[gpga-news] AJC: Prison hunger strike ends as Georgia denies abuse claims

Hugh Esco hesco at greens.org
Thu Jul 12 07:54:52 PDT 2012

Prison hunger strike ends as Georgia denies abuse claims
By Edward Mitchell 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A hunger strike by 10 inmates at the Georgia Classification &
Diagnostic Prison has ended, according to the Department of
Corrections. The strike, which sparked a protest at the state capitol
building Monday, lasted from June 10 to July 6. Corrections is also
denying claims that it mistreated the striking prisoners.

"The hunger strike ended when inmates requested food from GDC
officials," said Dabney Weems, a public relations official.

The inmates, and about 40 supporters at the state capitol, were
demanding that Georgia change the way it treats prisoners, particularly
Miguel Jackson.

Jackson, whose wife Delma Jackson organized the July 9 protest, has
been imprisoned for armed robbery since 1996.

His family alleges that Jackson was beaten by prison guards at Smith
State Prison in December 2010, transferred in 2011 to the Georgia
Classification & Diagnostic Prison, and kept in solitary confinement
there for the past 18 months.

"Miguel and other inmates at Georgia Diagnostics have been denied
access to proper hygiene [and] medical treatment for their numerous and
severe injuries, many of which were inflicted 18 months ago," Delma
Jackson wrote in a Change.org petition.

But the Department of Corrections denied those allegations in a
statement to the AJC.

"[The Georgia Bureau of Investigation] investigated the claim filed by
inmate Miguel Jackson regarding the 2010 Smith State Prison incident
and found no validity to the inmate's complaint," Weems said.

The department also said that Jackson has not been held in solitary

That may not satisfy protesters, who were insistent that Jackson has
been in solitary confinement since December 2011.

"It's just the beginning," demonstrator Sopiko Japaridze said after the
Monday protest. "The state will have serious problems if it doesn't
meet our demands."

But the Department of Corrections did not express any intention to
change its policies.

"The Department maintains a commitment to operating safe and secure
facilities, and providing the appropriate level of care as is
constitutionally mandated," Weems said.

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