Contact: Ben Turk
On Wednesday evening, twenty-five prisoners at Ohio’s super-max prison ate their first meal since Sunday night. The hunger strike was inspired by the Occupy4Prisoners National Day of Action called by Occupy Oakland. According to Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of the hunger strikers, they initially intended a one day fast as a “symbolic gesture, a way of locking arms with the people on the outside.”
By Monday evening, the prisoners had decided to issue demands and continue refusing food. Their demands included specific changes in the conditions of their confinement at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) as well as calls for broader reforms. They resumed eating after Warden David Bobby agreed to grant a number of their demands including:
1. Reversing the recent decision to reduce outdoor recreation time for prisoners to a schedule alternating between 3 and 4 hours per week
2. Improving enrichment programming, including new movies and religious movies for the prison television station.
3. Bringing the head dietitian from Central Office in Columbus to review OSP food policies and hear prisoner complaints about inedible and scorched food.
4. A number of specific instances of price-gouging, skimping and lack of variety in the commissary.
Hasan said “Warden Bobby has been a man of his word in the past, so we don’t anticipate the kind of situation going on in California” referring to slow response to negotiations during last years large prisoner hunger strikes in California.
The prisoners consider their hunger strike a victory because they won these specific demands and also because they helped raise awareness of state and even nation-wide issues regarding the artificial economy of state pay and commissary prices.
Prisoners from across the institution participated in the hunger strike, including Siddique Abdullah Hasan a Muslim Imam who has been on death row fighting what he says is a wrongful conviction following the 1993 Lucasville Uprising. More information about the Lucasville Uprising is available on a new website Hasan and other prisoners helped create at LucasvilleAmnesty.org
March 1 | Grand Lake Theater Showing of “Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.”
“Broken On All Sides is a compelling documentary addressing racial inequities within our criminal justice system and its devastating collateral consequences.”- James E. Williams, Jr.
Check out our growing collection of photos, videos and news reports from the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners: https://occupy4prisoners.org/f20-reports-pics-videos/
Please send write-ups, reports, pics, and videos of YOUR action to email@example.com
At least 20 prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP- Ohio’s Super-Max prison) will refuse food on Monday February 20th in Solidarity with the National Occupy for Prisoners Day of Action.
The TRUTH MOB is a creative action that combines speaking truth about mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, while doing outreach for the Feb. 20 National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners. The fundamental principle is from the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Solidarity Committee: amplifying the voices of imprisoned people.
A group of people converges on a public place and one by one, speak truth about what’s going on with the US prison system: facts and then writings by current and former imprisoned people, including political prisoners. The speaking is 5-10min, then the Feb 20 event is announced and flyering occurs about the prison industrial complex.
Occupy4Prisoners has put a Call-Out to the Occupy Oakland Nonviolent Caucus, Connection Action Project, Seminary of the Streets, Safer Spaces, and and others, to organize a training for Participants and Volunteers attending the Feb 20 action at SanQuentin. This training is to help keep this event safe for all, in solidarity with currently or formerly incarcerated people. To learn more about the reasons for this request, please see the following statement.
The Training is scheduled the morning of the event, on Feb 20th at the Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza at 8 am. Affinity groups or individuals welcome.
We have been informed that the road block-off will begin at 10am on Monday. The buses and carpools will have to drop off passengers at Francisco Boulevard East and Grange Avenue, see this map.
It is about 3/4 mile from that point to the prison. If you park farther away, the shuttle can only bring you that close.
Therefore if you are unable to walk to the gate you must get dropped off before 10am. We can help arrange for transportation for you that will bring you there before 10am. We are sorry for any hardship this may cause, but it is outside of our control. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make special arrangements.
To the Occupy Oakland family, all supporters of Occupy Oakland, and the larger Occupy Wall Street movement:
We are writing to appreciate everyone who has ever supported PEOPLE inside jails, prisons, and detention facilities throughout the country. We are also writing to ask for support from everyone planning to participate in February 20th National Day of Occupy in Support of Prisoners. PEOPLE in prisons – a nice name for cages – as well as formerly imprisoned PEOPLE, are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in our society. We have been labeled as “offenders”, “criminals”, “convicts”, “ex-offenders”, “ex-cons”, and many other dehumanizing terms, and are scapegoated for causing society’s fundamental problems. We are PEOPLE, and not the labels they use. The real “criminals” are those who run Wall Street, who are responsible for genocide, racism, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination. They lead the attacks against communities throughout America.
Feb 20th is a National Day to support PEOPLE inside cages who express their solidarity with the 99% and to support PEOPLE seeking social, economic, and other forms of justice. With the help of our supporters, allies, and larger communities, we aim to create a safe space to allow the voices of PEOPLE in captivity to be heard.
Many of us inside as well as out in the “free” world live by a code of conduct and support self-determination. We strive to build and follow leadership in our collective and public actions. We do not advance individual agendas over our collective needs. We further pledge to treat each other with respect and not allow differences to divide us, to accept responsibility for any acts that may have caused harm to our families, our communities or ourselves, and to play an active role in making our communities safe for everyone.
Seldom if ever, are people inside asked or given a safe space to tell their stories. The broader Occupy Oakland and general public need to know what is going on inside these cages, how the bottom of the 99% are treated by the 1%, and the need to meaningfully include people inside as we build our collective efforts.
We ask everyone reading these words to support our efforts to create a safe, secure and genuinely inclusive space for people inside, and to build a genuine role for their voices in the February 20th National Day of Occupy in Support of Prisoners. We do not want to create or exacerbate conditions that endanger anyone’s freedom. We know police have attacked our sisters and brothers at Occupy encampments all over the country. We ask everyone participating to remember that for many of us even a mass arrest could escalate to a parole violation and a return to prison. We also want to guarantee the safety of family members with loved ones inside because they are the lifeline for PEOPLE in cages.
We ask you to be our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers!
Formerly-Incarcerated People from All of Us or None and Occupy for Prisoners