Action Alert: Take action for one who has taken action for others: Andre Jacobs being tortured at SCI Coal Township

From: HRC-FedUp! Emergency Response Network

September 27th 2010
URGENT: Andre Jacobs being tortured at SCI Coal Township
Please take action immediately

HRC just received a report from Andre Jacobs’ grandmother that last Thursday he was taken from his solitary confinement cell and strapped to a restraint chair for 17 straight hours after he spoke up in defense of another man being deprived food by guards.

See the Call-in Guide below and take action today. Forward this message wide and ask people to subscribe to our action alert list. Torture thrives in secrecy and we need numbers. Spread this on Facebook. Please help.

We only know of Andre’s situation because his grandmother went to visit him today (Monday).

He has been held without clothing for days and given only a thin garment to cover himself. Andre has been deprived of showers, legal property, hygiene and cleaning items. This is the 2nd time Andre has been stripped of clothing and property in less than two months. He is not supposed to be given property or clothing until Thursday.

Please take action immediately. Andre Jacobs is a leader in the human rights struggle inside the prison walls and has been subjected to systematic, racist dehumanization by prison personnel with the full knowledge and consent of the DOC hierarchy for years. Just last week he was in Luzerne County for a preliminary hearing for “riot” charges stemming from a series of retaliatory assaults, taserings, and pepper-sprayings perpetrated against himself and 6 others at SCI Dallas at the end of April. This incident is featured in the HRC report Resistance and Retaliation.

Andre is a 28-year-old jailhouse lawyer being targeted for neutralization because he inspires prisoners to stand up for their human rights, to fight racism via constitutionally-protected means, and to educate themselves and their families about the real function and purpose of these prisons.

HRC will send an update and call for further action later in the week. Thank you all for caring and taking action. It does matter. Please email and/or call 412-654-9070 and inform HRC that you have taken action. It helps us monitor the response and keep updated on the situation.

******* CALL-IN GUIDE **********************************
For Andre Jacobs, DOC # DQ5437:
Please call Supt. Varano 570.644.7890, Regional Secretary Klopotoski 717.975.4865, DOC Secretary Shirley Moore Smeal 717.975.4918, OPR Director Barnacle 717.214.8473,

Representatives Waters, Vanessa Brown, and Caltigirone (who were at the recent hearing on solitary), local and federal law enforcement, and all other appropriate persons. (click the links for phone numbers) http://hrcoalition.org/node/71

Spread the word to anybody with the decency to speak out. Tell them you are with the Human Rights Coalition (if you want to be identified as such) and that these actions are criminal.

Inform the prison officials and legislators of the ongoing abuse. Tell them the details above.
Andre’s DOC nr is: DQ5437
Demand the following when speaking to the prison and the DOC officials:
1) Andre is to be given clothes immediately
2) Andre is to be given writing materials immediately
3) Andre is to be given his legal property immediately
4) Andre is to be given all his state issue items and personal property immediately
5) these racist guards are to keep their hands off of him and stop abusing him

Ask the following (specifically of SCI Coal Township, whose Supt. Assistant is Kandis Dascani–she will say confidentiality prevents her from speaking, don’t fall for this, don’t let her put you off, tie up her phone and do not lay off):

1) when did Varano authorize this?
2) what is the justification for this?
3) Does Andre have clothes yet? does he have his property? does he have writing materials?
4) what policy number and section is this authorized by?

Inform DOC officials: That HRC intends on filing criminal charges and launching an investigation into the systematic torture of prisoners at SCI Coal Township.

Request that legislators investigate the prison system.

Love, Solidarity, and Struggle,

HRC-Fed Up!
Contact Information: phone:412-654-9070

Coal Township prison attempts to suppress Ramadan fast

Source: HRCoalition
08.30.2010
From the Human Rights Coalition: Muslim men at SCI Coal Township under fire for observing Ramadan, Prisoners refused food, called ‘cave monkeys’ & ‘terrorists’ by racist guards.

According to multiple reports from prisoners at SCI Coal Township prison in Coal Township PA, Muslim prisoners are being harassed and purposefully starved by prison staff in retaliation for observing the annual Ramadan fast.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset but are allowed to eat during the other hours of the day and are not required to drastically reduce the total amount of food eaten per day. This is particularly important to Muslim prisoners in the Restricted Housing Units (RHU’s), where even the regular food portions can cause weight loss and hunger pains. Currently, observant Muslims in Coal Township’s RHU are being served only a small bag of food for the predawn meal and a single meal after sunset, resulting in feelings of sickness and lightheadedness for many of the men during their daytime studies. They have vigorously protested the situation to no avail, petioning officials all the way up the prison’s chain of command to receive their full daily food portions.

This has angered prison officials, who have stood by while guards refuse yard time and showers to the Muslim prisoners, as well as call them “cave monkeys” and “terrorists”. During rounds earlier in the month, Superintendent David Varano and Deputy Superintendent Rhonda Ellett made clear that no investigation would be made of the issues raised by the Muslim prisoners, and Varano suggested that Muslim prisoners “not fast next year”!

Take Action!
Support these men’s right to observe Ramadan, and the right of all people to practice their faith without fear of reprisal from authorities! Call the following DOC officials and demand that the men at Coal Township receive their full allotment of food each day. Politely ignore claims that “policy is being followed”; this is an excuse meant to distract you and flies in the face of numerous reports from prisoners stating that they’re getting not enough food!

Department of Corrections Acting Secretary Shirley Moore Smeal (717-975-4918)
SCI Coal Township Superintendent David Varano (570-644-7890)
Coal Township’s Food Service Manager Toni Shedleski (570-644-7890)

When calling prisons and public officials, always maintain courtesy and be absolutely firm in demanding that they uphold their duty. They are public servants and are accountable to you!

Human Rights Coalition: Fighting for the Rights and Lives of Prisoners

Philadelphia chapter: 215-921-3491 – http://www.hrcoalition.org/
Pittsburgh FedUp! chapter: 412-361-3022 ex.4 – http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup/