The Newark Archdiocese is one of more than 100 faith-based groups calling for the release of all inmates at the Bergen County Jail, including those who have been on a hunger strike over conditions at the jail.

The group called the Abolish ICE NY-NJ coalition is leading the effort over what they say are “dangerously inhumane conditions” at the jail that threaten the safety "of all people," including eight ICE detainees who have been on a hunger strike since Nov. 27. Nine people were arrested in a protest of support of them on Saturday.

Inmates are living with a rodent infestation, inadequate medical care, lack of drinkable water, poorly heated cells and purposefully-blocked windows, according to the group. County officials disagree with this assessment.

“The people in detention at the Bergen County Jail are at serious risk of COVID-19 infection as cases spike around the country and in New Jersey. Bergen was one of the first detention centers to have a person in ICE custody test positive, and we are concerned for everyone at Bergen County Jail as we are in the middle of another wave of the virus,” the group said in written a statement.

During an earlier press briefing about the Saturday protest. Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton called allegations of poor conditions “unacceptable and contrary to my many years of being a civil rights activist.”

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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