Monthly Archives: March 2019

Eating: A privilege or right?

By: King Coe

At Hays State Prison in Trion, GA. 

A man can’t tell the difference between his human rights and his offender privileges. I was always told by CO’s that the basic necessities was all that the GDOC had to provide for us: Food, Clothing, and Shelter. And anything after that was a privilege. Which is contradictory  because the 1 hour of daily recreation required by State law, is diminished to 2 hrs a week of gym and is received all in one wop! But that’s another topic of. When reporting to chow  administration post themselves in front of the chowhall and stops and returns to their dormitory any prisoner who is inadequately or improperly dress to the 8:00-4:30 inspection hours regulated by the DOC.  Which means  if I don’t have certain clothing such as a belt, cogs, striped shirt or haircut or beard trimmings not in accordance to the rules  I’m refused my meals and COMMANDED to return to my dorm hungry. But the absurd thing is that this is a spiteful tactic because there is a process called the Disciplinary Report (D.R.) process. And the infractions vary from unkempt cell to assaults. Why don’t they use these codes of conduct and instead our food? When we argue our right to eat they reply: “all that you have to be is given an OPPORTUNITY TO EAT and you just refused your opportunity. NOW TURN AROUND AND GO BACK!” Sometimes the prisoner may be wrong but honestly we also just don’t have the materials designated by the institution due to theft, lost/misplaced and  often mislaid. But the overall question is: Is eating a human right or an offender privilege?? 

Overcrowded – Understaff Prisons: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

January 12th 2019
Written by Brother Ladarius Colbert 100145093

Greetings people of society, there is a statewide issue within the Georgia Department of Correction that continues to go underestimated and unattended. To guess many of you would think I’m referring to the gang epidemic or high rate of contraband within the walls of prison, all of which surrounds the criminalization of the offender. However, this article is more so focusing a more vital problem that not only affects the offender’s livelihood but the staff as well… Overcrowded prisons with staff shortages.

I arrived at Hays State Prison on February 16th 2016 on a disciplinary transfer; immediately upon arrival I notice the restricted movement at the camp. Outdoor exercise was rarely allowed and interaction between dorms were prohibited. I will admit, the strict movement had the camp atmosphere settled amongst the offenders but between us and the staff there exists a hostile vibe. Officers were always overly aggressive anytime we encountered one another and at a split action or sign of defiance cause for unlawful use of force.

I was confused at the “fear sowing” tactic because as stated earlier the violence level at the camp was moderate in comparison to the other facilities such as Valdosta, Telfair, and Smith State Prison. It wasn’t until I was placed on Tier 1 in E-1 cell 204, here is where I would find out the cause behind the above said insignificancies. The camp was understaff; like now, the offenders in segregation were deprived of a number of basic necessities. They receive infrequent cell sanitation; infrequent outdoor exercise; infrequent shower call-sometimes two times a week; and infrequent medical attention.

Often there would be one guard working an entire building that houses 128 offenders. On the same notation, but not as severe, general population is no different. The workload is overwhelming for the staff, where there has been numerous occasions where officers have spasm. Their irrational state can be results from lack of rest. Indenture labor, which consists of demeanful treatment, long hour hauls, seldom break periods, and occasional work on off days, has produce poor work ethics and ineffective response efforts to emergencies.

Inadequate security supervision: I am currently housed in a “pre-aggressor” dorm (C and D building). classification claims in a case of any form of an assault we will be the aggressor. Nonetheless, more than often our dorm floor officers are periodically stationed to work other work areas. There is hardly ever an officer available to attend to our concerns except for the control booth guard.

In consequence there has been a pattern of assaults in our dorm as well as others. In the segregation unit there has been a number of suicide attempts (some successful and gone unreported) and a vast of offender on offender assaults. Officers are unable to do consistent rounds because they are required to be in two different stations.

Medical illnesses / emergencies: medical illnesses go untreated and eventually worsen because of insufficient attention. If there is no escort officer available and unit manager McAllister is occupied you’re bound to miss your medical appointment. Friday – Sunday medical is shut except for urgent emergencies, pill call, and dialysis / diabetic check-up.

Education and access to courts – particularly in C and D Building we are subject to frequent setbacks in our litigation efforts and/or completing case plan program due to staff shortage. Many of those who are subject to such preventable disparity fail to meet certain time limitations and in case of the former are delayed relief and for the latter are denied pardonship for parole. On file it appears as the offender is being neglect to his assigned task, without notice or chance to provide an explanation they are shot down in their stride for equity or release.

Lately the education level has been high, reactionary transgression is motivated by capricious thinking. in an environment where the capacity level is 723 but the functioning level is around 1050 with so much animosity and little supervision, what do you think goes on? With the exception of a few, correction cannot be expected when your survival is at a high stake. Let’s not denote the provocative oppression used as an action to maintain submissive order. There are short-timers such as myself, medium/minimum-security offenders, nonviolent offenders, probationers/parole violators, and hardworking staff just to make ends meet inside an unsecured maximum security prison. People of society recognize the existing dangers and misrepresentation of this factor – Incarcerated lives matter too!

On the behalf of the Georgia offender population and the rightful staff who state of peonage goes unnoticed. Keep strong better days are to come.

All concerns and inquirements need to be sent to the following contacts. Your voice matters, make an effort to cause a positive change.

Questions and concern should be sent to the following people:

  1. Warden Sprayberry office number 706-857-0432 email Kevin.Sprayberry@gdc.ga.gov
  2. Commissioner 404-656-6002
  3. Facility director 404-655-2809

Racist Jailers Watch as Prisoner Burns Alive

This is a letter from a prisoner who witnessed a gruesome, preventable death. He would like all the help he can get in seeking justice:

On June 29, 2018 prisoner Freddie Pickett lost his life here at North Carolina’s Supermax Facility Polk Correctional, due to the deliberate indifference shown daily by the miscreants who patrol these concrete fields. Prisoner Freddie Pickett’s death was documented and reported as a suicide, not as a murder. Mr. Pickett was murdered by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) representatives. Mr. Pickett who had an extensive history of mental health disorders, set a fire in his cell. Once the fire began to burn it activated the smoke detector, which the “then” got the attention of the block officer (Gardner). From my time being held captive here at this razor-wire plantation, I’ve noticed that officer is a racist sadist who has no regard for a prisoner’s life and wears his neo-nazi pride as a badge of honor for the world to see. Once officer Gardner visually noticed the smoke and fire in Mr. Pickett’s cell, he then left at a unhurried pace. Gardner returned with assistant unit manager Harriss who looked in Mr. Pickett’s cell window and stated to her subordinates who by this time gathered around, “to not go in and get him until he is unresponsive.”

Several officers from units throughout the facility had made their way to A-Hall of Polk’s Supermax unit to watch a man be burnt alive. The same type of gatherings took place in Springfield, IL when there were anti-black riots in 1908 where New Afrikans were tied up and burnt alive while neo-nazi men, women, and even police officials stood by to watch.

These miscreants stood by and watched Mr. Pickett bang on his cell window and beg that they take him out the smoke filled cell. These sadists’ only response was “once you’re unresponsive we will come in and get you”. The same officers who took an oath to serve and protect stood by and watched Mr. Pickett be burnt to death. It was a full thirty minutes before the officers went into the cell and “pulled” Mr. Pickett’s “unresponsive” body out. By this time it was too late, the smoke, the fire, and the disregard for human life took the life of Mr. Pickett, who had been incarcerated almost 20 years and was to be released within the next year. He was documented as a prisoner who committed suicide.

I could enlarge on the details of this murder but I want to get to the question I’m sure several of you have. Why would a prisoner set their cell on fire knowing that it could be the cause of their death? These fires are being set “to get the attention of the block officer.” I’ve been to many of these plantations here in NC and even the oldest have emergency call-buttons in the cells. These are buttons placed in each cell, that when pushed alerts the officer in the control booth, who then should notify the floor officers that the emergency cell-button has been pushed and the prisoner of that cell is requesting the officers assistance. Here at Polk’s Supermax Facility there are no emergency call-buttons in any of the 96 cells. The majority of these cells house mentally ill prisoners or prisoners with health disorders. There being no cell-buttons isn’t due to complications because when this Supermax Facility was built it was equipped with emergency call-buttons in each cell. But over time maintenance was given the order by administration to disconnect all the call-buttons in the cells. This was done because of the complaints of the officers in the booth claiming it was aggravating but not only is this a health hazard, more importantly it also violates the building codes required by the state contractors that must pass this inspection before the facility can be open. That is why this facility was equipped with call-buttons that were later disconnected.

Being that there aren’t any call-buttons, prisoners are compelled to bang on the window of their cell for long periods of time to get the attention of these sadist overseers. To drown out the noise of us beating on our cell windows these miscreants plug up four industrial sized fans. So when prisoners grow tired of beating the windows they set fires, which then activates the smoke detectors that’s in the cell, and then higher ranking officers such as Sgt.s, unit managers, etc…are notified.

We are being murdered, brutally beaten, denied adequate medical care, housed in cells that are not properly heated, given no phone calls, given no outside recreation and treated similar to the prisoners of war at WWII. The (NCDPS) policy and procedures and the 8th amendment are supposed to protect us from these violent acts. But neither the policy nor the 8th amendment are regarded without care or respect.

How many of us have to die at the hands of these miscreants, be brutally beaten or tortured before these tyrants are demanded to cease these on-going atrocities and be held accountable. We don’t have call-buttons, we don’t have any phones to call authorities to help us. Many of these prisoners don’t have families to care about their well being. But I care about these prisoners, I care about these prisoners with mental health disorders and I vow to continue to fight this oppressive, exploitative, murderous system. But I’m only one man, I need the assistance of those of y’all in society who can protest outside of these razor-wire plantations, who can call the administrators and question these atrocities.

Joseph Stewart

PO BOX 2500

Butner, NC 27509