Tag Archives: Georgia Department of Corrections

On the Seventh Day He Rested

For those of you who have been following the strike by inmates in Georgia, it is perhaps late in the day to report that the strike is over.  It is still unclear why the strike came to an end.   No promises or concessions were exacted from Georgia prison authorities by the inmates consistent with their initial demands, at least none that have been reported by news outlets.  And the Georgia Department of Corrections has been mostly mum on the entire event.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that while the strike has now ended, there is a likelihood that it will start up again if conditions in the prisons do not change.  This came from an inmate named Mike who is an unofficial spokesperson for the inmate-strikers.  He apparently also warned that the next strike would be a violent one should it become a reality.  Yet whether “Mike” actually speaks for any of the striking prisoners is an open question.  Among the statements he made to the AJC was that the reason why the prisoners chose December in which to carry out their strike is because it would be colder at that time and therefore keep tempers of the prisoners from flaring.  An unusual and almost movie-like sentiment to say the least.

It appears as if the prisoners involving in the now-defunct strike plan on filing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the conditions of their incarceration.  For those on the outside who might be assisting in this effort, I point you to the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, published by Columbia University’s Human Rights Law Review.  I have found this publication to be thorough and insightful.  Best of all, it can be accessed for free by clicking here.

I would encourage anyone who has any specific questions about filing a prisoner right’s lawsuit to email me directly or post your question in the comments below.  Also, I would encourage those who know of anyone who has been involved in the strike, either inside or outside the prison cells, to share your story with others in the comments section below.

Day 6 and Onward

Associated Press. The uprising at Attica Prison began on Sept. 9, 1971 and, four days later ended in bloodshed as NY State troopers stormed the prison, killing 10 hostages and 29 inmates.

Today is, I believe, Day 6 of the “strike” by inmates at various Georgia state jails.  Stories on the strike have focused mostly on the inmates’ use of contraband cellphones as a means to coordinate the strike among the various facilities, as reported in the Times.  This, however, is a side issue at best, and should not detract from the significance of the strike itself and, of equal importance, the reasons why it even came about in the first place.  As to the latter, I provide here the list of demands made by the striking inmates that are currently on the table and which the Georgia Department of Corrections has to this date still refused to acknowledge:

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.

The Black Agenda Report has the full press release issued by civilian activists supporting the strike including Elaine Brown.

If you have a friend, relative, or loved one who is participating in the strike whether as a prisoner or as civilian, please share your story with us below.