[Ppnews] Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strike Demands

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 13 13:33:34 EDT 2013

Contact: Ben Turk
Phone: 614-704-4699 <tel:614-704-4699>
Website: RedBirdPrisonAbolition.org

*Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strike Demands*

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013, Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP)- Cornelius 
"Soja" Harris' second hunger strike reaches 24 days. Less than a week 
after Soja suspended his 38 day hunger strike, he resumed refusing food. 
He is ready to come back off hunger strike if five simple demands are met.

He initially suspended the hunger strike he started on January 4th, with 
assurances from OSP Warden David Bobby that his missing property would 
be returned or replaced and that an institutional inspector to interview 
him. A few days later correctional officers at OSP interfered with a 
scheduled visit from Soja's partner and threatened to destroy more of 
his property. On return from that visit, they refused to give Soja his 
morning meal. This harassment combined with the fact that Warden David 
Bobby had not taken action on his assurances prompted Soja to go back on 
hunger strike.

Soja states that he is willing to come off this hunger strike if five 
simple demands are met.

1. Return or reimburse for property guards destroyed during Soja's first 
hunger strike.
2. Immediate transfer from segregation back to Sojas regular cell.
3. Lift restrictions from petty and fabricated conduct reports filed 
against Soja in retaliation for his hunger strike and the success at his 
4. End to harassment from Correctional Officers.
5. Opportunity to call outside supporters to make up for visits that 
guards cancelled or interfered with.

After missing 21 consecutive meals, the Warden authorized to send Soja 
to segregation. On his previous hunger strike, Soja was transferred to 
the infirmary. Officials claim that he was sent to segregation to 
monitor his food intake, but Soja believes this is actually punishment. 
Other prisoners in segregation are given 3 meals a day and could easily 
pass food to a hunger striker. Soja just endured a genuine 38 day hunger 
strike, with medical monitoring, so they should know he is not one to 
fake it. Segregation is punishment because it is loud all day and night 
from prisoners arguing, kicking doors and shouting at guards. Every 
other day someone floods their cell with toilet water, which runs under 
the door of other cells, so prisoners in segregation are constantly 
cleaning up toilet water, urine and excrement.

Death threats and harassment, including sexual harassment from guards is 
also common and ongoing. In a letter to supporters, Soja stated: "These 
cowards... want you crawling on your knees, weak and broken, they don't 
want you standing strong, head up with no fear." Soja has been refused 
access to the shower and his one hour of rec time out of his cell, 
without cause or explanation, on numerous occasions.

On March 3rd, Soja was put in a visiting booth with a broken lighting 
fixture and dirty glass, conditions which made it impossible for his 
visitor to see past the glare on bulletproof glass separating them. 
Another visit was denied altogether when Soja insisted that supervisors 
prevent the guards from again destroying his property while he was out 
of his cell. Soja has filed complaints for each of these incidents, with 
no remedy.

Since this harassment began the guards have also filed many petty 
conduct reports against Soja, resulting in increased regulations and 
limitations on his movement. Warden Bobby refuses to answer questions 
about Mr Harris' situation. Central office also refuses to say anything 
about Soja's case in particular other than to insist that the standard 
procedure for hunger striking prisoners is being followed. That 
procedure includes regular interviews and monitoring of the prisoner's 

According to Soja the bare minimum of that routine is being followed. 
Warden Bobby and Deputy Warden Remmich come through on their routine 
rounds, but they are casual and uninterested in his hunger strike. They 
don't respond to complaints about harassment, and have threatened to 
send him out of state.

Soja also asked to "please give my thanks to all of those who supported 
me and my situation on the blogs and other communication lines." He says 
he is "at the end of my patience... I don't have too much left. Patience 
has it's limits, take it too far and its cowardice."

He has written an extensive statement, which he is hesitant to send out 
through the OSP mail room because guards may destroy it.

Supporters can call OSP Warden David Bobby at 330-743-0700 
<tel:330-743-0700> and demand that he meet with Mr Harris (institution 
#525-945) and discuss his reasonable demands. People can also call 
central office at 614-752-1159 <tel:614-752-1159> and request that 
institutional inspectors review the Warden's inability to control his 
correctional officers and compliance with procedures regarding hunger 
striking prisoners.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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