VICTORY: The book ban has been lifted! Kevin ends hunger strike

books posterFrom Support Kevin & Tyler

The book ban has been lifted + Kevin ends hunger strike.

After 8 days on a hunger strike, jail head Michael Waterworth told Kevin Olliff he was lifting the book ban. This huge victory comes after Kevin lost close to 20 pounds over the 8 days. Kevin has now ended his hunger strike, effective immediately.

Thanks to everyone worldwide who made calls, wrote articles, and organized support during Kevin’s hunger strike. While it is always unfortunate when someone is pushed into starving themselves to receive a basic human right, we can say that from everyone’s hard work and Kevin’s sacrifice, this episode has a happy ending.

Kevin at his first meal in over a week at lunchtime on Thursday, and was given a book. He was told the books that have been sent during the book ban will be given to him by the end of the day.

Lifting of book ban comes after major publicity and hundreds of calls.

The lifting of the ban came after a full week of hunger strike, and huge publicity from places such as Aljazeera America and Twitter, where the “#right2read” hashtag was seen by millions over the previous two days.

If we let one jail get away with taking away a basis human rights from prisoners, they can soon take them from everyone. Thanks to everyone who stood up to this unjust denial of a prisoner’s basic right to read. This is a victory not just for Kevin and Tyler, but to everyone confined in Woodford County Jail and beyond.

Waterworth’s agenda backfires

This reversal did not come from Waterworth’s conscience. He was clear to specify to Kevin that lifting the book ban was not his decision, and came from higher up the chain. There is no question he is embarrassed over having his pointless book ban given worldwide scrutiny, resulting in more reasonable people over his head setting him straight.

Many comments he made to Kevin indicated the book ban was about control, not practical measures. He also maintained he would not lift the book ban because it would empower prisoners and their outside supporters, and show that he could be influenced by them.

This attempt to look like a tough lawman has backfired on Waterworth, who has now been publicly embarrassed by the people above him, and shown that even in the culture of jailers his conduct was out of line, inhumane, and unacceptable.

The lesson

Don’t ever think that simple actions to shine a spotlight on injustice don’t work. This victory would not have been achieved if we had not spoken up.

Send Tyler and Kevin books!

How to send a book.


Please send Kevin & Tyler a letter of support (include your email address if you wish to correspond via email):

Kevin Johnson #4565
Woodford County Jail
111 E Court St.
Eureka, IL 61530

Tyler Lang #4564
Woodford County Jail
111 E Court St.
Eureka, IL 61530


  1. chicanogets113years

    That was fast. What a dedicated guy. Do you think anyone would help if we did that to get our voices heard about not deserving ICON?

  2. Jim Wood

    Reblogged this on Time for Action.

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