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North Carolina prisoners on hunger strike

July 25, 2012

by Infoshop News

On Monday, July 16, prisoners began hunger strikes at Bertie Correctional Institution (CI) in Windsor, N.C., Scotland CI in Laurinburg and Central Prison in Raleigh, where 100 prisoners were reported to be on strike July 19. Targeting a wide range of conditions related but not exclusive to solitary confinement, the prisoners have vowed not to eat until their demands are met.

“We just received news from one of the strikers on Unit 1 at Central Prison in Raleigh,” wrote a commenter at PrisonBooksCollective on July 23. “After the fourth day, doctors were finally sent in to assess the condition of the prisoners. One of them had lost six pounds, and the doctors threatened to IV him. Otherwise, it sounds like spirits are fairly high with the strike, and hope remains that it will spread. Referring to the administration of Central, ‘They are trying to downplay it but they are scrambling.’”

Prisoners have encouraged supporters to call or fax the administrations of these facilities as well as Director Robert Lewis (see information below), to “march or protest in front of Central Prison and others,” “boycott all products being sold in these prisons,” and to “contact media outlets and let them know what we are doing.”

The prisoners have listed the following demands (listed below), though they are also encouraging others to include any other grievances specific to their conditions. It is still unclear how many prisoners are currently participating, but correspondence with those on the inside has made it clear that the strike has spread to at least three different facilities.

Constant attention and pressure on administrations can help make this strike a success and protect those who are putting their lives on the line. Prisoners have asked folks on the outside to call every day to check on fasting prisoners and pressure administration. Contact these officials:

  • Director of Prisons Robert C. Lewis, phone (919) 838-4000, fax (919) 733-8272
  • Central Prison Warden Ken Lassiter, phone (919) 733-0800, fax (919) 715-2645, or Public Information, (919) 733-5027
  • Bertie CI Warden Renoice Stancil (The receptionist says Stancil has been replaced with a man named Anderson), phone (252) 794-8600, fax (252) 794-4608
  • Scotland CI Warden Sorrell Saunders, phone (910) 844-3078, fax (910) 844-3786

Prisoners’ demands

  • Law libraries. We are tired of being railroaded by the courts and having our rights violated by prison staff and officers. North Carolina Prison Legal Services are inadequate and oftentimes do not help us at all. A law library is needed to enable us to legally defend ourselves.
  • An immediate end to the physical and mental abuse inflicted by officers.
  • Improved food, in terms of quality and quantity.
  • A better way to communicate emergencies from cells. Many emergency call buttons are broken and never replaced, and guards often do not show up for over an hour. At least one prisoner has died this way.
  • Canteen. The canteens that serve lock-up units need to make available vitamins and personal hygiene items.
  • An immediate stop to officers’ tampering or throwing away prisoners’ mail.
  • Education programs for prisoners on lock-up.
  • The immediate release of prisoners from solitary who have been held unjustly or for years without infractions. This includes the Strong 8, sent to solitary for the purpose of political intimidation.
  • The immediate end to the use of restraints as a form of torture.
  • The end of cell restriction. Sometimes prisoners are locked in their cell for weeks or more than a month, unable to come out for showers and recreation.
  • The theft of prisoners’ property, including mattresses and clothes. When on property restriction, we are forced to sleep on the ground or steel bed frames naked, with no bedding.
  • Medical privacy and confidentiality. Guards should not be able to listen in on our medical problems when on sick call.
  • Windows. Change our cell windows to ones which we can see through. The current windows are covered with feces and grime. Not being able to see out is sensory deprivation and makes us feel dissociated from everything that exists outside of prison.
  • An immediate repair of cell lights, sinks, toilets and plumbing.
  • Toilet brushes should be handed out with cell cleaning items.
  • The levels of I-Con, M-Con and H-Con need to be done away with altogether. When one is placed on Intensive Control Status (I-Con), one is placed in the hole for six months and told to stay out of trouble. But even when we stay out of trouble, we are called back to the FCC and DCC only to be told to do another six months in the hold, infraction free.

This story first appeared on Infoshop News.

Call Raleigh and sign petition for NC hunger strikers

by the Internationalist Prison Books Collective of Chapel Hill, N.C.

We are encouraging people to make calls to support North Carolina prison hunger strikers. You can find phone and fax numbers above. Because the strike may have spread to facilities we don’t yet know about, folks are especially encouraged to call the Division of Prisons headquarters 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.

A weekly anarchist radio show out of Asheville, N.C., called the Final Straw, recently did an hour long interview regarding this hunger strike. You can hear the interview here:

This story first appeared at PrisonBooks.info.

 

7 thoughts on “North Carolina prisoners on hunger strike

    1. Sekhmet

      You don't need to be a shrink to understand that human beings will have psychological damage if kept in isolation for extended periods of time.

      I think your comment reflects the sadistic nature of most correctional officers and police officers.

      Reply
  1. Concerned

    These people that are in "Prison" are there because they broke the law and had no regards for the victims and their families for what ever crime they committed against them. To my opinion they lost their rights when they committed their crime and was convicted. Most of their crimes were murder, rape, and hanis actions towards a person or persons. What about the victims rights? My son works at one of these prisons and the abuse that he takes from the inmates is unreal. He has been in fights with them, spit on, urine throwed in his face, and other ungodly actions towards him. And the inmates says their rights are violated. Whoa!!!!! They are in prision not on a picnic. The only right they have is for someone to visit them and witness to them and hopefully they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and ask for forgiveness. They think they live in Hell now, they have seen nothing if they don't accept Jesus Christ in their life.

    Reply
    1. Martin

      Physical abuse and withholding of medications and mail are the types of things going on and idk if u realize but many of the inmates have mental health issues. When u are on certain meds and people decide not to give them to u and not provide adequate monitoring that in itself can cause exacerbation of the mental issues. And then put on top of that physical abuse. My brother was just assaulted less than yep weeks ago. No wonder why c.o.s have bad days. If they had God in their lives, maybe they wouldn't JUDGE as it says not to do in the Bible and treat inmates as humans things would be better. IM not going to stop my goal is to have some of those c.o.d brought up on charges…

      Reply
  2. To real 4 u

    Its time to get real!
    You stated: “Most of their crimes were murder, rape, and hanis actions towards a person or persons.”
    One only has to look in the FBI annual report “Crimes in the United States” and find the MAJORITY OF CRIMES IN THE U.S. ARE PROPERTY CRIMES. THESE ARE NONVIOLENT OFFENSES (ex., including burglary, larceny, and motor theft).
    This shows us that most rich people ain't going to jail. Its poor folks filling these over packed prisons.

    Why people are in prison?
    Answer: People are in prison because its a $70 BILLION gold mine! Private corporations like Corrections Corp of America (CCA) and GEO Group are making tons of making leasing out prison labor. Prisoners in every state in the country are making products (furniture, foods, electronics, clothes….the list is endless) for companies for pennies a day.
    The more people in prison the richer the investors in Corrections Corp of America (CCA) and GEO Group will be!
    Do your research people.

    Reply
  3. Mouse

    Once man or woman goes to prison they enter another world and the rules of the regular life does not exist in there. For whatever reason they are incarcerated they fall under the same rules as all others. Now there are violent gangs in prison just like in the streets, and believe me, they are violent. Prison staff try and restrict the use of certain item to protect staff and other inmates. This is necessary. They are given the opportunity to work which they have the right to refuse(most do not).Jobs are created in the prison system just like in the real world FOR THE SAME REASONS. It helps to defray the cost of taking care,feeding,clothing and absorbing most of the cost of medical care. There are many prisons in NC and many inmates in each facility. Ask yourself if you would like to have another tax imposed on you to help take care of these prisons. YOU can barely take care of your family or(if you are single) yourself with the way prices are now. The same price hike that affects us affects the prison system. The same prisoners that say restraints are used as torture weapons is trying to fool the public. Would you say restraints are torture weapons when used on Holmes. Restraints are handcuffs or leg shackles. One is used to restrain the hands, to keep him from hitting,choking you, the other keeps him from running or kicking you. If prisoners want to starve themselves, its their right. Food is offered and they refuse.They have no demands that should be considered.

    Reply
    1. Martin

      U can't blame prisoners for the economy. Just think if effective rehabilitation measures had been put into place with many of the inmates BEFORE they ended up in prison, effective counseling, education services, and connections to opportunities many didn't even know existed as far as creating a life sms career for themselves TJEY WOULDN'T JAVE ENFED UP ON PRISON IN THE FIRST PLACE. I grew up in North Carolina and on this small town systematically eliminated African Americans primarily boys from the education system as fast as they could. For example many former classmates were permanently expelled from school for getting in a fight while a white male classmate was sitting at home making bombs preparing to blow up the school. He was allowed to return to school after a brief stay at a mental health facility.

      Reply

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