Call in Successful! Sean is at 3A!


cups-s-swainLast week, we sent out an urgent request that supporters call Warren Correctional and demand that Sean be moved to a 3A level cell block. He left SOCF in mid August, he was supposed to be sent to 3A, but was instead “accidentally placed in a 3B unit. 3B is a disciplinary unit, where prison gangs ran things and young guys who were only in for short stints and had nothing to lose would pick fights and cause trouble a lot. At SOCF and OSP Sean was on higher security levels, which means 23 hour a day lock-down and not many opportunities for open conflict. A 3B unit is the place Sean would be most likely to run into hassles with other prisoners. Admins could use any conflict to justify putting him back in long term solitary on level 4 or 5.

This weekend, Sean’s 3B unit was transitioned to housing 3A prisoners, the level Sean was supposed to be in. But they didn’t leave him there, they transferred him with the 3B prisoners to another 3B unit.

So, to avoid whatever provocations and nonsense that administrators are attempting to make happen, Sean decided: “I am remaining in my cell until transferred to 3A-level housing. I’m not going to chow or to the shower or the phone or kiosk or commissary or chapel or library or recreation. 24/7 in the cell to avoid shenanigans and traps that administrators intend to use for upping my security to 3B. I’m fueled on coffee and Raman noodles.” Sean also “sent kites to relevant fuckweasels: warden’s assistant, unit management administrator, unit manager, case manager, unit sergeant, etc., letting them know I have to stay holed up in my cell indefinitely since I’m moved onto a 3B level unit around 3B prisoners. When I run out of noodles, I can start by eating my own big toe. Without coffee, I can drink my own urine. Or, I suppose, I could just drink the water from the sink.”

Sean’s refusal, combined with all the outside calls we flooded in on Friday and Monday, finally got the goods and he is now finally in level 3A housing. Unfortunately, his old neighbor at SOCF, Robert Mahone is in dire need of help. Please read about that, and lend some support!

OSP has removed Sean Swain from general population against his will


OSP Warden Jay Forshay: 330-743-0700 ext 2006.

SCRIPT: “Hello, I’m calling in support of Sean Swain, 243-205. He was
removed from general population against his will on Friday. I do not trust
that this transfer was in the interest of his health, in fact, I believe
the opposite, that you’re isolating him so he will die without witnesses. I
demand that you return him to general population and return access to all
forms of communication other prisoners on security level 4A receive. Thank

See below or for more information, and mailing addresses.

Chief Inspector’s Office: 614-752-1687

SCRIPT (you’ll probably go straight to voicemail): “if anyone is actually
monitoring this voicemail box, please call Ben Turk and tell him who the
Chief Inspector of the ODRC even is. You might also want to contact the
Senators and Representatives on the CIIC who’re supposed to be overseeing
the ODRC, cuz they also don’t know what your office does, other than
interfere with prisoner’s constitutionally protected freedoms anyway. Oh,
also, please give Sean Swain back his video visits, you opaque,
unaccountable fascists.”

See this post for explanation:


Ohio State Penitentiary administrators removed Sean Swain from population,
according to a prisoner housed on Sean’s security level. He is now held
incommunicado, without phone or email access, and likely without writing
materials. When prison officials last removed Sean from population at
Mansfield Correctional, he was placed in a torture cell with no heat, no
bed, no shower, forced to pace 24 hours a day to stay warm. He left there
sleep-deprived and hallucinating. Less than 90 days later, two other
prisoners died on Torture Cell Row.

Sean initiated a hungerstrike on Monday, 02 February and refused blood
pressure medication beginning Tuesday, 10 February. His health is likely
already compromised, so placement in a torture cell, isolated from all
other prisoners and cut off from the outside world, could only be initiated
by prison officials for the obvious motive of eliminating Sean once and for

Sean, anticipating this possibility, explained, “The only thing to gain by
isolating me is the opportunity to continue refusing me medications after I
have agreed to start taking them again. In other words, isolating me gives
them the chance to murder me without witnesses, something they can’t do
while I’m in population.”

Prison officials would benefit greatly from the death of Sean Swain.
Currently, Sean has a lawsuit filed through his counsel, Richard Kerger.
This lawsuit threatens to expose the illegality of ODRC Director Gary
Mohr’s JPay policy, that enriches a prison profiteer corporation; it
threatens to expose the State’s recourse to torture, and a connection
between the FBI and torture engineer Trevor Clark, who was disclosed as
“agency liaison” to the FBI; it threatens to expose a not-so-secret dirty
war waged by government against dissidents and critics, particularly of an
anarchist perspective.

It very well may be that ODRC Director Gary Mohr, his corporate sponsors,
and his FBI puppeteers have decided that they are better off with Sean
Swain dead than alive.

Sean’s supporters and legal counsel await any kind of communication from
Sean, who has previously proven resourceful at smuggling communiques out of
the prison, even from the supermax.

Prior to his being “disappeared,” he was asked pointedly about prison
officials murdering him to silence him permanently. He said, “Somewhere,
some time, some government official decided nobody would care if Mohammed
Bouazizi lived or died. Then, 3 governments in the region were swept out of
power by the force of popular resistance. Somewhere, some time, some
government official decided nothing would happen if Mike Brown died. Then,
popular resistance burned down Ferguson.

“I don’t know. Maybe they can get away with killing me, maybe they can’t.
But if they think they need to kill a former gas station attendant who had
a 2.2 grade-point average in high school in order to defend their fascist
program from the truth, they’ve already lost; they’re in far deeper shit
than they realize.”

Demand Sean’s immediate release back to general population and
reinstatement of all of his communication!

OSP Warden Jay Forshay: 330-743-0700 ext 2006.
Write letters:
Warden Forshay,
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Chief Inspector’s Office: 614-752-1687
Chief Inspector’s Office
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43222

Ohio: OSP prisoner hunger strike enters second week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OSP Hunger Strike Enters Second Week.

Monday May 7th, 2011, Youngstown OH- Prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) continue the hunger strike they started on Monday April 30th, in solidarity with May Day.

The number of prisoners refusing food has fluctuated from 24 to 48 over the last week, as some prisoners joined late. Communication with the super max prisoners has been limited since the beginning of the strike, but a clear list of grievances and demands has emerged from at least two sources.

The two primary demands are:
1. Improved commissary practices and increased state pay. The prison commissary can set prices at up to 35% mark-up on basic necessities like shampoo, food, and soap. These prices fluctuate unexpectedly, and are often prohibitive to prisoners without outside support, as state pay is only $9 a month.

2. A transparent and accountable security level classification process. OSP houses level 4 and 5 prisoners, the highest security level in Ohio. Once prisoners are classified at these levels and transferred to OSP, there is no clear process for how they can reduce their level and get transferred out of the facility. Prisoners can spend years in OSP without any negative conduct reports and still have no hope of their level being reduced.

Other grievances include:

1. Food portions and quality have been reduced due to austerity measures.

2. Inadequate medical care. Also due to austerity cuts, prison officials have stopped send prisoners to outside treatment centers for MRIs and EEGs unless their conditions are considered life threatening. They also often ignore doctor recommendations for pain medications.

3. Lack of enrichment programming. There are strict bans on many books and movies, and the institutional television channel has little variety. One prisoner said they run the same programs on a loop every six months.

The two sources for these demands are an open letter written to the local Youngstown paper, by prisoner Marcus Harris, and phone conversations with a trusted anonymous source inside the prison. This source also stated that at least one hunger striker has been punished for his participation, sprayed with mace in his cell and sent to disciplinary isolation. This report has not yet been confirmed.

Warden David Bobby met with hunger strike representatives for 3 hours on Wednesday May 2nd. He says he will “continue to communicate with the inmates and listen to their concerns”. Thus far, the Warden has called a committee to review commissary practices, comparing them with other Ohio Institutions.

He says that the security level classification system is not uniform because it takes the reasons a prisoner was transferred to OSP into account. One prisoner source was familiar with this argument. He described a situation where someone got sentenced to Level 5 at OSP for 48 months or less. He got no negative reports for those 48 months, but was still denied a security transfer because of “the reasons he was originally classified Level 5, but they already knew that when the brought him in and told him it’d be 48 months or less”. This prisoner also said that consequences for petty conduct reports, like refusing to cuff up or return a food tray, have recently increased, “someone who used to be sent to the hole for 16 days, now might be dropped a level from 4 to 5”. He considers these changes an attempt to keep OSP full of prisoners as “job security” for the Warden and Officers.

The Warden said OSP currently has the most prisoners it has since it opened in 1996. He also said the current hunger strike is the biggest hunger strike since he became warden 4 years ago. It is also the second hunger strike this year. In February, twenty-five prisoners went on hunger strike for 3 days. Two major demands from that hunger strike were: increased recreation time, to the court required minimum of five hours a week, and improved commissary practices. The recreation time demand was met, but the prisoners say the current hunger strike “follows directly” from the neglected commissary demand from February. The warden says he does not remember what the demands in February were, and that the recreation schedule has changed repeatedly since the transfer of death row from OSP to Chillicothe last December.

Prisoner Mark Harris’s letter ends: “in short, we are sensory deprived, underfed, isolated with little to no movement, unable to hug our children, family and friends, and we are stuck for an overly extended period of time, with limited programming”. He requests that people use “whatever resources [they] have to help spread the word of our cause, to call and check up on us and our health and also to look into these matters”.

Warden David Bobby 330-743-0700
ODRC Director Gary Mohr 614-752-1164