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The lockdown of 47,000 prisoners in all 25 Pennsylvania prisons began Aug. 29, 2018, and lasted for 12 days. Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel backed by Gov. Tom Wolf said the lockdown was an emergency measure to protect prison guards. They claimed there was widespread illness of guards from physical contact with synthetic drugs. This is false. The lockdown looks like it was a planned pre-emptive action so that the National Prison Strike didn’t spread to Pennsylvania prisons. The “drug emergency” was a pretext to isolate, repress and control prisoners.
I answered the call Aug. 21, 2018, and put together a hunger strike team. My name was released on the local WTOL News as one of the protesters with the Nation of Islam, who showed their support by hitting the parking lot entrance with banners to protest mass incarceration and prison slavery. A plot to kill me and poison my food by an officer was exposed. But I’m hard to kill. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
By the time you receive this, many of the prisoners housed on H-Con supermax at Polk Correctional Institution will have started a hunger strike in protest of our conditions of confinement. Being that we are imprisoned, it is sometimes easier for society and executive management at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) to view us as sub-human, forget about us and assume that we are receiving quality care. This is not the case.
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
The men at Old Folsom State Prison in the ASU and Ad-Seg will begin a hunger strike on May 25 due to ongoing issues with the conditions of confinement that violate the Eighth Amendment. These prisoners are without food bowls, therefore having to eat out of ziplock bags. They have no cups, needing to drink water from an old milk carton. They have no TVs, no property at all. The mail is sometimes withheld for no reason – up to a month for some prisoners, for others even longer.
Greetings and solidarity to each other and all who participated in our initial hunger strike to end the arbitrary use of solitary confinement and inhumane treatment in Santa Clara County jails. We would like to extend our respect and appreciation to all who participated and sacrificed to provoke change. Although we came from diverse backgrounds – be it race, religion, color or creed – we set our differences aside and interlocked arms, forming a formidable force through civil disobedience in solidarity.
I’m writing to you on behalf of myself and ALL of the other brothers who are sharing my same struggle as a captive of the Georgia Department of Oppression. Georgia is a “hate state,” so we have no “progressive” media outlets here in the state and we need to bring attention to our plight with hopes that the publicity will garner us some help in one fashion or another.
I snapped to the fact that once we successfully exposed this torture program to the world, making the people aware, at least some of the responsibility shifts to the people to hold the lawmakers responsible. It’s unbelievable to me to see the numbers of people out there who are aware of the continued torture we are subjected to, and yet they’ve failed to take any action to hold those responsible accountable.
On July 8, 2013, 30,000 prisoners of the California prison system – and hundreds more across the United States – refused meals to take a stand about the conditions of prisoners in the various forms of solitary isolation – approximately 14,000 human beings in California alone. It was the third hunger strike in California in two years. Dozens of prisoners deprived themselves of solid food for 60 days. One prisoner died.
There are hundreds of prisoners who have been falsely validated as members or associates of prison gangs that can viscerally relate to my experience, from living life as an outlaw in society to being prosecuted and convicted to prison, only to be persecuted while in prison, fundamentally for educating oneself by trying to heighten one’s sense of cultural and social awareness.
The following information is based on numerous letters from prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Center in Illinois written in December 2013. These prisoners expect to go on hunger strike on Jan. 15, 2014, due to their placement and retention in severe isolation, under inhumane living conditions, without notice, reasons or hearing. This will be a peaceful protest. Retaliation can be expected.
Potosi Correctional Center prisoners are in desperate need of assistance from any and all outside organizations, politicians, agencies, state representatives, officials, media, investigative agencies etc. Please assist us to make prison officials cease their transgressions and malicious violations of our federally and state-protected rights and cease continuing restrictions of confinement.
Representatives of the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit have based their decision on a meeting with fellow prisoners at the prison, the growing international condemnation of California’s practice of solitary confinement, as well as the commitment of California Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairs Loni Hancock and Tom Ammiano to convene a series of hearings in response to the strikers’ demands that would “address the issues that have been raised to a point where they can no longer be ignored.”
The state of California must make substantial changes to their prison isolation units and halt the inhuman suffering of thousands of prisoners, Amnesty International said in a new report out today. “The Edge of Endurance: Conditions in California’s Security Housing Units” explores the conditions of confinement endured by more than 3,000 prisoners – including 78 who have spent in excess of two decades in isolation.