Georgia retaliates against prison striker, now on hunger strike

From: SF Bay View
by Hamim Abdullah Asadallah, aka Shawn Whatley
Oct 8th 2011
It’s been a while since I have written you due to retaliation by the staff here in the Special Management Unit (SMU) at Jackson State Prison in Jackson, Georgia. When the administration was served notice of the court date for the first lawsuit, a CERT (Certified Emergency Response Team) team was sent into my cell and began rambling through my legal documents and miscellaneous paperwork. Since they didn’t find what they were looking for, they were instructed to harass in other ways.

When this still didn’t provoke me, the administration decided to tamper with my incoming and outgoing mail and withholding legal mail for weeks. I notified my attorney, who emailed the warden and the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC). Then my mail was brought in a brown paper bag, at least 15 letters. Then the administration blocked all my phone numbers – again trying to provoke me with another form of retaliation and harassment. Still, I’m remaining steadfast, trusting in Allah (God).

What I’m writing at this time is that GDC officers are quitting. Here at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP) on weekends, sometimes there’s only five officers at the entire unit – with no officer in the dorm for hours, which violates their own policy, SOP IIB09-0001 segregation rights, which states that 30-minute security checks are supposed to be made, but they aren’t. This jeopardizes each inmate in lock-down.

However, if you attempt to utilize the grievance procedure, the grievance is intentionally discarded and the griever is moved to a disciplinary wing, all property taken, placed on strip-cell – no clothes, no blankets, no sheets, no mattress, nothing – and often times physically beaten, as just happened recently and then covered up with lies.

Inmates are suffering because of staff shortages. Showers are being denied, as are recreation yard call, cell sanitation etc. It’s not our fault staff are quitting because they too are tired of the injustices.

Recently two officers got into a fist fight against each other – in the dormitory – about a woman that both were indulging in. No disciplinary action was taken against them.

With all of the foolishness that’s going on, many of us are tired. Therefore there’s six of us here that started an indefinite hunger strike on Aug. 1, 2011, in solidarity with our brothers in California and to stop the inhumane treatment. A letter was sent to the Governor’s Office and Commissioner’s Office with a list of demands, such as provide adequate food, health care, access to families and out-of-cell recreation, stop police and staff brutality and many other requests.

In closing, we need your support and love just as we are sending ours.

Hamim Abdullah Asadallah, aka Shawn Whatley, participated in the historic Georgia prison strike, the largest prison strike in U.S. history, primarily protesting the Georgia practice of forcing prisoners to work for no wages whatsoever. He describes the conditions that gave rise to that strike in an interview that can be both heard and read at Send our brother some love and light: Shawn Whatley, 556484, GDCP-SMU LF-101, P.O. Box 3877, Jackson, GA 30233.


Georgia prison strikers fight on

From: SF Bay View
June 11, 2011
Abdul-Mujahid-Khalil, aka Lester J. Smith Jr.

Dear Bay View,

The article that ran in the April 2011 Bay View in Behind Enemy Lines regarding the Georgia prison strike by Bruce Dixon of Marietta, Ga., was well needed. My name is Abdul-Mujahid-Khalil. I’m here with the brother Hamim, aka Shawn Whatley, and the rest of the guys mentioned in the article.

To get progress made on this issue and many more we face, litigation is a must. Reaching out to Commissioner Brian Owens and Gov. Nathan Deal is worthless.

I say that for the following reasons: One, this is nothing new; it’s been occurring. Two, these two individuals are what you call good ol’ boys, as in Jim Crow torch passers. Three, their job and duty to one another is to protect each other and their subordinates.

Do the homework and background check on Deal. You’ll find he was named in the Top 10 of corrupt people in politics. I’m filing two lawsuits myself regarding the neglect and treatment I’ve endured and continue to face.

These Southern dudes are lost mentally. If they would learn their rights as prisoners protected by the United States Constitution, they would be able to attack the Georgia Department of Corrections’ upper echelon and those who violate them.

Don’t get me wrong. Reaching out to Owens and Deal puts them on notice that eyes are on them, which is a temporary fix. The organizations that are here in the South do not stand up like those on the West and East Coasts. They are truly remiss toward our rights as a whole or individually.

Abdul-Mujahid-Khalil, aka Lester J. Smith Jr.

Send our brother some love and light: Lester Smith, 977285, P.O. Box 3877, GDCP, Jackson GA 30233.

Georgia Dept of Corrections Withholding Medical Care to Brutalized Inmates, Retaliatory Campaign Continues

By Bruce A. Dixon

From the correspondence of their attorney and the testimony of their families and friends, details are emerging which indicate a still ongoing campaign of brutal beatings and withheld medical care in the wake of the December 2010 inmate strike in Georgia prisons. Does the fact that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has take charge of inquiries into the beatings confirm the suspicion of some that the Department of Corrections is not to be trusted with investigating itself? And is it time, as Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society suggests, for a thoroughgoing yearlong series of public hearings into all aspects of Georgia’s troubled prisons?

Is Georgia’s Dept of Corrections Withholding Medical Care To Beaten Prisoners as Part of Retaliatory Campaign After Dec 2010 Inmate Strike?
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“ …correctional officers singled out Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson, handcuffing and savagely beating both inmates after a search of their cells.”

Has the Georgia Department of Corrections, in the wake of the inmate strike of December 2010 embarked on a campaign of brutal retaliation against inmates in its custody? Is the department deliberately withholding medical treatment to prisoners its officers have viciously assaulted? Is the removal of Smith Prison’s former warden, and apparent demotion to a superintendent of a probation facility connected with extensive ongoing investigations into prison abuse and potential corruption? Have the department’s own internal affairs investigators turned a blind eye to ongoing threats and beatings inflicted upon prisoners with the apparent blessings of their supervisors, leaving investigations of these allegations exclusively to the GBI? And is the Department of Corrections preparing to go before a pliant southeast Georgia grand jury, where prisons are one of the region’s major industries, in the hope of seeking pre-emptive indictments against prisoners to shield its officers and supervisors from civil or criminal prosecution?
The questions around Georgia’s Department of Corrections are piling up. Some of the answers, as well as fuel for brand new questions, are in the stream of correspondence and open records requests filed by Mario Williams of Williams Oinonen LLC, attorney for several of the brutalized inmates.

From portions of that correspondence we know that on December 31, the day after a team of citizen observers were admitted to Smith Prison to interview staff and inmates, correctional officers singled out Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson, handcuffing and savagely beating both inmates after a search of their cells. Smith suffered multiple indentations to his head, blunt trauma apparently inflicted with a hammer-like object resulting in weeks of severe untreated pain. Georgia Diagnostic officials placed Kelevin in max lock down with a broken jaw that the officials knew needed to be wired, yet, waited nearly three weeks to do so, and only wired Kelevin’s jaw after repeated letters from Mr. Stevenson’s attorney to DOC officials requesting that immediate action be taken. And it is clear that Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson sustained these injuries not during the search, but only after they had been removed in handcuffs from their cells.

We know that all the fruitful investigations and arrest warrants for guards thus far were conducted and sworn out not by the Department of Corrections’ internal affairs officers, but by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. And we understand that the former warden at Smith State prison has been inexplicably transferred and demoted.

We know that Kelvin Stevenson and Miguel Jackson were denied doctor visits, urgently needed examinations and access to their own medical records for weeks after the assault despite daily complaint of hearing and memory problems, as well as problems with vision and other dangerous symptoms. The correspondence also documents a series of dire and terroristic threats made on multiple occasions by Jackson State correctional officers. After his attorney’s repeated complaints to Ricky Myrick of DOC’s Internal Investigations Unit, one of the guards making said threats was finally transferred out of the wing, but no other action was taken against him. The correctional officer continues to incite other inmates against Miguel Jackson by spreading rumors that he is a snitch.

“ Founded by ex-offenders in Alabama, The Ordinary Peoples Society has worked with prisoners, their families and communities for more than ten years in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.”

“ Over the last three months the attorney for the prisoner’s families has had to send a daily stream of letters, faxes, phone calls and document requests, visits and other inquiries to uncover and address the denial of medical care to the beaten prisoners, along with the facts of their cases,” declared Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of TOPS, The Ordinary Peoples Society [8]. “The Department of Corrections has dragged its feet at every opportunity during this time. The fact that GBI has had to take charge of investigating the vicious assaults of correctional officers and their supervisors upon prisoners is a clear admission on the part of state government that the Department of Corrections is unable or unwilling to uphold the laws it’s supposed to enforce.

“ So later this year TOPS is taking the lead in convening a series of public hearings throughout the state in which we will examine the way Georgia’s prisons operate, and specifically look into the wave of beatings, retaliations and cover ups that followed the inmate strike of December 2010.”

TOPS seems eminently qualified to lead such a public inquiry. In the decade since its founding The Ordinary Peoples Society has stood with and for prisoners, their families and communities in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, both on the level of individual and collective self-help, as well as advocacy on the level of public policy and public education. TOPS is working closely with the attorney for the families of prisoners Miguel Jackson, Kelvin Stevenson, Terrance Dean [10], and other recent victims of unlawful violence on the part of Georgia correctional officers.

“ We found out about TOPS from talking to the families of other prisoners,” Delma Jackson, the wife of Miguel Jackson told Black Agenda Report. “They told us that TOPS would work with us and stand with us to get the justice we need, both in prison and afterward. If there’s no jobs or education there’s not much for those who come out of prison, no way for them to support families and build new lives.”

Read the rest here.