Georgia: Prisoners now on hunger strike for over a month; situation dire

From Black Agenda Report, via GeorgiaHungerStrike.wordpress.com:

The ongoing hunger strikers in Georgia’s Jackson State prison have reportedly been joined by others in Augusta and Macon. But the 37 rounded up as alleged leaders of the December 2010 strike are still officially not named by the state are believed to have been on 24 hour lockdown the last 18 months, with many suffering brutal beatings and denied medical attention. Why has the state not revealed their identities? Why are there still thousands of children and illiterates in Georgia’s prisons? Why do prisoners still work without wages, and why does Bank of America still extract monthly tolls from their accounts? Why has so little changed?

 

Hunger Strikes Reportedly Continue in Multiple Georgia Prisons, Prisoners Await A Movement Outside Prison Walls

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

As we’ve told the story over the months in Black Agenda Report, in the wake of the peaceful December 2010 strike by black, brown and white inmates in several Georgia prisons, corrections officials first cut off heat and hot water to prisoners in the dead of winter. After meeting with citizens on the outside who publicly backed prisoner demands for decent food, medical care, educational opportunities, humane visiting policies, transparency in proceedings against inmates and wages for work, the state briefly allowed citizen access to Macon and Smith Prisons, before adopting a systematic and apparently statewide policy of rounding up and brutally assaulting those prisoners it imagined might have been leaders of the strike.

A small number of low-ranking corrections personnel have been fired, indicted or pled guilty to various offenses in the wave of beatings, but in an apparent endorsement of the beatings as state policy, Department of Corrections, local judges, prosecutors and state officials have refused to investigate most of them.

 

State authorities claim to have rounded up 37 from around the state and placed them in close confinement at its massive Jackson State Prison, where it murdered Troy Davis last year. Those 37, as far as anyone outside the prison administration knows, have been in solitary confinement ever since, sometimes for weeks without showers and months without being allowed visits. They have received little or no medical care for the vicious beatings they sustained eighteen months ago.
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Georgia Prison Strike, One Year Later: Activists Outside the Walls Have Failed Those Inside the Walls

by Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened.

A year ago this month, black, white and brown inmates in a dozen Georgia prisons staged a brief strike. They put forward a set of simple and basic demands — wages for work, decent food and medical care, access to educational and self-improvement programs, fairness and transparency in the way the state handles grievances, inmate funds and release decisions, and more opportunities to connect with their families and loved ones. A short-lived formation calling itself the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoner Rights came together, and met with the Georgia Department of Corrections. In the last weeks of 2010 teams of community observers were allowed to visit Macon State and Smith prisons, where they examined facilities and interviewed staff and prisoners.

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened. It was to have initiated a long-term dialog with state officials in pursuit of the inmates’ eminently just and reasonable demands. That never happened either. It should have called public meetings and begun to organize a lasting campaign to educate the public on the meaning of Georgia’s and the nation’s prison state, and the possibilities for radical reform. These are the things the prisoners expected of their allies and spokespeople on the outside. But compromised and undermined from within and without, the coalition was unable to make any of these things happen. Thus the trust that Georgia prisoners placed in activists outside the walls to organize in support of their demands was betrayed. Continue reading

Georgia Prison Guards Arrested for Retaliatory Abuse of Inmate

Georgia Prison Guards Arrested for Retaliatory Abuse of Inmate
by Julianne Hing

On Monday seven Georgia prison guards were arrested for their involvement in the December beating of Terrance Dean, a 29-year-old prisoner in Macon State Prison after a highly publicized prison strike.

Christopher Hall, Ronald Lach, Derrick Wimbrush, Willie Redden, Darren Douglas Griffin, Kerry Bolden and Delton Rushin were each charged with aggravated battery and violation of oath of office, Atlanta’s WALB reported. Their arrests were the result of an inquiry done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations at the request of the Department of Corrections. A coalition of prisoner rights advocates and allies demanded the GBI investigate the case earlier this year after they heard reports of retalitatory violence against prisoners. Continue reading

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.

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Letter Writing Night This Wednesday!

***UPDATE: EVENT WILL INCLUDE RECENT ACTS OF REPRESSION ON GEORGIA PRISONERS (See previous post) AND THE CURRENT HUNGER STRIKE TAKING PLACE ON DEATH ROW IN LUCASVILLE, OH (See recent Denver ABC post on Lucasville)***

LETTER WRITING NIGHT TO SUPPORT GEORGIA’S PRISONER MOVEMENT
Wednesday, January 5th at 6:30pm
6th ave United Church of Christ (6th ave and Adams st)
Free dinner and kid friendly
Contact: denverabc@rocketmail.com

This month’s letter writing night will focus on learning about and writing letters of support to the resistance movement that has recently ignited across Georgia prisons.

December witnessed a six day general strike by prisoners in over 6 Georgia state prisons to reclaim basic human rights like a living wage, decent living conditions, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment.

All though the strike has ended, prison organizers have vowed to continue the struggle. Let’s make sure the we in Denver are here for them on the outside every step of the way!

So join us on Wednesday, January 5th for a free community dinner, a presentation about the Georgia strike and its historical significance, and a space to write letters to Georgia prisoner organizers.

Cases Emerge of Georgia Prisoners Beaten During Non-Violent Strike

The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights has learned that on or near December 16th Terrance Bryant Dean was severely beaten by guards at Macon State Prison during the strike of thousands of prisoners across the state of Georgia. Prison officials have refused to release any information about Terrance’s condition.  In fact when his mother asked about him they said he was in the hole, when in fact it was later discovered he had been hospitalized.  The status of 37 or more prisoners being labeled “conspirators” is also unknown.

According to witnesses, Terrance was dragged from his cell in handcuffs and leg irons, removed to the prison gym and beaten unconscious.  Reports are also coming in that this is not the only incidence of retaliatory violence from the prison system.  The Coalition has visited two of the prisons to investigate abuses and will have a full report out soon.

First Letter Writing Night of 2011: Georgia Prisoner Movement

LETTER WRITING NIGHT TO SUPPORT GEORGIA’S PRISONER MOVEMENT
Wednesday, January 5th at 6:30pm
6th ave United Church of Christ (6th ave and Adams st)
Free dinner and kid friendly
Contact: denverabc@rocketmail.com

This month’s letter writing night will focus on learning about and writing letters of support to the resistance movement that has recently ignited across Georgia prisons.

December witnessed a six day general strike by prisoners in over 6 Georgia state prisons to reclaim basic human rights like a living wage, decent living conditions, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment.

All though the strike has ended, prison organizers have vowed to continue the struggle. Let’s make sure the we in Denver are here for them on the outside every step of the way!

So join us on Wednesday, January 5th for a free community dinner, a presentation about the Georgia strike and its historical significance, and a space to write letters to Georgia prisoner organizers.

Denver: Solidarity rally with Georgia prisoners

Soli
About 25 folks rallied last night in solidarity with prisoners that are struggling in Georgia for better physical conditions. A full write up will come soon…
Soli!

Georgia prisons on the brink: Prisoners end strike, pledge violent resistance if demands are not met…

GA state prisonFrom Capitalist News:

The prison system began lifting lock downs at four institutions and returning the facilities to normal operations Wednesday and inmate said they were ending their protest for now and reporting to work assignments.

One of the organizers of the protest said prisoners are still going to pursue their concerns. If the Department of Corrections ignores their requests, the next protest will be violent, he said.

Prison officials did not say what led to the decision to end the lock downs that had been in place since last Thursday. But an inmate at Smith State Prison in Glenville said in a telephone interview prisoners had agreed to end their “non-violent” protest to allow administrators time to focus on their concerns rather than operating the institutions without inmate labor.

“We’ve ended the protest,” said Mike, a convicted armed robber who was one of the inmates who planned and coordinated the work stoppage. “We needed to come off lock down so we can go to the law library and start … the paperwork for a [prison conditions] lawsuit.

“We’re just giving them time to … meet our requests without having to worry about us on lock down,” Mike told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.
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Denver, Thursday: Emergency Demonstration in Solidarity with Georgia Prison Rebels

Fire to the prisons!Thursday December 16, 6pm
Emergency Solidarity Demonstration with Georgia Prison Strike Rebels
Downtown Denver “Justice” Center
Colfax and Elati

Hundreds of prisoners in Georgia have been on “strike” for nearly a week, refusing to work, leave their cells, and in many instances, eat.

They are demanding payment for their labor (Georgia currently pays prisoners nothing for prison labor), better living conditions, decreased costs for phone calls and stamps (Georgia’s costs for these “privileges” are among the highest in the nation) access to education, access to programs that curb substance abuse, and other improvements to the physical conditions of prisoners’ lives in Georgia’s penitentiaries.

Folks on the outside need to step up and show some solidarity with the prisoners of Georgia! Demonstrations have happened in Atlanta and other large cities in the south, with a large demonstration in Richmond slated for the weekend.

Denver Anarchist Black Cross, a social movement defense organization active in the Denver Metro area, is calling for people of conscience in Denver to show solidarity with the courageous rebels in Georgia, who at this very moment are facing extremely violent reprisals for their actions. In several facilities, heat and hot water have been turned off to the cells of striking prisoners, and violent beatings and cell entries have become the norm.

Bring signs, your feelings of love, solidarity, and rage at the prison industrial complex and the ongoing repression and criminalization of poor and working people across the country as we connect the struggle in Georgia’s prisons to the conditions here in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, where Marvin Booker was murdered by guards in July.