[gpga-news] PrsRls: Greens Call on Deal to End Torture, Georgians to Join One Day Solidarity Fast

Hugh Esco hesco at greens.org
Mon Jun 25 09:04:47 PDT 2012

Monday, June 25th, 2012 

For further information, contact:
    678-298-9463 x3 
    presssecretary at georgiagreenparty.org
Greens Call on Deal to End Torture in Georgia Prisons
Call on Georgians to Join One Day Solidarity Fast 

Eighteen months after Georgia Department of Corrections employees
brutally suppressed a non-violent work stoppage led by inmates in as
many as eleven of the state's 34 prisons, it is believed that the
"Hidden-37" have been in solitary confinement ever since.  The Georgia
Green Party today called on Governor Deal to end the torture; and on
Georgians to join hunger striking Georgia inmates in a one day
solidarity fast.  

"On Monday, July 2nd, if the state has not met the very reasonable
demands of these hunger strikers, it will be time for us to share their
hunger for justice," said incoming Georgia Green Party Chairman Bruce
Dixon.  "We ask Georgians of faith, and Georgians hungry for justice to
join our one day solidarity fast as we work to share the story of these
Georgians whose 'starving for change' will take them into their fourth
week without food."  

Party officers are responding to news that ten inmates at the Georgia
Diagnostic and Classification Center have been on a hunger strike since
Sunday, June 10th, 2012.  Among their number is Miguel Jackson, who was
assaulted by multiple DoC employees while handcuffed. According to Mrs.
Delma Jackson, his wife, "Miguel suffers daily for the injuries he
sustained at Smith State Prison. He has chronic migraine headaches, a
broken nose, and he suffers from post traumatic syndrome.  He still has
the hammer indentions in his head."

On December 17th, 2010, in a meeting with representatives of over a
dozen advocacy and community groups in Georgia, Timothy Ward,
Facilities Director with the Department of Corrections acknowledged
that 37 inmates had been subjected to 'protective custody' on suspicion
of having served as instigators of the December 2010 strike, based on
evidence that contraband cell phones had been confiscated from their
personal property.  A story has emerged from correspondence with
inmates and their families about the tortuous conditions at the
Segregation Management Unit (SMU) at the Jackson Georgia facility.
Inmates there are subjected to months of ongoing deprivation of access
to showers and exercise.  Party activists have reports that these human
beings are subjected to life under 24-7 video surveillance in a 4' x 6'
plexiglass cell.  

The Georgia hunger strikers are believed to include several among the
Hidden-37, referring to the 37 men whom Mr. Ward mentioned in December
of 2010, although since that statement Shawn Whatley was later added to
their ranks.  

Last month the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing many of
the leaders in last year's hunger strike involving thousands of
prisoners at California's Pelican Bay, brought litigation challenging
as inhumane 8th Amendment violations, the extreme abuse of solitary
confinement used at that prison.  CCR argues that "Solitary confinement
for as little as 15 days is now widely recognized to cause lasting
psychological damage to human beings and is analyzed under
international law as torture."  

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights in the U.S. Congress held
hearings on the subject, “Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human
Rights, Fiscal, and Public Safety Consequences.”

Meanwhile, the Butts County prison which hosts the Georgia Solitary
Management Unit and its death row as well is now home to hunger
strikers who are demanding (1) medical attention for Miguel Jackson; (2) and
that their custody be subject to the published standard operating
procedures of the Department of Corrections, inclduing providing
inmates (a) access to their property; (b) open visitation with the
families; (c) access to the commisary; (d) regular access to exercise;
and (e) classification reviews at thirty day intervals.  

"Miguel has been on hi max for eighteen months," said Mrs. Jackson.
"He is being punished for officers beating him and the officers are
going on with their lives as if nothing happened. Where is the justice
in that?"

"Its time to dismantle the prison state built with our tax dollars and
populated with our families and neighbors," said Bruce Dixon, state
Green Party chairman.  "When addiction is treated as a criminal matter
rather than a health concern, you have stepped out onto the slippery
slope which now seeks ways to normalize abuse and torture.  But even
when our family truly offend us, they are still our family.  The Green
Party intends to explain, confront and curtail the carceral state with
the power of organized people."

-- 30 -- 

Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
“Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public
Safety Consequences”

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
Lawsuit Challenges Solitary Confinement at California Prison

The Georgia 37 are at least 38. And we now know one of their names

GA Prison Inmates Stage 1-Day Peaceful Strike Today

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