From Anarchist News
At least four prisoners in the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville are on hunger strike. They demand an end to the Tier Program, a system used to grant and withhold privileges from prisoners. To understand why this is significant, here’s some history:
In 2010, thousands of prisoners across Georgia, USA went on strike, refusing to leave their cells or cooperate with the prison in any way. The effort crossed race and gang lines, with normally rival groups working together. They were met with repression and violence, but resistance spilled into more prisons through communication over smuggled phones. It grew into international news.
Unable to contain the situation, prison officials identified the supposed “leaders” of the uprising and transferred them to Jackson State Prison. There they were held under very restrictive conditions – almost no visits, calls, or medical attention.
In 2012, those prisoners in Jackson started a hunger strike in protest of the restrictive conditions. They were fewer than in 2010, but gained attention and ultimately forced prison officials to meet and negotiate with them to improve conditions.
As one might imagine, officials were worried by a prison population that felt it could make demands. So since 2012, they have taken steps to prevent further resistance. Key among these is their use of the Tier Program. It effectively functions as an unaccountable and arbitrary criminal justice system within the prison itself. Prisoners placed on the program are assigned a tier: 1, 2 or 3. The higher the tier, the more restrictive and harsh their conditions are. The prisoner must then obey and cooperate with officials until they decide to move the prisoner to the next lower tier. (more…)