoner-rights groups to demand better living conditions at Southwest Detention Center

Several prisoner-rights groups say they plan to demand better living conditions for inmates when they hold a news conference Friday, Feb. 3, at Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

The protest is scheduled for 11 a.m. at 30755 Auld Road. The groups are California Families Against Solitary Confinement, All of Us or None and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

They want to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to abolish isolation cells, make academic programming available, increase visiting hours and provide better clothing and meals, among other demands.

The groups plan to focus their protest around Salvador Venegas, an inmate at the jail who is facing a death-penalty trial in a murder case. Legal Services spokeswoman Dolores Canales said Thursday that Venegas has been in isolation at the jail and on a hunger strike.

Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Chris Durham said Thursday that Venegas had recently been moved out of what the jail calls administrative segregation, where even then he had contact with other inmates – but Venegas then requested to be moved back. Venegas also has resumed eating, Durham said.

Canales said Venegas had not been eating as recently as Wednesday night and that she would be surprised if he had resumed, knowing the importance of the hunger strike to the protest Friday.

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