- Here is a message I received today from the SOA Watch organization
- ACTION ALERT – September 12, 2002
SUPPORT THE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Toni and Jerry remain in Crisp County Jail. In response to your efforts, they have each been moved to less crowded cells. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials have interviewed them on two occasions as part of an investigation into our complaints. They have also had a personal meeting with the sheriff in his office to discuss conditions at the jail. At this time, correspondence from the BOP gives no indication as to whether or not they will be moved.
Both Toni and Jerry feel that the sheriff is listening to their concerns. They still hope to be moved to federal prisons closer to home where they can receive visits from their families.
The move to less crowded cells and other small changes in conditions seem to be limited to Toni and Jerry specifically, not reforms that will address overall conditions and benefit other prisoners there. We now have an opportunity to force a real and lasting change in the conditions at Crisp County Jail. Act now to ensure that conditions will change not just for our friends but for all those imprisoned at the jail without access to a network of support like this one.
There are approximately 2 million people in US prisons and jails and 6.3 million people under state supervision. The number of inmates increased more than 5 times from 1970 to 2001. 46% in 1999 were African-Americans, even though African-Americans compose only 12% of the US Population. 18% were Hispanic. Today our rate of incarceration is the highest in the world.
The Prison Industrial Complex and the School of the Americas/WHISC are both symptoms of a broader system of exploitation and oppression, a system that is dependent on repressive institutions to stay in power.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
– Fax and then snail-mail letters to the following local officials expressing your concern over the conditions at the Crisp County Jail (see below for specific information). Demand that they launch a full-scale investigation of the conditions at the jail and implement reforms before one more person is sent there. Toni and Jerry ask that letters be written in the spirit of nonviolence and refrain from personal attacks. Write to:
Superior Court Judges:
Judge Whitfield R. Forrester
(229) 276-2652 (fax)
210 7th St. South
Cordele, GA 31010-0701
Judge John C. Prigden
(229) 276-2629 (fax)
PO Box 5025
Cordele, GA 31010-5025
– Continue the phone calls and faxes to R.E. Holt at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Southeast Regional Office. Demand that Toni and Jerry be moved to federal prisons close to their homes and that conditions be improved at Crisp County Jail for all prisoners there.
R.E. Holt Southeast Regional Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
(678) 686-1205 ext. 204 phone
(678) 686-1229 fax
From an SOAW action alert dated August 27th:
“The SOAW office received a call from Toni yesterday. She was coughing and choking as she explained that a prisoner had been maced in the hallway outside of her cell. When her cell filled with gas, the guards refused to move her to another location. Jerry’s cell shares an air duct with Toni’s and he also was subjected to the noxious fumes.
Last evening’s television news revealed that a prisoner in the Crisp County Jail had died of undisclosed causes. The report stated that the prisoner was being held in the medical wing of the jail. Toni indicated that there is no medical wing in the jail and that one of the jail staff people admitted to her that the woman had died in a padded isolation cell.”
A letter from Peter Gelderloos dated August 17th includes the following:
“The jail is overcrowded and some inmates have to sleep on the floor. Our shower drain is clogged so water backs up. The diet is insufficient. I am often hungry. The drinking water is dirty, leaving sediment stains in my cup. . . We have telephones in our cells but the rates are sheer piracy . . . $15-$25 for a 15 minute out-of-state call. A large part of this is the connection fee and calls automatically cut off after 15 minutes, forcing inmates to call again and pay a new connection fee. . . I wasn’t given any sheets or a towel for nine days after admittance. My visiting day is Tuesday. There are no visiting days on weekends, so in effect I can’t get out of state visitors.”
A letter from Toni Flynn dated August 13th includes the following:
“Day # 16 here at Crisp County Jail and no sign of the U.S. Marshals. Things have worsened: A woman in my cell block has for weeks complained of “sores and bugs” on her body. She and I and the other 5 women have all complained and asked for intervention. The only response was to be given a can of Lice Spray for us to use on our bodies. Upon reading the label, it says ‘dangerous for humans & animals’ and further instructs that it is toxic if inhaled or absorbed. Our cell was nonetheless sprayed & some women sprayed their bodies. The infected woman was isolated for 1 day and then returned, still infected. We are all at risk and the woman is as yet untreated or at best treated ineffectively. I filled out a complaint and everyone signed it. The woman has voiced that she has “lice, crabs, and canker sores as well as a rash that has spread (neck and wrist). I feel this is gross negligence and that the Health Dept needs to know. I really (underlined twice) want out of here! Is there anyway to nudge the Feds?…”
Over 70 SOA Watch activists have been incarcerated for 40 years (collectively) for civil resistance and speaking out against the SOA. Their prison terms are an attempt to silence the movement to close the SOA, and to prevent others from speaking out. An additional 28 activists, serving sentences from 3 – 6 month are currently being held in jails and prisons across the United States (Alderson, WV; Lexington, KY; Schuylkill, PA; Crisp County, GA; Lewisburg, PA; Beaumont, TX; Manchester, KY; Pekin, IL; Bradford, PA; Littleton, CO; Phoenix, AZ; Dublin, CA; Allenwood, PA; Beaver, WV). Write to the prisoners (their prison addresses will be posted on www.soaw.org shortly) and come to Fort Benning, November 15 – 17, 2002.
For more information contact:
PO Box 4566
Washington DC 20017
Phone: (202) 234 3440