Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OSP Hunger Strike Enters Second Week

These cages are similar to the ones OSP used to
give level 5B prisoners access to programming.
OSP claims they do not provide enough security. 
On Monday March 16th, over 30 supermax prisoners at Ohio State Penitientiary went on hunger strike. Warden Jay Forshey and OSP staff are refusing to meet their demands or negotiate with them. Some of the hunger strikers have not even been met and consulted with regarding their demands. Eleven prisoners remain on hunger strike and are committed to staying through to the end, if necessary.

SUPPORT ACTION:

1. Please call ODRC Legal Services department and request that they speak with the hunger striking prisoners and address the illegal policy changes at OSP. Call ODRC Legal Services- 614-752-1765 ask for Trevor Clark, Austin Stout or their boss, Stephen Gray.
Write letters: Legal Services, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222
Email: Trevor.Clark@odrc.state.oh.us Austin.Stout@odrc.state.oh.us and Stephen.Gray@odrc.state.oh.us

2. Please call Warden Jay Forshey at OSP and demand that he change these policies and meet with all the hunger striking prisoners to address their other issues. Ohio State Penitentiary- 330-743-0700 ext 2006.
Write letters: Warden Forshay, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505
Email: Jay.Forshey@odrc.state.oh.us and Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us
You can also contact the politicians on the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee and ask them to look into the issue. http://www.ciic.state.oh.us/complaint-form See below for direct contact information...
More details on the issues:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Columbus Free Press on the Recent OSP Hunger Strike.

From The Columbus Free Press.

During a press conference on Monday, March 16, Siddique Hasan announced  that a hunger strike was underway at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP). Hasan had called in to the press conference from a phone within OSP, also known as the “Supermax” prison, in Youngstown, Ohio. He told the reporters he had missed his last three meals.
  Hasan is one of the four “Lucasville Five” inmates who are on death row at OSP as a result of their presence at the Lucasville prison uprising in 1993. His fellow Lucasville Five members, Bomani Shakur (Keith Lamar) and Jason Robb are also participating in the hunger strike.
  Hasan outlined the reason for the current hunger strike. The root of the problem began when a new inmate at OSP stabbed a guard in the neck and punched one in the face. Instead of dealing with that one individual, OSP prison officials applied collective punishment to everyone in OSP under Level Five security.
  Hasan denounced the “collective punishment” being dispensed at the Supermax prison: “There's been no access to computer rooms on Level 5B in three weeks.” He also explained that prison officials are also denying the rights of new inmates to participate in religious services for one year. “Religion is a constitutional right,” Hasan pointed out.

Update on Hungerstrike for Access to Programming and Recreation at OSP

This is an update on this hunger strike.

According to both Hasan and Warden Forshey, there are over 30 people officially on hunger strike at OSP (meaning they have skipped 9 meals, and submitted to having their cells shook down and getting medical check ups).

Officer Charmainge Bracy (sp?) met with all the hunger striking prisoners. The Warden and other officials also came through the cell blocks talking with prisoners. Thus far none of the demands have been met and no changes made.

Chief Legal Council for the ODRC, Trevor Clark came to the prison and said this was the first he's heard of the issues the hunger striking prisoners are raising, which (if true) means OSP thinks they can change policies regarding access to recreation and religious programming with no concern about the legality of these changes.

Hasan is especially concerned with the programming issue. It is only the 5B prisoners who are blocked from this programming, so he has access to it, but he's concerned about the 50 or so prisoners who are denied that access.

The first issue is religious programming. It is a clear violation of first amendment freedom of religion to block these prisoners from access to religious programming and instruction. Hasan is encouraging supporters to reach out to their religious communities, whether Christian, Muslim, or otherwise, and let people know that OSP is illegally denying their brothers access to their chosen faiths.

Monday, March 16, 2015

OSP Prisoners on Hunger Strike.

According to Siddique Abdullah Hasan, many prisoners at OSP started a hunger strike today protesting recent policy changes that illegally restrict prisoner access to recreation and programming, including constitutionally protected religious programming.

The prisoners are demanding rec and programming be returned, and these other issues addressed. Please call the following officials and demand that access to recreation and programming be returned, and that the warden meet with and negotiate any other demands the hunger striking prisoners have.

Call Warden Jay Forshey at 330-743-0700You can also email the warden's assistant: Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us
Write a letter to: Warden Forshey, Ohio State Penitentiary, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505
Fax: (330) 743-0841

Call regional director (and former OSP Warden) Todd Ishee 330-797-6398
Address: Todd Ishee, Northeast Regional Office, Voinovich Building, 242 West Federal Street, Suite #402, Youngstown, OH  44503
Fax: 330-744-3512
Email: Todd.Ishee@odrc.state.oh.us

Call ODRC Director Gary Mohr at central office (614) 387-0588
Address: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222
Email: DRC.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us

With recent changes, only 15 or so of the over 400 prisoners at OSP are allowed congregate recreation on the range anymore and the prison is severely restricting outdoor rec. There are not enough outdoor rec cages get prisoners their legally required 5 hours a week if prisoners are only allowed out one at a time. Staff said the elevators going five of the semi-underground rec cages were broken, so access to rec is even more restricted.

We don't know how many prisoners are participating in the hunger strike, but Hasan suspects many have joined in.

5B (the highest security level, about 57 prisoners) have also been denied access to programming, including constitutionally protected religious programming. There are a number of smaller greivances relating to the administration rolling back safety conditions and privileges the prisoners have won through lawsuits, complaints and earlier protests. To hear the full description of the prisoner's greivances, listen to the below phone call with Siddique Abdullah Hasan.



You can listen to the full audio of the phone call with Hasan here.

Below is a partial transcript. If you'd like to help out by picking up where I left off, please email Insurgent.Ben@gmail.com (to make sure only one person is working on the same thing at a time) and i'll get it posted. Thank you.

There's So Much Life Here: Keith LaMar Looks Back on Over 20 Years in Solitary Confinement

Written by Jack Schuler for Truth-Out.org

There's So Much Life Here: A Death Row Prisoner Looks Back on Over 20 Years in Solitary Confinement
Saturday, 07 March 2015 00:00By Jack Shuler, Truthout | Report
Prison fence(Image: Prison fence via Shutterstock)
A prisoner-painted landscape mural in the style of Bob Ross dominates the visitors' room at the Ohio State Penitentiary: a dense forest of evergreens in the foreground with a mountain lake reflecting the rising sun and a tall white-capped mountain beyond. The focal point of the painting is the neon yellow sun radiating light in the darkness. In a place with no natural light to speak of, there's this homage to the romantic beauty of nature. Visitors want there to be hope here just as they want this painted paradise to be real.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chris Hedges Article on Hasan and the Uprising

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Chris Hedges has written a great article about Hasan, the Uprising and a revolutionary change in the US prison system for TruthDig.com
[Ed Note: Hedges' paragraph about the Lucasville 5 is unclear and potentially inaccurate.When he says Hasan was sentenced to death along with George, Keith, Namir and Jason it might read like they were sentenced to death for the same killing (of Vallandingham) in fact, LaMar had surrendered days before Vallandingham was killed, Jason, Namir and Hasan were charged with complicity in the killing, not the actual killing (and not even conspiracy to kill). A jury gave George life for the Vallandingham charge but was condemned on other false complicity in murder charges.
Also, we suspect Jason may balk at the statement that he rejected white solidarity. Prisoner allegiences and solidarity are more complex and nuanced than that.
And, this website seeks to consistently reject the Lucasville 5 label, because it leaves out guys who didn't get the death penalty, but were railroaded in even more overt ways, and (because as non-death penalty cases, they don't have court appointed appeal counsel) are possibly more likely to die in captivity than the five. We demand amnesty for all the Lucasville Uprising prisoners. All that said, this is an excellent article and we really appreciate Hedges' meeting with Hasan and writing it
.]

We Kill Our Revolutionaries

Posted on Feb 22, 2015

By Chris Hedges