Tag Archive: Strong 8

Judge to hear arguments in Central Prison lawsuit

Central_Prison315_280By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday about dismissing a lawsuit that accuses guards at North Carolina’s maximum security prison of sadistically beating inmates, resulting in broken bones and wheelchair confinement.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle planned to consider whether there is enough evidence already presented in court documents to go ahead with the lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The inmates accuse 19 correctional officers of taking handcuffed and shackled inmates from solitary confinement cells where they were placed for disciplinary reasons to blind spots out of view of security cameras, then severely beating them. Former prison administrators Gerald Branker and Kenneth Lassister are accused in the lawsuit of failing in their duties for not developing policies on investigating inmate abuse complaints and to preserve video tapes that might contain evidence from being erased.

“For years, the inmates of Unit One have pursued every avenue available to them to put an end to the violence that is routinely inflicted upon them. They have filed grievances, engaged in letter writing campaigns to public officials, gone on hunger strikes, and exhausted all of the administrative remedies available to them. The violence has not stopped,” wrote Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services representing the inmates. (more…)

More Tales of Sadism from NC DPS: Prison Organizers Assaulted on Unit 1 at Central Prison

Apparently the struggle at Central Prison in Raleigh has taken a dire turn for the worst. Prisoners on Unit 1 at the facility, known for housing in segregation politically conscious prisoners who were active in various struggles including the Strong 8 and this year’s hunger strike have been facing retaliation by a sadistic group of guards calling themselves the “A-Team.”

Writes one prisoner on the unit, “Between November 17th and November 21st three convicts within my cell block have been brutally beaten while in full restraints for no justified reason. These brutal beatings are happening on shift and that is rotation A. ”

According to inmate reports, on November 18th, CO’s Logan, Hunt, Sergeant Oaths, and Lieutenant Soucer beat Haseen Eberett with their handcuffs, nightsticks, hands, and feet while he was in full restraints. Eberett was beat unconscious and thrown back in his cell bloody and in need of medical attention.

Then on November 21st, William Harris was beat in full restraints by CO’s Hunt, Boone, Logan, Oath, and Jones, while Lieutenant Blanks watched from his office along with Lieutenant Humpries. Writes one prisoner, “There have been numerous other beatings within the last two weeks by these officers,” who “call themselves the A-Team. The forementioned officers come to inmates’ cells telling them they have a visit, or have to go to medical. Once they get the inmate in the hallway, they beat them while the inmate is in restraints.

A prison organizer and former hunger striker from Unit 1 finishes, “All comrades that read this letter I want you all to know that the conditions at Central Prison at this time are dire, and it’s just a matter of time before an inmate is beat to death. Please help us in any way you can!”

These reports have been corroborated by multiple prisoners on the block. Stories of these beatings are just the most recent report of sadistic brutality on the part of NC DPS administrations, following the recent “leave” of Sampson CI’s warden and two CO’s after reports of sexual and racial assaults on a road gang surfaced.

What life is like in solitary confinement at North Carolina’s Central Prison

From The Indy

by

An excerpt from Central Prison inmate Chris McBride’s letter to Indy Week, dated July 4, 2012:

“Solitary confinement is hell. I agree with the public—it is a form of torture. It is a tiny cell about 6 feet by 8 feet. It has a steel toilet, with a sink built in the top. There is a steel bed, with an extremely thin mattress. There is a small shelf to put your things, and a very small little desk hanging off the wall, but no chair. There is a window, that is about 5 inches wide and about 4 feet tall, but you can’t see out of it. It’s fog/clouded glass. Plus it’s covered by steel with little holes in it. The door window is the same. The light stays on 24 hours a day. At 11 p.m.–6 a.m., a smaller light comes on but it’s still bright.

“We are in this cell 23 hours a day. We are allowed to come out for recreation five times a week for one hour. The rec is a cage. They just stick us in a little cage and we can walk around. That’s it. We are only allowed to take three showers a week. Only three! And we can only take 5 minutes. If we are lucky, we get 10 minutes.

“So if you add up five 1-hour recs, and three 10-minute showers, that’s 5½ hours. Let’s round that up to 6 hours. There’s your answer. Out of the 168 hours in a week, we are out of our cell 6 hours. If that ain’t a form of torture, I don’t know what is.” (more…)

Call-in Day Against I-Con on Monday 8/20

A call-in day has been announced for Monday, August 20 in support of all prisoners who are suffering the inhumane form of punishment known as I-Con (Intensive Control) or solitary, and in particular the Strong 8 prisoners who are still in solitary.

Here’s a note from one of the Strong 8:
“I went to the DCA board today, and all of us were given six more months of ICON! I can’t believe it! I haven’t received any infractions, or caused any trouble. I haven’t given no reason to be kept on I-Con. The FCC board recommended us to be released to regular population, but the warden over-ruled the recommendation and told the DCA board to keep us on ICON as an example. I have never seen such gross disregard of policy, and such blatant abuse of power. It’s ridiculous. As you know, all support, and acts of solidarity are truly appreciated. You and everyone else involved are truly a blessing.” (more…)

Strong 8 Given Six More Months of Solitary, “As an Example”

A few days ago, several members of the Strong 8, eight men sentenced to I-Con for staging a work protest in Central Prison’s kitchens in December 2011, were sentenced to six more months of solitary confinement by the Warden himself.

At a July 25th hearing, these men, who have had no infractions or write-ups for the past six months, were recommended for general population. This ruling was just directly overruled, however, by Warden Lassiter, who, in the words of one of the Strong 8, “told the DCA board to keep us on I-CON as an example.” The men are now stuck in isolation for no apparent reason, at least according to policy. (more…)

Central Prisoners Vote to End Hunger Strike

We just received word that earlier this week prisoners at Central in Raleigh voted to end their hunger strike, started on July 16th in protest of conditions on Unit 1. We have not heard from prisoners at Bertie or Scotland. Small groups of prisoners at Foothills CI and Tabor CI have also said they have joined the protest.

The strike was organized to take aim at the fundamental conditions of sensory deprivation, psychological and physical torture, and abuse that characterize solitary confinement, and for that matter, prisons in general. It was also catalyzed by the need for law libraries for prisoners to be able to be better organize and defend themselves in the legal realm.

Some of the short term demands of prisoners, such as tools with which to clean cells, clearing the windows to the outside, and other demands have already been granted, but more significant demands have been put to the unit manager and have yet to be addressed. For the strikers involved, it seems like this strike was a way to garner much needed attention towards their conditions, as well as demonstrate to other prisoners that it is indeed possible to organize across lines of race or gang status, and to do so with meaningful support and solidarity from the outside.

(more…)

NY Demonstration to Target NC Prison Profiteer, in Solidarity with Strike

Occupy activists from around Upstate NY will descend on Cortland on Friday August 3rd at 3:00pm for a picket and demonstration outside the headquarters of prison profiteer JM Murray Center Inc. The picket will be in solidarity with prisoners at three North Carolina prisons on hunger strike since July 16th. The hunger strikers, who are calling themselves the Freedom Riders Movement, asked supporters on the outside to boycott and take actions against several companies profiting off of the mass incarceration of North Carolina prisoners. Other companies that the prisoners listed for supporters to boycott or demonstrate at include Heinz, New Balance and Coca Cola. (more…)

Demo for Strikers Announced: Sunday 1pm @ Central Prison

Friends and Comrades,

On Sunday July 29th at 1pm there will be a demonstration outside of Central Prison at 1300 Western Blvd. in Raleigh and at the Division of Prisons offices (located behind Central) in solidarity with prisoners hunger striking across North Carolina. This action follows a massive and similar strike in GA as well a sit down labor action in the kitchens at Central last December.

Prisoners have expressed demands around a variety of conditions, ranging from the absence of law libraries and unsanitary and inadequate food and medical care to the censorship of mail to abuse by guards and the use of solitary confinement for political intimidation.

Folks are encouraged to bring their own banners and signs, flags, and noisemaking devices. It’ll be hot, so bring water (and extra points for coordinated black and red umbrellas!).

If you’re unable to make it to Raleigh for the demo, please consider organizing your own demonstration at a local jail or prison in your area. You can also send your group’s name in as a supporter of the strike to prisonbooks@gmail.com where we’ll post it on our website. (Feel free to draft your own statement as well).

There are also handbills in english and spanish now available, as well as a poster.

until every cage is empty,
ch prison books collective

Announcing Call-In Day and Petition for NC Hunger Strikers

First, we are announcing and encouraging people to participate in a call-in day to support NC prison hunger strikers on Wednesday, July 25th. You can find phone and fax numbers here. Because the strike may have spread to facilities we don’t yet know about, folks are especially encouraged to call the Division of Prisons HQ in Raleigh.

Second, the Asheville Prison Book Program has set up a petition for the strikers which supporters can sign here.

Third, a poster made for public distribution can be found here; feel free to put this up everywhere in your town, as a general reminder that prison struggles are happening.

Fourth, please write to prisonbooks@gmail.com if your group would like to be mentioned as supporting the strike. Feel free to also write your own statement of support like these folks. As soon as that list starts to come together we will post it.

Fifth, prisoners have called for solidarity actions and boycotts (the latter largely intended for other prisoners) against companies that exploit prisoners and their families via the canteen. A list of companies involved can be found here. (more…)