In support of Georgia prisoners strike – sign the petition
Please take a minute to click onto the following link and sign on to the Solidarity Statement/petition in support of the Georgia prisoners' strike, the largest strike of prisoners in US history. Beginning on December 9, 2010, thousands of prisoners who are forced to work for free took non-violent action together across racial divisions. Their demands are listed in more detail below are: A living wage for work, increased educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, vocational and self-improvement opportunities, access to families, and just parole decisions.
The prisoners ended the strike after eight days, but their movement was not defeated, and they intend to continue to organise together. But the participants, in particular the leaders of the movement, need your public support to prevent beatings, strip searches, transfers and other punishment and sabotage of their organising network.
Yesterday, we spoke with Elaine Brown , former Black Panther leader, who is co-ordinating support for the strike and has formed the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights. She told us that 20,000 prisoners participated and that CCRPR are asking for support to be focussed on prisoners’ efforts to win their demands. She comments below:
“The prisoners’ peaceful protest was historic in scope and in the unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons. It ignited protests and support actions all over the country and, even, rumblings of similar protests in other prisons in other states.”
You'll see that prisoners describe the sectors who have come together to pull off the strike:
"We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground."
Reports include the shocking fact that "One in 12 adults in Georgia are in jail or prison, parole or probation or other court and correctional supervision." and prisoners' expressed concern that "there's people in here who can't even read."
Reports also protest the profiteering of private corporations and the obstacles put in the way of prisoners maintaining contact with family: " Georgia no longer allows families to send funds via US postal money orders to inmates. It requires families to send money through J-Pay, a private company that rakes off nearly ten percent of all transfers. Telephone conversations between Georgia prisoners and their families are also profit centers for another prison contractor, Global Tel-Link which extracts about $55 a month for a weekly 15 minute phone call from cash-strapped families."
Elaine Brown didn’t know about the Solidarity Statement/petition, but was glad to hear that people were supporting the strikers. We are signing it and are asking others to sign, because the more people who sign the bigger will be the protection for prisoners against further abuse by guards. http://www.petitiononline.com/
But we also urge you to read and study the prisoners’ demands. They tell those of us on the outside what those of us inside are facing day to day, and what an extraordinary workers’ strike, despite such conditions, their organising was able to achieve. There is a list of phone numbers from the distant prisons below which you can call to protest the punishment meted out to the heroic strugglers.
If you are receiving this and are a prisoner yourself, please let others know what has been accomplished for all of us by these brothers in Georgia . And write to tell us what you think of this great strike.
Global Women's Strike (GWS)
Women of Color in GWS
Legal Action for Women
Payday men’s network
Date: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:30 AM
For Immediate Release
Contact: Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights [email protected]
PRISONERS’ SUPPORT COALITION MEETS WITH GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Press Conference Follows Meeting Today
WHEN: Friday, December 17, 2010, 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: James H. (Sloppy) Floyd Building, 2 Martin Luther King Drive, Atlanta , GA
WHO & WHY: The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, newly-formed to support the interests and agenda of thousands of Georgia prisoners who staged an eight-day peaceful protest and work strike, will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. today at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building following a 3 p.m. meeting with Department of Corrections officials. The delegation will share with the media a letter from the Coalition to Gov.Sonny Purdue and Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens and share updates on the strike and conditions faced by prisoners.
While prisoners were able to bring the strike to a peaceful conclusion, Department of Corrections wardens and administrators and Tactical Squads have begun a brutal campaign of retaliation against striking prisoners,particularly those deemed leaders, said Coalition organizers. Many prisoners have been transferred to unknown facilities in overnight transports, most reportedly to an abandoned building at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville to be isolated in strip cells, organizers added. Other prisoners are still suffering from beatings, tear-gassing and otherdocumented violent tactics employed to break the strike and force the men back to work without pay. Still, the prisoners’ demands remain on the table and the Coalition delegation will raise these issues and others withCorrections Department officials.
“The prisoners’ peaceful protest was historic in scope and in the unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons. It ignited protests and support actions all over the country and, even, rumblings of similar protests in other prisons in other states,” said former Black Panther leaderElaine Brown, who has been spearheading much of the support activity and public relations on behalf of the prisoners.
The prisoners are petitioning the DOC for their human rights, including being paid for their labor, provided educational opportunities, decent health care and nutritional meals, a halt to cruel and unusual punishments, and end to unjust parole decisions.
“For eight powerful days, these men stood up for their humanity and sent a message of hope and courage to all of us to do the same, to unite and fight to end the social ills that plague our houses on both sides of the wall,” said Brown.
* 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 Eighth 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 Eighth 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.
CALL TO PROTEST ABOUT THE PUNISHMENT OF PRISONERS FOR TAKING PART IN THE PROTEST:
Macon State Prison is (478) 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