Tag Archive: prisoner resistance

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…)

Prisoner Hunger Strike Hits Polk Correctional

cantwontOn Monday, May 19th, 7 prisoners at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, NC began a hunger strike in protest of a range of indignities and grievances. According to prisoners in the facility, additional men have been joining the strike since that first day. The strike was initiated in part by prisoners who were transferred out of Central Prison, following a class action lawsuit against the facility for abuse by guards in various “blind spots” around Unit One. That lawsuit has already forced the administration’s hand in videotaping any cell extractions by guards.

A demands and grievances list was sent by the prisoners to comrades on the outside. It reads as follows:

(more…)

Radical Philosophy and the Free Alabama Movement

famBy Lisa Guenther/From Truth Out

Last summer, thousands of prisoners in California launched a 60-day hunger strike to protest and transform oppressive policies in the California Department of Corrections. One member of the organizing team called their strike action a “multi-racial, multi–regional Human Rights Movement to challenge torture.”

This weekend, another prisoner-led human rights movement is gaining momentum in Alabama. The Free Alabama Movement (FAM) seeks to analyze, resist, and transform prison slavery from within the Prison Industrial Complex.

Both of these movements challenge us, as philosophers and as people, to interrogate the meaning of slavery, torture, human rights, and political action. What does it mean to struggle for one’s human rights as an “offender” in the world’s first prison society? What can philosophers and political theorists learn from the example of incarcerated intellectuals and political actors whose everyday lives are situated at the dangerous intersection of racism, economic exploitation, sexual violence, and civil death? What would it mean to respect the specificity of the Free Alabama Movement, and at the same time to recognize that even the freedom of non-incarcerated philosophers may be bound up with the freedom of Alabama? What is freedom, after all? What – and where – and who – is Alabama?

In what follows, I will share what I have learned about the Free Alabama Movement over the last couple of days. But don’t take my word for it! Check out the FAM website, which includes photos and videos of degrading prison conditions, as well as this brilliant spoken word analysis of prison slavery. Follow the movement on Facebook and Twitter. And read the 100-page manifesto written by prisoner-organizers about the situation in Alabama prisons and the movement to end prison slavery. (more…)

Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”

Melvin Ray

Melvin Ray

Breaking: Reached in his cell, Free Alabama Movement leader tells Salon inmates will refuse work to end free labor

From Salon

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.

Inmates at St. Clair and two other prisons, Holman and Elmore, previously refused to work for several days in January. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Associated Press at the time that those protests were peaceful, and told AL.com that some of the inmates’ demands were outside the authority of the department to address. The state told the AP that a handful of inmates refused work, and others were prevented from working by safety or weather issues. In contrast, Ray told Salon the January effort drew the participation of all of St. Clair’s roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holman’s roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekend’s work stoppage would spread further and grow larger than that one, but also accused prison officials of hampering F.A.M.’s organizing by wielding threats and sending him and other leaders to solitary confinement. “It’s a hellhole,” he told Salon. “That’s what they created these things for: to destroy men.”

To grow the movement, said Ray, “We have to get them to understand: You’re not giving up anything. You don’t have anything. And you’re going to gain your freedom right here.” (more…)