by Braja Smith
As of July 11, 2014, Georgia State Prison (GSP) has placed all inmates who were previously being illegally held on 24-hour administrative segregation for indefinite periods at a time with a cellmate on the new Tier II program. The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Tier II state that this new program is designed for violent and dangerous offenders, escape-prone offenders or disruptive offenders.
It is pretty much a remake of the Step Down Program being enforced in California, but the living conditions and general treatment in Georgia, a very racist state, are much worse, as far as I’m concerned. True enough, in California a lot of prisoners are being held much longer on admin-seg, which is inhumane, but at least they are housed in single man cells and allowed to buy food, TVs, radios, packages etc.
In GSP, where I have been housed on ISO as well as admin-seg for the past two years and four months, we are not allowed to buy food, watch TV, listen to radio, order packages, use electrical outlets or control our light switches. Our cells have been further altered illegally by welding a steel box under the tray/handcuff flap. Now all trash, laundry, chemicals, supplies, mail, as well as food is served through this filthy box which is always filthy and rust prone.
Steel sliders have been placed over our cell windows to prevent prisoners from seeing inside the dorm. This is so guards can abuse us without prisoners witnessing it, also so they can creep through the dorm and ignore our numerous concerns.
The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Tier II state that this new program is designed for violent and dangerous offenders, escape-prone offenders or disruptive offenders.
In K Building, the only building with admin-seg, the toilet controls were also removed, leaving prisoners to the mercy of malicious or lazy guards to flush bodily waste, which sits in the toilet for hours at a time. The prison is infested with vermin, rats, spiders and just about every insect you can find in the woods. Sanitation or cell clean-out rarely happens and when it does, the chemicals have been diluted to resemble tap water; the broom, mop and toilet brush are missing in part or all together.
The tap water which we are forced to drink smells and tastes like sewage or human waste and sulfur. Two buildings were shut down in 2008 due to asbestos and I’m sure the whole prison is probably still contaminated.
The food portions and quality are poor. Well, the quality has improved but we are being served half portions. Everyone on store restriction in general population as well as admin-seg Tier II has lost at least 25 pounds and counting. This is another way to keep us in a very irritated and painful state. As soon as we are served one meal – which is never enough to fill a grown dog let alone a man – we are already waiting on the next tray.
It is pretty much a remake of the Step Down Program being enforced in California, but the living conditions and general treatment in Georgia, a very racist state, are much worse, as far as I’m concerned.
Guards are malicious, abusive, racist and lazy. The majority of them actually enjoy taunting us and abusing us for whatever reason. Then when a prisoner retaliates, he is sprayed, shocked, beaten, put on strip cell, given a disciplinary write-up and sanctioned with one of many different restrictions or even given more time in prison – and sometimes killed.
Now, when you put all those factors together with the fact that inmates on Tier II are forced to live with a cellmate indefinitely, it is no surprise the number of stabbings, assaults, rapes, robberies, suicide attempts and murders are so high.
I have personally filed three civil suits pro-se about these living conditions but, because I cannot argue law or access the legal material needed, all three have been dismissed due to “failure to state a claim” or because I “failed to prove defendants responsible,” which is pure nonsense!
A blind man can clearly see that we as prisoners are being abused and only a cold-blooded racist system can overlook the crimes which are being committed against us. In GSP we are now going to try a class action as more inmates are open to doing something to fight back intelligently.
A blind man can clearly see that we as prisoners are being abused and only a cold-blooded racist system can overlook the crimes which are being committed against us.
This is bigger than just SHUs or Step Down Programs. White America is actually showing its true face once again, where police and civilians can go on a killing spree and not face prison time for murdering innocent Black and Latino children and parents. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m sick of it. It’s time to man up or perish. Oppressed nations unite!
P.S. I was just granted the right to appeal by the 11th Circuit Court on my civil suit and need an attorney: Smith v. Owens, District Court No. 6:13-CV-00115-BAE-JEG, Appeal No. 14-14039C.
Send our brother some love and light: Braja Smith, 953055, GSP, 2164 Ga. Hwy. 147, Reidsville, GA 30499. Transcribed by Adrian McKinney. Edited by Tynan Krakoff.