On December 9, 2010, prisoners in several Georgia prisons began a peaceful strike in order to pressure prison administrators to meet the following list of demands:
· A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery andinvoluntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
· DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
· NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
· ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
After final assessments are made, this may be the largest prison strike in United States history. The strike was orchestrated largely through the use of cell phones, according to Elaine Brown, former chairman of the Black Panther Party, founder of the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform, and one of the contact persons for information on developments in the strike listed on a press release.
Elaine Brown is interviewed about the strike one day after it had begun. She begins the interview by reading a text message sent to her from one of the Georgia prisoners in which the goals and the make-up of the strikers are stated.
Expressions of solidarity with the prisoners can be made to the various prisons at the numbers listed below or through the Georgia Department of Corrections website and/or main number:
Macon State Prison is (478) 472-3400.
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) 245-6450
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 www.dcor.state.ga.us>
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A Sunday update to this story will be posted at Black Agenda Report , about 9AM EST.