Tag Archive: hunger strike

Retaliation Against Hunger Strikers at Menard–Windows Blocked, Strikers Beaten

349804_Menard Correctional CenterFrom Anti-State St. Louis

The following consists of excerpts, lightly edited by Alice Lynd, from letters by eight men in Administrative Detention at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois, dated April 12-14, 2014.

Windows covered

On the morning of Saturday, April 12, 2014, maintenance workers drilled big metal boxes on the outside of our windows. We can no longer see out the windows and barely any sunlight comes in.

All of the windows in the High Security Unit are being covered (blocked) with a steel covering in retaliation of our hollering out to the protestors that marched outside the facility during our last hunger strike.

We were told, “How you like your view now?”

With summer approaching, not only will our air flow circulation be affected, but we . . . have steel doors. We will now be forced to live in what will amount to an extremely hot tomb. I’m thinking there has to be a whole lot of information available dealing with . . . the effects of no natural sunlight in an area of indeterminate placement. (more…)

Update on Tacoma, WA Detention Center Hunger Strike

meow

meow

From Not One More Deportation

Tacoma, WA – As supporters looked on, approximately 130 people held at the Northwest Detention Center were taken from the facility this morning as part of its weekly deportation regime. At least five hunger strikers were among those deported, according to an attorney who visited the facility on Sunday. A hunger strike supporter holding a vigil outside the center observed two buses leaving at 3 a.m. under cover of darkness. Supporters who arrived at dawn to offer witness to the deportations watched six more vehicles, marked “GEO Transport,” (five buses and a van) leaving the center. In what has become a new tactic since the February 24th action that stopped 120 deportations, the buses themselves were used to block supporters from seeing people loaded in chains. Despite these efforts, supporters lined the sidewalk as the buses pulled out, making eye contact with those inside the buses, and chanting, “You are not alone!” and “The struggle continues!”

Hunger striker Salvador Chavez Salazar, who first arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15, was among those deported this morning. The 29-year-old father of two U.S. citizen children was held in the detention center for two and a half months following a DUI arrest. In a recording made on the eve of his deportation (audio and translation available upon request), he described his fifteen years of labor in the U.S., which included landscaping, picking cherries, onions, and apples, and gathering forest items in the forests outside his Aberdeen, WA home. He explained why he participated in both waves of the hunger strike despite knowing he would most likely be deported, stating, “It is an injustice for all of us who are locked up in here,” and expressing hope that his actions would benefit future detainees. He described facing deportation with only the clothes on his back, despite having put in a request to ICE for his family to bring him a suitcase with fifteen days notice. He also described how the facility continues to profit
even after deportations, explaining that the money on detainees’ phone accounts is not returned to them. His greatest grief at leaving his home was for the harm to his 4-year-old US-citizen daughters: “Deportations, they affect the children the most, that’s the truth. Almost everyone who is here, all of the people here are fathers with families.” (more…)

Vigil Brings Demands from Detainees on Hunger Strike to GEO Group CEO’s Neighborhood

geocropFrom Earth First! Newswire

Demonstrators visually and vocally presented the suppressed demands of immigrant detainees on hunger striker to George Zoley, CEO of for-profit prison giant GEO Group. Zoley resides in a wealthy gated community in Boca Raton, Florida, just miles away from the company headquarters.

“We are here in front of George Zoley’s neighborhood to bring the demand of the immigrant detention center hunger strikers to him at his home and know that he cannot ignore them any longer,” said protestor Britni Hiatt.

Over the past two weeks hunger strikes have taken place at two different immigrant detention facilities owned and operated by the GEO Group, one in Tacoma, Washington and one in Conroe, Texas. The hunger strike began in Washington with 750 detainees refusing food and work, and spread to 120 detainees in Texas. Demands of the hunger strikers include: an immediate halt to all deportations, just treatment for detainees, an end to crowding in cells, an end to double judgment policies, adequate food and medical care, affordable calling prices and lower rates at commissary.

GEO Group has responded to both strikes by revoking the rights of detainees, threatening to force-feed strikers, putting strikers in solitary confinement, threatening their immigration status and cutting off communication with the outside world.

“The whistle has been blown,” says Cici Claar, “It’s time for GEO to address these offenses and stop engaging in retaliation and suppression.”

(more…)

ADX H-Unit on Hunger Strike, Prisoners Being Force-Fed

adx-watchtowersFrom Solitary Watch

According to reports this morning from inside the U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, CO, eight to nine people held in the super-secret H-Unit are on hunger strike and are being force-fed. While run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the unit has strong FBI involvement in its management.

Mahmud Abouhalima, convicted of taking part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sentenced to 240 years in prison. After serving some time in general population prisons within the federal system, he landed in H-Unit at ADX, the federal government’s only supermax prison.

In November of last year, Solitary Watch published a court document it obtained containing a statement compiled for Ayyad v. Holder by Abouhalima. In it, Abouhalima challenges his confinement, asserting that it violates his constitutional right to due process. He also claims the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is heavily involved in managing H-Unit, with its authority overriding that of BOP administrative staff. By law, the FBI is not authorized to run prisons in the U.S. (more…)

Westville Updates: Victory and Repression

bridgeFrom RIFIFI Bloomington

Received and transmitted:

Saturday January 25

Please man the phones on Monday, January 27,2014. Westville Correctional Facility (SUPER-MAX Prison) is retaliating against the inmates who protested last week by refusing to give them heated cells. Inmates in the A-Pods of “Westville Control Unit” the (Super-Max) are being deprived of heat because they protested the sack lunch that had been served to them over the last nine months. The Blue setion, A7 & A8, Yellow setion 5&6 range along with the Alpha Pod are experiencing extremly cold temperatures.The policy of the facilty states that they cannot use tactics such as these to punish individuals for demanding the same treatment as all other inmates; HEAT!

To justify their actions, the prison has stated that there is a new engineer that does not know how to adjust the system up on the roof. In the meantime they have passed out an extra blanket and jacket to combat the freezing temperature. We are once again asking that you call the GOVERNOR’S OFFICE (Pence) at 317 232-4567 and demand that either the heat gets fixed or that they remove these individuals from these freezing cells and put them in a warmer section as the policy dictates under emergency procedure. Also call the Commissioner’s office (Lemmon) at 317 232-5711.

Together we can make a difference. (more…)

The Final Straw: Prisoner hunger strike @ Menard, IL, Khimki Forest defense and more

Pirate_radio_station_5417.jpgFrom AFM

This week’s episode of The Final Straw features, as usual of recent, three segments. It can be heard between 3AM EST Monday, February 3rd 2014 through Sunday, February 9th 2014 at AFM

First, we hear Sean Swain, anarchist prisoner in Ohio’s super-duper-mega-ultra-uber max prison at Youngstown talk about accusations of Utopianism thrown at him for his anarchism. More of his thoughts at http://seanswain.org

Secondly, we speak with author, activist and advocate Staughton Lynd. Mr. Lynd speaks with us about the ongoing hunger strike at Menard Correctional Facility’s administrative segregation units in Illinois. The strikes are in response to prisoner complaints of lack of heat and hot water in the freezing facility that was built in the 1870’s, leaks around the windows, rodent infestations and the lack of transparency around how people get put into the hole or get out of it. Upon initiating the hunger strike, prisoners (in particular Armando Velasquez who was witness being beaten, thrown down stairs and stomped by correctional officers/screws) have faced threats of force, including forced feeding for which Illinois law does not require court orders. You can find out more by contacting the Alice and Staughton Lynd at salynd(aat)aol (d ot)com. Also, check out articles at The SF Bay View on the subject.

If you care to call/write officials to press for an end to the torture:
Warden Rick Harrington, (618) 826-5071, P.O. Box 711, Menard IL 62794-9277
Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez, (217) 558-2200, ext. 2008, P.O. Box 19277, Springfield IL 62794-9277
Gov. Pat Quinn, (217) 782-0244, http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx, 207 State House, Springfield IL 62706 (more…)

Update on Hunger Strike at Menard Correctional in Illinois

Force-Feeding-by-Michael-Russell-081113-webFrom The San Fransisco Bay View

On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. The hunger strikers have been told the prison administration is working on obtaining a preliminary injunction to force feed them. They expect to continue the hunger strike even if they are force fed. “We need as much outside support as possible,” the prisoners say. Please call or email: Gov. Pat Quinn, Warden Rick Harrington, Illinois Department of Corrections Director Salvador Godinez.

The following information is drawn from letters received from prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, and compiled by attorney Alice Lynd.

Jan. 21, 2014 – On Jan. 15, 2014, approximately 25 prisoners in Administrative Detention at Menard Correctional Center went on hunger strike. Officers shook down their cells and took any food they found. The hunger strikers were sent to see medical staff and charged $5 for medical treatment.

On the way back from seeing medical staff, one prisoner (said to be Armando Valazquez) was pushed onto the stairs while in handcuffs by two officers. Those officers then kicked and stomped on his back, picked him up and then slammed his face into the plexiglass window on a door. One officer was sent home early that day. Prisoner Velazquez was moved to the Health Care Unit and the prisoners have not seen him since.

The hunger strikers have been told the prison administration is working on obtaining a preliminary injunction to force feed them. They expect to continue the hunger strike even if they are force fed.

“We need as much outside support as possible,” the prisoners say. (more…)

The Final Straw: Hunger strike at Westville in IN, Sean Swain radio and more!

This week’s episode of the Final Straw starts off with a couple of announcements about recent prisoner resistance from around the U.S. and the upcoming court dates for the NATO3.
http://freethenato3.wordpress.com/
http://prisonbooks.info/2014/01/10/inmates-strike-to-protest-alabama-pri…
http://www.illinoisprisontalk.org/index.php?topic=31966.0

Secondly, we’ll present a short audio essay by Sean Swain, a regularly occurring segment we hope to become a regular portion of our show. Find out more about Sean Swain at http://seanswain.org

This’ll be followed by an interview with Deedee, a member of Saving Our Families, a network of those with loved-ones in the Prison Industrial Complex, based out of Indiana. Deedee is also a supporter of Control Unit Prisoners on hunger strike at Westville Correction Facility in Indiana about the strike and the atrocious food distribution, run by Aramark Corrections Services based out of Philly PA. More info can be found at http://dignityatwestville.wordpress.com

(more…)

Update from the Collective Struggle inside the Westville Control Unit 10/15

bridgeFrom Rififi Bloomington

Aramark, the private company that won the contract for food at Westville Correctional Facility (a prison in northern Indiana), has enacted drastic cut-backs over the past several months. As a result, hot lunch trays have been replaced with cold, nutritionally deficient sack lunches. One prisoner reports dropping from 215 to 150 pounds during his stint in Westville. Prisoners began refusing these humiliating lunches in collective protest on January 13th, and now their struggle is expanding.

Westville’s Control Unit is divided into four pods, each containing four sections. As the collective protest spreads, it’s expected to involve majorities in all eight sections of A and B pods before the end of the week. Prisoners report that many within the Control Unit are setting aside petty differences in order to support each other and share food.

In response to the start of the protest and the mass call-in day on 1/14, prison bureaucrats are foisting responsibility for the malnourishing lunches onto Aramark. However, we know that the two are acting in collusion; the DOC could act to force the contractor to bring back hot lunches. Prisoners have been inspired by the massive response to the call-in day from around the United States. They are determined to continue until they win.

Now is the time to multiply solidarity actions and pressure against the Indiana DOC and Aramark. Continue calling IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon at (317) 232-5711 and Aramark Correctional Services at (800) 777-7090 (though we’ve heard that they have sometimes stopped picking up in response to the flood of calls they’ve received so far). (more…)

Indiana Prisoner Solidarity: Tuesday January 14th 8am – Emergency Call-in Day

call-inFrom Riffi

On Monday, January 13th, Indiana prisoners being detained in Westville Correctional Facility began to refuse the nutritionally deficient, unappetizing cold sack lunches they have been forced to endure over the past several months and have issued a call for solidarity. A mass call-in, starting at 8am on Tuesday, is being planned to put pressure on IDOC officials and Aramark Correctional Services to reinstitute hot lunch trays.

On Tuesday, let’s show solidarity and inundate IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon 317 232 5711 and Aramark Correctional Services (800) 777-7090 with phone calls demanding the return of hot lunch trays for Indiana prisoners.

Why is this happening?

According to “official” sources, the switch to sack lunches was a 90 day test program launched in response to a prisoner’s request to increase recreation and shower time. Overlooking the absurd proposition that a prison would change its food policy based on a prisoner request for extended recreation time, the fact is that since the conversion to sack lunches, recreation and shower time have not increased, and the 90 day trial period has long since passed.

The truth is more likely to be found in the bottom line and Aramark’s business history. In 2005, Aramark Correctional Services (ACS) signed aquarter billion dollar, ten year contract with the Indiana Department of Corrections to provide meals for inmates. Since then, Indiana DOC has saved more than $11 million a year, spending approximately $1.19 per meal/per prisoner. In other states these savings have been achieved as a result of skimping on food portions and quality. In Florida, an audit of ACS found the company was cutting costs/increasing profits by cutting portions on meals. In Kentucky, similar skimping on portions coupled with a decrease in the quality of food led to food riots in 2009. During the investigation that followed, Aramark refused to provide Kentucky auditors with access to its records, making a claim to their proprietary rights and confidentiality. (more…)