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GA Prison Inmate Strike Enters New Phase, Prisoners Demand Human Rights, Education, Wages For Work

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Story by Bruce A. Dixon, audio interview by Glen Ford

Georgia prisoners who began a courageous, peaceful and nonviolent protest strike for educational opportunities, wages for their work, medical care and human rights have captured the attention of the world. Black Agenda Report intends to closely cover their continuing story. Glen Ford recorded a conversation with activist Elaine Brown and one of the striking inmates in Georgia on Wednesday, December 15.

Update story on the strike and support efforts of the newly formed Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoner Rights below the fold. Click the flash player below to listen.

GA Prison Inmate Strike Enters New Phase, Prisoners Demand Human Rights, Education, Wages For Work

Story by Bruce A. Dixon, audio interview by Glen Ford

The historic strike of Georgia prisoners, demanding wages for their labor, educational opportunities, adequate health care and nutrition, and better conditions is entering a new phase. Strikers remain firm in their demands for full human rights, though after several days many have emerged from their cells, if only to take hot showers and hot food. Many of these, however, are still refusing their involuntary and unpaid work assignments.

A group that includes relatives, friends and a broad range of supporters of the prisoners on the outside has emerged. They are seeking to sit down with Georgia correctional officials this week to discuss how some of the just demands of inmates can begin to be implemented. Initially, Georgia-based representatives of this coalition supporting the prisoner demands included the Georgia NAACP, the Nation of Islam, the National Association for Radical Prison Reform, the Green Party of Georgia, and the Ordinary Peoples Society among others. Civil rights attorneys, ministers, community organizations and other prisoner advocates are also joining the group which calls itself the Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoner Rights.

Prisoners have stood up for themselves, and the communities they came from are lining up to support them. Today, at a groundbreaking for a private prison 300 miles southeast of Atlanta in Millen GA, residents of that local community opposed to the private prison are greeting the governor and corrections brass with a protest. They will be joined by dozens more coming in from Atlanta who will respectfully urge state authorities to talk to the prisoners. We understand that one person there has been arrested. Black Agenda Report will have photos and footage of that event on Thursday.

The braod-based Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoners Rights fully supports the heroic stand of Georgia's prisoners. “This isn't Attica,” one representative of the coalition explained. “No violent acts have been committed by any of the inmates involved. We hope state corrections officials will be as peaceful and respectful as the prisoners have been, and start a good faith dialog about quickly addressing their concerns.”

Right now, the ball is in the hands of state corrections officials, and reports are that in some of the affected prisons, authorities are fumbling that ball, engaging

They transferred some of the high Muslims here to max already,” one prisoner told Black Agenda Report this morning. “They want to break up the unity we have here. We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground. We all want to be paid for our work, and we all want education in here. There's people in here who can't even read...

They're trying to provoke people to violence in here, but we're not letting that happen. We just want our human rights.”

The transfers are intended to deprive groups of leadership and demoralize them. In some cases they may be having the opposite effect, stiffening prisoner morale and making room for still more leaders to emerge.

The prisoners insist that punitive transfers are an act of bad faith, the opposite of what we should be doing,” said Minister Charles Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam in Atlanta. “The coalition supports them and demands no punitive transfers, either within or between institutions, and absolutely no transfers to institutions outside Georgia.”

Members of the public should continue to call the prisons listed below, and the GA Department of Corrections and the office of Georgia's governor, Sonny Perdue. Ask them firmly but respectfully to resolve the situation non-violently and without punitive measures. Tell them you believe prisoners deserve wages for work and education. Ask them to talk to prisoners and the communities they come from.

It's simple. With one in twelve Georgia adults in jail or prison, parole or probation or other court and correctional supervision, prisoners are us. They are our families. They are our fathers and our mothers, our sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and cousins. Most prisoners will be back out in society sooner, not later. It's time for us all to grow up and realize that warehousing, malnourishing, mistreating and abusing prisoners does not make us safer. Denying prisoners meaningful training and educational opportunities, and forcing them to work for no wages is not the way to do.

It's time to fundamentally reconsider prison as we know it, and America's public policy of mass incarceration.

Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford are reachable at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com and glen.ford(at)blackagendareport.com, respectively. Black Agenda Report intends to provide ongoing coverage several times per week of the ongoing struggle of Georgia prisoners.



Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.  

Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400

Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721

Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218

Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900

Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000

The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246

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prison strike coverage

thank you for your continued coverage.
Compare the so-called left media coverage of Julian Assange and the Georgia Prison Strike-
Amy Goodman says this morning "All eyes are on Julian Assange"...well, my eyes are not - nor are my eyes on Bradley Manning,
[today every list I'm on proclaims "The Inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning"]

This is not to say that Julian Assange or Bradlley Manning deserve or should have the treatment they are getting.
But at least they have the public eye on them. The treatment of Bradley Manning, as described by Glenn Greenwald, IS awful. But so is the treatment of hundreds of thousands of mostly African-American, Latino and poor prisoners, who languish in similar condition, for DECADES. And whose treatment rarely sees the light of day.

What will happen to the Georgia prisoners when this event is over?
In the dark, and away from any public scrutinity, the sadistic prison guards can do what they will.

The so-called left press could possibly prevent a bloodbath in Georgia by giving some coverage.
However, my survey yesterday of sites like Common Dreams, Mother Jones, Alternet, etc reveal NO mention of the Georgia prison strikes.

These strikes, not in one prison, but across the state, are an amazing feat!
How did these people, with little resources, manage this?
How did they come to cross the racial divides and hatreds that are fostered and encouraged by the prison system, and organize across ethnicities?

These questions are apparently of no interest to the so-called left media.

SOMETHING NEEDS TO SERIOUSLY BE DONE!

HELLO TO ALL! I THINK THE LAY DOWN IS GREAT! I THINK THE GEORGIA SYTEM IS SO WICKED! I THOUGHT SLAVE DAYS WERE OVER! I AM SO UPSET ABOUT HOW THEY TREAT MY LOVED ONE AND THE OTHER INMATES AT AUTRY STATE PRISION! THIS IS CRUEL AND UNJUST! FIRST OFF, WHERE DO THE STATE OF GEORGIA GET THEIR SENTENCING FROM? ITS TERRIBLE. THERE ARE INNOCENT PEOPLE LOCKED UP FOR A LARGE PORTION OF THEIR LIFE LET ALONE FOR LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE! THEY DO NOT EVEN LOOK IN DEPTH INTO THE EVIDENCE ENOUGH TO EVEN PROPERLY SENTENCE THE PRISIONERS! WHY DON’T GEORGIA HAVE GAME TIME FOR THE PRISIONERS TO WORK OFF THEIR TIME AND RECIEVE A SHORTER SENTENCE? MOST OTHER STATES DOES! THEY DO NOT AT CHARISH FAMILY LIFE AT ALL! I MEAN ITS CRAZY! THE STATE OF GEORGIA NEEDS TO RECHECK THEIR SENTENCING GUIDE LINES AND GO BY THE LAW! THEY ACT LIKE THEY DON’T LIKE OR PROMOTE GOOD BEHAVIOR IN THE PRISIONS! PRISIONERS GET LETTERS STATING THAT THEY HAVE MANIPULATED THE SYSTEM BY NOT GETTING IN TROUBLE AND THEY GET THEIR TPM (TEMPORARY PAROLE MONTH) TAKEN AWAY! BUT EVERYONE IS SCREAMING ABOUT HOW CROWDED THE GEORGIA PRISION SYSTEM IS! OF COURSE ITS CROWDED BECAUSE THEY ARE KEEPING INNOCENT PEOPLE AND DRAGING EVERYONE WITH THE INHUMAN SENTENCING! WHEN WAYNE SNOW WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE PAROLE BOARD PRISIONERS WERE EDUCATED AND LESS RETURNS BACK TO PRISION BECAUSE WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR THEM TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISION, THEY WERE WELL EDUCATED AND HAVE A CHANCE IN THE REAL WORLD! COME ON STATE OF GEORGIA, ARE YOU FORGETTING THAT THESE PRISIONERS ARE ALSO HUMAN BEINGS AND ALSO SOMEONES LOVED ONES? WHAT IS THE USE OF HAVING LAWS WHEN THEY ARE NOT BEING ABIDED BY? WHY PUNISH INNOCENT PRISIONERS SO HARSHLY WHEN YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING THEM THE GUIDELINES YOURSELVES?

NOW AUTRY STATE PRISION! THIS PLACE IS SO PATHETIC! THE STAFF IS SO RADICULOUS AND THEY ARE SO SLOW ABOUT EVERYTHING! THEY HAVE DIRTY RUSTED OUT RAILS THAT THE PRISIONERS HAVE TO TOUCH! COME ON, THIS IS HEALTH ISSUES WE ARE TALKING ABOUT! THIS GIVES A GREAT CHANCE OF THEM GETTING STAFF INFECTION! THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT WAITS FOR THE WORST TO HAPPEN! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TELL A MAN THAT THEY HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND ITS EXTREMELY HIGH MOST OR THE TIME THAT HE GOES DOWN THERE, AND NOT EVEN ISSUE A PERSCRIPTION TO CONTROL IT! I MEAN IF A MAN NEEDS TO HAVE SURGERY OR SOMETHING HE HAS TO WAIT UNTIL THE PROBLEM GETS WORST AND UNBAREABLE BEFORE THEY ATTEMPT TO FIX THE PROBLEM! I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE SEEN SUCH CRUELTY! THEY FEED OUR LOVED ONES SLOP! THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, NOT ANIMALS!

I CAN GO ON AND ON ABOUT AUTRY STATE PRISION AND ALSO ABOUT THE STATE OF GEORGIA, BUT IF I DO,I WILL BE AWAKE OR DAYS, AND EVEN MONTHS SO I’M HOPING AND PRAYIN THAT SOMETHING GET DONE ABOUT THIS! I PRAY THAT THE RIGHT PERSON OF POWER GET THE MESSAGE AND DOES SOMETHING ABOUT THIS! THIS IS INHUMAN, UNJUST AND NOT THE LAW!

REMEMBER THE VICTIMS

IN AS MUCH HAS I UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THE CONCERNS AND EFFORTS FROM VARIOUS BLACK ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, ACTIVIST AND THE PRISONERS I AM APPALLED AND ALARMED THAT NO ONE REMEMBERS NOR MENTIONS THE VICTIMS.

A LOT OF THESE BROTHERS ARE NOT LOCKED DOWN FOR BEING CHIOR BOYS AND UPSTANDING CITIZENS.

DOES ANYONE REMEMBER OR CARE ABOUT THE BLACK GIRLS KIDNAPPED, TORTURED, RAPED, MURDERED AND LEFT BEGGING FOR HER LIVES ONLY TO DIE ALONE IN RAT INFESTED ABANDONED HOUSES, DARK BASEMENTS AND COLD DITCHES?

DOES ANY ONE REMEMBER THE YOUNG BLACK MALES THAT HAD THEIR LIFE SNUFFED OUT BECAUSE OF PETTY JEALOUSY AND ENVY?

DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE MOTHERS BEATEN, GAGGED, TIED-UP, SHOT, STABBED, DROWNED OR BURNED ALIVE?

DOES ANYONE REMEMBER OR MENTION THE FATHERS ROBBED AND SHOT FOR SIMPLY TRYING TO WORK AND PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY?

THESE VARIOUS BLACK ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, ACTIVIST AND PRISONERS SHOULD BE AIDING AND ABETTING THE BLACK MEN OUT HERE TRYING AND STRUGGLING WITH EVERYTHING THE HAVE TO AVOID BECOMING PRISONERS.

DEAR BLACK AMERICA 2010-2011
PLEASE REMEMBER THE VICTIMS.

SINCERELY, ENOCH MUBARAK
PRESIDENT/CEO MUBARAK INTER-PRIZES
www.mubarakinter-prizes.com 

To "Remember the Victims"

I must comment on the "Remember The Victims" comment. Never taking away from the Victims what they have gone thru, we must ask ourselves, how many more victims should there be? So we lock people up for years and years and just throw away the key without rehabilitation, without therapy and education and treat them like animals. We are then in the same category as the "Criminals", proving to them that the crimes they committed are the end all be all and most of the time they do come back out and return to the same lifestyle they had before they went in, why? because they are not rehabilitated, they were just confined for a period of time marinating and stewing in the anger and hatred that made them committ the crime in the first place. I do not believe that we wake up one day and say "I want to kill someone or rape someone or committ a crime of any magnitude", there are circumstances that lead up to committing these crimes and that is what needs to be addressed while incarcerated so when they are released they have a better understanding of what got them there and they have the proper tools handy from being rehabilitated with education, therapy etc to be able to make better desicions moving forward and not want to continue leading a lifestyle of crime. There is a saying that goes "It takes a village to raise a child" well guess what, not everyone is raised with a village supporting them, loving them guiding them. Some are raising themselves the only way they know how because they also have been traumatized and have had crimes committed against them and those are the tools they walk with and go into prison with, so if we dont take whatever steps nessesary to really provide them with the right tools and we just release them into society the same way they went in, that means we are now aware of the type of person we are  putting back into the world and we are just as guilty of the crimes they will continue to committ.

Rehabilitation is the key
 

The "Left's" Lack of Attention to The Prison Industrial Complex

There hasn't been a major Nation wide focus on prison conditions [w some brief exceptions] by either the MSNM News or even so-called 'leftist' media since Attica 4 DECADES Ago. Take Gitmo whom some on the so-called 'Left' are making a fuss [rightfully so] about how detainees are deprived of their rights & even tortured. But the first time I heard of Gitmo was during the Haitian Boat Crisises [IE: 1980s w Popa Doc's reign of terror & Reagan / Bush Sr Gitmotizing those Haitians fleeing the terror, then in the 1990s when Mr CIA Bush Sr pulled a coup on Pres Aristide & then responding to Haitians fleeing the terror by again Gitmotizing them], but only a few really paid attention then. So now Gitmo has become the very symbol of the US' Fake WAR on TERROR &  TORTURE policy. AND- Speaking of Torture- why has it been so easy for high officials to perpetrate it [w the Bush / Cheney-ites particularly - actually publicly boasting about it]??? Because it has been common practice in the US' Criminal Justice / Prison Industrial Complex. Recently an ex-CPD Lt Jon Burge was convicted of regularly beating & torturing confessions out of prisoners [mainly Black & Brown], some who were then eagerly prosecuted & put on death row by none-other than the Current Mayor of Chicago Rich Daley Jr- when he was Cook County States Attorney.  Much of this NOTORIOUS affair came to light after it was discovered in the late 1990s early 2000s that- out of 25 prisoners in IL scheduled to be executed- 13 of THEM WERE NOT-GUILTY!!! The situation was so outrageous that Ex- IL Gov George Ryan [a conservative Republican] felt morally compelled to call a moratorium on IL's death penalty. He then went on Oprah's show w some of those exonerated & spoke about how prisoners [usually Black & Brown] were regularly rail-roaded, beaten & TORTURED into confessing to crimes they didn't do -&- how Burge's squad was notorious for this. So finally Burge gets convicted this yr- not of Torture but of perjury- some 25 - 30 yrs after the fact. Then of course there is the notorious Mark Fuhrman [of the OJ Murder Case infamy & a contributor to FOX Noise], who was caught on tape bragging about how he regularly planted evidence on & beat-up & threw nigger suspects {w their hands cuffed behind their backs} down flights of stairs!!! [Note: Most whites folks were/are {understandably} upset that OJ may have gotten away w killing 2 white people- maybe. However by Furhman’s own boasting he’s likely gotten away w killing NUMEROUS {mainly Black & Brown} PEOPLE – see:  http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Info/fuhrman.html - So where was their outrage when FOX Noise had the GALL to make him FOX’s special analyst on crime!!!]

If you listen to the tactics employed by the prison authorities that the Brother here is describing [extreme solitary isolation, the use of cold water & cold temperature conditions] these are the tactics employed at Gitmo, Abu-Gharaib Iraq, Bahgram Afghan, etc; but these have been common tactics employed in the Crimal Justice Industry / Prison Industrial Complex for DECADES. So if officials have no problem using torture tactics on US prisoners [Note: Since Attica the prison population went from majority white to majority Black & Brown as well as EXPLODED], & no one [even so-called 'liberals'] screamed to the Hi-Heavens then- Of Course they have no compunction about using TORTURE on foreign prisoners of the Fake War on Terror, and then Boast about it on MSNM News Outlets.   

NOTE about the 13th Amendment- If you read it carefully it abolishes slavery in the US- EXCEPT for prisoners who have been 'duly' convicted of a crime. I hear some on the so-called left [mainly white liberals] talk like the principles of the so-called 'Founding Fathers' in the US Constitution is the solution to all the problems now happening in Gov't [including violations of civil liberties & the rule of law]. And certainly the Bush / Cheney NeoCons & now the Obama / Holder / Billary Regime have distorted &/or out-right trashed many Constitutional provisions. But WE as Black People have to remember that many / most of the 'Founding Fathers' were Slave Owners - that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was a Political Tactic [the Civil War WAS NOT fought primarily to free our ancestors] which abolished slavery only in those Confederate States that continued to rebel against the Union [IE: against Lincoln's Authority], & that the Bushes & Obama's Mama are/were direct descendants of those slave owning 'Founding Fathers'. Thus it is Constitutionally ACCEPTABLE to treat convicts like slaves because of this 13 Amendment exception. This means that portions of the Constitution needs to be re-written, which is very unlikely- the last major attempt to amend the Constitution was the women's rights movement's ERA [of the mid 1970s early 1980s] which FAILED. 



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