Georgia prisoners on hunger strike in Reidsville over harsh conditions

Members of Atlanta Black Cross have been correspondng with several prisoners in Georgia prisons since the 2012 prisoner hunger strike in Jackson. They have repeatedly tried to get redress for their grievances about mistreatment, and when those attempts have failed they have been forced to resort to hunger strike.  Here is a letter from one prisoner who has been refusing food since February 23.  It is all in his own words.

 

Tier Program/GA.’s Step Down Program
[New Nazi Gestapo Behavior Modification Program]

GA. Dept. of Corrections has implemented a new behavior modification program that is a throwback to a Nazi Koncentration Kamp experiment.  In the name of public safety only, GA. Dept. of  Korrections has deliberately stripped prisoners of their first amendment rights to political, religious, and cultural beliefs and the right to have access to the press in all forms.  Further this so-called program denies prisoners their 14th amendment rights to due process [both procedural and substantive] thus deliberately denying prisoners meaningful opportunity to defend and challenge his placement into a program that has nor holds any habilitative purpose.  Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and placed in a single occupancy cell, with a roommate that has a toilet that has no inside flush valve, and forced to live 24 hours a day receiving half portion food trays, thus deliberately malnourishing the prisoners into submission.  Any prisoner that files grievances to complain about the denial of outside exercise periods, cell sanitation, law library access, telephone and visitation access to family, the mice and spider infestation, are targeted by G.D.C. administrators and subjected to assaults by C.E.R.T. [Corrections Emergency Response Team] and are sprayed with MK90 riot mace which is used to subdue attacking bears.  This is done even if a prisoner is non-combative.  The only justifiable reason this tactic is used is to instill fear in prisoners who would challenge this program.  Any prisoner who is apart of an organization with any form of political or religious or cultural background is then arbitrarily validated as a gang member, and this is used to justify his placement in the program.  Even though the prisoner has no disciplinary which has sanctioned such a placement.  According to the Tier Program SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) this program is not designed to be used as a tool of punishment yet GA. Dept. of Corrections actions are contrary to this official statement.  Instead of GA. Dept. of Corrections investing time and money into educational programs such as trades that would prepare prisoners to take control of their lives and their future.  In order to return to the outside world better than what they came into, this program has nothing positive to offer a prisoner.  Instead prisoners are only receiving deprivation and a extreme course in being tortured on a daily basis.  GA. Dept. of Corrections in the guise of public safety exercises its power to deny prisoners all means of exposing this unlawful and unconstitutional program.  Which breeds in all prisoners subjected to this program hate and violence!  The majority of these prisoners will return to society at large, carrying this hate and violence thus making society a victim  to this ill thought Nazi experiment G.D.C. calls Tier Step Down.  By the true intent it can only be called “prolonged solitary confinement” and the objective is to destroy the mental, spiritual, and physical being of all forced to endure its atypical and significant hardships in direct violation of the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  On Feb 23rd 2015 myself and several others started refusing food trays and on Feb. 26th I officially declared hungerstrike!  My 1st, 8th and 14th amendment rights are deliberately being trampled and all attempts to file grievances and exhaust administrative remedies in order to address these violations before the courts are being stopped by GA. State prison’s administrators.  Therefore I ask that anyone or any human rights organization get involved and get an investigator from the U.S. Dept. of Justice to come and investigate and talk to me and all prisoners housed in this program.

Respectfully submitted,
I am Kelvin J. Stevenson #570391
G.S.P-2164 GA Hwy 147
Reidsville, GA. 30499
This 6th day of March 2015.