Category Archives: Sanitation

More Reports of Abuse from DeKalb Jail: Blocked Windows, Overflowing Toilets, Religious Discrimination, Dirty Water

Atlanta ABC and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee have been collecting reports of abuses within the DeKalb Jail. One incarcerated man, HL, called a number that had been chalked on the sidewalk outside the jail on May 15. He wanted to publicize abuses but without his name attached since he is afraid of retaliation by guards. HL said that during the protest on May 15 guards came into the cells with paintball guns and threatened to shoot inmates for banging on the windows. During that protest, people incarcerated in the jail put signs up in the windows for the public to read. Some smashed holes in the windows and shouted to the protesters or attempted to pass messages and examples of the rotting food through. Another man who called ABC on May 21 says the windows have since been blocked by some kind of film, a sticky paper or plastic. Protesters tabling below confirm that the windows are opaque in a section of the jail facing the sidewalk. This will prevent imprisoned people from sending messages using signs or seeing the ABC number. The United Nations has a “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” signed by the US that requires windows to allow in fresh air, and keeping prisoners in the dark is also prohibited. ABC also received a report on May 17 that the lights in many cells are broken.

HL also reports that the jail is “nasty, there is mold in the shower. They feed us on brown trays they’ve had for probably 20 years. The trays themselves are moldy and smell bad.” The trays have holes in them that water seeps into when they get washed, so mold grows on the inside.

Sheriff Man, the administrator in charge of the jail, has said protesters are being unproductive because he says they do not file formal complaints. But reports from those who have tried to use the complaint system show it to be a sham. HL says he has complained via the kiosk and filed a formal grievance. No complaint number is given when a grievance is filed. It is supposed to take 14 days but actually takes 60 days to get a response. When a response is finally given, you are required to accept their answer no matter what and cannot complain again. There is a note that the issue is going to be addressed but no one ever actually follows up, and the issue is never addressed.

HL says the toilet in the cell works, but they lock the door to the cell during the day and the toilet in the commons area doesn’t work and overflows with sewage. He has digestive health issues and needs to use the toilet frequently and the broken toilet gets in the way of this and creates an unhealthy condition in the jail.

Protesters have been setting up tables outside of the jail and speaking to people coming out since mid-April. Last week they spoke to a Muslim woman who had been arrested for a traffic ticket a few weeks before and held overnight. Her headscarf was immediately confiscated when she arrived and was never returned. She also was served nothing but a pork sandwich which she could not eat, so she did not eat for her whole overnight stay before being bailed out.

Also on May 21,  ABC got a call from a Muslim man in DeKalb jail, KR. he reports that according to regulations Muslims are supposed to receive meals before sunrise and after sunset during the month of Ramadan, but they have not been getting their trays until after sunrise. This means they’re not able to eat before the day. KR says Muslims do not receive evening trays until 10 p.m. or later.  This means they get one meal a day. The meal is supposed to be larger for Muslims during Ramadan, who are only eating before sunrise and after sunset, but they are not. It is the same meager tray that the other prisoners get for each meal, and previous reports have indicated that these trays are not enough food for the day even when they receive three a day.

KR also says that about a week ago, there were signs up in the common area saying not to drink the water or shower in it, and it was coming out of the faucets brown. But there were no signs in the cells themselves, so he woke up in his cell and did not see the signs before he made soup with some from the cell faucet. He says these signs were up once about a week ago and twice the week before that. Water was provided in orange coolers in the common areas.

Another man wrote in a post card from the jail, “The officers don’t  respond to the call buttons and sometimes treat us inhumanely”. He mentioned mold, poor food, and unfair disciplinary procedures as well. “Just because we are inmates and prisoners our lives matter too!! It’s so much goes on in between these walls it’s not being brought to the light!! I’m praying and hoping I can change that!!”


Mistreatment rife in Dekalb Jail; jail blocks calls to ABC phone

Atlanta Anarchist black cross has been speaking to people outside the DeKalb County Jail and receiving numerous phone calls from inmates and their family members revealing abusive conditions within the jail. Although the phone originally used to accept calls from prisoners was blocked by the jail system, ABC got a new number and has been receiving multiple calls since. They include complaints of inadequate and inedible food, a rampant mold infestation, a standard practice of medical neglect, and violence and retaliation by guards against people who make complaints.

One woman who spoke to ABC on May 17th said she had to call repeatedly to demand that her son receive medical care that he had been requesting; it was one or two months before he received care. She did not want to give her name because she feared reprisals by guards against her son if she speaks out against the abuse. “I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him… You got to protect your loved ones who are in there, the guards can do anything at all.”

Her fear is not without grounds; guards retaliated violently against the men who sparked protests after photos of them with handmade signs went viral in April are in solitary. their families were not able to hear from them for a month after the photos went viral. when one of them, Darnell Thompson, was able to finally get a postcard out, he reported that his solitary confinement will last until June 7th. Other inmates reported that the three were beat up and had their cell ransacked after the photos went viral.

Another mother told ABC that her son was beaten by guards.

A third mother who spoke to ABC also chose to remain anonymous. She said her son has been told that they are going to stop him receiving his medications for bipolar disorder. She does not know why.

A fourth mother also reported making numerous official complaints against the jail and the mental health staff for refusing to take her son’s mental issue seriously.

An inmate named Matthew Burkins called ABC on May 17th. He said that he began having pain in his chest while breathing a few days after he was brought to the jail. He suspected it was due to the mold infestation. He spent four weeks making a medical requests every day or every other day. He experienced delays in being seen and when he did go to the medical floor they just checked his vital signs and made sure they were within normal limits and then decided that he was okay and sent him back to his floor without treatment. Burkins also reported that it was not until six weeks after he arrived at the jail that he began receiving his regular prescribed medication. The jail staff kept saying that they were unable to verify his prescriptions. It was not until he put in a request at the kiosk saying that he was suicidal that he finally began receiving them; he has been doing much better since. Burkins also said the light is broken in his cell and in many others, meaning that he is not able to study and prepare for his upcoming court case. He has filed formal grievances, but he says, “the grievances don’t mean nothing, they [guards] can get away with murder and still be working the next day.”

Another inmate who called and identified himself just as Victor says his area is on lockdown for 21 hours a day, and he is only out on the floor from 11 am to 2 p.m. Victor also says that the food is inadequate. Breakfast might be oatmeal or grits, and lunch goulash or chicken patties, just a sandwich for dinner with nothing to drink. Victor was also concerned about retaliation for speaking out. He said, “a lot of people come up in here missing, a lot of people come up in here dead. Especially if they don’t got no family” outside to advocate for them.

On Wednesday May 15, a spirited demonstration took over Memorial Avenue. The original ABC phone number was announced for protesters who got arrested to call for assistance with bail, and for people already in the Dekalb jail to speak out about conditions. One of the police at the protest made a show of listening to the number, writing it down and then making a phone call. Less than a day later, that number was blocked by the jail so that no one inside could dial out to it.

Shortly after the beginning of the demonstration, heavily armed police made four violent arrests. Protesters were thrown to the ground and charged with disorderly conduct and blocking a street or sidewalk.

During the protest, people incarcerated in the jail were breaking windows and attempting to pass messages through the holes to the crowd below. One person tried to pass out food to show how moldy and inedible it was. Others shouted out of the holes, one saying that a correctional officer named King was choking someone whose hands were cuffed behind his back. Others put up signs in the windows for the protesters to read, one said I love U.

The next night, May 16, there was another loud demonstration. Protesters banged on drums outside the jail, while inmates banged on the windows to the beat. Police outnumbered protesters by a factor of about two. The sidewalks were lined with barricades. A new phone number not yet blocked by the jail was written in chalk on the sidewalk so that prisoners on that side of the jail would be able to see it–several who called had seen it that way. The number has also been circulating in the jail by word of mouth.

Protesters have decided to return each day with a table and literature to speak to people coming and going from the jail.

Brother of Prisoner who spoke out about Dekalb Jail abuses also reports abuses

Malaya Tucker is anxiously awaiting news of her son Darnell. She is told he is in solitary confinement after having been beaten by jail guards. She has not been able to contact him since their video visit on Sunday, in which he showed her moldy food trays with insufficient food. Screenshots taken from another video visit went viral on social media on Wednesday. On Thursday, guards reportedly entered Darnell’s cell and beat him up. They put him in solitary confinement, claiming they found a contraband cell phone. This cut him off from communication with the outside.

Mrs. Tucker received news of her son from her other son, Larnell. He is also in DeKalb County Jail due to an administrative error that left an arrest warrant in effect after it had been lifted.

Larnell called his mother from the 6th floor of the jail on Saturday, and she connected him with Atlanta ABC. Larnell was willing to risk being abused himself in order to go public about the inhumane conditions. He said that another inmate who had been transferred from his brother’s floor told him today that his brother had been “jumped” by guards again. He does not know how badly hurt Darnell is.

He also described a case of medical neglect of a diabetic person. Diabetics are not given access to their insulin upon being jailed. Each person has to request it via “health request” on the jail kiosk. A notice says “it can take up to 7 days for your request to be seen”. Larnell witnessed an inmate fall ill from going too long without insulin. It was only when other inmates gathered and began yelling at the guards to give the man his medicine that he was brought downstairs to a medical facility.

Larnell also said there was mold in the food today. He was given food with black and white mold in the noodles and meat. There was so much mold that all of the food was inedible, he reported. “I threw my whole tray away… everybody threw their tray away.” Larnell says another inmate filed a report about the moldy food and held onto his tray so he could show it to someone on the outside next time he had a video visit. While we were talking on the phone, officers came up to the floor to look at the moldy food. Then 11 officers took out tazers and told everyone to get in their cells (Larnell was allowed to stay talking on the phone). The man who reported the food was surrounded by guards outside his cell as they aimed tazers at him, ordering him to get inside his cell. They took the food tray away, but refused to give him a new tray as he requested.

Larnell also reported an infestation of black mold and flies in the showers. “I have to keep a sheet under my door to keep flies out”. He sleeps with just a wool blanket.

Why is Larnell in jail? He says he has a “failure to appear” but he went to court for it in January, and the judge ruled that the warrant would be lifted if Larnell went to pretrial services once a month. But before he could report to pretrial, he was arrested for the same warrant. Now he has been waiting in jail for a month for the courts to fix their administrative error. He says he has called the office of the Public Defender every day and has never talked to the lawyer.

I asked, “are you willing to go public, knowing what your brother has gone through and the risk you’re taking?” Larnell said, “I am because this is ridiculous”.

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

First-hand report: Hunger Strike in GA Prision

My name is Charles Shepard #1001527186. I am housed in the Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison – Special Management Unit (SMU).

Anyhow, there is a class action against this prison headed by Human Rights Attorney Ryan Primerano, phone # (404)688-1202 extension (404)688-9440.

I hate the system! Have been fighting them for almost 20 years. Anyhow, I have organized a hunger strike involving approx. 8 inmates, with more to join. This will start 1-30-18. I need the public to know. I will try to explain our situation, my hands hurt as I have been writing all day.

We are not receiving Recreation at all. Some people do, but the majority of us have been placed on Red. Restriction which is illegal. When you first arrive here, you don’t receive it at all for 90 days.

Our property is held for 90 days. Religious, legals, personal mail, hygiene. We don’t receive proper cell sanitation. Our food portions are very small. Our counselors don’t come around when they are supposed to. We are not given books to read. And many other issues.

I was told a little about what you do and am very interested in getting involved. I’m down to 18 months left, but have some new bogus charges that I’m representing myself in. I’m 37, white male, associate’s degree in psychology; theology and currently studying law; language; Islam and electronics. I’m very intelligent and hate the government. I am a Muslim (not a terrorist) I am actually Sunni. I am very interested in corresponding with anyone who wants to and can discuss just about any subject, will accept mail from any race, religion, sex or creed.

Please do what you can to get my info out there in the mainstream. Mailing info:
Charles Shepart #1001527186
GDCP SMU LE 208
P.O. Box 3877
Jackson, GA 30233

SMU (Stressing More Unity): Abuses in the Tier Program

SMU (Stressing More Unity)

Tier III SMU in Jackson, GA houses almost 200 inmates: six dorms, 32 inmates each dorm, two sides east and west side which hold three dorms apiece. Each dorm is supposed to have two floor officers and each side (east/west) supposed to have one transport officer. I’ve been housed here going on two years and the facility has been understaffed the whole time. You’re lucky to have 1 dorm officer most times one officer is overseeing at least two if not all three dorms on the side. Which if it’s an emergency we are forced to kick on the door for long periods of time just to get help. Two months ago a man hung himself he was dead in his cell for five or six hours before they found out. The only reason they found out then was because the officer was serving breakfast.

Tier III is the best example of dehumanizing you get here they keep you locked down for 90 days no recreation, no phone, no nothing. You go see the doctor for health issues he only has two answers: stop working out, drink more water. The facility doesn’t have a dishwasher so the trays are washed with a water hose, green yellow mold growing on the trays. Most of the time if you complain it’s either take the tray or don’t eat.

Constantly being denied our due process grievances not getting processed or properly investigated. If administration doesn’t like you and are on duty when your family comes to visit they will turn your family around and make up a false reason (Lt. Russo). The warden of all care and treatment, security and unit manager abuses his job being that he has to sign off on order forms for books. He’s coming up with new things you have to do to receive books and still denies request after they’ve met the criteria.

This is supposed to be a behavior program but there isn’t no release date majority have been here 4 years or better. The program at most doesn’t supposed to exceed 18 months with good behavior.

None of the toilets work properly yet we are limited to flushes per hour showering in cells with no proper cleaning supplies.

Mail being refused and not being able to send it home it’s automatically destroyed.

In two years no more than 15 people have left–nine of them had filed a lawsuit. Parole wants nothing to do with you if you’re housed here or transition centers they constantly jumping on you or doing some type of harsh punishment not feeding you.

It’s gon take outside help to make a change. We constantly say Black Lives Matter not everybody feel that way. The Captain, Warden and superintendent are black here and they allowing a white man, Lt. Russo, to do as he pleases.

People are so ignorant and stubborn they’ll continue to not get unified because of little boy reasons the fight Behind These doors is against the oppressor administration. All Lives Matter if you think so you should have no problem with us ALL getting together.

They got me under lock & key but my mind free: Writings from Hayes Prison

H.A.Y.S. (Housing. All. You. Shares.) 
By: Lamar Westside Gates 
Forced to be a DEPENDENCIES with no voice for mistreatment abandoned by so-called loved ones, love becomes a CONTRADICTION. How you love one when you let them “SUFFER”? Yes they suffer when their cries 4 help falls upon DEF EARS made def ears. You hear what they saying but do you care! Yo actions show you don’t but every time before the call end you lie with these words I love you if that’s love I want to be hated cuz they care enough to hate… What’s going on behind theze PRISON IS NOT EXAGGERATED. Punish 4 what you are a BLACKMAN and where you are from ESPECIALLY ATLANTA, punish 4 not backing down, punish for YO GRIEVANCE COMPLAINT, punish 4 wanting what you’re INTITLED 2 NO FOOD & NO SHOWERS IS NOT THE WORST OF THE UNWANTED PUNISHMENT. Imagine being made something you are not through FALSITY 4 the AMUSEMENT of others. Oh I forgot you love so you don’t care. Out of sight out of mind NONE BENEFICIAL PAY IT NO MIND – I promise if theze was your shoes you’ll commit suicide now you’re saying to yourself should have never got locked up. If anyone knew they would die for pulling over DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD HAVE PULLED OVER? With that being said know some things are INEVITABLE like OUR SKIN COLOR and that us behind the wall want EMPATH NOT SYMPATHY. Cause there is no justice for this INJUSTICE IN WHITE AMERICAN. Just them phucking us with your help yeah your help! Having not to care so keep yo fake love cause you’re them keep us down with NO LOVE… 
Sad but true 
By: Lamar Westside Gates 
They got me under lock & key but my mind free  
Speaking my mind got me naked with nothing to eat! 
Bwoy how many meals it’s gone take you 2 see I own you? 
Nobody care for you you’re AMERIKKKA’S WASTE.  
In yo eyes & mind but ask me do I care boss –  
You can’t break my focus Freedom be my goal! 
Jump on me as you please I will soon HEAL  
While this smile on my face bruise yo pride. 
I bet your wife in bed with another man (the white man)  
Cause yo only focus is jumping on a black man  
Da sad part bout it you a black man AmericKKKa’s waste!