Also, if OSP wants to change or clarify the policy they should start with informing the prisoners who have been starving themselves for over two weeks to protest the policy, not in a letter to outsiders. This has not been OSP's approach. Still after sixteen days Ms Bracy, the deputy warden of operations (second in command at the institution) has not spoken with each individual prisoner to understand their demands. When she spoke with Hasan she asked if he was the leader and he told her that he was not. He spoke only to his grievances, and encouraged her to visit the others to know what their issues are. She has not been back to talk to Hasan or any of the prisoners since the third day of the hunger strike, when after nine skipped meals, the hunger strike became official.
This disrespectful lack of communication with hunger striking prisoners appears to also be a change in standard procedure at OSP. Under previous wardens hunger strikes were taken seriously and the administration worked with prisoners to negotiate a reasonable solution to their needs. Warden Forshey doesn't seem to think this is necessary, and is instead isolating the prisoners in an apparent attempt to break their resolve and force them to accept these unacceptable deprivations as the new normal.
Hasan acknowledged that the administration did handle the transfer professionally. As far as he knows none of the prisoners were mistreated and all of their property was intact when returned to them in the new cell block. This unusual care (shakedowns and transfers are often uses as opportunities to mishandle and damage prisoner property) seems to indicate that our call ins and oversight have been effective.
Once transferred to cell block D, Hasan observed that one of the safety issues he has raised about the showers in C block is unique to that block. Months ago the mats were removed from the stainless steel showers in C block, because they were allegedly breeding flies. The removal of these mats creates very slippery conditions in the showers, which has resulted in more than one serious head injury from prisoners falling. On March 19th Ms Bracy assured Hasan that they had ordered velcro type strips to lay down in the shower as a replacement for the mats. She told him the strips had arrived a few days ago, and just weren't installed yet. As of today, at least eleven days after these safety strips arrived at the institution they still were not installed.
Hasan and the hunger strikers have also complained about the decreasing food standards at OSP since private corporation Aramark took over the food service. Aramark is cutting costs by making hard flavorless biscuits and calling them pancakes, or "veggie burgers" made of little more than the paste of mashed up black beans. It seems that Aramark is feeding prisoners substandard meals across Ohio and around the nation.
OSP staff does not know whether some of the hunger striking prisoners include improvements in food quality as part of their demands to end the hunger strike, because they have not found time to visit and talk with each of the hunger strikers. They also have not found time to install safety measures in the showers. But have found the time to shake down eight cells and move the guys with all their property to another wing of the prison. It is clear what OSPs priorities are: punishing and breaking the prisoners who are only standing up for their rights and the minimum of decent treatment.