Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights (Coalition of NAACP, Nation of Islam, Elected Officials, Prisoner Activists) Demand Governor Perdue and DOC Commissioner Brian Owens Stop Violence Against Striking Prisoners
PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
December 13, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
100 Washington Street
NAACP State Chairman Edward Dubose joined by representatives from the Nation of Islam, elected officials and others, who have formed the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. today at the Capitol to urge Governor Perdue and Department of Corrections Commissioner Owens to halt the violent tactics being employed by guards against thousands of striking prisoners. They have reached out to Perdue and Owens for meetings earlier in the day.
Begun on December 9, 2010, the prisoners’ peaceful protest has been historic in scope and in the unity of thousands of black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners, including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons. For five days, now, these men have shut down all activity at most of these facilities.
The prisoners are petitioning the DOC for their human rights, including being paid for their labor, provided educational opportunities, decent health care and nutritional meals, a halt to cruel and unusual punishments, and just parole decisions.
While the prisoners’ protest has remained non-violent, the DOC has used violent measures to force the men back to workunder the banner of law, despite the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery. At Augusta State Prison, several inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs, one man beaten beyond recognition. At Telfair, the Tactical Squad roughed up prisoners and destroyed all their property. At Macon and Hays State Prisons, Tactical Squads have menaced the men for days, removing some to the “hole,” the wardens ordering heat and hot water turned off. Tear gas has been used to force men out of their cells at various prisons, while guards patrol grounds with assault rifles.
The DOC has made itself unavailable to the press and prisoner family members, creating fears that, behind closed doors, the Department will escalate this peaceful protest to a violent confrontation. The Coalition is urging the DOC to come to the table in peace to address the prisoners’ concerns.
“Due to the harsh conditions faced behind bars and the need for prison reform, the men are staying in their cells as a form of peaceful protest. No officials or staff have been threatened and no property has been damaged. These men’s requests are reasonable and in accord with the basic respect and treatment every human being deserves,” said Elaine Brown, a social activist and former Black Panther Party leader. Brown is spearheading the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights. More information about the Coalition can be found on its Facebook page.
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Contact: Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights email@example.com
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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