From: Black Agenda Report
July 12th 2012
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
As the hunger strike by 9 Georgia prisoners demanding medical care, due process and human rights enters its 5th week, prison officials are surprised at the level of outside support the inmates enjoy despite a virtual news whiteout. Concerned family members and others plan to visit the Department of Corrections headquarters on Monday, July 16.
Hunger Strike in GA Prison Enters 5th Week
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
The hunger strike begun on June 11 by nine prisoners at Georgia’s massive Diagnostic and Classification prison, the same place where Troy Davis was murdered last year, continues into its fifth week. Though reports published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declare the strike over, the families and one of the attorneys of inmates insist that the nine prisoners remain resolved, and continue to insist on administrative review of their status, adequate medical care, and access to mail and visitation privileges with their families and attorneys which have been arbitrarily denied them.
Our sources claim that these nine were among the 37 singled out by corrections officials in late 2010 and early 2011 after the peaceful strike by Georgia prisoners of December 2010. They were rounded up, many severely beaten, and transferred to close confinement and constant lockdown at Jackson, where they have remained ever since.
On Monday July 9, about 30 people showed up at Georgia’s state capitol to visit the governor’s office, where they left letters of support for the hunger strikers. Through direct and indirect contacts with their families and attorneys and other inmates, the prisoners know that they DO have significant support on the outside. The warden, for example, remarked to Miguel Jackson his surprise that the Georgia Green Party was supporting the strikers. Your phone calls to the prison warden, to the Department of Corrections, and the governor of Georgia have already made a difference.
Whether or not the hunger strike lasts much longer, the nine prisoners involved have already demonstrated their unshakable resolve , and deserve your continued concern and support, and your calls, which are still needed.
When you call, ask about them by name and ID number. Here are the names and ID numbers of the nine prisoners now in the fifth week of their hunger strike. They are:
Justin Boston, ID 1305227
Quentin D. Cooks, ID 1142336
Contravius Grier, ID 591396
Miguel Jackson, ID 890692
Bobby Anthony Minor, ID 1191993
Dexter Shaw, ID 429768
Robert Watkins, ID 1245402
Demetrius White, ID 581709
And here are the people to call:
Warden, GA Diagnostic & Classification Prison, Butts County GA: 770-504-2000
Brian Owens, Commissioner, GA Department of Corrections, ask for his administrative assistant Peggy Chapman 478-992-5258
Georgia governor Nathan Deal: 404-656-1776
Fax the governor at 404-657-7332.
You can also send the Governor a letter online by clicking here.
GA Department of Corrections Ombudsman
478-992-5367 or 478-992-5358
No fax, but you can email them at Ombudsman@dcor.state.ga.us. Please add a cc to the email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign the petition in support of the Jackson Prison hunger strikers: Click here
If you’re in the Atlanta area on Monday, July 16, join us as we travel by van and carpool to the headquarters of the Georgia Department of Corrections in Forsyth GA where, along with the families of some of the strikers, we will demand a meeting with Brian Owens, the head of the department. Meet us at the West End MARTA station, 9 AM sharp. Some cars will be returning around lunch time, some others will probably stay in Forsyth the whole day.
The prisoners behind those walls have done all they can do. What you can do is sign the petition supporting the demands of the hunger strikers. You can pick up the phone to call and express your concern and support. You can forward this to your email and social networks, family, friends and acquaintances.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via this site’s contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Please also read: There Is No Justice In Georgia, in the SF Bay View, July 11th 2012 http://sfbayview.com/2012/there-is-no-justice-in-georgia/
Please also read: Protesters demand Georgia prison reform: About 40 demonstrators gathered outside the state Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to express support for Georgia prison inmates who have reportedly been on a hunger strike for nearly a month. http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/protesters-demand-georgia-prison-1475266.html
From an email from Occupy4prisoners – Oakland:
End Mass Incarceration! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and ALL political prisoners!
4PM – Rally and Truth Mob at Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway
5PM – March to Federal Building, then to:
6PM – Putting the Injustice System on Trial at 19th and Telegraph. Charges include: Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder, Inhumane Treatment of People in Prison, and more.
This action is in solidarity with the Occupy the Justice Department protest happening in Washington DC on April 24th, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday. Occupy4Prisoners joins the growing list of endorsers.
It is time and way past time to stand up and say NO MORE! Our youth are being treated like criminals—guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. The vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin concentrates the racial profiling that leads into more than 2.4 million people being warehoused in prison and the millions more who are treated like second-class citizens even after they’ve served their sentences.
April 19th must be a day of standing up and saying NO MORE to all of this. It must be a day of teach-ins and rallies in high schools and colleges; a day of youth, tired of being demonized, taking to the streets—joined by many others from different backgrounds, races and nationalities who stand with them; a day of speaking bitterness to the way the whole criminal justice system abuses millions of people. All saying in a powerful voice: NO to mass incarceration and all its consequences.
NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS!
NO MORE OSCAR GRANTS!
NO MORE 2.4 MILLION PEOPLE WAREHOUSED IN PRISON!
NO MORE 1 IN 8 BLACK MEN IN THEIR 20’S LOCKED DOWN IN JAIL!
MASS INCARCERATION + SILENCE = GENOCIDE!
April 19th Convergences
Atlanta: 4 pm—Protest, speak-out, street theater, & march, Five Points MARTA Station.
Chicago: 5 pm—Federal Plaza at Dearborn & Adams. Houston: 3:30 pm—Convergence, intersection of Cleburne and Tierwester, March to Houston Police substation.
Los Angeles: 4 pm—Pershing Square, 5th & Olive, Downtown L.A.; 5 pm—March to LAPD Headquarters.
New York City: 4 pm—One Police Plaza, downtown Manhattan; 5:30 pm—March to Union Square.
San Francisco Bay Area: 12 noon—Rally, California State Building, Van Ness & McAllister—March to Federal Building, 7th and Mission Streets. Seattle: 3 pm—speak-out and picket, King County Jail, 5th Ave. & James St., downtown Seattle.
Endorsed by (as of April 14):
All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (GC); Gbenga Akinnagbe, Actor; Rafael Angulo, Professor of Social Work, USC; Edward Asner, Actor; Dave Atwood, Houston Peace and Justice Center; Lawrence Aubry, Convenor, Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Lucy Bailey, Independent, LA Ca; Nellie Bailey, Occupy Harlem; Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, Director of Peace and Justice, All Saints Church. Pasadena, Ca.; Jared Ball, VOXUNION Media, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples; Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director, OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS; Herb Boyd, Harlem-based author, educator, journalist and activist; Bob Brown, co-director, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) Institute; Elaine Brower, World Can’t Wait, Military Families Speak Out; Richard Brown, Former Black Panther Party; John L. Burris, Civil Rights Attorney; Rev. Richard “Meri Ka Ra” Byrd, Senior Pastor, KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Kendra Castaneda, Prisoner Human Rights Activist with a family member in CA State Prison Segregation Unit; Denika Chapman, mother, and Marco Scott, uncle, of Kenneth Harding, Kenneth Harding Foundation; Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University; Solomon Comissiong, Executive Director, Your World News Media Collective (www.yourworldnews.org); Community Futures Collective, Vallejo CA; Drucilla Cornell, Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University; Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University; Oscar De La Torre, Founder/Executive Director, Pico Youth and Family Center, Santa Monica, CA; Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party/Alumni; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Kevin Epps, Independent Filmmaker/Activist; Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report; Dr. Henry Giroux, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada; Rebeca Guerrero, Los Angeles, CA; Jeff Haas, Civil Rights Attorney, Activist and Author of The Assasination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther; Kelley Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, UCLA; Nicholas Heyward Sr., October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Parents Against Police Brutality, and father of Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr., killed by NYPD; Jeremy Hiller, Education Not Incarceration; Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) members Mary C. Singaus, Douglas MacMillan, Margaret Hutchinson, Stephen L. Fiske, Susan Anderson, Ed Fisher, Anthony Manouses, and Andy Griggs, Los Angeles CA; The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Director of Dramastage-Qumran Workshop; Mesha Irizarry, Idris Stelly Foundation; Tom Kleven, Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Cephus ‘Uncle Bobby’ Johnson, Oscar Grant Foundation; Robin DG Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA; Robert King, Freed Angola 3; Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors USA, Co-Founder; Patricia Krommer CSJ, Pax Christi So. California; Roshanak Kheshti, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego; Sarah Kunstler, Esq., National Lawyers Guild NYC*; Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee; Joe Maizlish, Los Angeles, CA; BM Marcus, Community Director, Comm. Advocate Organization, Brooklyn NY; Dr. Antonio Martinez, Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuses, and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture; Carlos Meza, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen (Unity Methodist Clergy), President, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Cal-Pac; Peter McLaren, School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA; Nancy Michaels, Associate Director of the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation; Aaron Mirmalek, cousin of Leonard Peltier, LPDOC, Oakland, CA; Gregg Morris, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America; Rev. Sala Nolan, National Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, United Church of Christ; Oakland Education Association Representative Assembly; Occupy Education, Northern California; October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (New York Committee); Kelly Phillips, Symple Equazion/ author of “The Art of Frowns to Smiles”; Laura Pulido, Visiting Professor, Department of Black Studies, UCSB; Professor, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC; Willie and Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Black National Newspaper; Anthony Rayson, curator of South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross Zine Distro; Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA; Joyce Robbins, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Touro College; Dylan Rodriguez, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, and founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex; Stephen Rohde, Chair, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Lila Salas, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freedom Church; Dan Siegel, Civil Rights attorney; Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, U.C. Berkeley; Ellen Snortland, author, activist, performer; Jahan Stanizui, Culver City Interfaith; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Heather Thompson, Departments of African American Studies and History, Temple University; Paul Von Blum, African American Studies, UCLA; Jim Vrettos, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild; Cornel West, author and educator, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Tim’m T. West, Community Activist, Youth Advocate, Hip Hop Artist/Poet; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Anita Wills, Occupy 4 Prisoners; Clyde Young, Revolutionary Communist, and former prisoner;
*For Identification Purposes Only
Saturday, April 7th – 1pm – 3pm
Gather at Broad & High (Statehouse sidewalk)
Several organizations and activist groups are uniting for a rally and march to call for an end to the injustices in Ohio’s prison industrial complex. Bob Fitrakis, journalist, author, and professor of political science at Columbus State Community College will speak at the rally.
The rally will be followed by a march west on Broad Street to the Ohio Dept of Rehabilitation and Correction at 770 West Broad Street. We are demanding:
– End the death penalty
– Release the framed Lucasville Five
– Parole for old law prisoners – presumption for parole when eligible
– Right to a life for released prisoners – remove the barriers to employment and housing
Death Penalty. Execution is a cruel and brutal practice. Further, the arbitrariness in the application of the death penalty violates the principles of fundamental justice. Execution – whether done by a mob or a government – is murder.
Lucasville Five. Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Namir Abdul Mateen, Jason Robb, George Skatzes, Bomani Shakur, all on death row. Within a few hours after the uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility began,
these five men took leadership, seeking to minimize violence. They did save the lives of several men, prisoner and guard alike. But the State of Ohio deliberately framed these five innocent men for murder, on the basis of testimony by prisoners who, in exchange for their testimony, received benefits such as early parole. (See “Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising” by Staughton Lynd at http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/1772_reg.html.)
Old Law Prisoners. Old law prisoners are those sentenced before 1996 when Ohio passed a truth-in-sentencing law. There are 3,200 of these old-law prisoners who are eligible for parole. All have been
incarcerated for at least 16 years and some for many more – even decades. At the time these prisoners were sentenced, the judges’ expectation and the Parole Board practice was to grant parole upon eligibility or two or three years later, but over time the Parole Board changed its practice, becoming progressively harsher, and now repeatedly denies parole. Sixteen years is too long – it is time to release these men. (See “Truth in Sentencing: 3200 prisoners stuck in Ohio Prisons” at http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/18/2012/4537.)
Right to Rebuild a Life Upon Release. It is close to impossible in the year 2012 for a released Ohio prisoner to rebuild a life – because of the multiple barriers to employment and housing. Ohio now has over 800 laws that restrict former prisoners’ access to employment, housing, and education – civil collateral consequences of imprisonment – huge barriers to return to society. With no money, no job, no place to
live, a return to crime becomes more likely. The greatest cost is destruction of lives, but in addition increased recidivism has large financial cost for the State of Ohio.
Sponsor: Central Ohio Prisoner Advocates: