The Green Party of Georgia has been making noise regarding the solitary confinement of 37 non-violent prison workers in 11 prisons across the state. Members of the Green Party have pledged to begin a hunger strike July 2nd if their demands have not been met.
On December 17th, 2010, in a meeting with representatives of over a dozen advocacy and community groups in Georgia, Timothy Ward, Facilities Director with the Department of Corrections acknowledged that 37 inmates had been subjected to ‘protective custody’ on suspicion of having served as instigators of the December 2010 strike, based on evidence that contraband cell phones had been confiscated from their personal property. A story has emerged from correspondence with inmates and their families about the tortuous conditions at the Segregation Management Unit (SMU) at the Jackson Georgia facility. Inmates there are subjected to months of ongoing deprivation of access to showers and exercise. Party activists have reports that these human beings are subjected to life under 24-7 video surveillance in a 4′ x 6′ plexiglass cell.
The Georgia hunger strikers are believed to include several among the Hidden-37, referring to the 37 men whom Mr. Ward mentioned in December of 2010, although since that statement Shawn Whatley was later added to their ranks.
Last month the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing many of the leaders in last year’s hunger strike involving thousands of prisoners at California’s Pelican Bay, brought litigation challenging as inhumane 8th Amendment violations, the extreme abuse of solitary confinement used at that prison. CCR argues that “Solitary confinement for as little as 15 days is now widely recognized to cause lasting psychological damage to human beings and is analyzed under international law as torture.”
“Its time to dismantle the prison state built with our tax dollars and populated with our families and neighbors,” said Bruce Dixon, state Green Party chairman. “When addiction is treated as a criminal matter rather than a health concern, you have stepped out onto the slippery slope which now seeks ways to normalize abuse and torture. But even when our family truly offend us, they are still our family. The Green Party intends to explain, confront and curtail the carceral state with the power of organized people.”
Read the whole article at Green Party Watch: Greens Call on Deal to End Torture in Georgia Prisons