Tag Archive: prisoner resistance

The Final Straw: Hunger striking against the TIER Program at Georgia State Prison

finalstraw

From The Final Straw

This week you’ll be hearing an interview with Earthworm (Dell) of Atlanta Black Cross and Sandy, who’s the mother of an inmate at Georgia State Prison, about the TIER program being implemented there. The TIER program is the means by which the certain prisons in Georgia are reducing the time outside of cell for prisoners down to mere hours a week from multiple a day based on minor accusations and infractions and sometimes with no clear process towards getting out or limit of stay. While inside, these prisoners are kept on a minimal diet with no commissary, often no access to the library for legal research along with other issues.

In response to the conditions under TIER at GSP, numerous prisoners initiated a hunger strike back in April, with one continuing to this day.

More on what’s going on with TIER at GSP, check out http://atlblackcross.org, to read the words of the prisoners themselves via their letters posted and transcribed there. You can also find addresses for the prisoners at that site. A good intro article can be found here

Also mentioned was the Free Alabama Movement, which is a multi-state network of incarcerated folks (Alabama & Mississippi, plus affiliates in CA & VA) organizing non-violent protests to the exploitation of their labor for profit, the racialized system of incarceration in the U.S. and the horrible conditions of their incarceration. More on the project, including links to their prisoner-sourced podcasts can be found at http://freealabamamovement.com/
For our interview with members of the FAMM, check out this link

Finally, referenced was the case of Kalief Browder, incarcerated at the New York prison of Rikers Island from the age of 16-19, without trial on the accusation of stealing a backpack. Browder committed suicide 2 years after his release, in June of 2015. (more…)

Anarchist Perspective on Mass Prisoner Resistance Movements

the-struggle-continues-graficanera-NO-COPYRIGHT

From Anarchist News / By Ben Turk

There is a widespread, growing and committed resistance movement happening in US prisons across the nation. This movement is not going away, and with more outside support and national coordination, it could be powerful enough to reshape not only the US prison system, but the entire society.

At the time of this writing thirty prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary, the supermax prison in Ohio are recovering from a hunger strike that has lasted over 30 days. Prisoners in Georgia, accused of leading the largest prison work stoppage in US history in 2010 are on hunger strike demanding relief from torture conditions they’ve been subjected to in solitary confinement as reprisal for their non-violent protest. The Free Alabama Movement (FAM) has been dealing with threats, beatings and lockdowns they’ve been subjected to in reprisal for the mass work stoppages that shut down three Alabama facilities for weeks in January of 2014.

Massive hunger strikes that rocked California’s prison system in recent years are now getting slow results in favorable court decisions for their class action lawsuit. Prisoners in IllinoisGeorgiaVirginiaNorth Carolina and Washington State have all engaged in historically large protests in recent years. In February, thousands of immigrant prisoners in a federal detention facility in Texas refused to work, and protested and sabotaged the facility, rendering it uninhabitable. At around the same time women at an Arizona county jail were on hunger strike refusing to eat the moldy food they’d been served.

The above examples are only the most coordinated and best publicized of these protests. Many prisoners see individual acts of courage and resistance as necessary for their identity and survival. When the country locks up as large a portion of its population as the US does, prisoner protests are inevitable and almost constant. (more…)

Sean Swain Communication Cut Off After Prisoner Protest

freeseanswain

From SeanSwain.org

Last week we received word that Sean’s email and phone access have been suspended, along with his video visitation. This suspension came shortly after Sean asked us to post this story of an incident of arbitrary and unjustified brutality that occurred on his range (added below). Sean is not in the hole and he has not been physically attacked at this time. Sean’s lawyer is investigating to find the pretext the prison officials used to justify denying Sean his basic constitutional rights again, but, in the meantime, Sean has smuggled the following message out through a friend…

“I have NO direct communication with the outside world. Phone, JPay, mail suspended. I’m perfectly silenced forever.
Phone calls, letters to CIIC, court filings, website updates– all of that is Portuguese. It’s the wrong language.
MLK said those who make nonviolent change impossible… make violent change inevitable.* It’s proven useless to keep trying to do the impossible.
Feel free to post.
Freedom,
Sean.”

*We remember this quote being attributed to JFK, not MLK. Not that it makes any difference.

We don’t know what it will take to get Sean’s communication re-instated at this time. It is not hard to conclude that Trevor Clark and friends have taken Judge Benita Pearson decision in the fascist’s favor regarding video visits as a blank check to do whatever they’d like to Sean, especially since the punitive transfer to Lucasville only led to him emboldening self-defense and resistance among his neighbors at SOCF. Sean clearly doesn’t think that our past tactics of phone calls and emails has much leverage against these fascist fuckweasels, though anyone with the breath and the patience who can’t think of anything else to do, can find all the relevant numbers here.

Meantime, we’re sure Sean can’t wait to hear some reports about creative acts of solidarity, leverage and revenge.

(more…)

Anarchist Resistance in Georgia Prisons Continues

prison_solidarityFrom 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…)

Ohio State Penitientiary Hunger Strike Enters Second Week

These cages are similar to the ones OSP used to give level 5B prisoners access to programming. OSP claims they do not provide enough security.

These cages are similar to the ones OSP used to
give level 5B prisoners access to programming.
OSP claims they do not provide enough security.

From Lucasville Amnesty

On Monday March 16th, over 30 supermax prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary went on hunger strike. Warden Jay Forshey and OSP staff are refusing to meet their demands or negotiate with them. Some of the hunger strikers have not even been met and consulted with regarding their demands. Eleven prisoners remain on hunger strike and are committed to staying through to the end, if necessary.

SUPPORT ACTION:

1. Please call ODRC Legal Services department and request that they speak with the hunger striking prisoners and address the illegal policy changes at OSP. Call ODRC Legal Services- 614-752-1765 ask for Trevor Clark, Austin Stout or their boss, Stephen Gray.
Write letters: Legal Services, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222
Email: Trevor.Clark@odrc.state.oh.us Austin.Stout@odrc.state.oh.us and Stephen.Gray@odrc.state.oh.us

2. Please call Warden Jay Forshey at OSP and demand that he change these policies and meet with all the hunger striking prisoners to address their other issues. Ohio State Penitentiary- 330-743-0700 ext 2006.
Write letters: Warden Forshay, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505
Email: Jay.Forshey@odrc.state.oh.us and Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us
You can also contact the politicians on the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee and ask them to look into the issue. http://www.ciic.state.oh.us/complaint-form See below for direct contact information…
More details on the issues: (more…)

Inmates stage food protest at maximum-security Nevada prison

hungerstrik2From Las Vegas Sun

A group of inmates at Nevada’s maximum-security prison in Ely refused food for two days to call attention to claims they’re not getting enough to eat, according to Nevada corrections officials and a group that advocates for prisoner rehabilitation.

 Twenty-six inmates in one Ely State Prison unit refused meals Friday morning “as a result of their interpretation of reduced food portions,” the state Department of Corrections said in an unsigned statement responding to questions from the Associated Press.

Seventeen inmates continued the meal boycott Saturday morning, the statement said. Prison administrators met with each inmate “to listen to their issues,” and all inmates were taking meals by Saturday evening, officials said. (more…)

Sean Swain Refusing Medication in Escalation of Hunger Strike.

seanswainFrom Sean Swain

With fascist fuckweasels ignoring his hunger strike, anarchist prisoner Sean Swain has vowed to refuse his blood pressure medication, beginning February 9. This medication keeps his blood pressure regulated. To stop taking this medication “cold turkey” is extremely dangerous, as it could cause a spike in blood pressure which can lead to heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.

“Freedom or death,” Sean said. “I’m not fucking around.”

Fuckweasels have engaged in a concerted, provable pattern of harassing every element of Sean’s communication, waging a war against anarchist expression.

Within 48 hours of suspending his medication, Sean will be in serious danger of medical problems and anticipates he will soon be held incommunicado in a torture cell, in a fuckweasel effort to break his will and cut him off from the outside world. But, as he pointed out, that will not stop his blood pressure from spiking.

(more…)

Free Alabama & Mississippi Movements in prisons & updates on Sean Swain

f-a-m-bwFrom The Final Straw

Streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on February 2nd through February 8th, 2015, then podcasting at radio4all.net. Also airing this week on KOWA-LPFM in Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, KXCF in Marshall, CA, and WCRS-LP Columbus Community Radio 98.3 and 102.1 FM

Prior to the main portion of this week’s episode, we hear a Sean Swain segment and also Ben Turk comes on to talk about difficulties Sean’s currently facing (for instance beginning a hunger strike on Monday due to shenanigans by officials at OSP, where Sean is being held, and possibly JPAY (the company that contracts communication with Ohio’s DRC) that have limited his communications again.
It is suggested that folks concerned called the boss of the ODRC Lead Council Trevor Clark’s boss (Stephen Grey 614 752 1765). More on this can be found here.

The majority of this week’s episode is a conversation with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama & Mississippi Movements. The FAMMC (now including inmates in California as well) is an inmate-drive non-violent, civil disobedience movement with the goal of bettering the situations of prisoners, challenging the profits of prison corporations and departments of correction, ending the impunity of wardens and guards and abolishing the “new slavery” of mass incarceration in the U.S.

(more…)

Third Hunger Strike Begins at the Tacoma Detention Center

hungerstrik2From Common Dreams

At least 200 people stopped eating on Fri. Oct. 31st, and more people will join today (Monday)

Tacoma, WA – Immigrant detainees are putting their bodies on the line for the third time this year, to call attention to the inhumane treatment in the GEO Group detention center. Geo Group, a corporate giant that profits off the unnecessary suffering of those it imprisons for the convenience of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while their civil immigration status is investigated. Advocates are concerned that hunger strikers will suffer retaliation similar to the retaliation inflicted during previous hunger strikes. Hunger strikers were placed in solitary confinement for up to 30 days and threatened with force-feeding. Last spring hunger strikers received promises from ICE officials that have never been implemented.

Geo Group has been allowed to supplement their lavish compensation of more than $100 per day per person with a cluster of self-reinforcing schemes to profit even more from the people placed in their “care.” Those schemes include: (more…)

Time to Speak Up: Women’s Prison Resistance in Alabama

tutwilerBy Victoria Law

Both incarcerated women and the U.S. Department of Justice agree: The Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., is a hellish place. In a 36-page letter that the DOJ issued to the Alabama State Governor Robert Brentley in January, the agency declared, “The State of Alabama violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution by failing to protect women prisoners at Tutwiler from harm due to sexual abuse and harassment from correctional staff.”

Federal investigators found that, for nearly two decades, staff members at Tutwiler have sexually assaulted women and compelled them into sex to obtain necessities, such as feminine hygiene products and laundry service. Women who report sexual abuse are placed in solitary confinement, where they are given lie detector tests and are frequently threatened by other staff.

But while the DOJ’s letter — and conditions in Tutwiler — made headlines, less attention has been paid to the activism and organizing by women inside Alabama’s prisons. During the department’s investigation, for example, it received 233 letters from women currently incarcerated at Tutwiler detailing a host of concerns about the sexual abuse they’ve either personally experienced or witnessed. This figure does not include the letters that women have been sending to the Department of Justice and other government entities for years before the investigation was launched. When incarcerated, sending testimony letters is a potentially dangerous action. Women risked prison staff opening their letters and reading their complaints — and retaliating against them. Two hundred thirty-three women decided to take that risk. (more…)