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Support the Lucasville Five Hunger Strike!

The Lucasville Uprising was a historic prison uprising in which black and white prisoners united in protest over inhumane prison conditions.  Out of that five prisoners were framed for murders of prisoners that took place during the rebellion.  They were all sentenced to death and have been kept in solitary confinement and denied even the most basic of rights typically afforded death row inmates.

Four of the five are now engaged in a hunger strike in hopes of winning the few rights they are due before they are executed.

People can keep up with the hunger strike and join in the campaign to support the Lucasville Five by doing the following.

  • Join the Facebook Support Page
  • Sign the online petition
  • Email lucasvillefreedom(at)gmail.com to get connected with the campaign
  • Call or write Gary Moore, Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
    770 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH 43222
    614-752-1159

Background Information

Press Conference on Georgia Prisons

A press conference was held (Thursday) morning in Atlanta GA to press for changes in GA prisons. Here is the press release, please post.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2011

10:30 a.m.Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington Street

Atlanta, Georgia

NEW CHARGES OF INMATE BEATINGS
Reports from Prison Visits Set Off Coalition Appeal to DOC and Governor-Elect for More Access.

The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, formed to support the interests and agenda of thousands of Georgia prisoners who staged a peaceful protest and work strike initiated early last December, will host a press conference this Thursday. The mothers and other family members of Terrance Dean and Miguel Jackson, inmates reportedly brutally beaten by guards at Macon State and Smith State Prisons in connection with the strike, will be in attendance.The press conference follows reports of violent abuses of these men and others and the findings of fact by Coalition delegations after visits to two prisons in December. These reports have increased fears of the targeting of and retaliation against inmates on account of their peaceful protest for their human rights and raise the urgency for immediate reform.

“These new developments have increased our fears and our legitimate call formore access to inmates,” said Elaine Brown, Co-Chair of the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners Rights. (more…)

Durham Herald-Sun: New Wave of Prison Revolts Likely

(originally printed in the Durham Herald-Sun)

By Neal Richards
Guest columnist

Sometimes big news can happen right under your nose and you won’t hear about it. I spend much of my free time working with an organization called the Prison Books Collective, a Chapel Hill-based group that sends reading materials to prisoners and publishes their writing. And yet it took a hurried text message from a friend to hear about what is probably the biggest prison strike ever to occur in the United States.

Starting on Dec. 9, thousands of prisoners spanning six different facilities across Georgia refused to leave their cells to go to work. In protest of forced work without pay, poor food and health treatment, and a variety of other grievances, prisoners united across racial, religious and gang loyalties to self-organize a massive rebellion coordinated primarily by word of mouth and phone.

After six days of lockdown, during which guards turned off the prisoners’ heat and water and beat up suspected leaders, the prisoners decided to end their strike. The strikers have pledged to take further action if their demands are not met soon. One prisoner was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying, “We did it peacefully and tried to do it the right way. But these guys are to the point that if this [the protest] don’t work, they’re going to go about it the way they know best [with violence].”

Despite relative media silence around the strike, word has spread, and supporters around the country have expressed solidarity with numerous demonstrations outside prisons. On Dec. 17, a demonstration occurred outside Raleigh’s Central Prison, with protesters banging on drums and holding signs that read “Love for All Prison Rebels” and “Solidarity with the Georgia Strikers.”

The Georgia strike is not just a rebellion against inhumane conditions, but also against a society that locks up more of its inhabitants per capita than any other country in the world. Historically, and particularly in the South, systems of incarceration and policing have been directly inherited from chattel slavery; two of the oldest prisons we send books to literally started as plantations. These systems thus extend beyond prison to the methods of policing and surveillance that permeate our daily lives. The solidarity demonstrations are not surprising: A rebellion against prison is bound to expand in a society in which workplaces and neighborhoods increasingly resemble prisons.

Every week, I correspond with prisoners around the South as part of my work with the Prison Books Collective. Based on what I’ve seen, this strike represents the beginning of a new wave of prisoners’ self-organizing. Considering that the American prison population has grown from roughly 300,000 to nearly 2.4 million people since the last wave of prison rebellions in the early 1970s, the next wave of revolt is bound to be deeper and more widespread.

For those of us who are troubled by this prospect, it is high time to reevaluate everything we think we know about crime, punishment and policing.

Neal Richards is based in Chapel Hill.

Action Alert: Call In to End the Long Term Solitary Confinement of Russell Maroon Shoatz

After being on 23 hour lockdown for the past 21 years, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has recommended that BLA Prisoner of War Russell Maroon Shoatz be released into the prison’s general population.

Russell has not had any infractions in the last 21 years and everyone is on board with his release except for the Superintendent of SCI Greene, Louis Folino.

Russell’s supporters are urging people to call Mr. Folino and ask that he support the decision to release Russell into general population.

The Program Review Board meeting is January 5th so time is of the essence!  Here is the number and a sample phone script.  Also, RSVP for the call-in on facebook and spread the word to others!!

Superintendent Folino- (724) 852-2903 (ask for Tracey Shawley if he is not available)

Sample Phone Script

Caller: Hi, can I please speak with Superintendent Folino.

Prison: May I ask who is calling.

Caller: My name is ______ and I am calling in regards to the upcoming Review Board meeting for Russell Maroon Shoatz.

Prison:  Just one moment.
(Or more likely) He is not available. Can I take a message?

Caller: Hello Mr. Folino/Mrs. Shawley.  I am calling to strongly encourage you to move prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz from 23 hour lockdown into the general population.  My understanding is that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has recommended his release into general population and given his clean record over the past 21 years I think it is without a doubt the just and right thing to do.  Thank you for your time.

You can also write a letter  to:
Supt, Folino, 169 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, Pa 15370