Thursday, December 27, 2018

Appeal of Hasan's SMP conviction to the Ohio Inspector General

Staughton and Alice Lynd have written a thorough and well-reasoned appeal of the ODRC's decision to block Hasan's phone and email access.

Their appeal.

The exhibits.

We are encouraging people close with Hasan and familiar with the situation to write the Ohio Inspector General in support of the appeal. This is NOT a phone zap or a letter writing flood. The Inspector General is not an ODRC official. We are not seeking to annoy or assert mass pressure on him, but to support the arguments made by the Lynds. If you're going to write, please speak truthfully about your unique relationship with Hasan and how this SMP decision has impacted it.

Thank you.

Ohio Office of the Inspector General
30 East Broad Street, Suite 2940
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Below we reprint the email Ben Turk sent to the inspector general, as an example.


My name is Ben Turk, I've been a racial justice and prisoner's rights volunteer organizer working with the Lucasville Uprising survivors since 2011.
This summer I sent a document in support of the national prison strike to my friend Siddique Abdullah Hasan. I consider what I sent to be publicly available information. It's online at This document discusses the striker's demands and tactics, and includes some recent events in prisons across the US to describe the context in which the strike was called. The document does not call for or help plan specific actions at any specific facility, let alone OSP.
I understood when sending the document that ODRC officials may disagree with the appropriateness of sending it, they might interpret it as a threat to the security of their institution. I strongly disagree with that interpretation, and believe that prisoners have a right to newsworthy information about the national prisoner's resistance movement.
The prison strike was covered extensively by national and international media. There were no instances of violence or property destruction by prisoners in conjunction with the strike, prisoners adhered to this explicit instruction from strike organizers. This is news from the outside world that is particularly relevant to prisoners and it is an ethical failure to deprive prisoners of access to such information. US prisons are supposed to be sites of rehabilitation that uphold justice and eventually reintegrate prisoners back into society.

The prison strike brought attention to how far short this system has fallen from any sense of justice, or any effort to reintegrate prisoners into society. Further isolating prisoners by refusing them access to news doubles down on this shortcoming. I also believe interrupting this communication with Hasan would violate both of our First Amendment rights to free speech.

I knew the prison was capable of trumping those rights and interests with a specious argument about security of the facility. OSP is a supermax prison. Very few prisoners there work, everyone is single-celled, often for 23 hours a day, and movement is highly restricted. The potential for a strike, let alone a riot or security event there would not be significantly impacted by receipt of a document explicitly calling for non-violent actions. Regardless, prison authorities need only mention the need for security to justify blocking communication.
I expected that authorities might block the letter and send it back to me. They did, but they also took much more strident and totally inappropriate action. I and two other of Hasan's visitors were blocked from visiting ANY prisoner in Ohio, and Hasan was brought before the Serious Misconduct Panel and put on severe communication restrictions.
As the Lynds' appeal describes, they could not do this in accordance with actual policies or common sense, and instead rigged the SMP and violated processes. I am writing to support the Lynds' statements. Not only was I available to testify as Hasan's witness, I called both central office and OSP prior to the hearing to inquire as to how that may be done. I was told they would call me.
They made no such effort. The SMP decision says that all Hasan's witnesses were irrelevant, unavailable or a security threat. I was named in the conduct report, was not only available, but was actually calling the prison to request access to testify. This leaves the only justification that I present a threat to the institution. Somehow me speaking to ODRC officials in a closed hearing threatens the security of their institution? Its absurd, but that's typical with the ODRC. Read the appeal, you'll see that they emulated the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland; writing their verdict BEFORE hearing the evidence.

Please give Staughton and Alice's appeal the weight it deserves. My relationships with Hasan and other Ohio prisoners have been among the most enlightening and impactful relationships of my life, revealing the depth of injustice and torture allowed to occur in these United States. I will continue to advocate for them and to pursue righteousness and amnesty in their cases, as well as justice for prisoners and liberation for the communities that are targeted by the prison system. These communities deserve actual public safety, not the viscous and capricious state terror that targets them, churning some from captivity in torturous prisons to economic desperation on the streets. As it currently functions, the ODRC is criminogenic. It makes targeted Ohio communities less safe.

This cruel SMP decision does nothing to deter me from fighting that beast, all it does is reduce my ability to connect, share meals and have direct human contact with my friends.
Please step in and put a check on the ODRC's absurd abuses of power.
Thank you
Ben Turk

Phone: (614) 704-4699
Forum For Understanding Prisons-

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