Friday, June 8, 2012

Jason Robb Starts Hunger Strike

Jason Robb is on a hunger strike beginning with the evening meal on June 6. He is demanding that he be transferred to Chillicothe Correctional Institution and treated like any other death row prisoner. Chillicothe CI currently houses all but six of Ohio's death row prisoners.
Robb started the hunger strike after his appeal of his level 5 security review was denied. In a letter to Warden David Bobby announcing the hunger strike, Robb says: "I have decided not to play this sick twisted game of revenge by the administration any longer, I am not a puppet." Jason Robb has been held on 23 hour a day lockdown for 19 years. He has been at Ohio's super max prison, Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) since the facility opened 13 years ago. In that time he has only had two non-violent rules violations, and has participated in many of the programs offered to level 5 prisoners.

In his appeal, Robb stated that no one is able to tell him what the facility requires him to do transfer off security level 5 and join the rest of death row. In his denial of this appeal, Warden Bobby admits that "Robb has not had any disciplinary dispositions of guilt or conduct reports since his last security review [and] has displayed good interaction with staff and other inmates". Warden Bobby explained his denial of Robb's appeal with a mischaracterization of his placement offense, a conviction that arises from the Lucasville Uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in 1993. The Warden states that Robb "participated in the murder of Officer Vallandingham and Inmate Summers [sic]" but Jason Robb was not convicted of those offences. According to the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Robb, which Warden Bobby cites as evidence: "the state never asserted that defendant personally killed Vallandingham and Sommers... but only that defendant was guilty under the law of complicity (page 75-76)." This guilty conviction was based on unreliable informant testimony and is currently being appealed in federal district court.

Jason after the 1997 occupation of death row.
The Warden also cites an incident on death row at Mansfield Correctional Institution in 1997, when prisoners took over a pod for a few hours. According to prisoner accounts the take over was peaceful until the SWAT team stormed the pod. They found Jason Robb in his cell, ordered him to strip to his underwear, which he did without objection and then they severely beat him. In his denial of Robb's appeal, Warden Bobby encourages Jason to "continue to interact appropriately with staff and other inmates and to remain compliant with institutional rules".

Robb participated in a hunger strike in January of 2011 where he and 4 other prisoners sentenced to death following the Lucasville Uprising won a set of demands bringing the conditions of their confinement closer to those of death row prisoners housed at OSP. Since then death row has been moved to Chillicothe, but six level 5 prisoners remain behind. Jason Robb states that he "will not eat until [he] is at Chillicothe CI, Death Row Unit around other death sentenced prisoners and treated and given the same privileges they have".

You can read Jason Robb's full letter at

Sign Jason's petition.

Write Jason:
Jason Robb
OSP 308-919
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Contact Warden Bobby:
Warden David Bobby
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505
(330) 743-0700 ext. 2006

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