Youngstown, Ohio, May 9, 2012 – After long negotiations with Warden David Bobby on Monday, May 7, the hunger-striking prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) began eating again. Two of the men held out through Tuesday, unsatisfied with the agreement. The warden met with them separately, and they agreed to come off the strike. Warden Bobby reported that “by lunch time today, everyone was eating.” This was confirmed by two prisoner sources.
At this point, details on agreements are unclear, but sources inside say that the hunger strikers are satisfied and feel they achieved results. One source described the demands and the warden’s response as “reasonable.” Without going into detail, the main concerns were in regards to commissary costs, state pay rates, phone costs, length of stay and harsh penalties for petty conduct reports. The warden said that he discussed “many things” at Monday’s meeting with strike representatives, “many things beyond the main demands,” but he would not share any of the details.
The strikers are resting and recovering but have mailed detailed information to outside supporters at RedBird Prison Abolition, which will be released to the public as soon as possible. The warden admitted that one of the hunger strikers was transferred to disciplinary segregation for an unrelated rule infraction but stated that there were no reprisals or punishments for participating. One prisoner source agreed with this statement.
The hunger strike began on April 30 and was timed to align with May Day protests outside. Prisoners have stated an interest in “joining hands in struggle toward common goals” with protest and resistance movements like Occupy Wall Street.
Ben Turk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.