by Nikki Davenport
The Alabama Department of Corrections is once again targeting and repressing incarcerated hunger striker Robert Earl Council (aka Kinetik Justice) for exposing the inhumane conditions at Limestone Correctional Facility. This demonstrates just one case in a long pattern of ADOC’s retaliation against Kinetik Justice.
This time, he has been accused of a trumped up disciplinary charge which involved drugs being planted in his cell as an attempt to justify throwing him into solitary confinement. This clear attempt to silence him is directly related to his ongoing organizing efforts to expose rampant corruption and extortion by staff and administration at Limestone.
Council has no history of drug use or possession throughout his over 23 years in prison and in fact has a reputation among prisoners and staff alike of being a positive influence on fellow prisoners. He is often called on by prison staff to resolve conflicts between other prisoners.
On Oct. 29, Kinetik Justice began a hunger strike in protest of his transfer to solitary, and is now on his 11th day of refusing all food. He is currently housed in the infirmary at Limestone CF.
As one of the founders of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), Kinetik is known both in and outside of Alabama’s prisons as a peacekeeper, educator and leader of nonviolent prison strikes. He has many outside supporters who are willing to disrupt business as usual at Limestone CF in order to demand his immediate transfer out of Limestone into general population at a different facility, and the removal of the fraudulent disciplinary charge.
Kinetik will continue his strike, demanding to speak with the Investigations and Intelligence Division of the ADOC, as well as the lead investigators for the U.S. Department of Justice working on the civil rights investigation of officer on inmate violence. He also demands unfettered access to his legal counsel, which the ADOC has recently been interfering with.
Through his strike, Kinetik continues working to expose egregious and illegal activities, including officer on inmate violence at Limestone CF. He and his free-world supporters demand accountability and action regarding the following ongoing and uninvestigated issues at Limestone CF:
- The illegal use of C Dorm for solitary confinement;
- Former Capt. Robinson’s use of the “bucket detail” torture practice and role in orchestrating an illegal gambling ring since at least the spring of 2019;
- The ongoing operation of the illegal gambling ring and extortion by new Capt. Denise McKinsey and Officer Jeremy Pelzer;
- The complaint against Lt. Bright for destroying prisoners’ legal work;
- The recent lawsuit initiated by incarcerated individual Travis Griggs against Officer Jeremy Pelzer.
Although the current hunger strike is in response to Kinetik’s situation at Limestone CF, it underscores a larger context of corruption and injustice all throughout the ADOC.
While the Alabama Department of Corrections proves itself yet again to be incapable of managing its existing prison facilities, Gov. Kay Ivey wants to build three new mega-prisons in Alabama this year. Kinetik and his supporters know that more prisons are not a solution, and will continue advocating for truth and justice for those incarcerated in Alabama.
Nikki Davenport can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.