’s Eric Kiefer reports

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — When federal ICE detainees go on a hunger strike, they have 72 hours before they’re sent to the prison’s medical department. There, staff begin working their way through a laundry list of procedures, and may take drastic steps if the situation becomes dire – including holding inmates down and feeding them through tubes.

But according to prisoners and civil rights advocates in New Jersey, the fear of a force-feeding session is small potatoes when compared to the possibility of dying in jail from the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.