Monday, April 27, 2015

Never Dormant on Death Row


Sacramento Prisoner Support and other friends put together this zine of Hasan and Bomani's conversation about the Ferguson rebellion and The Black Lives Matter Movement.

Into from the zine:
On April 11, 1993, the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH, was rocked when prisoners took control in what was the longest prison uprising in U.S. history. Prisoners were fighting back against a long string of new, harsh policies being implemented by the new warden, Arthur Tate. Mandated Tuberculin skin testing mandated with injections containing alcohol, which Muslim prisoners politely requested an alternative testing method to. Tate’s refusal to comply, along with his utter disrespect of Muslims, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Rising as one, with racial differences ignored, the prisoners took control of the facility. Several guards were taken hostage in the process. For eleven days a standoff existed. During that time, nine prisoners and one guard were killed

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hunger Strike Results Update

    Two of four safety floor mats have been installed in showers.

    Some improvements have been made regarding food service already. Others have been promised.

    The chaplain told a former hunger striker who is on level 5B that he is on the list for religious services.

    Sindrick Tucker came off the hunger strike on Monday, April 20.  He was kept in the infirmary for two days before he was returned to his cell.  He lost about 39 pounds, down to about 130.  He was "cool" with Ensure.  He was reassigned to a medical handicap cell with a shower in the cell.  His religious books were returned.

    Tucker had been trying to have the doctor see him for nearly a year.  The warden brought the doctor to see him.  His medication needs are being met and an MRI is pending.

    When he was being transferred from C-block to D-block [during the first week of the hunger strike] he was kicked by an officer.  The officer was disciplined.  Tucker had been given a conduct report and put on commissary restriction, but the officer's action was in retaliation for Tucker's being on hunger strike so the RIB disposition was thrown out.

    Tucker was given an opportunity for a long phone call with his mother.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Last Hunger Striker Resumes eating.

Sindrick Tucker #117-137 has come off the hunger strike, is back in his regular cell and is doing okay. More details coming soon.

Tucker continued his hunger strike after the others suspended theirs because he has been receiving inadequate medical attention from the OSP doctor. We're not sure, but he may have been transferred to the Correctional Medical Center (CMC) near Columbus due to the hunger strike, where he at least got examined by other DRC doctors, who may or may not have attended to his other medical issues.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Solitary Watch Article on Recent Hunger Strike and Conditions at OSP.

From SolitaryWatch.com
Last week, men incarcerated at Ohio’s supermax prison, the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, brought a month-long hunger strike to a close. Between 30 and 40 men had refused all meals since March 16 to protest new restrictions placed on already severely limited recreation and programming for those in solitary confinement. On Wednesday, April 15, all but one of the men agreed to suspend the hunger strike after a meeting with the warden at which the prison agreed to lifting some, but not all, of the new restrictions.
The Ohio State Penitentiary, or OSP, opened as Ohio’s first super maximum security facility in 1998. Conditions for the over 400 men held there are more restrictive than on Ohio’s death row. Even under policies that now exclude people with serious mental illness from placement there, the men incarcerated at OSP include those with mental health needs, including people with depression, dementia, cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Radio Interveiws on the Hunger Strike

While the hunger strike was going on, Hasan did an interview with The Final Straw out of Asheville NC, and supporter Ben Turk did an interview with Block Report, about Sean Swain's recent hunger strike, as well as the larger OSP hunger strike that followed it. Later Block Report followed up with Hasan.

Monday, April 20, 2015

ACLU of Ohio on The OSP Hunger Strike

From ACLUOhio.org

04.13.15

Extreme Conditions At State Penitentiary Must End, Says ACLU

ACLU Asks for Independent Investigation of Policies That Allow Dangerous Isolation of Prisoners
YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today calls for action on the ongoing hunger strikeat the super-maximum (super-max) security prison in a letter to Gary C. Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and Jay Forshey, the warden of the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown. Since last month, a number of prisoners have protested harsh policies resulting from a December 2014 assault on a corrections officer.
“As a just society, we have a responsibility to ensure that our prisons treat those incarcerated fairly and humanely,” said Mike Brickner, senior policy director at the ACLU of Ohio. “These restrictions represent a dangerous level of solitary confinement that will substantially harm prisoners’ mental health. While the restrictions were a response to security concerns, they ironically pose an even greater threat to the safety of prisoners and staff. Extreme solitary confinement will only make individuals less stable and more desperate.”
Learn more about what solitary confinement is like in Ohio prisons.

ODRC Rally Report Back



On Tuesday April 14th, protestors gathered at the ODRC Central office to show solidarity with the hunger strike.
More pics and reportback

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hunger Strike Suspended- One Prisoner Continues Hunger Strike in Protest to Medical Malpractice

After extensive negotiations, and over 30 days without food, the hunger strikers have suspended their strike. This is a mixed victory, some demands were met, others not. The warden conceded as little as possible. For details on the end of the strike, and the one prisoner who is continuing to refuse food, please listen to the below recorded statement by Siddique Abdullah Hasan. If the file or player is giving you trouble, you can also listen to it here: https://youtu.be/ZQSJ9XtQHns

 Thank you everyone who called in and otherwise supported this hunger strike. OSP continues to be a monsterous place and an affront to decency and humanity. The battle to shut it down will continue.

Sedrick Tucker #117-137 remains on hunger strike because of private medical issues which have not been attended to. For more on the severe medical malpractice that James Kline routinely practices at OSP and nearby prisons, please read this post.

Hasan suggests supporters contact the Ohio Medical Board and ask them to look into Sedrick Tucker's medical situation and his mistreatment at Dr James Kline's hands.

Hasan also suggests contacting ODRC Medical Service Administrator and ask to send another doctor to review Mr Tucker's situation.

Stuart Hudson
Medical Service Administrator
770 W Broad St
Columbus OH 43222

TRANSCRIPT:

This is Imam Siddique Abdullah Hassan, calling from Ohio State Penitentiary, Ohio's state of the art  supermax prison. As of today, April the 15th, 2014, myself and four other prisoners came off of the hunger strike that we started  back in March the 16th. As of this date only one prisoner remain left on hunger strike, and sometime before the end of this recording, I will explain the particulars of this case and what can the people in the media, activists, and others do to support this particular prisoner.

But for now, after several days of intense negotiation with Warden Jay Forshey and inmate body, we finally came to a peaceful resolution. We also had the assistance of attorney, of Alice and Staughton Lynd,  who helped us negotiate with the warden last Friday as well as yesterday which would be Tuesday.

So there was a lot of problems that had existed, we had to overcome some of the mistrust and other issues. For example, the warden did not wish to put anything in writing to us. He felt  if he were to do that, other prisoners would read what he put in writing, what he was conceding to or what he intended to give us that he felt was according to the law for us to have and other issues, that some prisoners, when they read that, they would try to go on hunger strike and force concessions out of him. That's why he did not wish to do it.

So what we agreed to was this. We agreed to a suspended, suspended coming off of the hunger strike. So we suspended the hunger strike. What that actually means is this. The warden has verbally told  us what he intends to do, and I will enumerate those things in a minute, and what he would not be doing. and he gave us  a time frame when these things would be accomplished. And if he does not accomplish them within the time frame that he actually gave us, then he is not negotiating with us in good faith, a good faith, and as a result we will go back on the hunger strike. So understand, the hunger strike has been suspended, depending upon the warden's action.

The things that he agreed to give us, let's deal with the religion first. As of next week, he said, no later than next week, 5B prisoners, which consist of over fifty prisoners who are on that level, they will be allowed to attend religious service again. That can easily be implemented because the program area where they will be, religious classes will be conducted is secure now after the non-fatal stabbing of one officer, so those prisoners will be allowed to have that. I specifically asked him myself with regards to the other programming, such as educational, anger management, and many of the other programs that prisoners use to participate in to better themselves. He said, no, it's not applicable to that, it's only applicable to the religious service, but he is not having a closed mind about it. Maybe somewhere down the line, these issues can be brought back up, and honestly, I think they should, because prisoners need education, they need to work on anger management, and
other programs that they have to offer here for other prisoners who can attend, but 5B cannot..
So that's the one thing he agreed to.

As for recreation, which was the second most important issue. He said that's non-negotiable. He's not going to negotiate with that. So that means that prisoners will no longer, at this point, be allowed to have range recreation. The only exception to that is there are a few prisoners, approximately seventeen to two dozen prisoners, will be allowed to have range rec and congregation. Again seventeen to twenty prisoners, where all the 5Bs, the 5As, and the 4Bs, they would no longer  be allowed to have range recreation.

There was nothing we could actually do, I mean, we couldn't just stay on this, until he concede, because if it's nonnegotiable, he's not going to concede.  It serves no purpose to continue to be on a hunger strike actually for something that's not a law. With regards to religion, religion is a law, but he's giving people rec outdoors and indoors recreation, it's just they would not be allowed to be on the range, an open space  area, to participate in recreation, and since that was a privilege and not a law, not a constitutional right, there's nothing we could actually to do force his hand in that respect.

But I would say this, about prisoners being in their cell twenty-four hours, twenty-three hours a day now. They get five days a week, and two of those days they'd be in their cell twenty-four hours a day. I don't agree with that, because I've been around some of these prisoners and other prisoners as well, and after being locked up for an extended period of time, people become angry, people become suicidal. So before the year if someone hanged their self as a result of being under an enormous amount pressure, being locked down like that, it would not come as no surprise to myself that that would come into existence. Because when you talking about long-term solitary confinement for extended period of time, things are bound to happen. So again, perhaps we can continue to revisit that issue, but there was nothing, that was not an issue we was willing to stay on the hunger strike about, since he found it to be nonnegotiable.

The third thing was in C block, the block that I'm currently in and the worst block there is in this institution, they have removed the floor mats for safety and health issue. But when we got to D block, when they moved myself and the other hunger strikers up to D block, we seen that they had never removed the shower mats from those blocks. When we confronted the warden, the deputy warden for operations, what they said, they was supposed to be moved, but they was not moved, so as a result, it appears that only in C block the floor mat was removed. Nevertheless, the warden has agreed that the floor mat has been reordered, they have been cleaned, and no later than next week, the floor mat in C block should be put back into the shower. Because after they removed them, prisoners were falling, busting their head open, they had to go to the hospital, and get staples and stitches put in their head. So that's something he agreed to.

Another thing with regard to this private vendor, private company that serves food throughout the state of Ohio, it's called Aramark. Aramark is a company that has problems all throughout the country. Many states have been filing lawsuits for Aramark for the small portions, the food sometimes can be inadequately nutrition, unsanitary, sometimes maggots have been found in
the food, and they always trying to do the things to cut costs. For example, they will give prisoners biscuits with syrup, as opposed to what the statewide menu required, pancakes and syrup. It requires soybean burger, but they make their own burger. They give prisoners saccharine sugar, that's for diabetes, we're not diabetics. So he's in discussion with the food service and some changes will actually be made in that respect with the problems with the food. We also had the problem with soggy bread, they would give us bread on the tray, and the steam on the tray would cause the bread to get soggy. They bring us coffee, the coffee would be cold and  half missing. So we're working on solutions to resolve that particular matter. That was the fourth matter.

And the final issue would be medical.  One person that's still on hunger strike.  We have the person that's still on the hunger strike because his medical problems has not been resolved to his satisfaction. His name is Sindrick Tucker, and his prisoner number is 178137. In the last couple days, when we was talking to the warden, we told him that we would not come off the hunger strike until he talked to Tucker about his medical situation and allow him to see the doctor. And the warden agreed to that, and he lived up to what he said he would do. He came to see Tucker, he brought the doctor to see Tucker. But because Tucker has filed numerous complaints against this doctor and the nurse practitioner here, I'm not sure if that's the reason the doctor did not do anything for him. But they try to prescribe him some pain medication, but the pain medication that he had intended to prescribe to him this time, was the same medication they had previously prescribed for him, and it didn't do him any good.

Myself and the other three prisoners, we had assured the warden, if he talked to Tucker and bring the doctor so the doctor can diagnose him, we would be coming off the hunger strike, and since we gave our word, we decided to honor our word, although we was dissatisfied with Tucker not being able to get the proper medical attention that he says he needs. But again, we had to honor our word, because a man's word is his actual bond.

With regards to Tucker, the warden explained that he's just the warden. He's not over the doctor. He cannot tell the doctor what to do and what not to do, because he did not diagnose Tucker. So it's out of his hands. And Gary Mohr, he's the director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, there's nothing that he can actually do, because he's not a doctor.

Within the last couple hours, I was trying to come up with ways how to best assist inmate Tucker. And I believe the correct way to do that is this. You have the State Medical Board in Ohio, one would have to go on the internet and get the mailing address,  the e-mail address as well as the phone number and fax. And the State Medical Board is the one that gives out the license to all doctors, nurses or anybody practicing any medicine in the State of Ohio, whether you be a  dentist or podiatrist or whatever. You have to go to the State Medical Board and they're the ones that renew each individual license. So one thing, people can contact the State Medical Board and ask them, would they look into Tucker's situation, if he can get some outside attention to his matter, because again he thinks he's being discrminated against because of the enormous amounts of complaints he filed against Dr. James Kline and nurse practitioner Miss Carter.

The second thing one can do, is that in the State of Ohio they have a head doctor. The head doctor of the Ohio Department  of Rehabilitation and Correction, they can contact Mr. Kline, or they can actually send Tucker's medical file to their office and they can review it themselves. This doctor is over all the other institutional doctors who are under contracts throughout the State of Ohio in Ohio's prisons. That doctor name is  Stuart Hudson. His title is Medical Service Administrator. Again, medical service administrator. His snail mail address is 770 West Broad Street, Columbus Ohio 43222. Call him, excuse me, snail mail, write him, but if you go on-line, you'll also be able to look up his phone number, his e-mail number, and his fax number, and I think if the concerned public were to call him, get in contact with him, by one of those methods, God willing they will look into Tucker's situation, have another medical expert to take a look at his situation, and hopefully his situation can be resolved amicably.

With regard to the people in the media, I encourage them to continue to bring exposure to this, and again, as long as the warden honor his commitment to do the things that he said, we would not go back on, we would not renew the hunger strike.

I thank everyone for their time and assistance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Update from Hasan

This is an excerpt of a message from Hasan, for a more thorough and recent account of things, see his interview with The Final Straw.

Revolutionary Greetings!

Alice Staughton and I met with Warden Forshey last Friday and we are scheduled to meet with him again tomorrow. Depending on what he say about range rec, there is a good possibility this strike can end tomorrow or soon. We have already been informed that 5B group programming, among other things, will be reinstated. If the meeting is not productive, then we are prepared to continue with our hunger strike. Come what may, and let the wind blow wherever!

The remaining hunger strikers are as follows:

1) keith Dewitt Jr. #616-459;
2) Joseph Nagle, #589-333;
3) Sindrick Tucker, #178-137;
4) David Worley, #510-503; and
5) S. A. Hasan, #R130-559

Since the IV treatment Joseph Nagle seems to be doing all right. David Worley has high blood pressure and his blood level is still; thus, the medical staff is monitoring him very, very closely. Keith DeWitt is also being monitored by the medical staff. Everyone has lots a lot of weight--between 20 and 30 pounds. Some days are better than others, but we are continuing because we fully believe in the righteousness of our struggle. We are fighting the injustices imposed upon us. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently stated:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

In closing, know that I'm well and determined to see this struggle through.

In the Trenches,

Hasan

Write to the hunger strikers at the following address:

[Name and #]
OSP
878 Coitsville Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tues April 14th, First Day of Solidarity

As the Ohio State Penitentiary hunger strike approaches 30 days, we will rally at the Ohio Dept of Rehabilitation and Correction in Columbus, and deliver a letter to top officials demanding justice.

3PM Tuesday afternoon
ODRC, 770 West Broad St
Rally and letter delivery

Over 50 prisoners have been illegally denied religious and recreation programming. We stand with them!

Follow updates at http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/. The rally coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, where inmates in Southern Ohio took over a prison in response to religious discrimination.


Invite your friends!

ACTION OUTSIDE OF COLUMBUS...

If you can't make it to Columbus, please be creative and find a way to support the hunger strike on Tuesday. Organize a solidarity fast like students at the University of Toledo did on Friday, with an evening "break the fast" get together. Or a call-in lunch, gather with friends mid-day and call the prison, Central Office, and The CIIC (numbers and scripts below). Or a letter writing party, write letters to officials, your local newspapers, and/or to the hunger striking prisoners.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hunger Strike Update...

As far as we know, three men from the hunger strike have suffered significant medical issues. We're not sure if those three are still on, but we're pretty certain that at least five of the hunger strikers are now on their 25th day without food.

Joseph Nagel #589-333 is doing better. He is out of the hospital. We're not clear if he is still on hunger strike. We believe at least one of the last two (either Timothy Peavy, #481-007 or David Worley, #510-503) who were sick went back to c block which would mean he is off the hunger strike.

OSP staff took away Siddique Abdullah Hasan's access to phone calls for a short time, and threatened to take it for a week, but have since restored it.

Students at The University of Toledo have organized a solidarity fast with the hunger strikers for Friday April 10th. https://www.facebook.com/events/855734067817057/

The Toledo Blade has published two editorials on the hunger strike, read them here: http://www.toledoblade.com/Featured-Editorial-Home/2015/04/07/Hunger-strike-3.html

and here: http://www.toledoblade.com/419-the-diary

The ODRC has stubbornly refused to do anything in response to supporter call-ins. We need to leverage other attention and pressure on them. Please focus your time on writing to your local paper, and to the elected officials on the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

Sandra Williams (D) Senate District 21 (614) 466-4857
Cliff Hite, Vice Chair (R) Senate District 1 (614) 466-8150
Edna Brown (D) Senate District 11 (614) 466-5204
John Eklund (R) Senate District 18 (614) 644-7718
Click the names to send emails.
Mailing address:
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio43215
Paul Zeltwanger (R) House District 54 (614) 644-6027
Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D) House District 15 (614) 466-3485
Bob D. Hackett (R) House District 74 (614) 466-1470
Michelle Lepore-Hagan (D) House District 58 (614) 466-9435
Click the names to send emails.
Mailing Address:
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High Street 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111

You can also contact ODRC Director Gary Mohr and insist that he goes to OSP to visit with the prisoners.

Gary Mohr- 614-752-1150. 
Write letters:
Gary Mohr, ODRC Director, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222

Email:
drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us


CALL/WRITE IN SCRIPT:"Hi, My name is ____ (or, I am a concerned supporter). I'm calling in support of the hungerstrikers at Ohio State Penitentiary. They have now gone over 25 days without food because they are being denied adequate religious services and access to recreation. Warden Forshey and OSP staff are not sufficiently responding to these prisoners' issues. I think this is ___ (unfair, inhumane, horseshit) and I'm requesting that you go to OSP and meet with the hunger striking prisoners. Please restore the very few "privileges" that they are afforded in this highly restrictive setting."

If you want to, you can leave a number for them to call you back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Update on Hunger Striker's Health

   Siddique Abdullah Hasan, #R130-559, phoned this morning and reported the following information about men in D-block at the Ohio State Penitentiary who have been on hunger strike since March 16, 2015.
    Timothy Peavy, #481-007, was coughing up blood.  Medical personnel came.  At the urging of the other hunger strikers, Peavy came off the hunger strike on April 5.  Peavy is now back in his cell in C-block.
    Joseph Nagel, #589-333, had been vomiting for three days. On April 6, medical personnel took him from D-block to the Medical Department and gave him an IV.  He was said to have been "going in and out," presumably meaning, going in and out of consciousness. 
    David Worley, #510-503, who was not a diabetic, has been having blood level problems.  This morning, April 7, a lab technician reported that his blood level had dropped tremendously.  Worley was taken to the Medical Department.
    Hasan believes that both Nagel and Worley are still on hunger strike.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hunger Strikers In Distress

Two of the hunger striking prisoners up at OSP are showing severe signs of illness.
Joseph Nagel #589-333 was unable to hold down water, was vomiting and taken to the infirmary. They checked him out and decided to keep him there.

Timothy Peavy #481-007 started coughing up blood yesterday. The other hunger strikers urged him to come off the hunger strike.  He did.  A nurse came and Peavy was returned to his cell in C-6.

OSP admin's approach of trying to break the hunger strike through stubbornness, rather than negotiations is responsible for these and other men's suffering. Please call Warden Forshey and demand that he change tactics. The hunger strikers demands are reasonable, the policies OSP is insisting on are inhumane, oppressive, and wrong headed. 

Call Warden Jay Forshey at 330-743-0700 ext 2006. 
Write letters: Warden Forshay, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505
Email: Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us

You can also write letters of support to these guys at

Joseph Nagel 
589-333
OSP
878 Coitsville Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

and 

Timothy Peavy
481-707
OSP
878 Coitsville Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

or write letters to the other hunger strikers by mailing them to Siddique Abdullah Hasan. He will read the letters to the rest of the group.

Siddique Abdullah Hasan
R130-559
OSP
878 Coitsville Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505


OSP Top Staff Finally Meets with Hunger Strikers, but Refuses to Negotiate.

On Fri April 4th, top staff at OSP visited the hunger strikers to talk about their demands. Warden Forshey, Deputy Wardens Charmain Bracy and Jeff Remmick and Captain Brown visited the cell door of each of the eight hunger strikers for the first time after all the calls and complaints about it. They said the two main demands regarding recent policy shifts on range rec and access to religious programming are non-negotiable.

Please call Warden Forshey and thank him for visiting with the hunger strikers. Ask him to honor their request to avoid conflict with problematic COs, and to negotiate with them regarding range rec and religious programming.

Call Warden Jay Forshey at 330-743-0700 ext 2006. 
Write letters: Warden Forshay, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505
Email: Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us

More details on the hunger striker's issues below.

Problem COs Harass OSP Hunger Strikers.

Three of the Correctional Officers (COs) in charge of D block, where the eight hunger striking prisoners are being housed have begun reprisals against them. CO Burns, CO Kish, and CO Titus are engaged in a campaign of “special treatment” for the hunger striking prisoners, which includes filing fictitious conduct reports, harassing and taunting people and at least one incident of violence- CO Titus kicking a shackled prisoner for no reason.

All three of these problem COs work first shift in D block, where the hunger strikers are isolated. The prisoners have requested to only go to recreation during second shift, so these COs will not be handling their movements.

Supporters, please call OSP and ask Warden Forshey to honor the prisoners requests to not be handled by these COs- Kish, Titus and Burns. These COs have been problems long before the current hunger striking situation, and they stand out compared to the reputation for professionalism of most of the staff at OSP. Also ask Forshey to take the hunger strike seriously, and work with the prisoners to negotiate a resolution. Call Warden Jay Forshey at 330-743-0700 ext 2006. 
Write letters: Warden Forshay, OSP, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505
Email: Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us


Siddique Abdullah Hasan, who describes the COs as “acting like tyrant clowns” recounts one example of the kind of games they're playing. Hasan normally takes rec for one hour and forty five minutes on the range. On Friday, he went to rec at 1:45. At 3:00, after shift change, the second shift officers told Hasan his time was up and to return to his cell. Hasan said that he had another half hour of rec due to him. The shift captain replied that first shift had wrote him down as having gone at 1:15, so his time was up. 

Hasan complied with the order to return to his cell, but also explained that he had gone out at 1:45 and that one of the first shift COs must have misreported the time in order to deny him this thirty minutes, and create confusion and conflict with 2nd shift COs. They could check the cameras to confirm this fact. The second shift captain said he would do so, and if the camera backs him up, the captain will write up the first shift officers, along with Hasan's informal complaint about the incident.

These COs seem to like causing problems and making things difficult for prisoners in general, and at least CO James Burns has been up to this kind of thing for years at OSP. In 2010 he was declared the Ohio DRC employee of the year after an incident where he was stabbed by a prisoner named Cornelius Harris. Harris was charged with attempted murder, even though the stabbing implement wasn't much larger than a stick pin. Harris defended himself in court, showing videos of CO Burns taunting and threatening him for hours, before his cell door inexplicably opened, which is when the fight occurred. A jury determined that Harris was acting in self defense and found him not-guilty of the attempted murder charge.

Harris is the same prisoner who attacked a CO in the group programming booth recently, which led to the current policy changes. So what we have here is a few problem COs taunting and threatening prisoners, then being embraced as heroes when the prisoners respond in self-defense, which raises tensions in the institution and generalizes the prisoner's animosity toward all COs, leading to more violent conflict. Then the administration responds with collective punishment against other prisoners, leading to non-violent protest in the form of a group hunger strike. Now they have put the very CO who started this chain of escalating conflict and generalized violence- who was determined by a court to have provoked a violent self-defense response from Harris- in charge of these non-violent protesting prisoners is either incredibly stupid, or intentionally asking for more conflict and trouble.

The least Warden Forshey can do is honor the prisoners' request that Burns and his friends not be in charge of their movement to and from rec. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hunger Strike Update: Misinformation and Transfer to Isolation

[to support the hunger strike, please see this post for directions to call ODRC director Gary Mohr and the CIIC]
Sixteen days after starting their hunger strike, eight remaining hunger striking prisoners at OSP have been moved into cell block D, where they are isolated from the rest of the prison population. Our contact at OSP, Siddique Abdullah Hasan says the only reason he can imagine for the transfer is to isolate the prisoners and make sure no one is passing them food. "I told the guys its a bad idea to do that anyway, you're better off letting your stomach shrink while on hunger strike" Hasan explained.

In addition, the prison authorities have been giving out inaccurate information. According to a letter to Rick Kerger, a lawyer and advocate, from Stephen Gray, Chief Counsel for ODRC the 5B prisoners are "still receiving individual programming cell front, [which we've described here] through their televisions, and out-of-cell when necessary." (emphasis added) We're not sure if Gray has been misinformed by OSP staff, or if he's intentionally lying to Kerger, but Hasan has not heard about the option for out-of-cell programming. The normal procedure for policy changes at OSP is to post them, either on paper or via the televisions, and there has been no such posting indicating that 5B prisoners can get out-of-cell religious programming. Mr Kerger also wrote legal services people requesting a conference call with him, a lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Rights, and other prisoner supporters, but that letter was ignored.