[Pnews] Support the hunger-striking prisoners in Ohio

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 2 13:20:03 EDT 2015


Dear friends,

Please help support these hunger-striking prisoners in Ohio. The action 
alert below explains the situation and gives contact info for phone 
calls, emails and letters to the pertinent prison authorities and 
politicians. Please also forward to your networks.

PAYDAY

*From:*Lucasville Amnesty [mailto:lucasville at toledoprisonawareness.org 
<mailto:lucasville at toledoprisonawareness.org>]
*Sent:* Monday, March 30, 2015 3:40 PM
*Subject:* Lucasville Amnesty - OSP Hunger Strike Enters Third Week

Ten prisoners at OSP[Ohio State Penitentiary]have been on hunger strike 
since Monday March 16th. Supporters have been calling the prison and the 
legal services department at ODRC [Ohio Dept of Rehabilitation and 
Correction] central office with no discernable effect.

The Warden and OSP staff refuse to take the hunger striking prisoners 
seriously. Unit manager Charmaine Bracy and Major Hurst have both said 
that range rec will not be returned at all and that 5B prisoners will 
have access to religious programming through their cell doors. See below 
for what that means and why it is unacceptable.

Trevor Clark in legal services either ignores calls or re-directs 
callers in meaningless circles. It seems there is no one in legal 
services at the ODRC is taking responsiblity for making sure OSP does 
not abuse its captives' basic constitutional rights.

So, we're going to their boss, and then to his bosses.

Gary Mohr is the director of the ODRC. Please call him and tell him that 
the Warden at OSP is refusing to take the ten hunger strikers seriously. 
Demand that Mohr reverse this Warden's illegal policy changes. Tell him 
that it is not okay for him to turn a blind eye when his employees 
pursue collective punishment by putting through illegal and 
unconstitutional policies because of a few incidents with one or two 
prisoners.

Gary Mohr 614-752-1150.
/Write letters: Gary Mohr, ODRC Director, 770 West Broad Street, 
Columbus, Ohio 43222/
/Email: drc.publicinfo at odrc.state.oh.us 
<mailto:drc.publicinfo at odrc.state.oh.us>/

Gary Mohr is the top of the ODRC hierachy, but the ODRC is supposed to 
be accountable to the people of Ohio. The mechanism for that 
accountability is the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee 
(CIIC). Please join other supporters in filing complaints on their 
website http://www.ciic.state.oh.us/complaint-form 
<http://t.ymlp310.net/mhqafauywuwaoauavajem/click.php>

You can also contact these elected officials (especially if you live in 
their district) and ask them to investigate the recent policy failures 
at OSP.

Sandra Williams <http://t.ymlp310.net/mhyaaauywuwagauagajem/click.php> 
(D) Senate District 21 (614) 466-4857
Cliff Hite, Vice 
Chair<http://t.ymlp310.net/mwsagauywuwalauavajem/click.php>(R) Senate 
District 1 (614) 466-8150
Edna Brown <http://t.ymlp310.net/mwuadauywuwanauafajem/click.php> (D) 
Senate District 11 (614) 466-5204
John Eklund <http://t.ymlp310.net/mweanauywuwagauanajem/click.php> (R) 
Senate District 18 (614) 644-7718
Click the names to send emails.
Mailing address:
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio43215


Paul Zeltwanger <http://t.ymlp310.net/mwmagauywuwafauadajem/click.php> 
(R) House District 54 (614) 644-6027
Nicholas J. Celebrezze 
<http://t.ymlp310.net/mwjakauywuwavauatajem/click.php> (D) House 
District 15 (614) 466-3485
Bob D. Hackett <http://t.ymlp310.net/mwbatauywuwafauakajem/click.php> 
(R) House District 74 (614) 466-1470
Michelle Lepore-Hagan 
<http://t.ymlp310.net/mwhagauywuwatauacajem/click.php> (D) House 
District 58 (614) 466-9435
Click the names to send emails.
Mailing Address:
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High Street 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111

Religious programming through a cell door means that a clergy person or 
spiritual leader will speak with the prisoner through the closed cell 
door on the range for less than 5 minutes. The doors at OSP are solid 
steel. They are thick, and the range is a loud echoing concrete room 
with a dozen of these doors looking out on it. Prisoners behind each 
door attempt to converse with each other by shouting to be heard. It is 
a very loud place with no privacy.

Imagine being a catholic giving confession at the top of your lungs 
through a steel door while other prisoners carry on shouted 
conversations around you. Imagine trying to receive any kind of 
religious instruction in that environment. It is absurd for OSP staff to 
pretend that is a suitable replacement for the one hour long sessions in 
a seperate space that they are depriving these prisoners of.

*More details on the issues:*

Two recent policy changes at OSP are the main issues, though prisoners 
have many other specific grievances. The biggest issue, effecting the 
most prisoners is the withdrawal of congregate recreation. All but the 
cadre and long timer prisoners at OSP are no longer allowed to go out on 
the range together for their one hour a day recreation out of their 
cells. This policy change reduces human contact between prisoners, 
isolating and dehumanizing them further, and denying them opportunities 
to demonstrate that they are not security threats, a key component of 
the security step-down process they need to go through to get out of 
solitary confinement. It also creates a logistical problem, if only one 
prisoner at a time is allowed to rec, there is not enough time in a week 
for each of the over 450 prisoners to get their legally required five 
hours of rec time per week. This policy change violates court decisions 
that are supposed to bind OSP to a minimum standard of humane treatment.

The second change, OSP has decided to deny programming to prisoners at 
level 5B. This directly effects a few dozen prisoners, who are at the 
highest security level in the Ohio system. Depriving these prisoners of 
access to programming demonstrates the ODRC's commitment to cruelty and 
punishment, rather than rehabilitation and counseling for their 
captives. Like the recreation restriction, it slows the process by which 
5B prisoners can step down to lower security levels, acquiring more 
privileges. It is also illegal. Some of the denied programming includes 
religious programming. Any prisoner placed on level 5B will be there for 
at least a year. It is a violation of the first amendment right to 
freedom of religion to deny anyone the ability to practice their 
religion for over a year, and a violation of the fourteenth amendment 
equal protection under the law to exclude these prisoners from 
opportunities afforded to other prisoners without just cause.

There are many other issues at OSP, everything from unsafe and slippery 
conditions in the showers that have caused multiple injuries, to 
restricted access to hardcover books in violation of US Supreme Court 
decision /Turner v Safely/. The Warden at OSP is not taking the 
prisoners' demands seriously and appears to not have consulted ODRC 
legal services before instituting these illegal and unconstitutional 
policy changes.

From: *lucasville at toledoprisonawareness.org 
<mailto:lucasville at toledoprisonawareness.org>*
-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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