Pennsylvania hunger striker: I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to our struggles

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    by Andrew Stevenson

    I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs (correctional officers), very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process as guaranteed by the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution along with other personal reasons I shall explain.

    Though Addameer, the source of this graphic, supports prisoners in Palestine, solidarity among hunger strikers around the world is becoming a strong tradition.
    Though Addameer, the source of this graphic, supports prisoners in Palestine, solidarity among hunger strikers around the world is becoming a strong tradition.

    Now, I’ve been in the RHU (Restricted Housing Unit, i.e. solitary confinement) since May 2, 2014, and I’ve witnessed beatings and people being denied food and medical treatment due to a verbal disagreement between inmates and COs which is not only excessive force but a violation of many rights and policies. And I’ve been trying to stand up for my rights, but there’s no unity in the prison and a weak support system on the street, so my last hunger strike lasted for 13 days but went unnoticed, which in turn has made COs and administration representatives take biased acts against me.

    For instance, during my last hunger strike medical failed to follow the procedures of Pennsylvania Policy 131.1, Section 8-9 and 8-14. After me finally eating, they didn’t offer me any medical attention or examination to see how the hunger strike had affected me; it started on May 10 and ended on May 22, 2014.

    Now in the course of me being mistreated I’ve put in several requests until this day and have yet to receive any response, which violates my due process according to DC-ADM 804, which states I should receive a response within 15 business days. My first three grievances were put in on May 19; going on 30 days later, there’s still no response.

    Another issue is I came to the RHU on May 2, 2014, on AC (Administrative Custody) status. Now on May 5, 2014, I received a falsified misconduct for introducing contraband, which I appealed, and it was dismissed on May 21, 2014. Now according to RHU policy, you are eligible for a phone call in 30 days, but I was denied this phone call because of the above misconduct which was dismissed.

    So my time in the RHU should count toward my AC, and to this day I haven’t gotten a call. I’ve written several requests and a grievance to try and fix this but was denied. Not only did I get verbal approval but I also have written approval, yet my grievance was denied on biased grounds, saying it was a misunderstanding – yet I still didn’t get a call.

    I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face.

    Last, I was put in a cell with no storage space for my personal property, a broken shower and two sewage drains. I have to put up with the smell of feces and urine all day, plus gnats, ants, bugs and more bugs keep appearing in my cell through these drains. Now I’ve spoken to COs, sergeants, lieutenants and a captain, and all they keep saying is they’ll look into it but never have. I even wrote a request, but still nothing changed.

    Now I’ve reached out to my family but haven’t heard anything back. I even sent them proof of my call issue and things about my medical rights being violated. I’m in the process of getting copies of my misconduct and grievances that were denied when facts showed they were wrong.

    So I ask that you assist me by bringing some light to this situation and/or point me in the right direction to get some help or outside representation. I would like to thank you listening to my story and let you know I’m thankful for any help you can offer.

    Send our brother some love and light: Andrew Stevenson, LE-1859, SCI Smithfield, 1120 Pike St., P.O. Box 999, Huntington, PA 16652.

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