December 9th, 2010
In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia’s notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other.
The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia’s more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities. We have unconfirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.
Outside calls from concerned citizens and news media will tend to stay the hand of prison authorities who may tend to react with reckless and brutal aggression. So calls to the warden’s office of the following Georgia State Prisons expressing concern for the welfare of the prisoners during this and the next few days are welcome.
Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.
Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400
Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721
Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218
Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000
The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246
Prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!” The prisoners have also set forth the following demands: ·
A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free. ·
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society. ·
DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering. ·
AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules. ·
DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer. ·
NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful. ·
VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise. ·
ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation. ·
JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
Prison Lockdowns Continue
Prison Officials say they expected protests over living conditions and demands for pay.
Georgia is a state that does not pay for inmate labor. During a lock down inmates must remain in their cells.
Elaine Brown is a longtime prisoner advocate. She says it’s ironic that prison officials ordered a lockdown after finding out about the coordinated strike at 4 prisons.
“They knew this was going to happen. So what their positions was to lock people down and say that they chose to lock these men down. Now the reality was the men weren’t coming out of their cells anyway.”
26 of the states’ other prisons are operating normally. The Southern Center for Human Right plans to visit one of the prisons in the lockdown next week.